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       [Fan.Boy and Jates struggle together bathed in radiance
        from the now opened ornate box (although it faces away
        from us). Dreck is in the background, looking at Fan.Boy 
        in horror.
        A special star shaped box proclaims "Let the hounds of 
                        war be unleashed!"]
Splash page: Fan.Boy lies, collapsed, on the floor, Dreck holding his 
head in his lap. In the background, Dr. Bill Jates looks on, laughing.
        Focus: Fan.Boy's upper body. His face and chest are twitching, 
as if fighting something inside. Dreck's head can be seen, somewhat 
cowed. Tears are running down it.
        Focus: Fan.Boy's face. His eyes are closed, and his mouth is 
twisted in a grimace. His face glistens with sweat. Dreck's hands can 
be seen, trying to stop Fan.Boy from moving.
        Focus: Fan.Boy's forehead. It is coated with sweat. His brow is 
furrowed, strained.
        The laughter flowed all around Barry, hounding him, beating at 
his defenses.
        "Who are you?" cried Barry, screaming out into the nothingness.
        "Stop it!" he yelled. "Stop it!"
Barry came to, still floating in nothing. Everywhere he looked, he 
couldn't see anything. He held his hand in front of his face. At least 
he could see that.
        Barry turned, over and over, around and around, trying to see 
something, anything, that might tell him where he was. Nothing. All 
around him. Nothing. Barry lost track of which way was up, but all ways 
seemed to be. He gave up, and stretched out. He decided that where he 
was staring right now was up.
        Nothing at all.
        A small pin-prick of light encountered his vision, then swam 
hazily. Barry realised that he was straining his eyes, and they were 
watering. He blinked rapidly.
        The light was small. Barry stared hard. Was it even there at 
all? Or was it something he himself had created, just to give himself 
something to look at.
        Barry decided that there was something there, but very far off. 
It was only when it blossomed like a nova a few seconds later that Barry 
had any impression of speed, but it was too late.
        Barry lay flattened on the ball of light as it rushed along. The 
forces pushing him backwards told him that he was traveling at a high 
        The light tumbled away from underneath him, and Barry guessed 
that the ball of light, whatever it really was, had stopped, but he 
        Barry now felt something else underneath him, and he reached 
down to feel what it was. It felt like a seat. He put a hand out 
carefully, and encountered something else. A table of some sort. Why 
couldn't he see it?
        Light again blossomed around him, but this was daylight flooding 
in through a window beside him.
        Barry started out, looking at a rock side outside. It fell away 
quickly, and Barry looked back to see that the train had just emerged 
from a tunnel.
        The train. Yes, he was on a train. It was familiar to him. Two 
years ago, when he was still in New Zealand, he had taken a trip from 
Christchurch to Greymouth on the Alpine Express. This was the same train.
        Barry lay back, letting his eyes fall on the seat opposite him. 
What the hell was he doing here?
        "Tickets please," someone said, sliding into the seat opposite 
him. Barry's eyes slowly focused on a guard's uniform. Ticket, ticket, 
where was his ticket?
        Barry patted himself down, looking for a pocket he might have put 
his ticket in, and felt strange material. He looked down. Spandex. He 
was still in his Fan.Boy outfit.
        Barry looked back up at the guard. "Excuse me, but I think..." 
He broke off as recognition grew. "Jates," he exclaimed.
        "Yes, yes, that's right," said Jates, back in his normal white 
clothing. "Wake up, Mr. Knewbee," he said, clicking his fingers under 
Barry's nose. "We're inside your mind now. It is a rather dreary place, 
I agree, but do try to stay awake. Your right of occupancy depends upon 
        What? "Right of occupancy?" Barry repeated, dimly.
        "Yes. Your right of occupancy," Jates said, rolling the r's. 
"You see, you drank the wrong potion, and you're dying."
        "We're still in the Peril Room, aren't we?" asked Barry.
        "Of course."
        Barry sat back, smug. "Well, that's all right then. If I die, 
I'll just come back to life."
        "Of course you will. Wouldn't do me any good if you didn't. But, 
it wasn't your body I was referring to. Your... what's a good word?.. 
soul, I suppose, usually travels from one body to the next. But not this 
time. That's what the potion is affecting. Your soul dies, and I take 
        "You? What do you want with me?"
        "You still don't know who I am, do you?"
        Barry shook his head.
        Jates sighed. "Ah, well, maybe later. Let's talk about me. Let's 
talk about how brilliant I really am."
        Barry snorted. "As if."
        "Don't be impertinent. Haven't you ever wondered: why do you 
come back to life? How can you access other newsgroups? Just how did you 
come to be in the LNH anyway?"
        "Not really. I've read the first issue. It was an accident in 
the Peril Room control systems. Reached out and grabbed me."
        Jates was fairly bubbling with excitement. "No it wasn't."
        "What was it then?" Barry asked slowly.
        "It was me. I did it. I did it all. You weren't pulled so much, 
Mr. Knewbee, as you were pushed. True, you were grabbed, but that was 
only due to my prompting."
        Barry held up a hand. "This is getting really silly. I'm going 
for a drink." He stood up, and turned towards where he remembered the 
buffet car as being.
        "Till later, then. Mr. Knewbee. Just try to remember who I am."
        Barry turned back, puzzled, but saw no-one there.
Barry returned to his seat after suitable fortification. Although he 
hadn't seen anyone else on the train except for the staff member at the 
buffet counter, she hadn't regarded him with any interest. Hadn't even 
asked for payment, as it happened.
        Barry sat, pondering his predicament. What did his powers have 
to do with the current situation? How exactly did his powers work, come 
to that? Most LNHers derived their powers from the comic book nature of 
the universe, without any need to resort to actual explanations.
        Still, there had to be something in it, or Jates wouldn't be 
making such a big fuss over it.
        As much as Barry thought about it, he still couldn't see any 
        "Been having fun, Mr. Knewbee?"
        "Do sit down, Dr. Jates," Barry said, pleasant for a change. 
Jates noticed the change of attitude, but slid into the seat without 
        "Worked it out yet?" asked Jates, a twinkle in his eye.
        Barry shook his head. "I have to admit that I'm stumped."
        "How far away is our universe, Mr. Knewbee?"
        "Our universe?"
        "Yes, the universe we both first existed in."
        "You're from there?" said Barry, his voice rising in surprise.
        Jates's expression took on a mask of pain. "You really do weary 
me, Mr. Knewbee. Of course I come from there. How else would I know you?"
        Barry studied Jates's face carefully. Was there someone in there 
he recognised? "Who are you?"
        Jates waved it away. "Never mind. Answer the question."
        Barry shrugged. "I can't. How far away is the colour yellow? 
What does a cat look like in the dark? It's not something that can be 
readily answered."
        "Try not to be obtuse, Mr Knewbee. The answer is, two universes 
away. There is only one between here and there. It is referred to, in 
the quaint terminology that this universe uses, the Writers' Universe."
        Barry's eyes bulged.
        "Tell me," said Jates, taking yet another turn. "Would you agree 
with the statement 'Everything written is fiction'."
        Barry blinked. "Well, I suppose..."
        "Even newspapers, Mr. Knewbee? Even diaries? Truth and fact 
written down by those who observed and experienced it?" Barry floundered 
for an answer. "Yes, even then that statement still remains true. While 
somewhat cynical, perhaps, even when events are written down, they are 
biased by those writing them, become what the observers think what 
happened, as opposed to what truly did happen."
        "And all this means?"
        "It means, whenever something is written down, it can never have 
taken place in our universe. Not exactly as it was written. Of course, 
generalities are true: 'So and so was promoted,' 'I got this present 
from whatshername,' but if the specifies of the event was ever written 
down, then it would be slightly changed."
        Barry thought about this. It seemed true. Maybe it even was. But 
what did it have to do with him.
        "The events that happened in.. the first issue, you called it. 
They were written down, yes?"
        "...yes," Barry said slowly.
        "And therefore, by the above argument, they can't have taken 
place in that universe they were written in."
        "Yet, they did happen somewhere. In a myriad of possibilities, 
everything is played out. The very basis for the existence for this here 
universe, is it not? And so, we have a universe that is exactly the same 
in all respects to the Writers' Universe, except that in that one Barry 
Knewbee's mind was copied and placed in the net. And so, that universe 
must be nest to the original one. One event differs only."
        "...I suppose," said Barry, doubtfully.
        "Fine," said Jates, changing his manner yet again. "Suppose what 
you will. It doesn't change the fact that it happened. Now for a 
questioned suited for your special talents. What happened in _Dvandom 
Force #42_?"
        Barry immediately remembered all the details, calling them 
easily to mind. He was about to reiterate the entire story, but 
considered its relevance to the current discussion.
        "At the end of it, the LNHiverse was placed next to the 
Writers' Universe."
        "Precisely," beamed Jates. "And so, the two universe are almost 
next to one another.
        "Imagine, if you will, someone immensely bored with their job. 
They're stuck in a tedious back-end country, placed in a life with no 
prospects, and yet their inner desires burn with a need to be expressed. 
Do you have any idea what that sort of mind could accomplish?"
        Barry shook his head.
        "Anything it wanted to. Only, it can't. It's stuck in the 
back-end of beyond with nothing better to do than twiddle its 
metaphorical thumbs.
        "And so, slowly, an idea grows. What a better way to find a 
release for the pent-up energies than to show them off? To do something 
to just show that it could be done? And in this case, what was planned 
was total domination and control."
        "Come off it," Barry scoffed. "That's been done to death. Why 
should this person be capable of ruling when so many others have tried?"
        "Ruling? No, not ruling. Guiding, nurturing, controlling form 
behind the scenes, nothing so overt as actual ruling, and all for some 
grand plan that can be decided upon later."
        "You mean they don't even know what they're going to do with 
this place if they get it?"
        "When, not if, when. And it's not important. Right now, getting 
control is more necessary than wielding it."
        "And so they're going to take over the LNHiverse? Some ambition."
        "Don't be so mundane. I said that this was far more that just 
this tawdry reality. I'm talking about control over the entire net 
        "Y'know," said Barry. "That's still a cliche."
        "Doesn't matter. What matters is actually being able to do it."
        "And the distance between universes come in..." Barry motioned 
with his hand, encouraging the conversation back onto topic.
        "Think about it. Once a foot hold could be gained in one 
net.reality, it would be child's play to get to any other. Many times 
has the LNH gone beyond its own boundaries."
        "True, true. I've done so myself."
        "Indeed. At that's partly the point. A foot hold. In just one. 
And, in this case, the closest one is just one universe over. The 
LNHiverse. Its so close, so malleable. Anyone with power could tweak a 
few things here and there, and presto!"
        "Presto? Isn't that a cheap drink?"
        "Presto: the extradimensional Peril Room systems are linked with 
the extranormal capabilities of the HoloDecStations and the manipulatory 
skills of the Transmat Chambers, and someone from outside that reality 
is plucked out and deposited there for control."
        "But all those other realities..."
        "Once one universe had been breached, and a subject was taken, 
it was simple for the HoloDecStations to recreate your body for the 
Transmat Chambers to send, via the Peril Room, to other realities. And 
lo, you were distributed.
        "Whenever you died, the HoloDecStations would take a copy of 
your brain, and the Transmat would recreate you in the Peril Room, 
reimprinting your mind. Voila, eternal life. Similar happenings for 
your other selves."
        Barry looked suspicious. "How was I able to keep in touch with 
my other selves, even swap with them?"
        "The mind is a vast thing. One mind is capable of controlling so 
much with so little resource used. It was only really one mind in all 
those bodies. Infused with the reality itself, you were able to read 
every post, even on other newsgroups. As you were closest to our home 
reality, you maintained your sense of self in the net, even able to 
place yourself in your other selves, leaving a simple version of 
yourself running."
        "All right, then. Explain how I can stun people," challenged 
        "As you appeared in newsgroups that didn't just speak English, 
others had to understand you. So, when you cursed, this reality replaces 
that with punctuation as comics do, and the Transmat Chamber placed that 
speech directly into the minds of all those who would be able to hear 
you. They thought they heard you speaking punctuation when they were 
really reading it, so they were stunned by understanding the words as 
        Barry nodded. It made sense. Sure, it was insane, but it still 
made sense.
        "So what you're saying is, I was put here so you could take over 
the net."
        "Yes, but it didn't work out that easy. You were independent. 
Couldn't control you."
        Barry beamed.
        "Tried to install someone else. The first time the 
HoloDecStations were used after your arrival, they were programmed to 
construct a mindless zombie for controlling. Only, that didn't work out 
        "Those B1FFBOTS," gasped Barry. "They were supposed to happen? I 
thought I created them."
        "No, Mr. Knewbee. They would have happened anyway. It was just 
unfortunate that they were so stupid."
        "Finally, something we can agree on."
        "But now, power and experience has been established. I am ready 
to make my move."
        Jates stood up to leave, but Barry stayed him.
        "Even if you do manage to take control of my body, and I am 
going to do everything I can to stop you-"
        "I wouldn't expect you to do otherwise, Mr. Knewbee," Jates said.
        "-to stop you," said Barry again, trying to pretend that Jates 
hadn't interrupted him, "just how are you going to achieve your plans? I 
can't change things, just see how things are."
        "That is the point, Mr. Knewbee. You will become the eyes, ears 
and mouth of this operation, but there is someone else who will be the 
        "Do you remember your fight with Firewall?"
        Barry nodded. "Of course."
        "Then you must also remember the devices that she used."
        Barry clicked his fingers. "Of course. The firewalling machines 
she set up around America."
        "That's right. I am pleased to see you as eager about your death 
as I am." This sobered Barry up. "By accessing those machines, the net 
can be affected, can therefore changed, guided onto a new course. 
Dictatorship over what everyone says."
        "But, surely that's pure luck. There's no way that you could 
have gambled on Firewall setting those machines up."
        "Are you sure? Who do you think instigated the 'Good Times' 
virus? There is always a way, but I will tell you that this was 
particularly fortuitous."
        "But, who else is being used?"
        "That, Mr. Knewbee, is a question I'll let you ponder on while I 
am away."
        "And what of Dreck?" asked Barry. "What have you done to him?"
        "What a positively lovely idea," said Jates. "I'll bring him 
back with me. I'll need someone to help me carry the thing anyway. Good 
day, Mr. Knewbee."
        Jates left, and Barry sank into despondence. He let his mind 
range over recent posts on alt.comics.lnh, trying to find out who else 
was in trouble.
        That's when he came across a post by his author, indicating 
Fan.Boy's short lease on life, posted at the beginning of the year.
        It boded. It most definitely boded.
Barry had only finished the various Christmas stories (and wondering how 
he managed to be in some of them when he was stuck in the Peril Room all 
this time), when Jates arrived back. He thought he knew who the other 
person was, but was distracted by the arrival.
        Jates backed into the train carriage, carrying something. Barry 
tried to make out what it was, it was familiar, but was distracted again 
when he saw Jates's helper.
        "Dreck!" Barry cried.
        "Hello Barry," said Dreck, looking rather worn out. "I am glad 
to see you again."
        "What's he done to you?"
        "Nothing," Dreck replied, helping Jates to set the thing on the 
table opposite Barry. It was the ornate box that they had found near the 
beginning of this adventure. "I was in blackness until I found myself in 
one of these rooms with this thing beside me."
        "We aren't in my mind at all, are we Jates?" asked Barry, 
        "No. We are not. But what happens here shall dictate what 
happens to your body from now on. It's a fight for your existance, Mr. 
Knewbee. Are you ready to begin?"
        "Just how do you expect to get it?"
        "With this." Jates raised the lid of the box easily enough, 
showing no signs of the trouble Barry had had. Light streamed out, a 
blaze of brillance, forcing Barry and Dreck to look away. Everything 
around them glowed while Jates retrieved something from inside. He 
lowered the lid back, and the luminesence died off.
        "And now, we begin." Barry turned to see what Jates was holding, 
and felt a tremor of trepidation.
        It was an action figure, like GI Joe or Barbie. But this one was 
of an LNHer: him. Jates held in his hand a Fan.Boy doll.
        "This is a symbol of everything that you are, here in this 
reality. Who possesses this, possesses you."
        "Then I'll have to take it back."
        Barry lunged for the doll just as the train took an abrupt 
swerve. Jates and Barry crashed together, going down, the doll falling 
out of Jates's hand and falling down the carriage way.
        Barry tried to keep Jates pinned, but Jates struggled ferociously.
        "Dreck," Barry called. "Get the doll."
        Dreck sidled passed them, but a leg kick by Jates sent him 
sprawling. Jates then twisted Barry, and forced him under a table. 
Standing up, Jates gave Dreck a vicious kick to the back of his skull, 
then trod over the fallen body.
        Jates picked up the doll as Barry scrambled out from under the 
table. He knelt down by Dreck. "If you've hurt him..." warned Barry.
        "Don't worry about him," said Jates, breathing heavily. "I think 
it's time you were taught a few lessons before the task is accomplished.
        Barry helped Dreck get into a seat, and held him until the 
dizzyness that Dreck felt passed. He pulled Dreck up, to help him out of 
the carriage, when a pain shot through his back.
        "I'm not finished with you, Mr. Knewbee," said Jates. "But when 
I have, you'll wish you'd never been born."
        Barry fell to his knees, twisting, as so was positioned to see 
Jates forcing a pin into the back of the Fan.Boy doll, on the same spot 
that the fire entered his body. Unfortunately, Barry wasn't in any 
position to do anything about it.
        "Leave him alone," cried Dreck, letting electricity play over 
his hand.
        "Uh uh, don't be so hasty," said Jates, holding the doll in 
front of him protectivily. "If you hit the doll, your lover boy gets a 
rather nasty burn."
        "Barry, what can I do?" asked Dreck, bending down to help his 
friend, but unable to do anything.
        "Argh," screamed Barry, as Jates stuck the pin into the doll's 
chest. "Za.. zap h.. him.." he gasped.
        "But I might hit the doll."
        "Aim fo... for.. his... his legs..."
        Dreck stood up, determination in his eyes.
        "Back off," warned Jates, keeping the doll between them.
        Dreck fired a short burst off, catching Jates unawares, and 
hitting his legs. Jates collapsed on the floor, letting the doll fall.
        Dreck jumped over Barry, and caught it, and quickly pulled the 
pin out.
        Jates sunk his teeth into Dreck's leg, and Dreck cried out. 
Jates's mouth burned as Dreck changed back into a ball of energy, but 
the doll Dreck was holding also suffered.
        Barry writhed on the ground, electricity pouring over the doll, 
and pain washing over him. The doll dropped to the floor, both it and 
Barry now ragged around the edges.
        Jates picked the doll back up. "Right. Now this ends."
        Barry, enraged, threw himself at Jates.
The train rocketed through the countryside, passing trees, fields and 
hills, all with an unseeing eye.
        Through the window of one of the carriages two bodies flew. They 
bounced on the ground, doing one of them serious damage. The body that 
wore glasses, and lay there, wincing in agony.
        The other got up, and scrabbled in the dirt for something.
        "Mr. Knewbee, I'm afraid our partnership must come to an end. 
Although this is a cliche, in this case it is terminally true. There 
can be only one!" Jates twisted the head of the doll, and Barry's neck 
turned in sympathy.
        Jates held the head at right angles, letting pain flow through 
Barry's body. He moved his hand, but didn't get further as something 
thumped into him, and he fell onto the ground.
        "Leave him alone!" Dreck said.
        Jates turned over to see Dreck standing above him defiantly, 
fist poised. "Leave him alone now, or I'll supercharge your body."
        "You do, and I'll squeeze the life out of Mr. Knewbee with my 
dying spasms." Jates held the doll around the waist, pulling a tight 
grip on it, showing that he meant his words.
        "Do it," Barry said, gasping. "Or Dreck will burn your legs off. 
I'll survive long enough to pry the doll from your writhing body."
        "My dear Mr Knewbee," said Jates, sounding somewhat surprised. 
"But I want you to have this. I really do. I merely wanted to make it as 
unpleasant as possible for you before hand. As that simple pleasure will 
be denied me, I must submit to your wishes."
        Jates threw the doll to Barry, who caught it reflexively, unable 
to believe it was that easy.
        "I thought you said that whoever has the doll controls me."
        "Well, it's close. Whoever has the doll is controlled by it," 
Jates explained.
        Barry looked closely at the doll, seeing slight differences 
between it and himself. He didn't hear Dreck's stuttered worries.
        The doll was built in his image, but there was something wrong. 
There was no way he had glowing red eyes. And there was never any energy 
tendrils playing around his hands like that.
        The doll moved in his hand, and Barry looked on in surprise as 
it grew. Barry tries to release it, but found his hand now buried inside 
the doll.
        As it grew, more of him was sucked inside. Dreck grabbed the 
doll, pulling at it, was had to stop when Barry felt his arm being 
pulled off.
        The doll was the size of a child when Barry's torso started 
disappearing into it. Dreck looked on helpless as Barry's head was 
sucked inside. The rest of the body followed, and the doll grew more, 
until Barry's legs vanished into the interior.
        The doll jerked, and sprang alive, it's eyes glowing and energy 
tendrils dancing around his hands.
        Dreck's horror was complete when he saw the grin.
Elsewhere, in a reality two universes away, a woman studied her computer 
screen and smiled.
        "At last," she whispered to the screen. "You're mine."
Splash page: In the Peril Room, now deactivated. Standing on the bare 
floor are Dreck and Fan.Boy, Dreck looking at Fan.Boy in horror. Fan.Boy 
stands there, energy now playing over his entire body. His grin shows 
all his teeth, and the glow goes far beyond his eyes. In his left hand is 
the package from #14, and his other hand is a fist of triumph.
        "Revelation (III: 14)"
        by Jamas Enright
 NEXT ISSUE: Ha ha! It starts! The greatest take over of all time! And 
the instigator: Fan.Boy!
Cross-overing with _Misfits_, be here for _Fan.Boy #16_: "Let the games 
All mine. Again. I gotta start using other characters.
Back to the Index.