And now, ladies & gentlemen... Time for some good old-fashioned Dem Bones sycophancy, just as in the days of yore...
Psych! Not really. Just thought I'd slap up a daylog explaining my pick for the Lost Gems of Yesteryear. (So... Wait, lemme scan through... Yes. This is pure, unfiltered nodevertising. If I understand Brawl's intent correctly, though, that's what this particular quest is all about.)
The node that I picked is Letters from a Savior; Offer for a few, posted by bones way back in March 2000.
Briefly: it's a chain story written by hemos, dem bones, clampe, lawnjart and others from their group of friends-- the same group that invented Slashdot and Everything, a.k.a. the Mutants.
In the story, lawnjart is shot to death in Florida. The rest of the group retrieve his body and carry it on an existential west-bound roadtrip, all the while pursued by the mysterious "laughing men". Towards the climax, the crew break into Wall Drug in South Dakota during a power outage and enact a quasi-mystic ritual using Kool Aid laced with LSD.
In a lot of different ways, I've always thought of this as a prototypal piece of E2 fiction. Consider:
... and all the little things, like the real names, or the Bowie lyrics, or the way it fed into and played off of the low-grade mysticism that's always surrounded the e2gods group... It was one of the first things I ever read on E2 that made me think "Yeah. Fuck yeah. Now I get it."
As a side note, I've always loved the parellels between this story and Neil Gaiman's American Gods (published a year later: June 2001). In American Gods, roadside attractions like Wall Drug are America's places of power (equivalent to Stonehenge or Giza) and the gods often hold their summits there... At a pivotal point in the novel, Shadow (the protagonist) has a vision of a buffalo-headed man, whom he asks: "What should I believe?". To which the Buffalo Man replies: "Believe everything.".
When I first stumbled onto Letters from a Savior in late 2001, I seem to recall it sitting at +40 Rep or thereabouts. Right now it's at +48. Which leads me to believe that, in the intervening years, almost nobody else has read it.