______ _________ _____ ____ ____ _______ _____ ___ ___ | | | | / _ \ | \| | | /\ \ / _ \ \ \ / / |BLiP| | |~~~~~ / / \ \ | | | | \/ | / / \ \ \ | / | | | ~~~~~| | ~~~ | | | ____ | / | | | | | | | #9 | | |~~~~~ | ___ | | | | | | | /\ ~| \ \ / / | | | | | | | | | | | |\ | | | | ~~ / \ ~ / | | ~~~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ [Cover has Fan.Boy and Retcon Lad facing off against Barry Knewbee, while an unseen figure sets fire to the background] -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Retcon Lad was in the Monitoring Room chatting with wReamhack, when something unusual, even for the LNH, happened. The Green Door, the door to the Serious Writer's Room, the door that couldn't be opened (at least from the outside), opened. Fan.Boy stepped out, shaking his head and chuckling slightly. Retcon Lad and wReamhack noticed this, and their jaws dropped open in surprise. "How'd ya do that?" they chorused. Fan.Boy looked at them. "What?" He realised what they were talking about. "Oh, I visit him all the time. He's a really cool guy, ya know?" Retcon Lad and wReamhack gaped at each other, then back at Fan.Boy. He didn't respond to this, and left the Monitoring Room whistling happily. Retcon Lad shook his head, and a memory popped into his head. Acting on opportunity, he left, going after Fan.Boy. "Hey, Fan.Boy," he called out. "Can I talk to you for a moment?" Fan.Boy paused in his meanderings, and turned to his fellow LNHer. "Yeah, okay," he said agreeably. "What'd ya want to talk about?" "You look familiar," Retcon Lad said. "Well, we did work together on trying to roust those kiwis out." [In _Kiwi Kommandoes #5_. - Footnote Girl] [Read this series! - JE] "Yeah, but you looked familiar even then," RL scratched his head, trying to sort his thoughts out. "Did we meet before then?" Fan.Boy shook his head. "Not that I remember." "Mind if we go to the cafeteria while I try to sort this out?" RL asked. "I'd really like to now. I hate it when things keeping bugging me." Fan.Boy shrugged. "Sure." When they entered the cafeteria, the LNHers already in there saw Fan.Boy, whimpered a bit, then left hurriedly. Fan.Boy scratched his head. "I don't know what it is," he said. "Whenever people see me and food, they go all weak-kneed. And they didn't even find out about the melted plastic." Retcon Lad doubletaked at Fan.Boy, and swore mentally to himself to never go to any of Fan.Boy parties. They grabbed some of the roast Steak-and-Potatoes Man had just prepared, and sat down at a table. "So, thought of it yet?" asked Fan.Boy around a mouthful of meat. "No," replied Retcon Lad. "But.. it's coming. Wait. I got it!" He waved his fork around as memories came back. "It was while we were on alt.fan.pratchett. We were sidetracked by someone who... who was a fan of Pratchett. He looked just like you." [Back in Limp-Asparagus Lad #9 - Footnote Girl, again] Fan.Boy looked down at his rather bright costume, and raised an eyebrow (his left one, not his right! He ain't Spock. :). "Well, he wasn't dressed like you," Retcon Lad amended. "Strange," agreed Fan.Boy. "Perhaps we should go an investigate. Also, there is the case of me having an Oddball counterpart. I haven't existed here for very long. I certainly wasn't here when Particle Man's imagination conjured them up. So, how could I have a counterpart?" "How do you suggest we go about doing this, then? Just go swipe a net.thingee?" "Sounds good to me." Fan.Boy flashed a grin. He then remembered something. "We'll just pop into the Monitoring Room first. There's something I gotta do. Also, we should probably tell at least wReamhack what where doing." "Gain an accomplice, like?" Fan.Boy nodded. Back in the Monitoring Room, Fan.Boy accessed a computer terminal, hunting for something. wReamhack observed this, and turned to Retcon Lad. "What's he doing?" RL shrugged. "No idea. He's looking through the telephone directory for something." Fan.Boy 'ah-ha'ed, and reached for a telephone. He typed in a number. A long number. A number that would definitely show up on the LNH phone bill (if the 'phone company was brave enough to send it). "Hello? Is this the French Government?.. Yes, I'd like to talk to the president. This is the LNH calling... Ah yes, sir, I have only one thing to say to you. STOP BOMBING MURUROA, OR I'LL SEND MASTER BLASTER OVER TO SORT YOU OUT!!" (Fan.Boy slammed the phone down.) "But, the French aren't bombing Mururoa. And besides, that's MURE.roa," protested wReamhack. [MURE = Multi User Recreational Environment - Footnote Girl. Hi everyone!] "Exactly my point. They're not doing it in this Looniverse, but there're some very pissed off people back in my Universe." "Enough of the political statements, already," interrupted Retcon Lad. "Are we going to get on with it, or not?" "Wait a minute," said wReamhack. "Getting on with what?" "Nothing to worry about," replied Fan.Boy. "We're just going to take a net.thingee out and about." "Does the Ultimate Ninja know about this?" wReamhack asked. "Not if you don't tell him." Fan.Boy left, leaving Retcon Lad and wReamhack to trade surprised looks behind him. When Retcon Lad caught Fan.Boy up at the lift, he asked. "Why are you suddenly so forceful? You aren't usually this decisive." A look of irritation came over Fan.Boy's face. "When do I ever to anything major? What big battles have I fought? What devastating enemies have I overcome? I don't get to do anything. I just want to get out and about." The doors opened on the forth floor, and Fan.Boy lead the way silence to the flight.thingee bay. Inside was parked a few .thingee's of various kind, and Fan.Boy stared at them, then turned to Retcon Lad in bashfulness. "Er, which one's the net.thingee?" Retcon Lad raised a finger and pointed, a smile flickering around his mouth. "I knew that, I knew that," protested Fan.Boy. "I was just testing." LNHers were coming and going, so it was easy for Fan.Boy and Retcon Lad to slip through them unnoticed. However, Fan.Boy noticed them. "Oh, look there's Master Blaster. Is that Sister State-The-Obvious with him? Hey, isn't that Kid Kirby? I've always wanted to meet him.." Retcon Lad stopped Fan.Boy from going to the Kirbisque One, and clamped a hand a hand over his mouth. "We are supposed to be stealing a net.thingee here," Retcon Lad pointed out. "Oh yeah," replied Fan.Boy, once Retcon Lad had removed his hand from Fan.Boy's mouth. They quickly entered the net.thingee, and Retcon Lad powered it for take-off. "Hey, can I drive it?" asked Fan.Boy. "Do you know how to drive one of these things?" "I flew a flight.thingee. How much harder could this be?" Retcon Lad concentrated for a moment. "Okay, after you're last adventure, Deductive Logic Man taught you how to fly properly." Fan.Boy's eyes narrowed. "Did you just retcon me?" "Yes," said Retcon Lad carefully. Fan.Boy beamed. "Cool. I don't suppose you could retcon what happened in my last issue. DLM was pretty upset about what that, especially after I told him what really happened. He knows that whatever he deducted was important, but he can't work out what it was." Retcon Lad concentrated again. Finally, he shook his head. "No. Writer's Block." Fan.Boy peered out the net.thingee window. "But, she isn't here." "No. Not Writer's Block Woman. I mean the Writer has placed a Block on that type of thing happening." "Oh. %^#@." (Fan.Boy flicked switches in irritation, getting the net.thingee in gear.) Fan.Boy reached into the dashboard compartment, and pulled out a pair of clip-on sun-glasses. He attached them to his normal glasses. "Let's rock." Sirens wailed in the hanger bay. "I think they're onto us," said Retcon Lad. "Huh. What's the worst thing they could do to us?" "The Ultimate Ninja," was Retcon Lad's reply. Fan.Boy's foot hit the accelerator. _-~-_ Out in the air, Fan.Boy circled, making sure that there was no pursuit. Finally assured that they got away, he made preparations for net.travel. "Where should we go first?" he asked. "Alt.fan.pratchett. That's the sensible place to start." "Fine." Fan.Boy flicked for levers, setting the news.group. The net.thingee fell out of the air and plunged towards the ground. "What's going on?" asked Retcon Lad, pushed back into his chair by the g-force. "I think you gave me flight.thingee abilities only. I never learnt how to actually travel through the net." "Oh, fu-" they chorused as the net.thingee punched a hole in reality and split for parts not-here. _-~-_ Somewhere outside an apartment building, reality was smashed as a net.thingee invaded. It continued plummeting straight for the ground. Only inches before splintering into a million pieces, the pilot managed to pull it out of its dive, and it skidded along street, amidst tortured shriekings and flying sparks. It crashed into a lamppost and curved around it. A few moments later, two battered men, one dressed in spandex, the other in a jump-suit, emerged. "Ouch, that had to hurt," muttered Retcon Lad. "Yeah. The net.thingee's all smashed up." "Hey. I was talking about us." Fan.Boy snorted. "That's nothing compared with what the Ultimate Ninja's gonna do to us if we bring this back. What this thing needs is a self-repair unit." Retcon Lad stuck his head back inside. He saw something that had been overlooked, although it hadn't been there to be overlooked five seconds ago. It had "Proto-type Self Repair Unit" written on the side. Retcon Lad grinned. "Sometimes," he said to himself. "I'm good." Extracting himself from the net.thingee, he turned to Fan.Boy. "Give it a bit of time and it'll be all right." Fan.Boy looked around. "I wonder where we are. Definitely doesn't look like alt.fan.pratchett." The buildings surrounding them seemed rather strange, almost unreal. Visible, but not really there. "Let's try in that apartment building," suggested Retcon Lad. "Looks more real than everything else around here." Fan.Boy shrugged. "Fair enough." Inside, there were only stairs, no lifts, but even one flight seemed to take them high into the top floors. "You know," said Fan.boy. "This is beginning to look familiar." "Yeah," Retcon Lad agreed. "But I can't quite place it." They stood outside one of the apartment doors, trying to decide what to do, when the door opened, and some one left, crying. She barged past the two LNHers, and fled down the stairs. The two heroes looked askance at each other, then became aware of various arguments coming form inside. "...Courteney Cox wasn't very good..." "...Ross was in _Wolf_, you know..." "Jennifer Aniston." "Courteney Cox." "Jennifer Aniston." "Courteney Cox." "Lisa Kudrow." Retcon Lad and Fan.Boy realised. "Alt.tv.friends," they said in unison. They entered a net.version of Monica's apartment and stared around in amazement. The place was packed. Couches were full and tables were stacked. It was Retcon Lad who first saw him. "Look," he said, grabbing Fan.Boy's arm. "Over there." Fan.Boy looked in the direction indicated, and drew breath. Standing near the door to Rachel's room was a duplicate of Fan.Boy (although he was merely dressed in civilian clothes, not spandex). He stood with others, animatedly chatting away, unaware that his duplicate was watching him. Fan.Boy and Retcon Lad made their way through the crowd, drawing surprisingly little attention, despite their outfits. Eventually they reached their target, and Fan.Boy tapped his other self on the shoulder. The a.t.f-Barry [ie. the Barry Knewbee specific to alt.tv.friends - Footnote Girl, who's thinking about asking for a raise], turned around and gasped. "Arghh! It's _The One With Two Parts_ all over again." "Relax," said Retcon Lad. "We'd just like to talk to you." "I suppose I could spare a few minutes. But, be quick. they're just about to re-enact _The One With The Birth_." "Wha? Isn't that the one where Carol gives-" "Don't ask," interrupted Retcon Lad quickly. "Just, don't ask." The three of them wound their way to outside. In the corridor, they stopped to talk. "So, what is it?" a.t.f-Barry asked. "Why does this guy look like me?" "He *is* you," replied Retcon Lad. "I'm starting to get a bad feeling about this." "..I want that _by Friday_" floated out of the room, followed by appreciative laughter. A.t.f-Barry poked his head back in. "Nice one." Once Fan.Boy had his counterpart's attention again, he asked. "How long have you been here?" A.t.f-Barry shrugged. "Since about March." "When did you appear?" Retcon Lad asked Fan.Boy. "About March." "Oh, look. Ugly Naked Guy's got a Thigh-Master." There was a rush inside the room as the occupants headed for the window. "I'll be back in a moment," a.t.f-Barry said, ducking back inside. "When I entered the 'net, copies of me must have spread to all the newsgroups I was reading," said Fan.Boy. "And they're all like you," said Retcon Lad. "Complete fans." "That must explain how I can read every newsgroup. I can get the information from my counter parts." "I wonder if there's anything else you can do." "How do yo mean?" asked Fan.Boy. "Try contacting him mentally, Retcon Lad suggested. "You know, alt.telepathy and all that." Then he mused, "Might not work, since to date it seems to have happened only for alt.versions _within_ a dimension. Like, Limpy and Lipid haven't contacted each other, nor has Leviathan Lass and her counterpart Kirsty native to the Looniverse; mind you I don't think they've tried..." Fan.Boy pondered this while Retcon Lad burbled on happily to himself, and decided to give it a try. He reached out for his other self, trying to establish a link, not just get the latest postings, and... ...he was inside the room, looking out a large window. He could see into another apartment, one where there was a large ugly naked guy exercising with a Thigh-Master. "Ewwww," he murmured in disgust. Those around him voiced similar opinions. Fan.Boy turned away, and finally realised where he was. He looked down. He was in civies! He was in a.t.f-Barry's body! Panicking, he reached out mentally for his own body, grasping for... ...and he was now looking at Retcon Lad's stunned face. He waved his hand in front of Retcon Lad without any reaction. He sighed and waited for Retcon Lad to come out whatever daze he was in. Eventually, Retcon Lad shook his head and came-to. "Wow. You gotta stop doing that," he said. "What do you mean? Wait to hear what just happened to me." "Nothing happened to you," Retcon Lad got in first. "You just stood there proclaiming 'I AM FAN.BOY!'. I could really hear that punctuation." "But, I wasn't here. I was inside, in his body." Fan.Boy waved his hand in his counterpart's direction. "No, you weren't. You were right here, stunning me." "Wait, wait, wait. We're getting confused here. You say that I was here, and I say I was in my counterparts body." "Right. Hmm, part of your mind must have travelled to his body, leaving basics behind." "In that case, what happened to his mind?" asked Fan.Boy. At that moment, a.t.f-Barry came stumbling out of the apartment. "Man, I gotta cut down on those cappuccinos." "Jennifer." "Courteney." "Jennifer!" "Courteney!" "JENNIFER!" "COURTENEY!" "What's going on in there?" Retcon Lad asked. "They do it all the time," replied a.t.f-Barry. "The guys try to decide who the biggest babe is on the show. Me, I prefer Matthew Perry." Retcon Lad turned to see Fan.Boy nodding. "Yeah, I can understand that." Screams ripped the air, made all the louder by the deathly silence that followed. "What the?" they all asked, and looked inside. People were standing, looking at empty air. "Where've they gone?" asked a.t.f-Barry. "Who?" asked Retcon Lad. A.t.f-Barry waved his hand around. "The.. others. Joey, Gary, Valorie, all them." "I have no idea," said Retcon Lad. Fan.Boy picked at his sleeve. "Come on, let's get out of here." Retcon Lad and Fan.Boy left, leaving a.t.f-Barry to puzzle over the disappearances. Back at the net.thingee, Fan.Boy and Retcon Lad looked over the equipment to see that the self repair unit had done its work. Fan.Boy powered it up, getting ready to leave. "What happened back there?" asked Retcon Lad, more to himself. "I don't know," replied Fan.Boy anyway. "But perhaps it's happing elsewhere." "What do you mean?" "Let's find another newsgroup and see what's happening." The net.thingee rose from the ground, and flew straight upwards, entering a net.rift in the air. _-~-_ "Arrrrrrgh! Where're we going?" "I don't know. I can't control this!" "Arrrrrrrrrgggghhhhhhhh!!!!!" _-~-_ The net.thingee exploded into a newsgroup. After spiralling uncontrolledly for a moment, it righted itself, and touched down on a barren landscape. Fan.Boy and Retcon Lad got out, and looked around them. All was white and featureless, except for a notice board, incongruously standing there. Before the notice board stood a man, and neither of them had to think very hard before identifying them. The Barry Knewbee of this newsgroup turned around to meet them. "Hi ya. Just waiting here for the next notice. It's really cool, finding out when all these seminars are." "Seminars?" A suspicious came to Fan.Boy. "Would these be Victoria University seminars?" The other nodded his head. "Sure are. Wait, wait," a notice was slowly forming. "It's a note about Thursday's seminar. Hang on a moment." While this Barry was thus occupied, Fan.Boy turned to a confused Retcon Lad. "This is vuw.events. I used to read it back in Real Life." A smile twitched at Retcon Lad's mouth. "And now, you're a fan of University notices." Fan.Boy shrugged. "Hey, like *I* have control over this?" Retcon Lad looked around. "Nothing else exciting happening around here. Try your 'mind swap'." V.e-Barry turned back to them. "Hey, guys, listen to this. There's going to be.." Fan.Boy concentrated, and his mind moved. When he opened his eyes, he saw his body, his usual LNH body, from the outside. Somehow, it didn't look as good as he thought it would do. His LNH body posed. "I AM FAN.BOY!" "Ouch," said Fan.Boy, in v.e-Barry's body. "Do I really do that?" "Yes," replied Retcon Lad. "Man, I gotta be more careful." "Hey," said Retcon Lad, a thought striking him. "Does this mean you can't stun via punctuation?" V.e-Barry's shoulders shrugged. "I'll give it a go. I AM FAN.BOY!" "Hmm, not quite the same." "I AM FAN.BOY!" "Oh, swap back, would you?" asked Retcon Lad. V.e-Barry swayed as he regained control of his body. "Woah. Gotta be more careful. All these notices is getting me to excited." Fan.Boy and Retcon Lad exchanged glances. "Yeah, right," they muttered. "Well, we may as well try some other newsgroup," said Retcon Lad. They re-entered the net.thingee, and buckled in. "Shouldn't I drive?" inquired Retcon Lad. "Hey," said Fan.Boy. "I got the hang of it." _-~-_ "Arrrrgh!" "Okay. So sue me." _-~-_ The newsgroup was quite tricky to navigate across. The landscape was ever changing, being quite flat, suddenly exploding as a volcano, then becoming covered with something totally unearthly. Overhead in the net.thingee, Retcon Lad and Fan.Boy surveyed their surroundings. They looked dismayed at the events below them. "What is going on here?" asked Retcon Lad. "It's almost as if it's being constantly reconfigured. It might be a new newsgroup," suggested Fan.Boy. "No. The group wouldn't be this big." The land stretched far and wide. "I'd say this was a creative newsgroup." "I hope it's not alt.startrek.creative," said Fan.Boy gloomily. "Why not? It can't be all that bad." "Oh ye who have not suffered Ratliff. If it isn't a story with no grammar, it's a story with all the characters having sex with one another." "I doubt we are. There'd be more starships if we were." Retcon Lad glanced at a nearby sensor. "Hey, according to this, there's a stable clearing up ahead. Life form readings as well." As they drew closer, a clearing in the turmoil did reveal itself. There were people there, sitting down, with one person standing and talking. "Looks like some kind of storytelling session," commented Retcon Lad. Fan.Boy landed the net.thingee near the people, and they quietly got out. They stood near, and listened to the story unfolding. "The ground tossed beneath them. Captain Nemo had trouble standing, although the Doctor stood unshaking. "'What's happening? I though we corrected the gravitational flaw,' the Captain cried. "'Something else is wrenching the planet from it's orbit,' the Doctor responded. 'I sense the hand of the Master behind this.'" "It's alt.drwho.creative," said Fan.Boy. "I regularly ignore this place." "What do you mean?" asked Retcon Lad, letting the story continue around them. "I mean, I regularly scan the messages here, then leave. Not much worth reading, really. Either that, or not enough time to read it." Retcon Lad nodded in understanding. "Gonna try your 'mind swap'?" "Don't see much point. Nothing really going on here that I can see." A flash of red proved them wrong. "Fire!" yelled Retcon Lad, seeing red squirt across his vision. Fire encircled each inhabitant of alt.drwho.creative, including the Barry there. Through the simmering heat, Fan.Boy thought he could make out a figure on the other side of the clearing, but was unable to distinguish anything. Panicked screams rang out, and Retcon Lad and Fan.Boy watched in horror as some rings of fire leapt higher, hiding from view the people within. The fire flared and died, everywhere. The group was halved, only air remaining where before there had been alt.drwho.creativers surrounded by fire. Fan.Boy saw a.d.c-Barry still there, although he was just as confused as the others. "What happened?" asked Retcon Lad, peering around, trying to gain a better insight. "Did you see that person?" asked Fan.Boy. "What person?" "On the other side of the clearing. Perhaps they know more." "I didn't see anyone." "We may as well go back to the net.thingee. Nothing more to be gotten here." _-~-_ "So what do we know so far?" asked Retcon Lad, now sitting back in the net.thingee. "Not much. Flames, and then people disappear." Retcon Lad thought about this. "I can't really think of any villain I know that uses that. Well, maybe the Dorfs, but they're not that subtle." "That was subtle?" "Flame without abusive language. For the Dorfs, that's subtle." "I suppose. Well, what next?" "We keep travelling the net, I guess." "Shouldn't we tell the LNH about this?" "Urm. In case you've forgotten, this isn't our net.thingee. I don't think they'll be too happy to see us, whatever we have to say." "All right, you choose. Where to next?" "Can I try something first? Or, rather, get you to try it?" Fan.Boy shrugged. "I guess. What?" "Well, we know you can travel to your counterparts mind while you're in their newsgroup, but how about travelling to someone in another newsgroup?" "Like?" "Oh, I don't know," said Retcon Lad. "How about trying out alt.games.torg?" "Never heard of that, but, hey, I'm willing." Fan.Boy closed his eyes. "Just for a moment," warned Retcon Lad. "Just so we can check." "Fair enough. I'll be back in a tick." Fan.Boy concentrated, then his body took on a pose while still sitting down. Retcon Lad leapt from his chair. "I AM-" Retcon Lad slammed a hand over Fan.Boy's body's mouth. The body didn't look too concerned. It just sat in various poses. "Right," muttered Retcon Lad. "Now, come back." He waited. Splash-page: Caption reads: 'Ten minutes later:'. Fan.Boy's body is still sitting posed in a chair, a strip of tape across his mouth. Retcon Lad is in the pilot's chair, lifting off. He's saying "Wherever you are, Fan.Boy, I'm coming!" "Fan.Boy to the Nth" by Jamas Enright -------------------------------------------------------------------------- NEXT ISSUE: Wait a minute! This is a cross-over. First, go and read Limp-Asparagus Lad #17. Then, be back here for the gripping conclusion to this epic saga! (Didn't that sound exciting?) All in Fan.Boy #10: "Crisis of Infinite Fan.Boys"! -------- Credits: Fan.Boy - me. Retcon Lad - Saxon Brenton. wReamhack - wReam (Cameod without permission). Footnote Girl - Saxon's again. Other Barry Knewbees - Their own newsgroups.Back to the Index.