Limp-Asparagus Lad #20 The Plots Continue To Thicken Part 2 of Leftovers Written by and copyright 1996 Saxon Brenton Art by Fr*d H*mback :-) --------------------------------------------------------------------- Cover shows the silhouetted figure of an imposing armoured being standing, back to the audience, with its right arm outstretched in a dramatic gesture of pontification. In the background, facing towards this figure, are the Legion of Net.Heroes, with various expressions of distrust and anger on their faces. The story arc logo reads: 'Leftovers Part 2'. --------------------------------------------------------------------- This issue is dedicated to Aaron Veenstra, for pointing out that Limp- Asparagus Lad should appear in his own series more. Just because he is too dull to be able to support this series on his own, it doesn't mean that he shouldn't at least show up in it from time to time :-) Date: Wednesday 11th October 1995. In the end Contraption Man decided to forgo calling Procrastination Lad and trying to get the latter to work the transmat to bring the three of them back to the LNHQ. He knew it would have been an exercise in futility. Instead he called wReamhack and had him activate the transmat remotely from the computer room. Artemis, Redemption and himself materialised on the transporter pads. As Conty ushered the other two out, he paused long enough to thank Procrastination Lad for is help, such as it had been. Without looking up from his comic, PLad waved his hand vaguely in recognition. Artemis looked around in interest. "So this is the LNHQ?" Contraption Man looked at her. "Yeah. I thought you would have been here before though, considering that your parents were LNHers." Distractedly she shook her head. "No. Mom and Dad were... They left around the time I was born." "Ah," acknowledged CMan non-committally, sensing there was something she wasn't saying. "Sorry, I didn't know that." "It's okay," she said lightly. "Dad used to tell me stores about this place, and the heroes who lived and worked here. I just always wondered what it would be like to see it in person, that's all." Redemption, who knew most of the details, kept silent on the matter, but gave Artemis a covert glance. "Well, here we are," said Contraption Man as he led them into the Legion of Net.Heroes HQ's foyer. There were a number of other LNHers about, and CM waved to them as the three of them approached the desk where Fred was on receptionist duty, working on a crossword. "Even if you decide not to apply for full membership, there's still things like reserve membership and guest priveleges. Those were the statuses Cliche Dude and Hals Jordan applied for during the Electrocutioner's Song." Fortunately at that moment Contraption Man was facing away from them and towards the desk to pick up the paperwork, so he didn't see Redemption start at the mention of that crossover. Having grabbed the application forms CM turned back and continued. "I suspect that Doctor Stomper will be _very_ interested in hearing your story, and I'm pretty sure he'll be glad to help you with your device, if only because it'll also help with some of our problems at the moment. If that's so, you'll need some form of membership for security clearance." Artemis and 'Demp nodded, taking the forms. Contraption Man called Dr. Stomper. Just then, Limp-Asparagus Lad, Limp-Asparagus Lass, and Subplot Lad also walked into the foyer. Hell Catalyst looked up and said, "Hi Limpy! Who's your friend?" Normally Limp-Asparagus Lad would have explained precisely and concisely. But the Liefeldian mutation to which he had been subjected gave him a strange, spur-of-the-moment urge towards dramatic pronouncements. This is why he said, "In many ways she could be considered my daughter." Whereupon the assembled Legionnaires, who had only just gotten over The Flame Wars III mess, freaked. "Oh no, not _another_ time traveller!" they exclaimed en masse, which bemused Artemis and 'Demp no end. It seemed that Contraption Man hadn't been kidding when he'd said that the Legion had been having problems with time anomalies recently; their explanation of the C.I.P.'s presence must have come as a serendipitous breakthrough. 'Demp cast a questioning glance at CM, who raised his eyebrows and shrugged in an apologetic 'I told you so' manner. For his part Limp-Asparagus Lad blinked in surprise. "Uh, no," he hastily amended. "She is actually the visiting daughter of my Earth-B counterpart. This is Limp-Asparagus Lass, of the League of Heroes." Everybody calmed down and went on with their business. Many of them wandered outside for a game of softball. Subplot Lad spoke up. "I've got some things to do guys, so I'll see you later." "Very well, Subplot Lad," L-ALad replied. They watched him go. Then L-ALad asked her, "What is it you wanted to see me about?" For a second a tint of doubt and embarrassment touched upon L-ALass's face. "I just wanted to say thank you for coming and giving your condolences." "You have already done so," he pointed out. It had been a few weeks previously, just after he had again met Lean-Apples Lad - his counterpart from Earth-Irritation. [_Kid Mysticism_ #18 - Footnote Girl] Lean-Apples Lad had been passing through after yet another interminable disaster had laid waste his home Looniearth... Almost instantly Limp-Asparagus Lad inwardly berated himself for such an uncharitable thought. True, Lean-Apples Lad was one of Ben Rawluk's characters, and they tended to suffer through world-annihilating catastrophes with depressing frequency. But to dismiss out of hand someone's pain simply because the problem he had been afflicted with happened all too regularly (or hadn't been written about by Paul Hardy) was to belittle and degrade him as a person. In any case, Lean-Apples Lad had taken the opportunity to inform him of the existence of Limp-Asparagus Lad-B's daughter. L-ALad-A had known of L-ALad-B's demise for some time, since Fan.Boy had told him about it in issue #11, but he had felt obliged to travel to Looniearth-B and give his condolences to Limp-Asparagus Lass personally. Limp-Asparagus Lass said nothing for a second, then replied. "Yes. But, at the time I don't think I was particularly civil about it. When I saw you... When I realised who you were... I went all cold inside. I was so afraid that I wouldn't stand up by comparison to Father. So I went and acted my most cool and reserved..." He considered this. "Natalie, I cannot make a comparison between your father and myself; I knew him for too short a time. But for my part I do not strive for being duller or more asocial. That's something I already am. My efforts lie in trying to be myself, and helping others to be the same. I would not want you to ever think you have to hide behind a facade on my account to avoid disapproval." Limp-Asparagus Lass nodded, but looked upset. "I... I almost didn't come to see you. I was afraid of how I might feel if I wasn't controlling my feelings so hard." She looked like she was about to break into tears. "Oh, please, Uncle Limpy. Could you hold me? Just hold me for a little while." From the other side of the foyer Artemis watched the Man and Maid of Dull talking, and then watched him take her in his arms and hug her. She felt a little embarrassed for spying on them like this, but reminiscences and morbid interest prevented her from turning away. .oO(Oh Daddy. I wish so much that I could hold you again like she is. But if I revealed who I truly am, then everything else would inevitably come out too, including your great shame in the timeline I come from. AngstAngstAngst.) She felt a hand on her shoulder, and found Redemption standing behind her, with a sympathetic look on his face. "Hey, it'll be okay," he said. "As long as we stay in the mainstream timeline there's very little that's likely to go wrong. Your dad'll be fine." Artemis took a breath and concurred with a "Yeah." She didn't actually believed it, since _she_ wasn't from the mainstream timeline, but it did help her pull herself together. She would need a clear head to successfully navigate the thin narrow path that would keep history from branching. Then something occurred to her, and she looked at him apologetically. "I'm sorry Geoff. I forgot that you had problems with your parents too." He shrugged, seemingly indifferent. That was a wound that he hadn't been able to deal with yet, so he'd pushed it away in hopes that it would just go away. Then Doctor Stomper entered the foyer, and Contraption Man went over to see him. Artemis and 'Demp joined them. Limp-Asparagus Lad and Limp-Asparagus Lass were walking through the LNHQ and getting reacquainted. "Does your group have a Fan.Boy?" she asked. "Yes. As I understand it, he is the template from which all the others on the Net derive. He is out on patrol at the moment with Retcon Lad and Harris." "He does seem to get around..." she said, then trailed off as Subplot Lad walked up, looking more than a bit bemused. "Pardon me guys, but is there anything going on here?" "Not really," L-ALad replied. "Why?" "I dunno. I just felt... like I needed to be here. It felt like a subplot..." he looked around, confused. "We were making small talk," L-ALass offered. "There might be some subplots there." Subplot Lad shook his head. "Maybe, but it felt stronger than that. I... Hey, what's that?" he asked as he caught sight of something down the corridor. Approaching up the hall was a vaguely human shaped white figure. On its 'head' were three darker patches, looking a bit like eyes and a mouth. The head turned from side to side slowly, as if gazing about. Limp-Asparagus Lad watched it, and came to a tentative conclusion. "I believe it might be Black September," he answered. "It's what?" SLad exclaimed. "Black September," he repeated. "It is an anthropomorphic personification embodying September on the Net." "Well, at least it's not the embodiment of sphamming," said Subplot Lad, and then, to show his distaste for the concept in a text-based medium, he made an 'icky, blecky, stick-tongue-out and poke-finger- down-throat-to-induce-barfing' smiley. Which looks like this: >:-P7 "What's it doing here now?" asked L-ALass. "I mean, it's October." "It is October 1995 here, but this issue is being written and posted in September 1996," L-ALad clarified. She looked at him quizzically. "My Writer is often lagging behind in continuity," he explained. "Although I am reasonably certain that that would not stop him from invoking a crossover induced time jump if it suited his purposes to do so." Subplot Lad was watching the creature. It looked like... It looked like a roughly humanoid figure wrapped in a cloak. The cloak was trailing frayed edges that billowed out behind it, as if it was tattered. In many ways it looked like certain depictions of Gaiman's Sandman, save in one particular. The Sandman favoured black. In seeming violation of its name this entity was an off-white colour; the visual equivalent of the omnipresent hiss of white noise that it exuded. That white noise made it impossible to communicate with. Certain theorists had postulated that Black September might actually be a sapient entity, albeit one whose form of intelligence was totally out of sync with all other creatures. It's inability to communicate rationally left this supposition untestable though. The faintly glowing apparition floated toward them. Limp-Asparagus Lad stepped aside, motioning the others to follow his example. They did so, and Black September passed, seemingly oblivious to their presence. Typical newbie behaviour, really. "Huh. Didn't even notice us," Subplot Lad said. "No. It's attention seems to be erratic," L-ALad observed. "What can it possibly be up to?" "Well, what are it's motives?" SLad asked. "No one knows it's motives," L-ALass replied. "All that can be discerned are its modus operandi: wandering about, gawping at things, sending off a lot of off-topic noise over things that apparently catch its interest, and generally ignoring rules of net.courtesy." L-ALad was thinking. "If it follows it's normal pattern, it will need a Net access point. A newsserver, preferably." Subplot Lad watched the drifting entity. "The computer room is down that way," he pointed out. He frowned. Who should be on duty at the moment? Had wReamhack finished his shift yet? He tapped his comm.thingee. "Subplot Lad to computer rooms. Multi-Tasking Man? wReamhack? Renegade Programmer? You there?" "Yo," came the voice of the Programmer. "What's up?" "We think Black September may be heading your way." There was a spluttering sound from the other end of the comm.link as RP choked in surprise and spat out whatever it was he'd been munching on. "WHAT!?" "We just saw Black September. We think it's heading your way. Can you, I don't know, shut down the computers or something so it can't go spewing stuff all over the Net?" In the computer room the portly Programmer was making a hasty assessment. Part of him regretted the loss of the slice of pizza that he'd just spat out, but the rest of him was already thinking of ways to solve the problem. And it was a problem. For the longest of times the Legion of Net.Heroes had been labeled as and attacked for being a waste of bandwidth. It hadn't been until Deja Dude had finally talked Cowlung around that the flamewars against the Looniearth had begun to abate. [_Legion of Net.Heroes_ #s 36 & 37 - Footnote Girl] Now the big BS could possibly start that all over again by - inadvertently or not - making people think the LNH was deliberately flouting net.courtesy by posting it's drivel from the LNH site. Not a pleasant prospect. He started delving into the operating system of the Legion's mainframe. "Shutting down the computers is out. There are too many essential systems running off it. I can freeze all the outgoing articles and emails on the spools. Better cut off all the telnet links as well... "That'll only be stop-gap though, won't it?" Subplot Lad speculated. "Oh yeah," agreed Renegade Programmer, happily munching down another piece of his pizza. "If we can't contain it before very long, Black Sept'll probably just start broadcasting straight down the external lines. We'll have to keep that from happening, even if the point of origin isn't easily traceable back to us by that method; there's too much noise on the Net as it is." "Okay, we'll see what we can do," Subplot Lad replied, signing off. He traded glances with the other two. "Any ideas?" "It's a time axis entity," mused Limp-Asparagus Lad. "Maybe we could use the timebeacon.thingee to draw it in and entrap it." Subplot Lad boggled. "We have a timebeacon.thingee?" "Yes," Limp-Asparagus Lad affirmed. "It is actually constructed out of the remains of the old Universal Anchor, after it was changed from a spatial anchor to a temporal one during Retcon Hour. [_LNH Triple Play_ #4 - Footnote Girl] Since Vammo Woman was voted the RACCelestial Madonna and became the new Universal Anchor [_LNH Comic Presents_ #21 - Footnote Girl] Doctor Stomper thought the Legion should find some other use for it." "What is this 'Retcon Hour' thing?" Limp-Asparagus Lass asked. "Something nasty that happened to Contraption Man last year," replied Subplot Lad euphemistically. "And where does the LNH keep the timebeacon.thingee?" she asked. "The Plot Device Room." She nodded. Of course it would be in the Plot Device Room. "You will need readings on Black September in order to properly lure it, correct?" "Yes," L-ALad confirmed. "Here, use my scan.thingee to take some readings," he said, handing over the one that he kept on him as part of his costume. "Subplot Lad and myself can pick up another in the equipment room along the way. Then we can link the two of them by sub- ether net and transfer data from onE to the other." "Very well. That sounds simple enough. Do either of you have the skills to reprogram the timebeacon.thingee?" Limp-Asparagus Lad looked at Subplot Lad. Subplot Lad shook his head emphatically. "No," the Man of Dull said bluntly, "but I hope that the use of one of the plot devicium cores can overcome this. Failing that we may need to transmat Renegade Programmer to the Plot Device Room to do it for us." In an almost surrealy non-corporeal dimension adjacent to the Looniverse, criminal minds plotted: =(Trev-oR! Ann-eE! Quickly, look at this!)= came a telepathic cry. =(What is it Edw-iN?)= =(Look at what is happening on Looniearth!)= exclaimed Edw-iN with malicious glee. Ann-eE peered across the veil that separated the Fandom Zone from the dimension of the Looniverse proper. =(So? It is merely another temporal crisis wrenching apart the fabric of reality,)= she observed disinterestedly. =(They happen all the time. It isn't even as severe as Retcon Hour. How can this help us escape from this extradimensional prison of disembodiment; or gain our long sought revenge on Kid Not Appearing In Any Retcon Hour Story, the son of Henr-eE?)= =(Perhaps on it's own it is not that unique or useful, but look.)= Edw-iN pointed out across space. Out in the dark, just beyond the Oort cloud, there was something. The Fandom Zone criminals peered closer. =(Oh,)= Ann-eE said, and an unpleasant smile lit on her face. =(A piece of Jewel Retcon Hour Story,)= breathed Trev-oR reverently. =(A piece has finally arrived!)= Edw-iN grinned. =(Yes.)= For a moment the three of them floated, watching the piece of Jewel Retcon Hour Story. It was perhaps the size of a small car, and it was advancing towards Looniearth, tumbling end over end as it came. =(What should we use it for first?)= Trev-oR asked. =(The temporal flux on the Looniearth gives us an immediate opportunity to revenge ourselves. By using the jewel Retcon Hour Story to boost the mental powers we all possess as a consequence of being in this dimension, we can telekinetically hurry it towards Looniearth. If we act fast we can boost it through a space warp into ScientificallyImprobableSpace, and be able to get it to Looniearth in time to use the current chronological chaos to our advantage. We can then hurl Kid Not Appearing In Any Retcon Hour Story into exile in some future time period from which he cannot return.)= =(How delicious,)= grinned Ann-eE. =(Are we agreed then?)= =(Yes!)= chorused the others with enthusiasm. Then the three of them turned their attention to the crystal. [This plot will be continued in _Kid Not Appearing In Any Retcon Hour Story_ #1 - Footnote Girl] Renegade Programmer had just finished shutting down and locking off the network accesses when Black September entered the computer room. He stood up and watched it as it roamed from one terminal to another with 'eyes' and 'mouth' wide open in 'o's of wonder. Then he tuned when an adolescent girl followed it in and started pointing a scan.thingee at it. "Who're you?" "I am Limp-Asparagus Lass," she introduced herself. "I am working with Subplot Lad and my uncle." The latter was an oversimplification, but it would suffice for now. "Has it done any damage?" RP shook his head. "Not yet. I'll have to go though the logs of all the delayed posts and cull out the noise though. Have you got a plan yet?" "Yes. Our intent is to lure and entrap it. Could you please contact Limp-Asparagus Lad and tell him I have the data scans he wanted. I will need to know the frequency registration of the scan.thingee he is using in order to link it to the memory of this one." "You got it," said the Programmer and called L-ALad. "Limpy? Your niece has got something for you." "Thank you. Please tell her I have calibrated to the sub-ether frequency of 1420.4057 MHz." "Acknowledged," she said. "Attempting link now. Handshaking. Done. Uploading data now." "Received," he confirmed. "Activating plot devicium and resetting timebeacon.thingee." Over the comm.link RP and L-ALass could hear Subplot Lad say, "Okay, that's got it. Hey, this is easy with a plot device." Then, louder, SLad said, "Firing her up now." The effect on Black September was immediate. It's 'head' shot up, apparently listening to something that only it could hear. It moved hastily towards the door, then halfway there distorted and elongated and vanished like the Enterprise going into warp, leaving only a -BLiP- to mark its passing. "Well, that was quick," commented Renegade Programmer. "Where did you send it?" "It should be trapped in the timebeacon.thingee." "This I've gotta see. Come on, I'll show you where the Plot Device Room is." They arrived at the Plot Device Room to find Limp-Asparagus Lad and Subplot Lad checking the captivity of Black September in a containment field set up by a huge black spidery-looking device (the timebeacon.thingee). The creature was thrashing about, all distorted and distended, looking something like Bizarrage did when put in a similar situation in _Spider-Boy_. "Cool. You got him," said Renegade Programmer. Subplot Lad nodded, but looked distracted. "Guys, there's something I just thought of. I don't think I should be here." "Pardon?" "I stayed here," he repeated. "In this plot thread. In fact, I was called back to it. If it was the main part of the story my powers would have shunted me off somewhere else. This must've been just a subplot." Limp-Asparagus Lad considered this, and found the implications to be more than just mildly disturbing. "Black September has never been a particularly organised entity, unlike the primitive but malicious elemental intelligence possessed by Spham. Nevertheless, it's random thrashing can be highly destructive. For such a creature to appear as a mere subplot... That does not bode well." Then he did a subdued doubletake as something occurred to him. "My apologies Subplot Lad. I did not mean that as disparagement." Subplot Lad shrugged. He wasn't particularly thrilled with the way his powers worked anyway, and since he knew L-ALad wouldn't be making deliberate put-downs he let it pass. "You better call the boss," Renegade Programmer said. "I'll go and start getting the net access back on line." Meanwhile, Doctor Stomper had heard Artemis and 'Demp's story, and quickly scanned their data. Then, because this was potentially very big, he called the Legion's leader, Ultimate Ninja. The Ninja listened carefully, asking for specific but non-technical details from both Dr. Stomper and Contraption Man. Unlike the two LNH scientists he did not approach the problem from a merely practical standpoint of whether it was possible, and what existing problems it could be used to solve. He was already working on what problems it could create. "So, there's a temporal nexus that can, potentially, be used to do anything, and you're proposing to build an access mechanism. Guarding something like that could be problematic," the Ninja noted. 'Demp replied. "Yes, it would be. If you were planning on just leaving it there." As Doctor Stomper looked mildly puzzled 'Demp began keying something on a touchpad, which he then handed to the Explainer Supreme. As the Doctor read it, Contraption Man asked, "What is it?" "It's a detailed schematic for how to shut down the C.I.P.," he replied. "Seal it off, actually," 'Demp corrected. "Permanently. Give it a dimensional half twist, like a mobius strip, that puts it out of sync with the rest of the multiverse." Doctor Stomper was staring at the pad, but the others were all staring at Redemption. "It's very powerful," 'Demp explained. "And now, during the Heroic Age, there are more time travelling or time manipulating villains concentrating on now then at any other known point in history. You're quite right about the long term tactics of it's presence, Ultimate Ninja. I don't think you'd want it falling into the hands of the Time Crapper, or DeFacto V, or the cyberkiwis." "No, I do not," affirmed Ultimate Ninja. "If sealing it off is a viable option, then we will take it. Doctor, assess the feasibility of Redemption's proposal. If it's do-able, then you can begin at once and I'll arrange for increased security while you make ready." "Limp-Asparagus Lad to Ultimate Ninja," came a monotoned voice over UN's comm.thingee. "Yes?" UN said in voice that spoke volumes about the Man of Dull's timing. Only the fact that Limp-Asparagus Lad had a reputation for being responsible kept the Ninja from adding, "This had better be important." "A number of Legionnaires have captured what we think is Black September. We have it secured in the Plot Device Room." "Black September," repeated the Ninja evenly. Now what would Black September be doing in the LNHQ in Octo... Ah, yes. "Is your Writer being anal about continuity again?" he asked. "I believe so," L-ALad answered. "Very well. I have Contraption Man with me at the moment. I'll send him down to look over the situation. Ultimate Ninja out." Then the red alert sounded. "Trouble Alert detects incoming hostile on the front lawn," came Renegade Programmer's voice over the loudspeakers. "All members to battle stations." The next page is spread showing nearly every LNHer (or at least, those not currently tied up in an active storyline at this point in continuity) emptying out onto the front lawn. In the background can be seen that the artist has included as a homage cameos by a number of non-LNH members - ranging from those who haven't joined yet (Fearless Leader, Curious Lass, Psionic Lad, Nonsense Vulgarity Man, Super Nazi-Fighter Lad), friends and other heroes (August, Captain Infinity, Myopic Man and Colour Blind Kid, Khule), and heroes from other universes on RACC (Kid Blastoff, Alan Covenant, Paragon, T.J. Hero, Arvie). From somewhere amidst this crowd comes the word balloon, "Holy... Look at the sky!" The sky was darkening, as if to herald an unspeakable apocalypse. The sky writhed tortuously, then puckered into a gaping wound. Through this blasphemous cleft strode a being in red armour whose very demeanour bespoke of terrifying power. He raised an arm and announced, "Heroes of the Looniearth, I am your destiny! I am... INSULT! "From the future I have come... Bearing tidings of your future failure. You seek to protect this world from the threat of disinterest, low sales, and eventual oblivion, yet cling to the albatross of confusing history and continuity. Fools that you are, you fail to recognise that it is the sheer amount of complex continuity in LNH history that scares new Writers away. This, I shall now rectify. "From this point I can, and shall, reach out and recreate this universe to fit the wave of the future, in the Image of glossy fight-fest comics. It is the dawn of a new breed of heroes - homo nonsapiens superior - with the twin attributes of intricately rendered artwork and personalities of cardboard. No longer shall you be burdened with the confusing legacy of years of hokey continuity, but instead will embrace the purity of gratuitous violence, BigGuns, shoulder pads, and incomprehensible storylines!" "Never, foul demon from the Id!" proclaimed Kid Kirby. The Great Gumby of Good stepped forward, planted his feet tens of meters apart, and pointed an accusing finger dramatically along the line of perspective. "Who knows how many lives would be erased, ne'er to return, in such a wholesale revision? No, Insult; though it make take our very lives, we will oppose this unholy plan to the most bitter end!" Insult grinned at this; a horrible sepulchral grin. "Ahhh," he hissed. He leaned forward, as if in anticipation. "A Fight Scene." "You wish!" snarled a voice from the crowd. It was Frothing-At-The- Mouth Lad. "Do you really think we're that stupid? You _live_ on Fight Scenes! Your whole raison d'etre is Fight Scenes! Well get this into your head, buster: WE STAND FOR MORE THAN THAT! You may be able to trick the newbies with your flashy artwork, and cover gimmicks, and lack of plot or history disguised with interminable fights, and endless angsting masquerading as characterisation, but you don't fool us! We have _decades_ of history to strengthen ourselves against you, and as long as our collective memory holds out you can never win. We REMEMBER! And _everything_ we remember is precious to us. Even the stupid dorky bits, like the Spidermobile and the Legion of Super Pets! Just because it's embarrassing doesn't mean we'll let you just cut it out and say it never happened! It's _our_ past, and where we are today, who we are today, is the result of our past adventures and experiences and memories. If we let you take that away from us, then we become nobodies, and easy prey for you to trap us in your eternal Now where nothing ever matters but the next stupid Fight Scene!" Cresting on the edge of a tidal wave of hysteria, FATMLad was well and truly living up to his name. Spitting foam he screamed. "WE REJECT YOUR SALES-DRIVEN VISION OF THE WORLD!" Involuntarily, Insult took a step back. Opposition he had expected, yes. But that was because heroes can be counted to _always_ act as opposition; if not to a villain then to each other. And once the heroes had started fighting, well, then Insult's task would have been half done already. This, however, was something he had not counted for. Heroic opposition not because heroes automatically fought, but rather because they believed in something... Insult could not stand against that. Overwhelmed, he turned and fled back through his portal, which promptly closed behind him. "Hey, whoa. Cool speech dude," complimented California Kid (who at this point in continuity is most definately NOT surrounded by a waddling horde of oozlefinches). "You've, like, trashed the bad guy. Hey? Man? You okay?" Frothing-At-The-Mouth Lad was still standing, fists clenched and trembling. His eyes were wild, and he still had foam flecked across his lips. Organic Lass stepped forward and carefully peered into his dilated pupils. "Power overload," she assessed. "The effort of overcoming Insult must have stunned him with the backlash. He'll be fine, but he'll need to rest." "Get him inside then," said Ultimate Ninja told her. "Stand down to yellow alert," he ordered Renegade Programmer. The Legion wandered back inside. In the foyer, UN took Dr. Stomper aside and asked, "Is this sort of thing going to continue?" Doctor Stomper nodded. "As long as the C.I.P. is out there, yes. I strongly suspect so, and would hazard that it'll simply get worse." The Ninja stared at him, then said. "Run your assessment of Redemption's plan to use it and then shut it down, and report back to me when you're done. Get them to apply for membership too; I'll arrange for provisional status for both of them. Let's try and get this sorted out before anything else happens." There was a discharge of electricity and the smell of ozone. This was getting silly. "On guard," stated Ultimate Ninja as he drew his Ginsu katana. Those Legionnaires who were still in the foyer readied themselves for action. A glow appeared briefly, then vanished, leaving in its wake a figure. There was some surprise murmured surprise at its identity. "Hello everybody," Bad-Timing Boy said. "I'm from the future, and have come back to give you a warning." _Now_ everybody got to freak, "Oh no, not _another_ time traveller!" "We are getting quite tired of all these attempts at changing history," Ultimate Ninja said in a cold voice. Bad-Timing Boy smiled tiredly. "Yes, I can imagine. I'm not here to get you change history. I'm here to warn you about other members of the Legion who are coming back in time to change history, and still other members who are coming back to stop the first lot. What you choose to do about them is your business, but I thought at least you should know." "State your case then," the Ninja said. "Briefly, there will soon be a disaster that results in a split in the Legion's ranks. Hero will fight hero, first in mock combat, but then after one of our members went rogue, for real and with increasing bitterness on both sides. Some of them have come back to top the initial event. Others, as I said, have come back to stop that tampering." Ultimate Ninja' stance was sceptical. "I find it difficult to believe that any event could so split the Legion." For the first time Bad-Timing Boy became agitated. "How can you say that when the seeds of your destruction are sitting right in front of you! The evidence of your betrayer's actions have already begun to show themselves. How can you ignore it? Take a look and _see_; the monster at your heart is already here!" The Legionnaires were surprised at the object of Bad-Timing Boy accusation. He was pointing at Limp-Asparagus Lad. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Next: Dunno. Certainly _Limp-Asparagus Lad_ #21 will be 'Let Me Tell You A Story'. But Part 3 of Leftovers might be _Kid Not Appearing In Any Retcon Hour Story_ #1, 'Timeline And Timeline Again'. Or perhaps it will be _Alt.ernate Realities_ #1, 'What If Harris, Fan.Boy and Retcon Lad Hadn't Been On Patrol In _Limp-Asparagus Lad_ #20?'. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Character Credits: Artemis, Limp-Asparagus Lass, the Fandom Zone Criminals, and Subplot Lad created by Saxon Brenton. Black September identified by Saxon Brenton, who is leaving it with Public Domain - although it would be far more preferable if it would just GO AWAY. Bad-Timing Boy, California Kid, Contraption Man, Doctor Stomper, Fred, Frothing-At-The-Mouth Lad, and Procrastination Lad are Public Domain. Hell Catalyst created by Jeff McCosky. Insult created by Martin Phipps. Kid Kirby created by Jameel al Khafiz. Limp-Asparagus Lad owned by Saxon Brenton. Created by Mystic Mongoose (Robert Armstrong) and wReam (Ray Bingham (Chaos and Entropy incarnate)). Organic Lass created by Rebecca Drayer. Redemption (Sufferyng) is Public Domain. Reserved by Saxon Brenton. Ultimate Ninja created by wReam. Renegade Programmer also created by wReam and based on Josh Dinerstein. All characters copyright and tm 1996 their owners and/or creators. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Add Notes: Limp-Asparagus Lass was mentioned (but not named) in _Kid Mysticism_ #18, prompting Limp-Asparagus Lad to visit Earth-B to give his condolences, as described in this issue. My apologies to Ben for taking so long to get around to explaining that plot dangler. Certain parts of the L-ALad/L-ALass dialogue were lifted from _Justice League of America_ #171; used for the purposes of homage only. Insult came both across time and backwards from the timeline of _What If Deja Dude And Psykeye Had Merged?_, which itself diverged from _Gen-Y_ #25. Frothing-At-The-Mouth Lad was created by Elmo (Greg Morrow) for the purposes of ranting on rec.arts.comics.* about things like the post- Crisis/pre-Zero Hour Legion of Super Heroes continuity. FATMLad turned up in the Electrocutioner's Song, but Elmo says he never used him as an LNH character, and thinks the LNH version should have lapsed to Public Domain ages ago.Back to the Index.