Blue Light Productions presents:

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|BLiP|  |  |~~~~~ /  / \  \ |    |  |      |  \/   |  /  / \  \   \  |  /
|    |  |  ~~~~~| |  ~~~  | |       | ____ |      /  |  |   |  |   |   |
|#10 |  |  |~~~~~ |  ___  | |  |    | |  | |  /\  ~|  \  \ /  /    |   |
|    |  |  |      |  | |  | |  |\   | |  | |  ~~  /    \  ~  /     |   |
~~~~~~  ~~~~      ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~~~~      ~~~~~      ~~~~~

       [Fan.Boy and Retcon Lad on one side face off against Firewall
        on the other, while the background behind them burns.]


The net.thingee exited intranet space. It hovered over a large green 
field. People shot arrows at targets far away, while others congregated 
in groups, discussing and constructing bows.
        Retcon Lad sighed. "Well, she's not in alt.archery."
        Fan.Boy shook his head. "This is taking far too long. There must 
be some way we can track her."
        "What's she after?"
        "She didn't say."
        "I was there, remember?" Retcon Lad concentrated, thinking about 
recent events in
        "Yes, but you didn't see Firewall. I did."
        "But I _was_ there."
        Why they were looking for her was a rather strange tale (but not 
a surreal one). Fan.Boy and Retcon Lad had appropriated a net.thingee to 
discover more about Fan.Boy having counterparts in other newsgroups. It 
was something connected with Fan.Boy coming from outside the net, but 
that didn't fully explain it.
        However, while they were travelling, They found another mystery. 
People were disappearing from the newsgroups, disappearing behind walls 
of flame.
        [This was all in _Fan.Boy #9_ - Footnote Girl]
        While on, Fan.Boy spotted the person responsible, 
but didn't recognise her. While on, talking with 
Fan.Boy's counterpart Barrymore, they realised that this person was 
Firewall, from the order of Saint Doomas. They also worked out that she 
was keeping to the alt.* groups, which lead them to patrolling for her, 
and in turn, ending up in alt.archery.
        [This was in _Limp-Asparagus Lad #17_ - Footnote Girl]
        "You know, it's rather strange."
        "What is?"
        "That Firewall should be doing this. I mean, we haven't really 
heard much of Saint Doomas recently. There hasn't even been a _Sword of 
Bazreal #4_."
        "More's the pity." Retcon Lad clicked his fingers. "Of course, 
that's it."
        "What? What?"
        "She's gone rogue. Hasn't heard anything from St. Doomas, so 
decided to take matters into her own hand. She going from newsgroup to 
newsgroup, doing..."
        "Firewalling?" suggested Fan.Boy.
        "Well, yes. But in what way? Who's she firewalling from whom?"
        "And why?"
        "Well, St. Doomas fights spham. So it's something to do with 
that. Is there anyway we can get the computer to search for 
concentrations of spham?"
        Fan.Boy played with the console before him. "According to this, 
the most spham is in the* hierarchy."
        "Yes, well, we wont be going there." Retcon Lad ignored the look 
of disappointment on Fan.Boy's face. "We do have standards to maintain."
        "I suppose." Fan.Boy adjusted the search parameters, blocking 
out*. "There seems to be a high level of spham everywhere. The 
newsgroups are really getting a blasting."
        Retcon Lad sighed. "Isn't technology wonderful? Not only can we 
give Internet access to anyone, but we can also let them spham 
everywhere at the same time."



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And the great thing is, with INTERSPAM(tm), with every post you read, 
you also post an automatic followup, quoting the entire file, and add 
a random non-sensible one-liner!

Also, order now, and receive INTERSPAM 95(tm), with added features:
And the best feature of all:


Yes, you too can commemorate dead people by creating new alt.* groups 
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(Note: Should not be taken internally. Can cause brain damage with 
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[Note to Irony Man followers - I wrote this ad _before_ finding out about 
AT&T's Interspan :) - Jamas]
        "I think the writer's flipped," said Retcon Lad, warily.
        "Huh? What're you taking about?"
        "That ad the writer put in."
        "What ad?"
        "Can't you see it?"
        Fan.Boy shook his head. "No, but I'll be able to read it when 
this issue's posted."
        "Right. Well, where to now?"
        "Random jump and hope the author wants us to get with this?"
        Retcon Lad grinned. "Works for me."


"So, do you think my driving's any better?"
        "Hey, just asking."


The purple menace raged across the landscape, causing death and 
destruction as it sang its lurid song. Militia battled around, trying to 
contain the jeopardy to life and existence, but to no avail.
        Retcon Lad and Fan.Boy looked down on the devastation and despair.
        "Alt.barney.dinosaur.die.die.die," they chorused.
        "Yep," said Fan.Boy. "If there's one place Firewall will end up, 
it's here."
        "Now all we need is for her to show up here before she's 
finished elsewhere."
        An explosion of fire showed just how corny plot 
devices^H^H^Hcoincidences were. Fan.Boy banked the net.thingee around 
and headed for the blaze.
        They arrived to find Firewall trying to contain her own fire. 
They jumped out with fire extinguishers from the net.thingee, and joined 
the battle.
        "What happened?" Retcon Lad asked, directing a jet of foam at 
the fire.
        Firewall finally noticed them and growled. "Keep out of this."
        What Firewall as doing to fight the inferno was quite tricky and 
cunning. Where there was a build up of heat, she shot a bust of flame 
from her thrower, combusting the pocket of gas, but also exhausting the 
air, causing the fire to immediately extinguish.
        This method was effective, but slow. Fan.Boy's and Retcon Lad's 
extinguishers were having a faster effect. As the fire died off, little 
blobs of some purple substance were uncovered.
        "Damn purple dinosaurs. One of them got in the way of my flame 
and exploded."
        "Can't you see?" cried Retcon Lad. "You've gone rogue. We worked 
it out. But you're also dangerous."
        "Yeah, you've gone-" Fan.Boy stopped on the verge of mistake 
#3324: Telling Firewall she was psycho.
        "You think you've worked it out? You've worked out nothing." 
Firewall ejected another burst of flame, but this time lighting nothing 
more offensive than a new cigarette. "We've got sphammers all around us, 
and Saint Doomas is just sitting there, doing nothing about it. Well, 
I've got the solution."
        Fan.Boy waved his hand encouragingly. "Which is?"
        "Later boys." Firewall disappeared into her own flame.
        Retcon Lad and Fan.Boy blinked their eyes, waiting for after 
images to disappear.
        "Well, that worked well," Retcon Lad said.
        "What we need is a plan, some way we can stop her so we can just 
        "Any ideas?"
        "Not a one."


The landscape was the bitter slopes of Hell. Pockets of flame erupted, 
burning all in range. The occupants raged against each other, setting 
one another ablaze. This was the desolate area of alt.flame.
        "Is this really a good idea?" Retcon Lad asked.
        "We gotta get to her somehow. What better place to do that than 
here? You said you could get her to stop, didn't you?"
        "Yeah." Retcon Lad looked at the device in his hand. It was part 
of the net.thingee, a sort of portable version, and he hoped it would do 
what he needed.
        "Well, I'll get Firewall here then. Just wait."
        "What're you gonna do?"
        "Flip around the newsgroups until I find her. I can do it much 
faster than scanning would do."
        "Just don't get caught up in any discussions again."
        Fan.Boy grinned. "No worries."
        Fan.Boy concentrated, and flipped his mind to another newsgroup.

Retcon Lad looked around. He had earmuffs on so he wouldn't hear 
Fan.Boy's calls. Retcon Lad spotted the Barry Knewbee home to this 
newsgroup. He was happily flaming others, and happily being flamed.
        Retcon Lad shook his head. Really, sometimes things just got too 
        A hand on his shoulder made him turn around. He saw Fan.Boy 
standing there, grinning. He mouthed something, and Retcon Lad took the 
earmuffs off to hear him better.
        "I got her. Over on alt.startrek.cardassian. She was having 
trouble telling the sphammers from proper posters."
        "All right, boys. I'm here. What do you want?" They turned to see
the lean figure of Firewall lighting yet another cigarette. "I have to
say, I like your meeting place." She looked around the landscape, the
fires reflecting not only on the gold flames on her red outfit, but also
in her eyes. "My kind of town." 
        "We just want to talk," said Retcon Lad. "We would like to know 
what your solution to these sphammers are."
        Firewall raised her eyebrows. "You haven't worked it out yet? 
Come off it. Look, who am I?"
        Fan.Boy and Retcon Lad exchanged looks, then shrugs. "Firewall," 
said Fan.Boy.
        "And..." Firewall rolled her hand, trying to lead them to the 
correct deduction.
        Retcon Lad shook his head. "What?"
        Firewall sighed. "Look, just don't worry. I've certainly got 
better things to do than this."
        As Firewall turned away, Fan.Boy turned to Retcon Lad. "Hey, 
now's the time to do your thing."
        Retcon Lad looked down at the device in his hand. "I hope it 
works." He threw it on the ground, and it exploded.

Firewall turned away from the LNHers, ready to continue her campaign, 
when light burst around her. She shut her eyes to protect them, and when 
she opened them, everything around her had changed.
        It was a featureless white plane. Empty. Of anything and 
everything. Her sight was pulled to the edge was whatever this was, was 
pulled off the edge. She felt like she was continually falling away from 
        "What the...?"
        "This is" Firewall turned around to see Retcon Lad 
and Fan.Boy. Retcon Lad was talking. "I've cross-posted us here so we 
can have a little talk."
        Aside to Fan.Boy he said, "This place doesn't really exist, so 
you probably wont have an alt.version here."
        Firewall growled. "I definitely have better things to do." She 
summoned up the flame to travel to a new newsgroup, but nothing happened.
        "No power works here. Everything is drained off. You can't leave 
unless I remove the cross-post that brought us here."
        "Now," said Fan.Boy. "Will you please tell us what you're doing?"
        "Why don't you understand? I'm Firewall. I firewall. I've 
firewalled a lot of the newsgroups, and I've got many more to go."
        Retcon Lad tried to understand this. "But, what exactly are you 
        "Since Saint Doomas stopped, sphammers have been crawling out of 
the woodwork. And where have most of them come from? America. I'm 
firewalling America, guys, trying to contain the spham. Do you get it 
        Light finally dawned in the LNHers eyes. "And so," explained 
Retcon Lad, sorting things out in his head. "When you firewall a group, 
all the Americans stop seeing non-Americans and visa versa."
        "Right," agreed Firewall, patronisingly. "Perhaps you could also 
explain why these people spham in the first place."
        "I have absolutely no idea," replied Retcon Lad.
        "Pity. It would make my job a lot easier. So, are you going to 
let me go now?"
        Retcon Lad and Fan.Boy moved away to huddle.
        "I think we should let her go," said Fan.Boy.
        "What? Why?"
        "I think she's got a damn good idea. Cutting off all the 
sphammers in one go."
        "But, we can't. Not everyone in America sphams. It's not their 
fault that a tiny percentage gets pleasure out of ruining the lives of 
others. That's like destroying a town because there's a prison in it. 
You're condemning a whole land because of the actions of a few."
        "I suppose so," admitted Fan.Boy gloomily.
        Retcon Lad nodded. "Good. Now all we do is have to convince her."
        Retcon Lad headed towards Firewall, but Fan.Boy held him back, 
grinning. "You can see the funny side of all this, can't you?" Fan.Boy 
asked. Retcon Lad shook his head in puzzlement.
        "My Writer's a New Zealander. Firewall belongs to a New 
Zealander. And your Writer's Australian. Don't you think we're just 
slightly biased?"
        Retcon Lad thought about this. Yes, perhaps they were. He 
grinned as he turned to Firewall.
        [I'd just like to point out that using Firewall like this was my 
idea. Although Jaelle did agree. - Jamas]
        "How exactly did you firewall them?" Retcon Lad asked of 
Firewall. "Firewalls are supposed to work on machines, not newsgroups."
        "I set up the firewalls so that the machines surrounding the 
States firewalled specific newsgroups. After it was set up, adding more 
was easy."
        "And you planned on doing this for every newsgroup? Everywhere?"
        Firewall hefted her flamethrower. "I've got the time if they've 
got the spham."
        "Couldn't you have just set these border machines to firewall 
across every newsgroup?"
        "I had to make sure that the people were on the right side, and 
weren't, say, using an American account to post from." Firewall was 
staring hard at Retcon Lad when she said this.
        Retcon Lad became puzzled. "What?"
        This was something Fan.Boy could explain. "Saxon, your Writer, 
although living in Australia, and is currently posting from an account in 
America. He has really long irritating headers, too."
        "Ah. Right. That would explain how she managed to affect the 
mailing list attached to; it covers email too." Then 
Retcon Lad turned back to his attack.
        "It does?" Fan.Boy whispered to himself. "Gee, she's good."
        "What about all the good that happens?" Retcon Lad argued. "The
creativity? Take alt.comics.lnh for instance. I assume you plan on
visiting there sometime." Firewall nodded. "But there's imagination,
creativity, a cross pollination of ideas. You were created because an
American decided to invent the Order of Saint Doomas dedicated to fighting
sphammers, to parody the Order of Saint Dumas in Batman comics. 
        "This cross-over would never had existed if Americans hadn't 
formed alt.comics.lnh off racm in the first place, even. Not every 
American sphams."
        "But enough do. I'm trying to stop the cancer before it spreads!"
        "But you're killing the patient!"
        Fan.Boy grabbed Retcon Lad's arm. "Hey. Calm down there."
        Retcon Lad took a breath. "Sorry about that. It's just so 
pointless. Spham is a very small percentage of the net, albeit, an 
annoying percent. Let people handle it in their own groups, in their own 
way. It'll always be there, and it's not just Americans doing it. There 
are stupid people everywhere, but there is more good than stupidity out 
        "And this is supposed to make me change my mind, is it?" asked 
        "All right then," said Retcon Lad. "If you don't stop, I'll 
report you to the Order of Saint Doomas, and let them send Bazreal to 
sort you out."
        Firewall laughed. "But, he'll agree with me."
        "Would he? He kills sphammers, but only sphammers. I'm sure if 
_Sword of Bazreal #4_ ever came out, we'd find out that CAW! wasn't the 
traitor after all, and Bazreal would let him live. Bazreal wouldn't 
justify stopping everything just to stop the sphammers. There are other 
        Fan.Boy whispered to Retcon Lad. "Hang on. This is Badger we're 
talking about. He probably would kill off CAW! if only to point out that 
he could."
        "But she doesn't need to know that," Retcon Lad whispered back.
        "All right then," Firewall said finally. "I'll remove the 
firewalls for now, but, I'm leaving the structure there. If it gets 
worse, I'm doing this again."
        "Don't worry," said Retcon Lad, looking at Fan.Boy. "We'd help 
        Retcon Lad retconned the cross=post device to having a time 
limit that expired one second from now, and one second later, they were 
back on the burning landscape of alt.flame.
        "Just remember," said Firewall, just before she left. "I know 
where you live."
        After she disappeared, Fan.Boy breathed a sigh of relief. "So, 
is that it? Have we won?"
        "I guess so. Back to the LNH to return the net.thingee?"
        "Not quite yet. There's still something I need to work out, and 
I know just the person who'd know."


"Hey, Cheesecake Eater Lad?"
        "Is this cheesecake supposed to be in the shape of a fish?"


Retcon Lad and Fan.Boy walked slowly up the path, feeling themselves 
tiring. They'd walked a long way already, and the path seemed to stretch 
on forever. There was something differently strange about this 
newsgroup, and this path was a typical example.
        While the landscape around them was barren and desolate, the 
path wound through it in an amazing route. It twisted and turned, almost 
folding back on itself at it carried them surprising distances. And, 
whenever they turned a corner, they noticed something new. It was as if 
whatever it was had been hiding behind a hill or a tree or something, 
but there was no forest here. It later disappeared when they went around 
the next bend.
        Take this thing for example. It was large, grandiose, and gaudy 
to a sickening degree. It was a large house, almost a mansion. Just 
looking at it created more rooms for the observer to see. Windows looked 
right through the house as if it wasn't there, and doors were situated 
halfway up walls.
        This house could give Eschar bad ideas.
        It was only when the path actually met the front door that 
Fan.Boy and Retcon Lad realised that they had finally arrived.
        Fan.Boy knocked.
        The door opened slowly, creaking on its hinges. The hallway 
behind it was vast, with a fountain at the other end, and its roof 
opened to the sky, although it wasn't the same sky that one saw outside.
        Retcon Lad and Fan.Boy entered reverently, feeling small in this 
monstrous vestibule.
        "Hello?" called out Retcon Lad. "Anybody home?"
        They heard voices drifting towards them. Arguments, pleadings, 
and judgements. Some of them weren't pleasant. They walked towards the 
sound, tracing it to a room off the hall.
        The room they ended up in was larger than the house had ever 
been. Wall stretched away dizzyingly, and the ceiling rose and fell in 
ways reminiscent of the sea. Retcon Lad tried to follow the motion with 
his eyes and felt sick.
        Surprisingly, only a little area near the door was being used. 
There was a queue, and at the end of the queue was... was...
        Retcon Lad blinked. So, that's what he looked like.
        Sitting on a large throne, and looking slightly dwarfed by it, 
was the Usenet Oracle, found in the newsgroup He had a 
rather bored expression on his face, as if nothing could surprise him. 
Given that he was supposed to know everything, however, that should have 
been expected.
        "Supposed to know everything? _Supposed_?" The voice cut across 
the air, startling Retcon Lad. The Usenet Oracle was actually talking to 
him. "Of course I know everything. I'm the Oracle. I even know what 
you're thinking." There was a brief pause while Retcon Lad tried not to 
think about... "Seven." Damn.
        Fan.Boy took this opportunity to drag Retcon Lad closer to the 
Oracle, past the rest of the queue.
        "Do you know of something you don't know?" asked Retcon Lad.
        "I know that there's nothing I don't know," replied the Oracle.
        "So you do know of something you don't know?"
        "I know there's nothing I don't know," repeated the Oracle.
        "Isn't that just semantics," asked Retcon Lad, getting annoyed. 
"Why can't you just say that's something you don't know?"
        "Because I prefer it my way." The Oracle sat back, smug.
        "Oh wise and benevolent Oracle, tell this humble supplicant 
about wood-"
        "NO!" roared the Oracle, and turned to the supplicant that 
spoke. Fan.Boy and Retcon Lad turned to see someone kneeling at the 
throne's steps, someone who wore dark rimmed glasses, someone who was 
the version of Barry Knewbee.
        The Oracle pointed his finger and
        *** @@@@@@@@@@@   #########   !!!!!!!!!!!
        *** @@@@@@@@@@@  ##### #####  !!!!!!!!!!!
        *** @@@@@@@@@@@  ##### #####  !!!!!!!!!!!
                  @@@@@  ###     ###     !!!!!
                 @@@@@   ###     ###     !!!!!
                @@@@@    #         #     !!!!!
               @@@@@     #         #     !!!!!
              @@@@@      ###     ###     !!!!!
             @@@@@       ###     ###     !!!!!
            @@@@@@@@@@@  ##### #####     !!!!!  ***
            @@@@@@@@@@@  ##### #####     !!!!!  ***
            @@@@@@@@@@@   #########      !!!!!  ***
        a pair of smoking shoes remained.
        "You've killed him," gasped Fan.Boy.
        "Bah," said the Oracle. "He'll be back. He always is. And he 
always wants to know about woodchucks." He waved his hand, dismissing the 
situation. "Now ask your question."
        "But, but..." Fan.Boy pulled himself together. "All right. Tell 
        "No, not like that. Properly."
        "Oh. Right." Fan.Boy took a breath.

The Usenet Oracle has pondered your question deeply.
Your question was:

> Tell me, oh wise and benevolent Oracle, whose socks I am not worthy to 
> darn, whose footsteps I am not worthy to walk in. Please grace this 
> humble supplicant with an answer.
> Why am I in every newsgroup, and why can't I be killed?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

} One day a boy went for walk in a forest. He looked at the trees. He 
} looked at the birds. He looked at the ground.
} This has nothing to do with your question, by the way. I just thought 
} I'd mention it.
} Anyway, when you came into the net it was a real red letter day. I sent 
} those emergency warnings to everyone. You splintered across all the 
} newsgroups, pulled across by the power of the LNH Peril Room and the 
} other systems it was hooked to at the time.
} Due to you reading more than newsgroup, you came into existence in more 
} than one newsgroup. In fact, you appeared in all of them. As a fan, even.
} It was awful. When you showed up here, I *zot*ted you straight off. 
} Hey, Oracle's privilege. I knew what you were. I can do what I damn 
} well like. Except kill off all the woodchucks. Can't seem to do that...
} As for why you can't be killed, when one of you dies, say, the one I 
} *zot* every few minutes, you still exist elsewhere. Those other 
} selves split to fill up the gaps, as it were. Or, another copy is made 
} of the real Barry. Or visa versa.
} The funny thing is timing. As the Peril Room brought you to life, 
} only when it is used can you, and your counterparts, be reincarnated. 
} I suppose that if it was destroyed, you'd stop coming back to life. 
} Hmmm. Something to try.... 
} You owe the Oracle a bullseye on your next incarnation.


Retcon Lad sat in the net.thingee, disgusted. "'Not worthy to darn your 
socks'. Ha."
        "There are conventions, you know. Why were you so harsh on him, 
        "Bah, omniscience. Like omnipotent. Omnipotent Man certainly 
didn't prove to be. Why didn't he just do what he liked irrelevant of 
Retcon Roy? I doubt that the Oracle is knows everything either. 
Absolutes never are."
        [Omnipotent Man and Retcon Roy were in _R.E.J.E.C.T.S. '95 #1-2_ 
- Footnote Girl]
        Fan.Boy just raised an eyebrow at this.
        "Let's just go home. We can go home, can't we?"
        "Yep." Putting word to action, Fan.Boy kickstarted the engines.


Meanwhile, back at the LNHQ two figures awaited Fan.Boy. They would lead 
him into a game more deadly than anything he had yet faced. They would 
live or die, the choice lay in his hands.
        They were
        [Hey, what are you doing here?]
        ["About that 'babe' comment."]

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