LNH20: Prelude to a Prologue

Jeanne Morningstar mrfantastic7 at gmail.com
Sun Sep 5 17:29:20 PDT 2021

By Jeanne Morningstar
With a little tip o'the hat to Scott Johnson

On 9/5/21 12:49 PM, Dave Van Domelen wrote:
 >       It occurs to me that the Looniverse, being based in Usenet, is an
 > ancient world with archaic rules, lacking in modern technology but with a
 > magic of its own.
 >       The Looniverse is an isekai destination for modern webcomics
 > characters.
 >       Dave Van Domelen, "The Internet is not a truck!"


Rune Redquake, the Hero, drew his cursed sword Fightbattler. "Have at 
you, goblin!" he shouted.

"Owww," said the evil goblin lord Xnaz the Horripilating as Rune 
Redquake sliced him in two.

Once, Rune Redquake had been an ordinary man living an ordinary life in 
a world with no cursed swords or goblin lords. He'd been unable to find 
a job or a purpose for his life. He'd died after going on a cabbage soup 
diet on the advice of Reddit and causing an enormous methane explosion. 
But now he'd been reincarnated into a new life where he got to be a for 
real Hero, and had not one but two incredibly hot women who were 
desperate for him.

"The Goblin Lord is slain!" said the first of the two women, Velaria, 
the Elven ranger-priestess of the Moon. Tall and elegantly muscular, she 
held a bow that glowed with eldritch light. Her deep purple eyes looked 
into the darkness of the Tower of Grimmevilbad. "Now we can defeat the 
Lich Demon God King and drive evil from the land!"

"And get the treasure, don't forget that!" said his other companion. 
Maitrakh, the weirdly hot fat girl with the lobster-red skin and the 
metal bikini, was a succubus thief, kicked out of Hell because she was 
better at setting people on fire than seducing them.

"I suppose," said Velaria. And she looked at Rune Redquake, her eyes 
glittering with delight. "And then we can get married!"

"Hey, *I* was going to marry him!" said Maitrakh.

"Now, well," said Rune Redquake. He had indeed promised to marry both of 
them independently. He really should have talked it out with them at 
this point but didn't know what to say. It occurred to him there may 
have been reasons beyond him not being a hero with a cursed sword he had 
trouble getting dates in his old life, but he could ignore that for now. 
"First, we must enter into the final chamber of this Tower and destroy 
the ultimate evil!"

"OK, fine," said Maitrakh.

But when they opened the door, they did not find the room that held the 
final boss. They found an echo of the room they just left, made up of 
repeated tiles that flickered in and out of existence. "What? This game 
world has a minus level?" said Rune Redquake.

"Uh," said a voice from the shadows. "Your world is about to be 
destroyed. Sorry about that." Out stepped a woman in crimson robes 
carrying a staff. She faintly resembled Pandora from the New 52, 
assuming anyone remembers all of that now.

"Who the hell are you!" said Maitrakh, flames crackling around her hands.

"I'm the Panjandrum Stranger," she said. "The Stranger in charge of 
isekai worlds."

"...Isekai?" said Velaria. "I've never heard that world before."

"I'll explain later. Anyway, uh, wait." She looked Rune Redquake in the 
eye. "Did you really promise to marry both of them?"

Rune Redquake wiped the sweat off his brow. "...Ok, yes."

"WHAT?" they both said at once.

"You should be straight with them," said the Panjandrum Stranger, 
thumping her staff on the ground. "Nothing's wrong with polyamory, but 
you gotta be explicit about your desires and boundaries. Which one do 
you want, or do you want to marry both of them, or what?"

"Um," said Rune Redquake. "Uh." Just then, he began to flicker and fade. 
His body broke up into squares of light which gradually disappeared, 
leaving nothing behind.

"What happened to him?" shouted Velaria. "Is he dead?"

"Nah," said the Panjandrum Stranger. "He's just been re-reincarnated 
back to his old shitty life. You should be more worried about everything 

"What?" said Maitrakh.

"You see," said the Panjandrum Stranger, "this world isn't real. You're 
in a webcomic. That friend of yours, he was a Protagonist--a random 
loser reincarnated from some other world. The people in charge of this 
part of the Internetverse--the Isekaisers--drag in Protagonists and 
build rudimentary worlds around them, then use the emotional energy from 
the story's audience to gradually make them real. Pretty common 
quick-and-dirty method of world creation.

"It's my job to look after all those worlds. These worlds are mostly 
similar enough there's just one Stranger looking after them all. I make 
sure they hold together and take out any Protagonists who are abusing 
their powers."

"So... what's going to happen now, exactly?" said Velaria.

"Well, to put it bluntly, your world's about to go kablooey. There's 
been a big hypercosmic collapse recently, and the MCU's been acting up 
again so the narrative hyperflows are all janky. That means your world 
collapsed before it could be fully become real. But don't worry--"

"You say our world's dying and you say not to worry?!" said Maitrakh.

"I was gonna say," said the Panjandrum Stranger, "I'll just send you to 
a new one. Just let me call the Stranger Society. See, the Strangers 
used to only watch over Usenetverse worlds, but now we have jurisdiction 
over other Internetverse worlds through the Reddit Accord--"

"I don't know what any of those words mean, individually or together," 
said Velaria.

"Hold on a moment," said the Panjandrum Stranger. She pulled a strange 
glowing square thing (which the now-re-reincarnated Rune Redquake would 
have recognized as a cell phone) from the folds of her robe. "Hello?" 
she said into it. "Patch me through to alt.stranger.recovery." She 
waited and tapped her feet. "Sorry, on hold." Then there was a noise 
from the other side. "Hello there? I've got two survivors from a 
collapsed isekai world I need sent somewhere else, and--ah." She 
listened to a long explanation on the other end.

"OK," she said, turning to Maitrakh and Velaria, "unfortunately with the 
hyperflow being what it is right now, I can't send you to another world 
like this one. I'll have to send you to an Usenetverse world. Lessee, I 
guess I'll send you to Drew's world rather than Dave's since there's 
less going on there right now. Hold on a sec." She held out the phone to 
them and a tunnel of shifting light came out of them. A mighty wind 
sucked them in and they fell, screaming, into infinity. And then--

They were somewhere else. A city by a lake, with shining towers higher 
than the one they'd left behind. "What manner of world is this?" said 

"As long as it has things I can blow up, I'm good," said Maitrakh. "So 
what do we do now?" They'd spent most of their energy arguing over Rune 
Redquake and didn't know what to do now that he was gone. Maybe they 
enjoyed arguing with each other more than they actually wanted him. They 
weren't going to think about the implications of that because there were 
too many things to think about the implications of right now.

They saw a sort of ragged newspaper blowing in the wind. Maitrakh 
snatched it up. The headline said:



Below that were smaller headlines that red: IOWA FARMER BREAKS RECORD 

"Hmm. What's an LNH?" said Velaria.

"I think it's one of those things Rune Redquake was going on about. 
Those, uh, soup heroes."


"Like that Captain Armenia guy."

"Hmm," said Velaria. "So this world's greatest heroes are missing. 
Perhaps... Perhaps we could become this world's greatest heroes ourselves."

"So you wanna be a superhero? Sounds cool, I guess. We should go find a 
dungeon and raid it--"

"I don't think that's how being a hero works in this world," said 
Velaria. "I'll have to investigate some more."

"Yeah," said Maitrakh. "Y'know, I wonder if there are any other people 
who got yoinked in here from other worlds. If we find any, maybe we 
could form a party--"

"A superhero team?" said Velaria. "Hmm. I suppose we could call 
ourselves something like, the 'Unlikely Aliens...'"

"Nah," said Maitrakh. "We need something more badass. Like...





Everything in this story is Free For Use. I really have no idea where 
it's going. Anyone can feel free to jump on.

The Dvandom Stranger and the concept of Strangers were created by Dave 
Van Domelen; the Ununnilium Stranger was created by Drew Nilium.

A number of the names in this story came from generators from 

The imaginary newsgroup alt.stranger.recovery is based on the real world 
alt.sysadmin.recovery, whose forbidding reputation led to the 
anagrammatic nickname of "scary devil monastery."

The hypercosmic collapse is somewhat explained in the Jenny Everywhere 
story I'm currently writing on tumblr, which will be posted here in 
collected form

I have never actually seen an isekai anime, but I do love the 
isekai-parody-ish lesbian romance webcomic Mage and Demon Queen.

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