Flame Wars IV #0

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                       by Saxon Brenton
                  in consultation with Jamie Rosen and Martin Phipps


Prologue: "How We Came To Be Here"

     The spaceship approached the Looniearth and entered Usenetted States
airspace at 27 minutes past 10 eastern standard time. It's presence was
not noticed by any ground based radar systems - partly because it was
magically shielded from detection, and partly because the radar pattern
of it's wooden hull would've made no sense to the computers and been
ignored even if it had not been shielded.
     It slowed as it entered the thicker levels of the lower atmosphere
and coasted towards the city of Net.ropolis. Then it cruised across the
city center before landing in RACC.arthur Park. The tourists and newbies
took photos while the jaded long time residents of the city shrugged
their shoulders and got on with their business.
     Once the space ship had landed the police department put up a cordon
around it, mainly to keep anybody from spraying graffiti over it. They
were reluctant about this sort of guard duty, since if the aliens were
hostile then it was nigh inevitable a large number of cops would be
killed with over-hyped special effects before the Legion of Net.Heroes
arrived to engage the aliens in climactic battle - and possibly even
climatic battle, if anyone on either side had weather control abilities.
     Mayor Boris Whippleshod - who had grown as blase about this sort
of thing as his constituents - sent out on his behalf Ms Dallas O'Rourke,
a member of his staff and part of whose job description was 'acting good-
will ambassador' to aliens. This post involved going out and waiting and
generally being on call nearby just in case the aliens wanted to come out
and Be Taken To Your Leader. For his part the Mayor had a meeting with
Senator Amanda Bedfellow that afternoon about the ongoing funding
problems for Net.ropolis' perpetual disaster area classification, and he
really didn't have the time to be waiting about to see whether these were
serious inter-stellar ambassadors or just more adolescent off-worlders
out for a joyride. Delegation of responsibilities was a wonderful thing.
     It was actually less than twenty minutes before the hatch to the
spaceship opened and two giant hamsters walked out. Dallas noted this
with relief, since it looked as if these particular extra-terrestrials
didn't drool slime all over the place like some had a habit of doing. She
made sure her suit was tidy and walked out to greet them as they stepped
out onto the grass and the hatch closed behind them.
     "Hello," she said. "I'm Dallas O'Rourke, the goodwill ambassador for
Net.ropolis. On behalf of Mayor Whippleshod, I'd like to welcome you to
our city."
     The larger of the two hamsters stepped forward and replied, "Thank
you. I am Re'quee, ambassadorial assistant of the Giant Radioactive
Hamsters From A Planet Far Beyond Mars to Webster's World. This is my
brother, Branb'ss."
     "Hello," chirruped the smaller of the two.
     Dallas nodded to him, then turned back to Re'quee. "May I enquire as
to whether you're here to see the Mayor, or perhaps our state senator?"
     "Actually, we're here to see the Legion of Net.Heroes if at all
possible," Re'quee said. "There are certain recent events in galactic
politics that might cause problems for your planet, and my people thought
it would be good to warn your planetary champions about them."
     Dallas blinked. It was mildly surprising to meet aliens who were
that friendly. "Well then, I believe I can arrange for transportation to
their headquarters rather than to the Mayor's office. If you'll wait a
moment, I'll make a call to make arrangements with the escort..."


Legion of Net.Heroes headquarters
     The man known as Fearless Leader was, by an ironic turn of events
and some amazing silliness on the part of the Writers, the second-in-
command of the Legion of Net.Heroes. He had once been something more but,
well, that was an alternate reality.
     As he was walking through the corridors of the building he suddenly
encountered a vagueness. A vagueness that seemed to have a mail bag over
its shoulder. "Hello Fuzzy," he said.
     "Hello, FL," she replied. "What's up?"
     "Nothing much at the moment, fortunately," said Fearless Leader.
     "That dull, huh?" she quipped.
     "Only if you look at it that way," he said with a wry grin. "I
prefer to think of the quiet times as conformation that we've done our
work properly, and that the normal people we're supposed to be protecting
are getting on with their lives." Then, because he knew all too well that
in the past Fuzzy's reaction to having nothing to do had not been
pleasant, he asked carefully, "How are you handling the boredom?"
     "Oh, keeping busy delivering the mail," she said non-committally.
     Suddenly, an almost sepulchral voice proclaimed, "Beware!".
     Fearless Leader and Fuzzy both wheeled to see the striking figure of
All-Knowing Last-Chance Whiner Destiny Woman (who was almost as annoying
as the Dvandom Stranger when it came to giving cryptic warning about
possible future plot threads before vanishing to leave the heroes to deal
with the consequences in appropriately dramatic fashion).
     The seeress stretched forth her hand and proclaimed, "A warning
comes from beyond the stars. Take heed, for the wrath of the mighty shall
rock the Looniearth 'ere this storyline is done!" Mystic-looking smoke
had been billowing from behind her cloak throughout this visitation, and
now AKLCWDWoman vanished within it entirely. A second later the smoke
began to dissipate, revealing that she had gone.
     "I wonder if she's feeling distracted?" mused Fuzzy. "Lately she's
taken to swirling her cloak around herself when she makes her dramatic
     Fearless Leader's comm.thingee bleeped. "Fearless Leader to Ultimate
Ninja's office," it requested in a typically Majel Barrett sounding voice.
     "Sounds like the start of a storyline. Maybe a story arc, or a
miniseries. Might even be a crossover or a chaotic add-on cascade," Fuzzy
     "Let's hope it's not a cascade," Fearless Leader countered wryly.
"They do more than enough damage to continuity."
     "Perhaps," Fuzzy agreed, reshouldering the mailbag as Fearless
Leader headed off.
     Fearless Leader met Kid Kirby in the hall outside the Ninja's
office, and then both were ushered through by the secretaries, John and
Sally. Inside Ultimate Ninja was seated at a desk, around which were two
giant hamsters, plus a red-headed woman that Fearless Leader recognised
as being form the Mayor's office. The Ninja made introductions, then gave
the floor over to Re'quee.
     "Gentlebeings," she began. "I am the ambassadorial assistant for my
species to Webster's World. This is an artificial planet that is often
used as neutral territory for diplomatic discussions and trade
negotiations. Recently a galactic council was called on the issue of
collectible trading cards. The collectible trading card phenomenon is an
addictive scourge that has only recently been brought under control among
space faring civilisations."
     "We have had a similar experiences with them here on Earth," noted
Ultimate Ninja, recalling the report by Continuity Champ that Crossword
Master, one of the Drizzt's Defender's, had suffered a bout of the same
     Re'quee nodded. "That is understandable, since the trading cards
actually began here on the Looniearth."
     "Trading cards were developed on this planet," Re'quee explained
patiently. "They were exported to the rest of the galaxy after
species from other planets made covert contact with your world. No one
knows for sure how long ago this was, although the statistical models of
the spread of the craze suggest that it first began around seven of your
years ago and was probably started by teasers."
     "Teasers?" asked Fearless Leader.
     Dallas O'Rourke put in, "It's the name for rich and spoiled extra-
terrestrial children who have nothing better to do than to travel to
worlds that haven't made official interstellar contact yet, particularly
ones were the concept of intelligent life on other planets is known but
not fully accepted, and rampage about creating sightings of UFO's. They
treat it like a prank, which means they engineer fleeting glimpses of
themselves in circumstances where no evidence will be left behind. A
large number of the alien contacts that the mayoral office has on file
have been teasers, and that's counting only those aliens who have tried
to pull their pranks on the local government. The state and federal
people probably have more, and there are probably a lot more cases where
the juvenile delinquents simply picked on some poor person out in the
middle of nowhere and who had no way of getting anyone to believe their
experience to even get it on file."
     Fearless Leader nodded. He had expected something like that. The
Legion became involved in a lot of affairs with aliens, but it was
usually the potentially dangerous ones that stuck in one's memory - such
as the recent arrival of the Forebearers in _Cute Anna, Crypt Looter_ #5
who had demanded to speak with one of their Earth-born descendants or
they would destroy the planet. But it made sense that the vast majority
of alien contacts would be the cosmic equivalents of minor misdemeanours,
and hence be easily forgettable.
     "In any case," continued Re'quee, "the fact that the trading
cards originated on the Looniearth was seized on by some planetary
governments for their own purposes. They laid the blame for card craze's
spread on your planet, and whipped enough of a frenzy among the galactic
community to call a council on the matter." [In 'Maximum Insecurity' in
_Limp-Asparagus Lad_ #43 - Footnote Girl]
     "What madness is this?" exclaimed Kid Kirby. "I had heard rumours of
a threat from the Looniearth, but when Sing-Along Lass and myself pursued
them to find out their import, those rumours evaporated as nothing more
than disgruntlement and hysteria about the trading cards. Now you tell us
that entire governments are presuming to lay the matter on our heads?"
     "Yes," said Re'quee simply. She folded her front paws in a
thoughtful gesture. "Although admittedly, most of it *is* hysteria, and
is being whipped up by various factions for their own purposes."
     "Just before I was called here All-Knowing Last-Chance Whiner
Destiny Woman put in an appearance," Fearless Leader said. "She made an
cryptic comment about a warning from beyond the stars about a
mighty force that would rock the Looniearth. A coalition of space-faring
races would qualify for that description."
     "They would," agreed Re'quee "but that's not the only possibility.
No sooner had the council started, than Flipseid arrived and threatened
the assemblage."
     "Flipseid!" hissed by Fearless Leader and Kid Kirby in near unison.
     "Who is Flipseid?" asked O'Rourke.
     "A nightmare from the darkest Age of Disco," pronounced Kid Kirby
grimly. "He is one of the Net.Gods - nay, the most powerful of the dark
Net.Gods - and ruler of the planet Topphorti. There was a time when it
seemed that he would twist the entire universe into a dark parody of
itself to suit his whim, and only cosmic war with his opposites from New
Collins stopped him. Such is Flipseid's fearsome reputation that in a fit
of hubris Acton Lord dared to assume his identity as a disguise during
the Kinda Big Darkness Saga, in an attempt to terrify the Legion into
     "What did Flipseid have to say?" asked Ultimate Ninja.
     "He warned that he was searching for the Net.i-Life Equation here,
and that no one was to destroy this planet," Re'quee answered. "Invade it
and enslave its population, but not destroy it. Then Splashpage arrived.
She in turn told both the council and Flipseid that the Looniearth was
under her protection, and then incapacitated them all."
     "Splashpage?" blinked Ultimate Ninja. Even his legendary unflappable
nature was temporarily bemused by this addition. It was almost a non-
sequitur. "I'm not sure who you are talking about. The only Splashpage I
can think of is a minor supervillainess with fourth wall manipulating
powers. She was working with Exclamation!Master! until his villain team
inevitably broke apart."
     "The Etaoin Shrdlu said she was a fifth level adeptus of the fourth
wall, and she transformed virtually the entire council into paper sheets
with biographical descriptions of their flesh-and-blood selves," Re'quee
     "That does sound like Splashpage," admitted Fearless Leader, trying
to recall the LNH's file on the woman, "but vastly more powerful than
we've encountered. Fourth Wall Lass estimated her as being only about
second or third level."
     "Is there anything else?" asked Ultimate Ninja.
     "Those are the essentials of the matter," Re'quee confirmed.
"Eventually Splashpage's transformations reversed themselves. Flipseid
was one of the first to recover, presumably because of his immense
personal power, and left without any further word. The rest of the
council voted to delay a vote on the issue until further study had been
     Fearless Leader considered this. "If we assume that Splashpage made
her warning not out of altruism, but for some purpose of her own and
simply didn't want others in her way, then that gives us no less than
three possible threats. The council, Flipseid, and Splashpage herself.
How likely are the council to carry out their threat?"
     "That is uncertain," said Re'quee. "The hatemongers who stirred up
the issue still have their vested interests, and the governments of the
council - both as a whole and as individuals - will suffer considerable
embarrassment if they are seen to back down after such a build-up of
rhetoric. Nevertheless, the government of we space hamsters is of the
opinion that in the face of the threats made during the council on
Webster's Worlds, that the final vote will probably be postponed
     Fearless Leader's face was set into a grim frown of determination.
Inside he was seething at the thought of having to beat off another of
Flipseid's attacks on the Looniearth. He was not native to this universe,
but instead was - much like the three members Legion of Occult Heroes - a
sole survivor of the destruction of his home world (which also put him
among the larger number of more general inter-dimensional refugees that
made up a surprising proportion of the Legion's membership).
     Fearless Leader had been in charge of the LNH of his home dimension,
having taken over the mantle of leadership for the rudderless superhero
organisation just in time for that world's version of the Kinda Big
Darkness Saga. It was during that conflict that they had beaten off
Flipseid and his minions, the Servants of Disco. Flipseid had departed
with a Parthian Shot, laying a curse upon that Looniearth that had
reached fruition with the coming of the sphammer calling himself Mr.
Gain. Resistance to Gain's nihilistic machinations had come too late, and
Fearless Leader's world had died horribly under a pink flood of toxic
spham. It was only because of a chance misfiring of a desperate last
minute plan to stop Gain (via that oldest of plot devices, time travel)
that Fearless Leader had survived at all - shunted sideways across time
into an alternative universe rather than backwards into the past. Like
Ishmael, he alone was left to tell the tale. [As seen in _Stranger Tales_
#3-6 - Footnote Girl]
     And now it seemed that Flipseid was plotting to use this Looniearth
to find the Net.i-Life Equation. Whatever in Net.Hell that was. Okay,
okay, this was parallel universe, so it was actually a different version
of Flipseid, but Fearless Leader didn't doubt for a moment that his
counterpart in this reality was any less ruthless or evil that the one
that he had faced off against.
     Angrily Fearless Leader thrust the thought away. Maybe Flipseid
*was* the threat that All-Knowing Last-Chance Whiner Destiny Woman had
warned them of. On the other hand, there were two other immediate
possibilities, and maybe others that they couldn't account for yet. He
shouldn't let his hatred of the net.god get in the way of a clear-sighted
assessment of the problem. So he put into voice the unspoken question
that was on everybody's mind, "That still leaves the issue unanswered:
from what direction is this threat likely to come?"


A few weeks ago and on a newsgroup far, far away:

OMAR is God wrote:
> You worthless piece of shit. Admit it you haev absolutly *no* idea
> whta I'm talking about. Ive got bettar things to do with my time than
> try and teach some lamebrain lik you how to spell properly. Screwing
> your mother was more fun than this, and she's a lot uglyer than you are.
> Just fck off and next time remembr to ask permision before you speak.
> -----
> OMAR is God
> "I'm better than you, in every way."

     OMAR (the One Man Abusive Reaction) turned away from his most
recent diatribe, convinced that there was no way that anyone could
possibly match *that* put down.
     He never seemed to notice that no matter how many ultimate insults
he launched against his detractors, they never seemed to be cowed into
the abject obeisance that his ego demanded. He also never seemed to
notice that others failed to make the subtle distinction between his
posts that he saw: that some were meant to inflame sensibilities and
incite comment, while others were terminating rebuttals meant to shut
people up when he had grown tired of them.
     But even if he had, he would've just dismissed it as everybody else
being stupid.
     OMAR was a net.god - one of the dark and twisted ones. He came from
the planet Topphorti that was ruled by the much-feared Flipseid, but for
several years had made his way around the worlds of the rec.arts.comics*
usenet hierarchy. Rec.arts.comics.dc.universe was a particular favourite
haunt of his.
     He was small and wizened and green and ugly, as befitted the
portfolio that he held as the net.god of trolling. In fact, he looked
vaguely like Yoda, but without any of the charisma.
     The little figure was about to scan over the current posts to see
what new ab.omar.nations he could commit, when he sensed a presence that
he had not experienced in many years. A presence far more powerful and
evil than he was.
     "OMAR, attend me," it commanded, and in fear OMAR could do
naught but obey.
     "Fl... Flipseid? Is that you, master?" His eyes flickered about,
searching for some source to the voice he heard and the evil immanence
he felt. But he saw nothing.
     "It is, oh least of my servants. I have need of you."
     There was a booming detonation and a displacement of air. A hole
opened up in space before the net.god of trolling, a hole which was the
mouth of a tunnel through hyperspace. The other end could be located
     "Enter, OMAR. You have spent enough time at your vile amusements.
It is time to put your talents to constructive use."
     The diminutive green net.god bobbed his head in acquiescence and
stepped into the glowing hole. Then the hole vanished, leaving no sign
that it, or its passenger, had ever been there at all.

Character credits:
     All-Knowing Last-Chance Whiner Destiny Woman and Ultimate Ninja
created by wReam (Ray Bingham)
     Dallas O'Rourke, the Giant Radioactive Space Hamsters From A Planet
Far Beyond Mars, Branb'ss and Re'quee created by Saxon Brenton.
     Fearless Leader is Public Domain. Created by Dvandom (Dave Van
     Flipseid created by Dvandom.
     Fuzzzy created by Connie Hirsh.
     Kid Kirby created by Jameel al Khafiz.
     Mayor Boris Whippleshod created by Descrii (Ian Porell) and is
Public Domain (I think).
     OMAR created by Saxon Brenton and given over to Public Domain.

Add Notes:
     OMAR, of course, is a satire on the various troublemakers calling
themselves 'Omar' on rec.arts.comics.creative's sister newsgroups like
r.a.c.dc.universe and r.a.c.marvel.universe. On a comics level, he is
also meant as an analogue of the DC comics New God called Sleez, who
debuted back in the late 1980s in Action Comics #592-593, and who mind
controlled Superman and Big Barda into starring in a porno movie for him.
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