#FridayFlash: A Hero By Any Other Name

Now that I have come to the ultimate end of our journey, I can finally admit to myself that part of me is glad. Yes, glad we were never able to go home.

When it was happening, we wanted nothing else. Of course we did... we were heroes. Though we were thwarted and subverted again and again, we stuck to our noblest ideals and swore we would never stop trying. In our long journey, we supported each other. Like the friends and teammates we were and the family we became, we supported each other. At first, we were furious at how the Cosmic Randomizer had banished us into the infinite sweep of all possible things. We swore we'd use his Infinity Dice to return to our own timeline and set things aright.

But, as we kept searching, searching, searching...

Anger and anguish cooled to frustration and fatigue. We never knew just how much destruction was sown in our wake, how much suffering we failed to prevent back in our own timeline. The weeks turned into months and the months somehow turned into years. It was harder and harder to go on. We told ourselves that it was still possible to save Earth, that the timelines moved at different rates, or had different anchorage points in the timestream.

We told ourselves we hadn't lost.

It wasn't the humiliations we suffered, not at first, anyway. No one can make you feel inferior without your cooperation. We started out as heroes, with an adamantine confidence in ourselves and in each other that wasn't rooted in how powerful we were, but in the strength of our convictions.

Our powers waxed and waned with each different version of reality, but we were always twisted versions of the same team: the Lepton Brothers, Machine Gun McLean, Superior Girl, the Mystic Mistress, and me, the Black Knight with my Eldritch Blade of the Ancients.

I recall how the Leptons, Mu and Tau, always varied together. Instead of their nuclear-powered strength and speed, they shared other powers, complementary or opposite. Fire and ice as the Temperature Twins, light and darkness as Yin and Yang. Even when their powers were trivial, like the hyper-hilarious stand-up comedy routine of Martin and Lewis that only made criminals stop and laugh, they never lost hope. None of us ever lost hope. Or at least, none of us ever admitted to it.

Until we landed here.

After so many years of wandering, I think what finally broke our spirit wasn't the forms our superpowers took in this timeline. Believe it or not, we'd seen far worse. No, I'm convinced it was our guilt over what we could not accomplish. We couldn't know how long we'd been gone, but it must have been at least thirty years by the Mistress' calculations. Earth had to be a cinder by then, its population murdered or sold into intergalactic slavery.

Humanity was gone, and there just didn't seem to be any point in going on. We stopped trying to go home.

But where had our travels brought us? More importantly, what had it told us about ourselves? When you see so many thousands of versions of yourself, it's not that you lose track of who you really are, or at any rate who you were. You come to understand that the reality you started out in has no more or less meaning that any of the ones you pass through, or the one in which you finally come to rest.

Legion of Heroes, Band of Superfriends, UltraTeam, Buncha Cool Guys, The Friday Nighters, MegaPack... is any one of these names for us as a superhero team any more meaningful than another? Should we hold our heads high in one reality, but hang them in shame in another?


I'm glad we were never able to go home. A hero is a hero, no matter the powers possessed. Though long and brutal, our travels through all the realities we saw brought us through only the merest infinitesimal sliver of all the realities that exist. We all came to understand the true nature of the Infinite. Though we could not return to save Earth, we found a new home here, in this timeline, on this world.

Now, we defend our adopted home and all the life-forms it contains.

Here, on this world, we are the heroes known as Lunch Box: Mr. McNugget, Super-Size Salad, Mistress Macaroni and the Ato Brothers, Tom and Pot.

I am their leader: Sir Loin, the Blackened Knight. I wield my Shoulder Blade for justice, truth and honor, now and forever!

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

Note: I am indebted to the Hufflepuffian Ms. N for the prompt she gave me for this week's FridayFlash.


  1. Once a hero always a hero - and this time line they sound really tasty! ^_^

  2. Once a hero, always a sub, or a hoagie, or a grinder...

  3. The years have been eating at them, I see…

  4. Sir Loin? What a cheeky cow. "Band of Superfriends" was my favorite!


    I enjoy how they came to terms with it, and those names are fantastic.

  6. [giggles] Tony, you're just brilliant.

  7. Thanks for reading, everyone. This was an interesting piece to write, since I set myself the task of making Sir Loin, Mr. McNugget, Super-Size Salad, Mistress Macaroni, Tom Ato and Pot Ato sound real, and something other than silly.

    Not sure I succeeded, but it was fun to try.

  8. I liked the concept and failed superheroes heroes fascinate me.

    I'm not sure any story that includes those names can avoid being silly but I reckon you gave it a pretty good run.

  9. loving the concept of the Lepton brothers!

    marc nash

  10. heehee, it sounded like the epilogue to a graphic novel right up until the end. Too funny! (and yes, the variations on the twins were a riot!)

  11. I embrace the silliness. Those are some great names and you did keep a somber tone most of the way through.

  12. a job awaits you at the mac nugget farm for reconstituted superheroes.. I'm with Tim.. I loved the tone..reminded me of Buzz and "The Claaaawwwww"

  13. I was so not prepared for that last set of names! :) Great piece.

  14. If the heroes include McNuggets and macaroni, I hate to see what they were banishing.

    (I love home-made macaroni. But I have a bad feeling that's not what he's talking about.)

    This reminded me a bit of Soon I Will Be Invincible.

  15. Sir Loin! Love it. Sounds like a medieval porn name.

  16. What a laugh! Very funny names.


Thank you for leaving a comment. The staff at Landless will treat it with the same care that we would bestow on a newly hatched chick. By the way, no pressure or anything, but have you ever considered subscribing to Landless via RSS?