______ _________ _____ ____ ____ _______ _____ ___ ___ | | | | / _ \ | \| | | /\ \ / _ \ \ \ / / |BLiP| | |~~~~~ / / \ \ | | | | \/ | / / \ \ \ | / | | | ~~~~~| | ~~~ | | | ____ | / | | | | | | |#12 | | |~~~~~ | ___ | | | | | | | /\ ~| \ \ / / | | | | | | | | | | | |\ | | | | ~~ / \ ~ / | | ~~~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ [The cover is a picture of Fan.Boy staring at a glowing chest, with a backdrop of jungle.] -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Fan.Boy walked into the medical bay and looked around for anyone in attendance. He spotted Organic Lass, who was standing over an androgenous body with milky white skin and few facial features. Organic Lass looked up at the intrusion, then waved Fan.Boy over when she recognised him. "How is It-Star?" Fan.Boy asked, looking down at the body on the bed. It-Star was a being created by Queen Enterprises and delivered to the LNHQ for some reason. It had the ability to take on the bodies of various LNHers, though without their powers. Organic Lass sighed. "It's hard going. It-Star doesn't seem to have any personality of its own, just those of the LNHers it emulates. I've managed to talk to it while it's between bodies, as it were, but the results are quite frustrating. You can see for yourself when I bring it out of sleep." Organic Lass bent down and applied a hypo-spray to It-Star's neck. It-Star slowly stirred before becoming fully conscious. It stared up at them without any comment. "Hello," said Organic Lass. "How are you feeling?" After a pause, It-Star finally asked, "What is 'you'?" As an aside, Organic Lass commented "It has no concept of self." To It-Star, "You is this body." She indicated It-Star's body. It-Star looked down. "This body is a you?" "Not quite. You are you, and you inhabit this body." "What is 'you'?" Organic Lass squeezed her eyes shut. "Circles within circles within circles," she muttered to herself. Fan.Boy was about to suggest something when he heard an announcement over the intercom. "Fan.Boy, report to the Peril Room." Fan.Boy blanched. Last time he was in there, he had been mercilessly pounded by Amazonian women in an attempt to pass a test to become Writer's Block Woman's sidekick. It was not a memory he treasured. He grimaced. "I'll be back later," he said before leaving. _-~-_ The mouse looked up as Fan.Boy passed it. Its nose twitched, testing the air around it. It was about to move before being shocked into immobility as a piece of cloth passed quickly by it. A few moments later, it started moving again, and disappeared into the medical bay. Organic Lass looked up from It-Star. This was really frustrating. If she could just get It-Star to realise who it was, it would really become a powerful entity, able to take on the bodies of others, and be capable of amazing acts. Footsteps had distracted her, though. When she saw who it was, she gave a gasp of surprise. "Pliable Lad, what are you doing back? Didn't you retire?" "I still am retired," Pliable Lad assured her. "But, I was told about an LNHer that had the ability to assume the shapes of others, and was asked to come in when you started having problems." "Yes, I could do with someone else's help, and a shapechanger might just be the sort of thing." "Actually, I think Substitution Lad might have been better," said Pliable Lad, "but he isn't here and I am." He looked down and saw It-Star looking up at him. "Hello there." It-Star blinked, but didn't respond. Pliable Lad turned to Organic Lass. "Are you trying any drugs?" "I thought of a neural enhancer, but the last time I injected it with anything, there was an adverse reaction." "I think a small dose should help. My system could handle it, therefore it probably could." Organic Lass nodded, and moved over to a nearby bench to prepare it. Pliable Lad turned his attention back to the innocent eyes of It-Star. _-~-_ Fan.Boy approached the Peril Room trepidously. Peering around the corner, he saw the Ultimate Ninja and the Renegade Programmer outside the main doors, the latter having a light snack of a family size cake of chocolate. "Er, hello," he said, sidling up to them. The Renegade Programmer jumped at Fan.Boy's unannounced entrance, but the ninja didn't stir, but pointed into the Peril Room itself. "What do you see in there?" the leader asked. Fan.Boy gazed into the room and saw jungle. A shiver ran down his spine. "No Amazons I hope." "No," replied the ninja. "They have been taken care of." Fan.Boy didn't ask for amplification of that. "Why did you want me here?" "Something inside is causing this problem. We can't shut it down." "I thought it was a problem in the regen circuits, but it's far worse than that," reported the programmer. "We sent a few people in to try to investigate, but they barely got out alive." "And?" "So, we want you to go in there and find out what is happening." "But," protested Fan.Boy. "But, I could die." The ninja shrugged. "And you'll come back to life again. In there." "Cannon Fodder-" "Would only reappear in his Rejuvenation Chamber in the Monitoring Room," supplied the programmer. The ninja sighed. "You are the best choice." "But, aren't you even going to give me a gun or anything?" "You'd only lose it when you died. There's nothing short of a..." The ninja trailed off as he saw something behind Fan.Boy. Moving swiftly, and silently, he dodged past Fan.Boy and picked the something up. Fan.Boy turned around to see a brown fedora hat and a bullwhip in one hand, while the ninja was reading a note in his other hand. "I hate it when this happens," the ninja said. "This hat and whip is made of plot.devicium. When you die, they'll reappear with your new body. Looks like you wont be defenseless after all." Fan.Boy held the hat and whip, looking at them. "I thought you were supposed to be Mr. Nice Ninja now." "I am," the ninja replied. "If I wasn't, I would have killed you and put you in the Peril Room that way." "Point." _-~-_ Organic Lass turned back from the table, checking the applicator to make sure there was no air trapped inside. She walked back to Pliable Lad and injected the fluid into It-Star. "It has so much potential if it could only control its own metamorphosis." "Could certainly help to bring crooks into custody more easily," agreed Pliable Lad. "Imagine having your boss order you to surrender to the LNH." As he spoke, It-Star's body started changing. "Oh no," said Organic Lass. "This will cause problems." They watched as the form of Dr. Boring. He stared around. "Oh. I'm in the LNHQ. This is like the time I met Simon Devious. I woke up in a building then too. It was when..." "Get a sedative. Fast," hissed Pliable Lad. Organic Lass returned quickly to the table, and grabbed another tube of medication. As she returned, a thought struck her. "How's Touri these days? We haven't heard anything from either of you for so long." "She's doing wonderfully," replied Pliable Lad. "This is official yet, but she's going to become the Head of Tourism for the state of Wash.net.ton," he confided. "Oh, that's wonderful," said Organic Lass silencing Dr. Boring. "When will it be made official?" Pliable Lad was about to respond when It-Star's body started convulsing. "No!" cried Organic Lass. "This has happened before. It-Star doesn't respond well to drugs. Keep an eye on it." "Most certainly," replied Pliable Lad, leaning over It-Star, his arm changing while out of Organic Lass's sight. _-~-_ Fan.Boy pushed himself through the jungle. It was hard going, and he had scratched himself many times, but so far the most dangerous thing he had faced was a hungry bird. He removed his glasses again to wipe the condensation from them, and squinted around. Nothing. He didn't know what the others before him had found, and he didn't want to know. Something moved in the jungle, but by the time he put his glasses back on the jungle was still again. "I hate this, I hate this, I hate this," Fan.Boy repeated to himself. He took a step forward, and tripped over a log. His head knocked against a tree, shaking it. The bee hive crashed on his head, squashing his hat, and spilling the bees out. "Ow, ow, ow," cried Fan.Boy from repeated beestings. The sensations became overwhelming, and then they... stopped. Fan.Boy looked over at a buzzing sound and saw a sight that made him shudder. His own body being stung by bees. Shifting his gaze, he settled on a tree. As he watched the tree seemed to lose... shape. Become blocky and chunky. Lose resolution, distort. He reached up to scratch his head in puzzlement and his hand encountered his fedora. Yep. It transfered bodies. He looked back at the tree, but it was back to normal. _-~-_ Organic Lass quickly returned to It-Star, running a scanner over it's body. "The heart's palpitating," she read. "There's air in the blood stream! How'd that get in there?" Pliable Lad was too busy holding It-Star's body down to answer. "Help me get it over to the stasis bed. I'll put it into stasis until I can replenish the blood supply." Pliable Lad wrapped his arms around and around It-Star's body until it was held tight. With the help of Organic Lass, he moved It-Star over to the stasis bed that had once held a fluctuating Sig.Lad. Organic Lass erected the stasis field, giving Pliable Lad just enough time to get his arms out of the way, and It-Star's body stopped moving. "How do you plan on replenishing the blood? You can't breach the stasis field." "I can set up a device to conduct a blood transfusion as soon as I deactivate the field. If it's fast enough, I might be able to save it." "Where do you plan on getting the blood?" "We have a vast supply of blood kept here in case of when LNHers need private surgery. We can easily use that." "All right then," said Pliable Lad. "What do I do?" _-~-_ Fan.Boy crashed to a halt, breathing hard. That was the forth time he'd been killed on this trip, and very time it had been painful. It had also become more frequent. Fan.Boy wasn't sure it that was good or bad. Once or twice he had seen resolution problems with parts of the jungle, but so far there was no explanation. Must have been part of the general failure of the Peril Room. Breathing hard, he looked ahead and finally saw a clearing. He pushed onwards, wanting to get somewhere he could lie down properly for a while. On reaching the edge of the clearing, he promptly fell over again, and sprawled himself at the feet of a lounger. Fan.Boy raised his head slightly. Yep, it was a lounger. One of those three piece jobs that are supposed to be able to compact into an easy carry size, but invariably end up folding up with the person sitting on it inside it. Fan.Boy looked higher and saw the person sitting in it. He wore comfortable white slacks, expensive lounge shoes (white), a white shirt open to let the air flow properly, and a white hat crowning his head, with a hint of white hair poking out from underneath it. The man's face, while aged, still held a spark of life that proved that the man knew very well what was happening. He raised a tall glass fool of ice tea. "Congratulations. You have finally caught up with me. I was beginning to think you'd never get here." Without getting up off the ground, Fan.Boy looked around the clearing. He saw big goons. Big goons with guns. A pleasant little jaunt this wasn't. "Who are you, may I ask?" Fan.Boy inquired from his lowly position. "You may. I am Bill Jates," Jates said. "I suppose that you are also wondering why I am here. I am here, Mr. Knewbee, to acquire a prize. A very precious prize. And you are going to help me capture it." Fan.Boy decided that it was about time to make more of a presence, and slowly got to his feet. He had registered the use of his name, but was letting it go. "Just what is the prize, Mr. Jates?" Jates put up a hand. "Please. Dr. Jates. I am a Doctor of Archaeology, and it is an archaeological treasure that I wish to find. You're going to help me." "Why should I? You didn't say 'pretty please, with sugar on top'." "Come now, Mr. Knewbee. Have I been nothing but cordial with you? Hear me out, why don't you? What could that hurt?" Fan.Boy eyed the goons. "I think not. I'll be on my way." Fan.Boy moved to step back into the jungle, but the goons targeted him with their guns before he took two steps. "I think you'd better sit down. So much better than dying." Fan.Boy took the offered chair, but scowled. "I can't help you. I'm not an archaeologist." "Let me tell you one description I have heard. Mr. Barry Knewbee. Professor of comics, expert on the LNH, and how does one say it? Obtainer of rare issues." "I don't force people at gunpoint to do my work for me. I'm not like you. "Ah, Mr. Knewbee," Jates said. "You and I are very much alike. Collecting is our religion, yet we have both fallen from the pure faith. Our methods have not differed as much as you pretend. I am but a shadowy reflection of you. It would take only a nudge to make you like me. To push you out of the light." "Now you're getting nasty," Fan.Boy responded. "Mr. Knewbee," said Jates, sitting forward. "Let me get to the point. I have a proposition for you. I can't get to the heart of the problem. It is slightly too... lethal for me. But, you have a way to overcome that little problem. "I want you to find a place for me. It is the Lost Park. It is somewhere in this jungle, and I do not have the ability to find it, but I think you can." "And what makes you so sure of that?" "You have an affinity with this place. It helped make you what you are. You will be able to find the Park. There will be clues around, clues that only you could find or understand. Well?" "I'll take your offer," replied Fan.Boy, before quickly adding, "but not to help you. I want to know what this treasure is, and if it is as valuable as you make out, I will stop you from ever having it." "Rather auspicious of you, but I accept. You may leave whenever." Fan.Boy jumped up from his chair and dashed off into the jungle before any of the goons could take pot-shots at him. His dramatic exit was only marred slightly by his falling over another log and into a small pond where he knocked himself out on the bottom and drowned. _-~-_ Pliable Lad and Organic Lass stood back and looked at their efforts. The device looked like nothing more than a dentist's drill, although this drill was set up over It-Star's heart, and when the field was switched off, it would descend and pump fresh blood straight into It-Star's heart. "Ready," said Organic Lass, at the stasis bed controls. Pliable Lad nodded and she deactivated the field. The drill started up instantly and plunged into It-Star's chest. Immediately, It-Star spasmed, pinned by the drill. Organic Lass looked at her readings incrediously. "We missed the heart. This body's designed differently. I can't believe I missed that!" Pliable Lad said nothing, just continued to watch It-Star's writhing. Organic Lass attempted to shut the system down. "It's not working!" she cried. "Pli, pull it off!" Pliable Lad reached up and grasped the top off the drill. For a moment, Organic Lass thought that he was pushing it down harder, but he wouldn't do that. But, it was only after the drill had slipped sideways, cutting It-Star's chest open, that Pliable Lad managed to pull the drill away. Organic Lass re-erected the stasis field, but could tell that it was already too late. "Internal body structure is irrevocably damaged. Internal organs have been injected with blood and most have collapsed under the strain. Most of the chest is ruined, and any repairs would take too long in the present conditions." Organic Lass's voice was wooden, as if distancing herself from the body she knew would be all too soon dead. Pliable Lad reached across to comfort her. "You did the best you could. There's no way you can save it." "There should be," she said angrily. "I know. I'll send the body back to Queen Enterprises in stasis. They created It-Star, they should be able to save it." Organic Lass left to make arrangements. Pliable Lad was alone, looking down at the bed. "Unfortunately," he said to himself, "there was an unexplained power failure." He deactivated the bed, watching dispassionately at It-Star thrashed in death throes. "The shape-shifter's job is safe." _-~-_ Fan.Boy looked the statue over carefully. This was the second one he had encountered. The structure was very interesting. It was an exact replica of Errand Boy. The one previously had been a statue of Search Lass. He thought this meant that he was looking for something, but it was a stretch of a connection. His deaths were happening more frequently too. He also supposed this meant that he was getting closer to the source of the problem, but this was definitely something he wasn't happy about. That was when the statue changed while he was looking at it. It lost all sense of resolution, and became just a blurry image. Then it sharpened as something else. A form very familiar to Fan.Boy, and one that stirred feelings inside him. Before him stood Dreck. Fan.Boy backpedalled, startled. He paused, hand to his chest, breathing to get over his surprise. Dreck opened his mouth to say something, then close it, then opened it again. "You are.. familiar to me. Have we met before?" Fan.Boy looked at Dreck carefully. His physical condition had certainly improved. The bruises had gone, and muscle tone was more normal, but his mental condition Fan.Boy couldn't ascertain. "Yes," Fan.boy replied carefully. "We met before. I helped you. Took you to our power station so you could recover. How did you get in here?" Dreck raised his hands, indicating everything around him. "This is energy, as am I. I can become one with it. Tell me, what happened to my masters?" Fan.Boy's heart gave out, and he reached out and violently hugged Dreck. Dreck hesitantly returned the hug. "Oh, Dreck. That's all over now. They're dead, and you're safe." Fan.Boy broke the embrace, and looked into Dreck's eyes. Dreck shook his head. "No, they are not dead." Fan.Boy gasped. Did the powers of Pjack and Pjill, highly psionic creatures from a future alternative dimension, also have capabilities to overcome death? "Why not?" "If they were dead, I would be free." Fan.Boy nodded. "I am not allowed to be free." "Oh, Dreck." Fan.Boy touched Dreck's face tenderly, tracing the outline of it. "They are dead. You are free." "No," said Dreck sternly, stepping away. "I cannot be free. I am not allowed to be. Tell me, why are you here?" Fan.Boy looked at Dreck, his heart sinking inside him, but allowed the change of subject. "I am looking for something. A lost Park. I can't really say that I know what I'm looking for." "Perhaps I could help you," said Dreck. "I can traverse this place much easier than you. I will return." With that, Dreck dissolved back into energy form, leaving Fan.Boy touching only rock. _-~-_ Organic Lass walked back into the medical bay followed by the Ultimate Ninja. "It's right over-" she started before seeing the patient in question. She rushed over and quickly scanned the body, but it was obviously dead. "What happened?" she cried. "Where's Pliable Lad?" "Pliable Lad?" asked the ninja. "What was he doing here. He's in Seattle. I just got an email from him this morning." "Didn't you ask him to come in to help me with It-Star?" The ninja shook his head. "Why should I? He's retired." "Well, he was here. He helped me with It-Star." "That wasn't him. I think I know who that was, but why would he be here?" Organic Lass knew who the ninja was referring to, then remembered something else. "Did Pli say anything about Touri becoming the new Head of Tourism?" "Yes, in fact. Although it isn't official yet. How did you know?" "_He_ told me." "But, how did he know?" The mouse escaped unnoticed. _-~-_ With Dreck's help, Fan.Boy made better progress through the jungle. He had avoided most of the traps, and was still on his second body since meeting Dreck. Eventually, Dreck informed him that there was a "non-energy" clearing up ahead. By "non-energy", Dreck meant that this place was as real to him as it was to Fan.Boy, even to the extent of being able to harm him. When Fan.Boy got there, he looked around in wonder. This was definitely the Park! There were swings, slides, a fortress, and lots of things to climb over. There were also many statues here. Panta, Thesaurus Lass, Sing-Along Lass, and others, all in positions indicating joy and fun. However, in the centre of the Park was a statue of the Ultimate Ninja, looking serious as always, holding his katana out, pointed straight downwards. Fan.Boy walked around slowly, trying to take it all in. Dreck was seriously studying one of the swings, and gently prodding it. Fan.Boy walked over to him. "Have you never seen a swing before?" Fan.Boy asked. Dreck shook his head. Fan.Boy sat down in one, and started swinging. "Come on. Try it. It's fun!" Slowly, and with much wonder, Dreck sat down in one of the swings. He moved forwards and backwards slightly, his face betraying the marvel of the feeling. Soon, he was swinging in small arcs, enjoying himself, but still afraid of the unknown. Fan.Boy was showing off with really big arcs. They tried other amusements, Fan.Boy all the while showing Dreck what to do. Although Dreck liked the simplicity of the slide, he found that the merry-go-round made him too dizzy. They laughed while they played. Dreck found a childhood of fun, and Fan.Boy found a good friend in Dreck. They crept all over the fortress, popping out of holes in the side, and pretending that the fortress was a spaceship, or a submarine, or anything else they wanted. While attempting to get on the roof, Dreck slipped and fell to the ground. Fan.Boy was at his side in an instant. "I do not like this place anymore," Dreck said. "Yes. Perhaps we have had enough." Dreck was only winded, and soon back on his feet. "What can you tell me about this place?" asked Fan.Boy. "It's different to the jungle. It's real in a way that the jungle and I am not. It's also energy in a way that you are not." Dreck shrugged. "I have not seen anything like this." "Is there any more to this place, or is this all that there is? There doesn't seem much more for any treasure." Dreck looked downwards. "No, there is more of this place. Underneath us. The easiest way down is through..." He walked about, trying to make full sense of what he could feel. "Here." He pointed, directly where the ninja's katana was pointing. "Now all we have to do is dig," Fan.Boy said. "No need," Dreck replied, grinning in a way that made Fan.Boy feel happy. "I can blast it. It isn't like me, so I can affect it as well." So saying, he pointed his hand and let energy flow off the end. It sparked on the ground brightly, burning away the ground where it touched. Soon, there was an appreciable hole. Fan.Boy and Dreck peered down into the gloom. "Why is the floor pointed?" Dreck asked. "Stakes," Fan.Boy replied after a bit. "Why'd it have to be stakes?" Dreck's eyes could make something else out. "Poison-tipped... very dangerous. You go first." "Thanks," Fan.Boy said wryly. He unwound the previously useless bullwhip, and tied the end to the ninja's arm. He let the rest of it dangle down. With a grunt, he maneouvered himself down the rope. He stopped before the touched the stakes, and, with much twisting of the rope, kicked an area clear. He dropped the rest of the way, but landed badly, sprawling and nearly catching himself on the rest of the stakes. "Okay. Come down." Dreck descended more gracefully than Fan.Boy did and lighted easily on the ground. They both looked around themselves, but could barely see anything. Fan.Boy thought his eyes were accustoming themselves, but realised that Dreck was glowing. By Dreck-light, they could now see that the stakes only extended for a short time, and Fan.Boy kicked them a clear path out. The rest of the place was like a vault, overly large, but completely bare. Well, not completely. In a small alcove was a chest. It was this that Fan.Boy decided the treasure must reside in. He picked it up, but it was rather heavy. He tried to open it, but was unable to move anything. "Come on. We'll move this outside where we can better see it." With Dreck's help, Fan.Boy carried it across to the whip, and they tied the end to a handle on top of the chest. With Dreck going first, they climbed back up the whip. Although it creaked alarmingly, the whip held. Once up, they hauled the chest up, and placed it beside the hole. They were about to try to open it again, when they heard a voice behind them. "Well, Mr. Knewbee. Again we see there is nothing you can possess which I cannot take away." Fan.Boy and Dreck turned slowly to see Dr. Bill Jates standing behind them, and the goons further back, but with a better position to aim their guns from. "I'll take that if you don't mind." "I think I do," Fan.Boy replied. The goons moved forward and grabbed him and Dreck without much problem. Dreck struggled feebly. He had given out too much energy to be able to help now. "Let me go. You scare me." "Let him go!" cried Fan.Boy. "He's got nothing to do with this." "Ahh," said Jates. "But he has everything to do with you. I think I'll hold onto him to ensure your cooperation." "@#$@ you," said Fan.Boy. [Although the goons and Dreck were stunned, Jates shook his head disappointedly. Due to the goons' positions when they frozen, Fan.Boy was still unable to escape.] ["I expected better from my adversary."] "Get stuffed." "Now, now. I think you need to be taught a lesson." Jates nodded to the goons, who proceeded to twist Dreck's arm behind his back. "No!" Fan.Boy cried. "Stop that!" "Do not hurt me," Dreck cried. "My masters will get you. Master! Where are you?" Dreck dissolved, off to seek his masters, leaving Fan.Boy alone. "Ah, the return of a child to its parents. Can there be a more sweet thought?" Jates asked. "His masters are dead, although he doesn't accept that yet," said Fan.Boy, somewhat sadly. "There is always a master for us all. The all mighty one." "You want to talk to God? Let's go see him together, I've got nothing better to do!" Fan.Boy leapt out of the goons' grasp and straight at Jates, who easily backhanded him. "Not today, i think. Gentlemen, down the hole." The goons picked Fan.Boy up, and held him squirming over the hole. Jates reached out and removed the whip. "What a fitting end to your life's pursuits. You're about to become a permanent addition to this archaeological find. Who knows? In a thousand years, even you may be worth something." The goons dropped Fan.Boy. Splash page: View from above. The goons and Jates circle the hole, and far down can be seen the shattered remains of Fan.Boy's body. "Raiders of the Lost Park." by Jamas Enright. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Next issue: What is in the chest? Will Dreck come back? What other movie quotes can the author find? All revealed in FAN.BOY #13: "The Temple of Boom!" -------- Credits: Organic Lass created by Rebecca Brayer, used entirely without permission because Rebecca doesn't seem to be around any more. Pliable Lad created by Mike Escutia. Touri's promotion was due to me. But she earned it herself. Honest. Ultimate Ninja created by wReam, and if he was written wrongly it's 'cos wReam hasn't provided an updated How-To-Write. Renegade Programmer was created by wReam as a WC for Joshua Dinerstein. The rest all belong to me.Back to the Index.