Flame Wars IV #2
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by Jamie Rosen and Saxon Brenton
in consultation with Martin Phipps
Part 2: Skirmishs
There is a world beyond our world. A world inhabited by those who
call themselves net.gods, and who claim as their own the inheritance of
Kirby. This is the Fourth Net.World, and mighty are the beings who
For time out of mind the evil net.god OMAR has wandered away from
his putative home, the planet Topphorti in the Fourth Net.World. The
place of residence of the infernal deity of trolling has been mobile
through the dimensions of the rec.arts.comics.* usenet hierarchy and
his pastime has been to generally act obnoxious.
A task for which he is supremely well suited.
And now he has been dispatched by his master Flipseid to the LNH
Looniearth in rec.arts.comics.creative...
Cheesecake-Eater Lad pointed his cheesecake dispensers at the
hideous green and foul-mouthed troll who had seconds earlier been Anal-
Retentive Archive Kid. He was ready to open fire and encase the trans-
mogrified ARAK in quick-hardening cheesecake foam at the first sign
of a physical (rather than verbal) attack.
Beside him Chinese Guy dropped into a stance from which he could
either attack or defend, while activating his LNH comm.thingie to alert
Ultimate Ninja to this latest development. On Chinese Guy's shoulder
Lenny the squirrel had fluffed himself up and was baring his teeth.
Also in the lobby of the LNHHQ was Fred the receptionist, who was
standing at his desk staring in their direction. "Fred, you'd better take
cover," C-ELad called. Fred didn't seem to hear though, and for a second
the net.hero thought that the man had been completely overcome with fear.
Cheesecake-Eater Lad was still irritated with him from the prank that he
and Frat Boy had pulled at his wife's expense [Last Issue -- Ed.], and at
the moment was all too ready to think ill of him.
So it was only at the last second that C-ELad realised that the man
was staring *past* the group of four of them standing near the lobby
entrance. Just as Fred screamed, "Duck!" the door exploded.
There was a brief sensation of heat, although no hint of smoke or
smell of explosives. Then another ugly little troll stormed into the
"Well !@&* this!" it snarled. "Whatta bunch of loser @%#&*$. You
loser dweebs are so friggin' useless!"
"Who in Net.Hell do you think you are?" demanded Chinese Guy, having
done his best to roll with the blast, and now positioning himself
between the ARAK troll and the newcomer in an attempt to cover Cheesecake-
Eater Lad as the latter got to his feet.
The response from the newcomer was to throw abuse at CGuy. Anal-
Retentive Archive Kid, however, breathed, "OMAR," in an undertone that
was part adoration and part imprecation of loathing.
"Cheesecake-Eater Lad, cover ARAK will you?" said Chinese Guy
casually. "Don't let him happen to anybody, okay?" Then the Alt.stralian
net.hero launched himself at the new arrival for an attack. He had no
idea how strong this 'OMAR' was, and wasn't prepared to risk him getting
those gnarled little green hands on him. So: "Donkey Kong barrel roll,"
he cried as he swept in under the troll and knocked him off his feet.
"Double-barrel overarm hooter fling," he continued as he stuffed
two fingers up OMAR's nose and threw the creature across the room.
Then, "Eeewww. Troll boogers!" Chinese Guy complained as realised
the disproportionate amount of mucus that had gotten onto his hand during
that last attack sequence. "Hey, Lenny! Just use your claws on this guy.
He's just too foul for you to want to risk biting him!"
"No worries," said the squirrel as he made a short distracting
attack run from OMAR's blind side, leaping over his head from the rear
and scratching at his face in passing.
OMAR hadn't stopped calling out his an.omar.sity at the
net.heroes, but was still able to quickly get to his feet and heft up a
number of large pieces of rubble, which he promptly hurled at Chinese
"Crikey. He's fast *and* strong," CGuy noted as he tried to dodge
chunks of concrete the size of his own torso. His series of
back-flips were almost all successful... right up until the last one.
Clipped on the side and bleeding, Chinese Guy lost his balance halfway
through a final handspring and fell to the floor.
"Harhar, *loser*!" OMAR cackled sarcastically as he tossed another
piece of debris from one hand to another in an anticipatory way. "Let's
see you frickin' well get out of this."
Cheesecake-Eater Lad prepared to let loose both barrels of his
dispensers. The combined force of both of them would hopefully be enough
to deflect the concrete, but it would mean risking turning his back on
the ARAK troll. C-ELad had encased him in a glob of cheesecake foam when
things had started to get hectic, but he was already beginning to
A force bolt blew the chunk of concrete to rubble even as it was
being held in OMAR's wrinkled green hands. "You will do *nothing*, minion
of Flipseid," pronounced the stentorian voice of Kid Kirby as he strode
into the remains of the lobby, accompanied by a number of other
Legionnaires. OMAR swore at them.
"You know this guy?" Cheesecake-Eater Lad asked.
"He is OMAR - the One Man Abusive Reaction," declared Kid Kirby.
"Minion of Flipseid and most foul of the evil net.gods of Topphorti.
His is the portfolio of trolling and hatred and flame."
"Well, we've got him covered now," said Chinese Guy as he staggered
to his feet.
OMAR laughed. It was not a pleasant laugh. It was not the self-
deprecatory laugh of someone who has just realised that they are in
deep trouble and is trying to make out that the whole thing had been a
joke. Rather, it was the laugh of someone who thinks that you are a fool,
and doesn't care if you know it or not. "You stupid %$#(* $# @*&^%. You
think you've got the better of *me*! Watch this, +*&$ers!" OMAR reached
out with gnarled hands and groped at the air. Around the room anything up
to third of the Legionnaires who were present clutched at their heads in
pain, and before the eyes of the others as these unfortunate net.heroes
joined Anal-Retentive Archive Kid in being twisted into horrible little
green troll clones as well.
"Enough!" roared the Kirbian, grabbing OMAR by the shirt front and
hoisting him into the air to shake him like a rag doll. "Does your
perfidy know no bounds!?"
OMAR gave no sign of being concerned in the face of Kid Kirby's
wrath - indicating either supreme confidence or supreme stupidity.
"Awww, don't cry little boy," he sneered.
Kid Kirby snarled and threw the condescending little monster against
a wall. Hard. But if he had expected OMAR to be damaged by the blow, he
was to be disappointed. The resilience of the troll supreme was
And what few bruises and hurts OMAR did take he ignored for the
sake of his own bombastic ego, so that he could insolently stand up to
continue belittling his adversaries. "You irrelevant pussbuckets. You
half-rate adolescent wannabes. You #\&^%ing mentally retarded @$$~#ers."
Kid Kirby raised a gauntlet as if to unleash a power blast... and
then paused. OMAR laughed in mockery. "Come on you $#@*ing tin-plated
goonie! Take your best shot. You think your &%$#ing power's good enough
to take *me* out!? Cretin! Moron! Fuggwit!"
Then Innovative Offense Boy was there. "You're good at #^&!ing
dishing it out, man. But how good are you at taking it?" he asked with
a predatory grin.
"IOB, no!" ordered the Kirbian with a raised hand. Innovative
Offense Boy did a double take at this. The One Man Abusive Reaction
continued to spit profanities: "Ohhh. %#`*in-well had enough, have you.
Chicken! @=en coward. Hiding in your armour so no-one can see you
sweat! Little girly-boy!"
"He is the net.god of trolling," Kid Kirby declaimed, ignoring his
loathsome adversary's taunts. "Each attack of flame and abuse serves
naught but to make him stronger!"
Then the Kirbian leapt at OMAR, closing the ground between them in
but a fraction of a second and pummelling the green troglodyte. "What is
needed is the Zen of comic book fighting," Kid Kirby continued, smashing
his gauntleted fists into OMAR's mouth and giving him no opportunity to
react. "A battle whose motive force is neither the fear nor hate upon
which this creature thrives, but instead the pure dynamic energy of
masterly graphic design! Behold as I call upon the power of the story-
telling skill of Jack Kirby, and we are carried inexorably from panel to
panel in the narrative sequence by the powerful sense of composition!"
For the next few panels of art the two of them are indeed swept
along in a current of powerfully drawn images, with Kid Kirby hammering
OMAR mercilessly and culminating with him grabbing the alien troll and
ploughing him into the rubble-strewn floor. Kid Kirby was not surprised
that OMAR was not badly hurt, but at least he had managed to shut OMAR
up, since it's so very hard to talk when you're spitting rubble out of
Kid Kirby turned to IOBoy and said, "Go now. Make use of your
abilities against those lesser trolls who can be overcome by your flames.
Needs be that others must deal with their master." Innovative Offense Boy
gave Kid Kirby a nod, and turned to aid the other Legionnaires with the
OMAR began to rise, prompting Kid Kirby to grab him by the scruff
of the neck and shove his face back into the debris. As he did so the
Kirbian noted that OMAR was still immensely strong, strong enough to
begin forcing himself upright against Kirby's own considerable might. The
amount of hatred that OMAR must have sown in Net.ropolis and across the
globe must be staggering!
OMAR forced himself to his hands and knees, snarling obscenities
to accompany the movement of every muscle. Kirby was impressed despite
himself, and redoubled his own efforts. Then with a mighty heave OMAR
threw his opponent away and rose to his feet and began scream abuse that
is not fit to print even using the cryptography of typewriter cursing.
How dare they? OMAR fumed at the hubris of these mortals. How DARE
Kid Kirby righted himself and assumed a battle stance. But he did
not attack. Not yet. "You are powerful, o master of hate," he declaimed.
"But methinks your power comes from outside sources. How many innocents
have you corrupted, how many old wounds have you ripped open to bleed
red and raw to feed your furnaces of animosity?"
Kid Kirby wasn't expecting a coherent answer from the alien god,
and didn't get one. For his part he began drawing forth incomprehensible-
looking technology from the reaches of the Kirby Zone, planning to build
a blocking device that would sever OMAR from his source of artificial
power. But as the innumerable pieces of technological-seeming stuff
appeared and floated majestically at his command, Special Bonding Boy
appeared by Kid Kirby's side and said, "If that's so, then maybe I can
be of help."
Kid Kirby glanced at the empath and immediately saw the logic in
Special Bonding Boy's offer. It was such an obvious plan. But would SBB
have the *power* to implement it? No matter; it was a brave plan and
worthy of the Kirbian's respect. "As you see fit," he said.
Special Bonding Boy took a step forward towards OMAR and said,
clearly and unafraid, "Minion of Flipseid, greetings and defiance.
Surrender now, or be destroyed."
OMAR made a lengthy diatribe casting doubt on Special Bonding
Boy's ancestry back for the last five generations.
Special Bonding Boy simply shrugged, since he had not really
expected any better from the alien flamer, and then did his stuff.
At this point, let us make a digression about the nature of love...
There are many types of love - ranging from eros, erotic love,
through amor, romantic love, to agape, divine love. The one we are
interested in here is philos, brotherly love. The love of the rest of
humanity. For many net.heroes it is the basis of their motivation to
dress up in long underwear and fight crime - only the vengeance obsessed
Dark Avengers fall outside of its aegis. It is the type of love that
makes you want to throw your arms around the world and teach it to sing
in perfect harmony. Or at least buy it a Mr. Paprika.
And it should go without saying that Special Bonding Boy is *very*
good at doing philos.
OMAR screamed as if he had been dunked in acid.
There were no more smart remarks coming from the troll god's foul
mouth now. Just a continuous raw cry of pain torn from the pit of what
we'll charitably call his soul. Around the building similar cries of
pain and horror were coming from the troll clones.
With blinding speed OMAR lashed out, picking up and throwing at
Special Bonding Boy another piece of that ever-so-handy debris that was
lying around. Kid Kirby interposed himself to protect SBBoy, easily
deflecting the debris. In the split-instant of that distraction, OMAR
ran away at superhuman speed. He leapt through the blast hole that he
had created where the door into the lobby had been and was off down the
street in less than a second.
"Th... thanks," said Special Bonding Boy.
"It is of no moment," said the Kirbian. "Ho, Fearless Leader. I see
that many of OMAR's troll clones have been captured."
"Yes," agreed the Legion's deputy leader. "But a lot of them got
away too," he said, feeling the bitter need to point out the obvious
Special Bonding Boy sighed. "I'm sorry that OMAR escaped. I could
sense his power withering away under my attack, but he was still strong
enough for a physical counter-attack. Unlike these poor souls," he
added, indicating some few of the troll clones who had been Legionnaires
who had simply collapsed unconscious when SBBoy had unleashed philos.
"It seems that even after taking the measure of his power that you
do not fully understand," said Kid Kirby. "He is no mere alien
troublemaker. He is a god of the fourth net.world. Even the lowliest of
Flipseid's minions is a force to be reckoned with."
"Then how could he have been affected by Special Bonding Boy at
all?" Fearless Leader asked.
"Because he had absolutely no defences against love," explained SBB.
"If you want we could go into an extended discussion on how 'Love
Conquers All' is a fundamental comic book principle - it certainly is in
the Kurt Busiek books - but that would only explain how it could be
strong enough to affect him at all. The true crux of the matter is that
OMAR doesn't understand anything but hate. He isn't even one of those
manipulators who can use love and affection by twisting it into
interesting ways to mess people up. He literally can't understand it,
let alone defend against it."
Fearless Leader nodded grimly. "That's something that we might be
able to work on, at least." He looked around the lobby and called for
everybody's attention. "Okay people, listen up. I'm going to want some
people to help carry the transformed down to sickbay, and want some
others to head out into the city to try and keep a lid on the fighting
between the normals while also keeping a sharp lookout for any signs of
OMAR or his Legion troll clones who've escaped. If anybody sees anything
from the latter two, you're to call back to the LNHHQ immediately for
back up. That means I'll also be wanting a few of you to stay here and
act as emergency backup and maybe shift relief for later."
Within a few moments net.heroes were scurrying about as they took to
their assignments. Cheesecake-Eater Lad was heading for the cafeteria to
help clean it up and generally have it ready with food for when the weary
troops started coming back. Halfway down the corridor, there was a cry of
"Cheesecake-Eater Lad!" and C-ELad was bowled over by something big and
"Whaooofff! Huh? Hey, Barnabas! Good to see you. What are you doing
here?" he asked as he picked himself up off the floor where he had been
knocked by Captain Rat Creature."
"Oh, just visiting," replied the giant hamster. "Well, mainly
visiting. Oh, hello," he added, as aLLiterative Lass arrived.
"Hello Honey," she said.
"aLLi. Hi. Have you met Captain Rat Creature? Cannon Fodder, Retcon
Lad and myself met him during the aborted 'Death Of Cheesecake-Eater Lad'
attempt at a cascade from a few years back. Captain, this is my wife,
The other two exchanged greetings. Cheesecake-Eater Lad said. "We
just had a bit of a fight in the front lobby. An attack by a guy who
turned people into trolls. Did either of you catch any of that?"
"InDeed we Did. The Cafeteria was Crawling with Costumed Champions
who Changed to an evil Cause."
"I came back to the LNHHQ looking for my sister and scented it
happen," confirmed Captain RAC as the three of them walked towards the
cafeteria. "We fought for a bit, then most of them collapsed in pain or
something. The others ran away."
Cheesecake-Eater Lad nodded and explained how OMAR had been pole-
axed by Special Bonding Boy. When he had finished, Captain Rat Creature's
eyes were wide. "OMAR was a minion of Flipseid's!? That fits then. We
came to the Looniearth to warn you about a possible threat - either from
the Galactic Council or from Flipseid. We weren't sure which."
"I'm not sure I understand."
Captain Rat Creature explained about the confrontation that had
taken place on Webster's World between the Council, Flipseid, and
Splashpage, and how the Etaoin Shrdlu representative had advised that
the giant radioactive space hamsters to warn the Legion of an impending
extraterrestrial attack. "It looks like it was Flipseid who took umbrage
and decided to punish this world for Splashpage's actions," he concluded.
"That will not please Fearless Leader," said aLLiterative Lass
thoughtfully. "He is the Sole Survivor of another Looniearth further
across the Sidereal String. His Continuum died Catastrophically beCause
of a Curse laid by Flipseid."
"You're right," C-ELad agreed sadly. Then a thought occurred to him.
He turned to Captain Rat Creature and asked, "You came here with your
sister, you said. Does she know you're playing at being a net.hero?"
"I am not *playing* at anything," replied Captain Rat Creature with
an attempt at immense dignity.
"Does she know where you are and what you're doing?" C-ELad insisted.
"Uhm, well... No."
Cheesecake-Eater Lad sighed. "Barnabas, I appreciate that you want
to help out, but you shouldn't just sneak away from your family like
that. Your sister will worry."
"I THink I am missing someTHing."
Now it was Captain Rat Creature's turn to sigh. "My people are a lot
like loonihumanity here on Earth. We have a high mutation rate - we
*are* radioactive hamsters, after all - and nearly everyone has super-
cricetidean powers to some extent or another. Not many people have world
shaking powers, though, and... and..."
"What he's trying to say," said Cheesecake-Eater Lad, taking up the
slack of the conversation, "is that when a youngster begins to develop
truly 'super' superpowers - anything beyond the average for what they
consider normal levels of power - people tend to treat them with kid
gloves until they think they've been trained properly... Can use their
powers responsibly..." He paused. "Which gives an awful lot of
opportunity for teenaged mutant angst, come to think of it."
"Told you we were a lot like you humans," said Captain Rat Creature
just a touch snarkily.
aLLiterative Lass threw a look at her husband. "Really Radioactive?"
"Literally radioactive. Most of their energy output is in radio
waves," said C-ELad offhandedly.
"Pretty much everything thing else is weak alpha particles." added
Captain Rat Creature with a shrug. "Easily soaked up by our radiation
wards. We always wear them when off-planet to keep 'clean' for the aliens..."
"BRANB'SS!!!" came an angry cry. Captain Rat Creature cringed. The
two LNHers looked up to see another space hamster stalking towards them.
"I have been looking *everywhere* for you! And what do I find you've been
doing? Sneaking off and having silly #@*&ing fights with these dirty
Instinct made Cheesecake-Eater Lad leap forward and tackle
aLLiterative Lass just as Re'quee lashed out with her huge paws. If they'd
hit they'd certainly have crushed either aLLi or himself. As it was that
single swipe smashed the reinforced wall with terrible ease.
aLLiterative Lass threw Cheesecake-Eater Lad aside. Her features
where twisting... turning green. "Hey! Stop that you #@~*ing alien
Freak!" she screamed.
.oO( Oh no. Not again!) thought the horrified Cheesecake-Eater Lad.
( Don't panic. Keep calm. OMAR's powers affect people overcome with
emotion... especially hate! ). But he certainly couldn't keep these two
separated without help. He looked about and recalled the presence of
Captain Rat Creature. "Barnabas, help me!" he called, but to his
dismay the giant hamster just sat there. He decided to try his
comm.thingy instead, and barked out, "Security alert. Another troll fight
scene on level 1."
Just as Cheesecake-Eater Lad was about to let loose with his cheese-
cake dispensers, Captain Rat Creature threw a pawfull of silvery dust at
aLLiterative Lass and Re'quee. Within a few seconds they were unconscious
on the floor."
"Sleep spell," muttered Captain Rat Creature, sitting down heavily
on his haunches. Cheesecake-Eater Lad blinked and cancelled the security
alert, even as some more LNHers came running up. "You okay?" he asked.
"It's the second time I've done that today," the hamster muttered,
wobbling a bit where he sat. "It takes a lot out of me."
One of the newcomers was Hell Catalyst, who looked thoughtfully at
the exhausted alien, and then back at the two out-of-it women. She turned
to Theory Man and Retcon Lad and told them, "Too bad Giant Wandering Cow
Kid turned troll, we could use him to carry them. We'll need a stretcher
for aLLi, and a medical gerney for the big fellow. Either that or a
*lot* of help to carry them."
Theory Man's reply was cut off as OMAR struck back and nuked
Net.ropolis, killing all of the Legionnaires horribly.
The pain had worn off within minutes, and now OMAR was incensed.
Okay, okay, incensed was his normal state, and he'd been that before that
the snotty little curs of the Legion had dared stand up to him in the
first place. But being hurt like that, and being forced to run away...
Actually, OMAR tended to slink off after most confrontations, but
he always tried to throw in a Parthian shot to make it look as though he
was turning his back in disdain on worthless dirtbags who weren't worth
his attention. His bombastic ego demanded no less. But Flipseid had given
him orders to raze the Legion as the most likely source of trouble, and
Flipseid would be... displeased with OMAR if he simply gave up now.
Already at the back of his mind he was working out rationalisations
about how the LNH had cheated and their victory 'didn't count'.
Meanwhile, his conscious attention was centred on revenge. He was going
to wipe them out like the slime that they were. No more indulging in a
glorious fist-fight and giving his enemies the privilege of the seeing
the face of the one who killed them. The were going to die. Decisively.
Over-whelmingly. With such force that the entire frickin' city that they
were in would be a smoking crater.
OMAR reached out, and across the planet he could feel the millions
upon millions of people who had already embraced his apostleship of hate.
The feeling was wonderful, and the power he received from their hate was
normally more than enough to energise him against any opponent. Now the
net.god of flaming began drawing on that power, sucking it in with a
brutal force. Many of his troll clones wavered or even collapsed as wave
of enervation swept over them. Some of them dropped dead as their life
force was totally given over to hate and drained away completely.
It took but a few minutes, and then OMAR held in his hands a pulsing
ball of red light that throbbed in time to his own evil heart-beat. It
was emotion given physical form, loathing and anger and disgust converted
to raw energy - hate made manifest.
From where OMAR stood on a mountainside some seventy kilometres to
the south-west of Net.ropolis, he could distantly see the skyscrapers of
the central business district in their haze of smog. He stared at it for
a while, fixing the image in his mind and letting his anger at the Legion
build and fester. Then with a bellow of rage he hurled the red sphere
towards the city center. Guided more by the 'targeting system' of what
OMAR felt hate against than by any physical trajectory, the sphere
catapulted toward its victim.
The actual detonation occurred a few hundred meters above
RACC.Arthur Park, not too far from the Legion's headquarters. In an
instant the city center was vaporised, as OMAR's hate exploded like an
ersatz nuclear bomb. The lord of hate was not adverse to making use of
natural phenomena, especially since it would leave the city contaminated
and unclean for untold generations to come.
"THAT!" yelled Retcon Lad.
Hell Catalyst and the others suddenly found themselves alive and
not at all cripsy-fried, standing in the hallway of the LNHHQ where
barely a minute earlier aLLiterative Lass and R'quee had fought.
But the nasty memory of being incinerated lingered, and all of them
A grimacing Retcon Lad was standing in the middle of the hall, with
his arms outstretched as if to hold onto something by main force. Sparks
of red and blue drama were crawling down his arms and earthing themselves
in the floor.
Hell Catalyst shot a quick glance around, and said, "Okay, what
"OMAR tried to kill us," replied Retcon Lad through gritted teeth.
She noticed he was sweating.
"I guess he didn't do a very good job then," Cheesecake-Eater Lad
"He did a very good job," countered Retcon Lad. "My powers
automatically retcon me back to life after I've died, and I recognise
the feeling of coming back. We were dead. Net.ropolis was destroyed."
"Well obviously you've done something to fix that," said Hell
Catalyst forthrightly, "and it's just as obvious that you haven't been
able to get that fix to take. What have you done, what's getting in the
way, and what help do you need from the rest of us?"
Retcon Lad shot her a grateful smile. "I've retconned his attack
into being an illusion." Then he grinned a particularly savage grin.
"I've retconned his whole power to use hate as an energy attack into an
illusion. The little bastard won't be flash frying anyone with *that*
"Good work," commented Hell Catalyst, and the others all nodded.
"So what's wrong?"
Now that grin of satisfaction vanished, replaced by bemusement and
the start of panic. "I... I'm getting resistance. I don't know what's
happening. The only time I felt anything like this was when I was
fighting Retcon Raccoon back during the _Saviours Of The Net_ cascade."
"Probably the resistance is coming from OMAR himself," said Theory
Man grimly. "If he's a net.god as Kid Kirby suggested, then he'll
have some measure of control over reality as well." Then instead of
momentarily cringing as he often did when he had proposed a Theory and
had to see whether the universe was going to agree with him or not,
Theory Man glared about, as if daring the universe to contradict him.
The universe deigned not to do so.
"Right then," said Retcon Lad, still sparking drama discharge. He
orientated his attention to a distant point that was suddenly obvious as
the source of the resistance he was fighting. "You and me OMAR, mano a
mano. I am not in the mood for this, and you... you are *toast*."
"No RL," said Hell Catalyst, drawing a sharp look from Retcon Lad.
She drew up to him and said, "Don't let him antagonise you into making
stupid mistakes. You don't have to fight him alone. *None* of us have
to fight him alone." She laid a hand on his arm, causing the red and
blue sparks to run down her body as well as they their way down to earth
themselves in the floor. "We are the Legion of Net.Heroes. United, we
cannot be defeated. When you need help against the villains, all you have
to do is ask."
Retcon Lad felt her willpower add to his in the pseudo-plausible
way that these things happen in comic book universes. Silently Theory
Man stepped up on the other side and also gripped an arm, tripling the
available determination. Cheesecake-Eater Lad and Captain Rat Creature
The battle of wills that followed was short lived. Together they
visualised an implacable wedge that drove at OMAR's mind. The little
alien resisted briefly, and then there was a sensation like the snapping
of some gigantic circuit breaker. The sense of OMAR's presence and the
resistance he was putting up vanished.
"That everything?" Captain Rat Creature asked dubiously, noting that
the sparks that Retcon Lad was putting off had diminished in number but
by no means gone away entirely.
"Not quite. There's still a bit of house cleaning to take care of,"
said Retcon Lad. "One of the limitations on my power is that that bigger
the effect, or the further back in the past it was, the more detrimental
to the fabric of reality it is. This was recent, but *big*. OMAR's
been run off, but as soon as I let go of my grip on things local reality
is going to be deranged by the changes I've made. Probably terminally
"Fine then," said Hell Catalyst, who was more or less cruising on
an adrenalin high by this point and felt that she could face one more
threat to the continued existence of everything with equanimity. "What
"Theory Man, can I have a Theory on why the bottom isn't going
to fall out of reality like the bottom out of a wet paper bag as soon as
I relax my metaphysical grip?" Retcon Lad asked.
Theory Man looked a little startled. "Ah. Are you sure that's wise?
If the universe decides to disagree with me... well, this is a life-or-
"...And we'll be done for. Yes. But look at it this way: anything
you can do increases our chance of survival up to a massive fifty
percent," said Retcon Lad with a calm that was almost surreal.
Theory Man looked at Hell Catalyst.
"You can do it," she said encouragingly.
He shrugged and scratched the back of his neck as he thought. "Well,
historically the people writing in shared writing universes have tended
to 'wipe away' any damage that's done to setting as a whole. That's why
the 'Cosmic Reset Button' effect is so often employed to handwave away
the effects of past disasters. Take a look at all of the fans'
expectations that the destruction of Washington in the recent 'Kang War'
would be done away with, and the surprise when it was announced that it
wouldn't be undone by temporal paradox..."
"And scepticism," pointed out Cheesecake-Eater Lad. "A lot of them
still expect it to be quietly ignored."
"Yes," agreed Theory Man. "Which reinforces my point. So. I would
therefore hypothesise that since Retcon Lad is returning Net.ropolis to
a default state in general rather than making changes to it for his own
advantage in specific, that any damage that his powers would normally
do to reality will be mitigated by the Looniverse's tendency towards
maintaining it's continuity."
Retcon Lad nodded and slowly drew in his arms from their
outstretched position. He had a searching look on his face, and then his
expression cleared into a smile. "Good job, TM."
Outside of Net.ropolis, Corporal Hernadez was on guard duty at the
gates of Fort Baxter. The place was on high alert, and all things
considered that wasn't much of a surprise.
There had been reports of nuclear attack - indeed, Hermandez had
seen a fireball over the city centre with his own eyes. Now there was
nothing, and Hernandez suspected it was some sort of elaborate scheme
by a net.villain against the Legion. You got to see all sorts of weird
stuff when you were stationed at Net.ropolis.
Still, the brief sensation of being burnt alive was one that
lingered with him. It was not a pleasant memory, and at times like this
it make sense that the Fort was on the alert in case the situation
became more involved.
A small green man walked up to the gates. Hernandez challenged his
presence and was about to put him under arrest when the ugly little
creature looked up at him in irritated surprise and spat out, "Oh, just
kill this dweeb."
Whereupon Hernandez was stabbed in the back.
As he fell to ground Hernandez got a good look at the other guards,
Williams and Cholowski. They had green faces twisted into hideous rictus
grins, and the knives that they had just used to rip open Hernandez's
back were covered in blood. And then Corporal Hernandez died.
Oblivious to all this, OMAR looked thoughtfully at Fort Baxter.
Then he nodded and walked in through the gates to find out where the
weapons of mass destruction were being held within his new fiefdom.
Meanwhile, in the LNHHQ medilab Organic Lass pulled back in surprise
and alarm. "Doctor Stomper!" she called out. In response she got both Dr.
Stomper and Dr Bad-Bedside-Manner.
Dr Bad-Bedside-Manner whistled. "Well, this little troll clone sure
looks in a bad way. I'd say he's pretty much a goner."
"He *is* a goner," snapped Organic Lass. "Subplot Lad here just
died within the last two minutes. Look at this."
Dr Bad-Bedside-Manner took the page of scant medical readouts that
had been able to be accumulated over the past half hour. There weren't
many of them. The medical emergency of scores of Legionnaires being
transformed into trolls had forced the health staff to deal with the most
urgent cases first - such as medical complications - and then put most of
what time was left into trying to come up with a cure. Everybody else has
been sedated - or in some extreme cases placed in temporal stasis.
Dr Stomper was looking over the body with a scan.thingie. He
frowned. "He died of a brain tumour." Stomper looked at his colleagues.
"I don't recall him having a condition anything like that."
"He didn't," said Organic Lass as she consulted the database with
the Legion's medical records.
"So," said Dr Bad-Bedside-Manner, "We've gone beyond ripping off
'Eclipso: The Darkness Within' and into 'The Last Laugh'." He frowned.
"And it looks like the Writers want to celebrate the Legion's 10th
anniversary with a bloodbath."
aLLiterative Lass created by Charles Fitzgerald. Used without
Anal-Retentive Archive Kid, Branb'ss (Captain Rat Creature), Retcon
Lad and Re'quee created by Saxon Brenton.
Cheesecake-Eater Lad, Dr Stomper, and Innovative Offense Boy are
Chinese Guy and Lenny are Public Domain. Kinda sorta created by
Dvandom (Dave Van Domelen) and Saxon Brenton.
Dr Bad-Bedside-Manner created by Tick (Peter Milan).
Fearless Leader is Public Domain. Created by Dvandom.
Fred the receptionist is Public Domain.
Hell Catalyst created by Jeff McCoskey. Used without permission.
Kid Kirby created by Jameel al Khafiz. Used without permission.
OMAR is Public Domain. Created by Saxon Brenton.
Organic Lass created by Rebecca Dreyer. Used without permission.
Special Bonding Boy created by wReam (Ray Bingham).
Theory Man created by wReam for Dennis Towne.
During the development of this series one topic that came up was
going to be to addressed - at least in part - the issue of the cumbersome
size of the Legion of Net.Heroes, and putting forward an opportunity
to... prune... it a bit.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the issue, here's the
google address of the discussion thread that Arsenal the Lone Warrior
launched in mid September of 2000:
Most of this has fallen by the wayside. Nevertheless, for those
LNH Writers who have extra characters and are feeling particularly
misanthropic, please email me with a list of characters that you would
like killed off horribly by the machinations of the One Man Abusive
Reaction. And please limit your homicidal tendencies to already extant
characters that you have created or somehow own outright; no nominating
other peoples' net.heroes, thank you.
Back the FWIV page.