______ _________ _____ ____ ____ _______ _____ ___ ___ | | | | / _ \ | \| | | /\ \ / _ \ \ \ / / |BLiP| | |~~~~~ / / \ \ | | | | \/ | / / \ \ \ | / | | | ~~~~~| | ~~~ | | | ____ | / | | | | | | |#20 | | |~~~~~ | ___ | | | | | | | /\ ~| \ \ / / | | | | | | | | | | | |\ | | | | ~~ / \ ~ / | | ~~~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ [Fan.Boy stands in the Library of Infinite Stories, looking embarrassed at the pile of books that have fallen at his feet. A sticker at the bottom proclaims: "SPECIAL DOUBLE-ISSUE SIZE!"] -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Fan.Boy groaned and rolled over, trying to make himself more comfortable. He struggled for a few moments, but the ground underneath was harsh and ungiving. Fan.Boy wriggled, and then realised something. He was awake. Then he remembered something. "Bates!" he yelled, sitting upright, his brain kicking into overdrive, instantly providing him with details of great danger, but failing to tell him the really important facts, such as: Where was he now? As no-one immediately shot him, or yelled at him, Fan.Boy's heart calmed down, and he looked around to see where he was. The first thing he saw was a very stern Ultimate Ninja, looking at him with his arms crossed and a foot tapping. Fan.Boy blinked at him a few times, before turning his head to see who else was here. Beside the ninja was Doctor Stomper, with a concerned, and puzzled, expression on his face, and next to him was Retcon Lad, who just looked concerned. Focusing on what was beyond, Fan.Boy recognised where he was with a sinking heart. The Peril Room. Boy, was he getting really sick of this place. But that would explain why the floor was so hard. Fan.Boy stood up carefully, making sure no bones decided to snap on him, and stretched. One further thought entered his mind. "WHOOPEE!" he yelped. "I'M HOME!" Before the Ultimate Ninja could react (or possibly he was slightly stunned due to the punctuation), Fan.Boy bounced over to him and gave him a bear hug. When the Ultimate Ninja did react, Fan.Boy found himself face-planted back into the Peril Room floor. "And hello to you too," the ninja said. "Okay, okay," said Fan.Boy. "I'm all right now." The foot on the back of his neck moved, and Fan.Boy was allowed to rise and dust himself off. "What happened to you?" asked Retcon Lad. Fan.Boy stared at Retcon Lad. "I don't know. I remember trying to electrocute myself for the goodness of mankind..." Fan.Boy rubbed his mouth. "Now that was really dumb. Still, I'm pretty sure it stopped Professor Bates." "Who?" asked Doctor Stomper. "I think you'd better tell us your version of events." Fan.Boy continued to look at Retcon Lad. "I was home, Joe. I was really home." "Geez," Retcon Lad replied, the only person who was able to understand what that meant to Fan.Boy. Doctor Stomper took Fan.Boy's arm and led him out of the Peril Room. _-~-_ "..and then I stuck my tongue on the plug, shorting things out. I'm pretty sure I heard something blow up, but I wasn't quite up to a full analysis of the situation," Fan.Boy said. "And then there was a bright pain, then darkness, and I woke up in the Peril Room. "Why, did something happen here?" Doctor Stomper grinned. "You could say that. The Barry here was fighting.. Kismet, I think her name is, then he just fell out of the sky. Not a pretty result." "As far as we can tell," put in the Ultimate Ninja, "the same happened in all the other newsgroups. Their Barrys just collapsed, and have woken up as normal, not remembering anything." "And Censor Girl?" The Ultimate Ninja and Doctor Stomper exchanged looks. "She was really involved?" Stomper asked. "We weren't sure." Fan.Boy closed his eyes for a moment, and picked up on the latest issue of _Misfits_. "Ah," he said. "She's reverted back to her organic side." Fan.Boy sighed. "And she back to a child again. I wish her luck." "Barry?" This was from Retcon Lad, and Fan.Boy turned his attention to him. "Who was Dreck?" Barry made it as far as the stairs before he started crying. He sank onto the steps, sorrow flooding through him. "Oh, Dreck," he whispered. Someone sat down beside him, and Barry heard Joe say "Hey, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to cause you pain." "I.. I loved him," Barry said through his tears. "And.. I.. I killed him!" Barry tucked his head into his arms and wept anew. Barry felt Joe put his arm around him. "I know. I caught up on the back issues. That wasn't you. That was a.. construct, a puppet being controlled by this Professor Bates. You didn't kill him, she did." "But it was me he loved, and he was trying to stop who he thought was me when he died," Barry said. "If I hadn't met him, he might still be alive." "No he wouldn't," replied Joe. "Flashback would have killed him first. Remember, it was only due to you that he lived as long as he did, and as good as he did. He was miserable and hurt, living as he did. You freed him, Barry. Although he was only with you from a few months, even I could tell they were they most precious moments of his life. "He knew that you weren't you when he tried to stop you, but he tried to stop you anyway because he loved what you had been. He knew what he was getting into, but he did it anyway. Can you hear what I'm saying?" Joe asked. Barry nodded, sniffing. "Yeah, but it still isn't easy to accept." "It never is." _-~-_ Upstairs, Organic Lass checked the equipment again. It wasn't necessary, but it gave her something to do while she waited for Doctor Stomper to join her. She looked down at the patient on the table, now unconscious. This operation was Inacoustic Kid's decision, but Organic Lass felt nervous. Too many things could go wrong, too many variables that weren't understood. After Inacoustic Kid had asked for Kid Kirby, the Kirbian had arrived as requested. Inacoustic Kid asked him about the scans Kid Kirby had taken. Over the years, Kid Kirby had amassed detailed medical records of every LNHer he could, for reasons just like the one Inacoustic Kid asked for. The Wielder of the Power Kirby provided a in-depth analysis of Inacoustic Kid's aural tract, of how it had been before Queen Enterprises interfered. Instead of returning Inacoustic Kid's anatomy to human normal, which would have resulted in a loss of his powers, he asked for Organic Lass and Doctor Stomper to return his body to how it had been according to the charts, at least, as much as possible. Inacoustic Kid was older now, so the biology wouldn't be exact. Organic Lass made sure that the scanners were operating at peak efficiency, and rechecked the warning levels. If any part of this operation caused Inacoustic Kid's reading to fall outside of the given range, alarms would go off (visible ones only, in this case) and emergency shut off and reversal procedures would automatically activate. Organic Lass bit the inside of her cheek, and checked her watch again. Where was he? With the impeccable timing of those who are unaware of it, Doctor Stomper entered the Med Lab. He nodded to Organic Lass, and ran an eye quickly over the setup. He had been here when they got most of it ready, and trusted that Organic Lass had organised things properly. After the sterilisation field had fallen into place, the operation to save Inacoustic Kid from terminal mental anguish began. _-~-_ Fan.Boy wandered around the LNHQ, not really looking where he was going. He was feeling somewhat better, but not a lot. There wasn't really anyone he could talk to. No-one knew Dreck like he did. He considered visiting Special Bonding Boy, but that was like admitting he couldn't deal with his own problems. That might be true, but he didn't want to face that yet. He also considered going to see Brittany. She had been the only other person whom had talked to Dreck for any length of time, and she liked him. Then again, she might blame him for Dreck's death, possibly almost as much as he did. Fan.Boy knocked against something, and rubbed his leg automatically. Looking down, he saw a chair in his way, and then he looked up to see where he had ended up. The Peril Room control room. Hah. Nearly as bad as the room itself. Fan.Boy sat down, and idly flicked a few switches. The Peril Room lit up, and the bare room inside changed to become a harsh, unforgiving desert. Flicking another switch, the desert became a jungle. Hurriedly, Fan.Boy flicked some more switches and the scene became a city street, street gang members running from hiding place to hiding place, firing machine guns as they went. This must be some of the more generic settings, Fan.Boy decided. Finding nothing of particular interest, Fan.Boy switched the room off. "You do realise that no-one else has been able to do that for a long time," said a voice behind, and Fan.Boy whirled around in his chair to face himself. Himself dressed differently. "Oh, hello.. Allen? Isn't that what your calling yourself nowadays?" Allen, aka Faq Boy, aka Fan.Boy's dimensional twin, nodded. "Wouldn't want anyone getting the two of us mixed up." "I'm sure Paytan wouldn't like it if we switched places," Fan.Boy said, grinning. Allen smiled faintly. "It's not going easy with her. I keep thinking of..." He shook his head. "Never mind." He gestured to the Peril Room proper. "How did you do that?" "Do what?" asked Fan.Boy. "I just flipped switches, and voila." He flipped the Peril Room on, and the city scene came back to life. "Yes, but no-one's been able to affect anything ever since Writer's Block Woman used it to test sidekicks." "I remember that," said Fan.Boy, wincing. By the time it was his turn, problems were already happening. "We couldn't switch the Peril Room off, and we couldn't change it from jungle. Not long after you entered, the Peril Room became blackness, couldn't see a thing, even though the main door," Allen explained. "It was like a solid wall. We couldn't penetrate it. And then, after you broke out through the top, or rather the evil you," Fan.Boy looked up at the roof of the Peril Room. It was mostly back to normal, but some patches still looked fragile. "the Peril Room was on, but no program was running, it was just an empty room. Nothing we did could affect that either. Not even cutting power, nor breaking the electronic circuits. "And now, you return to normal, and the Peril Room is back to functioning properly. As much as it ever did. What happened in there?" "I can only remember some of it," Fan.Boy said. "Going through the jungle. Being forced to play Indiana Jones in parodies of the movies.. I remember drinking from a cup, but it goes blank there. Professor Bates said something about that being #15, and it was posted, although nobody saw it. That must be why I can't remember it." "Can you remember what you had for breakfast last week?" Allen asked. "Sure." "Was that ever posted?" "Don't think so." "Then posting can't have anything to do with it. Perhaps there's a more simple explanation of either something thing happening to you that you don't want to remember, or simply can't remember." "Well, I should like to find out," Fan.Boy said. "How? You can't read it by checking the newsgroups." "Noo," said Fan.Boy slowly, an idea coming to him, "but I'll bet that the Library of Infinite Stories (the biggest plot device that ever existed) has a copy." "Fine. Get over there then." Fan.Boy stood up, then remembered something. "Er, I can't," he said, somewhat sheepishly. "I've been grounded." "Yeah, me too," replied Allen. Due to Fan.Boy's recent cosmic episode, the Ultimate Ninja told Fan.Boy that he had to stay inside for a while so that he wouldn't get lynched, until the city recovered. As Allen was an identical twin, the same applied to him. "But, I've got to get over there somehow," said Fan.Boy, more or less to himself. Allen snapped his fingers. "Easy. Come with me." _-~-_ "I'm still not sure about this," Fan.Boy said, piloting the flight.thingee. "I hope you don't expect me to drive," said Allen. "You know me. I can't operate any of those damn .thingee things." "And you're sure the Library agreed?" "Yes," assured Allen. "I rang ahead. They say they do things like this all the time. Not everyone who visits that place wants the fact broadcast, but... I used the fact that we were LNHers to get in, but I didn't say which ones we were." "Meaning?" asked Fan.Boy, setting the flight.thingee down carefully on the roof. The section they were positioned on descended smoothly, and another piece slid into place above them, hiding their presence. "Meaning," said Allen, tossing a long robe to Fan.Boy, "we're about to become two Kid Unknowns. You don't think the Library will let in someone who recently tried to blow the city up, do you?" Fan.Boy sighed. Unfortunate, but true. He stood up and donned the robe, pulling the cowl well over his face. "Do you really think they'll believe us?" Allen passed Fan.Boy something else. "LNH passes," Allen said. "Used by LNHers in disguise who need the LNH clout without revealing who they are. I swiped them from the Ultimate Ninja's office." Fan.Boy gulped. "And if he finds out?" "Don't worry. He'll be too busy worrying about the missing flight.thingee." "Hey! I thought you said you signed it out." "And you believed me?" snorted Allen. "Bite me, Fan.Boy." Fan.Boy inadvertently grinned at the line, then activated the door. Outside were waiting a librarian and someone who looked like they had bricks in their ancestry. "Good afternoon, gentlemen," the librarian said. "We've been waiting for you." Fan.Boy and Allen showed their passes, and no questions were asked about their identities. "What's with the goon squad?" asked Allen, somewhat tactlessly. The librarian raised an eyebrow, glancing at the man in question. "Merely a precaution, sir. While we are satisfied as to your credentials, our security procedures will not allow unidentified persons to peruse the library without a visible reminder of our restrictions." The librarian smiled. "Merely a routine. I'm sure you understand." Fan.Boy sighed. "Yes, all right. Let's get on with it shall we?" The librarian looked at the two of them with a careful eye, as if he was trying to work out why the both of them should have the same voice. Without venturing a comment, however, he turned and strode ahead, leaving Fan.Boy and Allen to fall in behind, and the guard to bring up the rear. Soon, they were in the section they had requested, known as the Eyrie. Fan.Boy spotted other patrons reading the comics stored there, and wondered which of them, if not all of them, were working for the Queen Bee "This is the issue you requested, sir," said the librarian, going to a particular shelf, and selecting an issue. He brought it over to them. Fan.Boy looked at it, feeling a slight creepiness flowing over him. Although he was used to the fictional nature of the Looniverse, it was still eerie looking at a comic that depicted an important part of your life. Fan.Boy sat down, and, with Allen looking over his shoulder, he began to read. --------------------------------------------------------------------------Back to the Index.
Click here to read Fan.Boy #15-------------------------------------------------------------------------- Fan.Boy put the comic down gently. It explained a lot. How he got his powers. How he became so evil. And what the exact relationship between here and home was. He had nearly started crying when he had come to Dreck again, but had managed to contain himself. Still, he could feel another flood of tears, just waiting below the surface. "I can see why you didn't want to remember some of that," said Allen, "and the force of the take over must have erased a lot before it." "Come on," Fan.Boy said, standing, his voice husky. "Let's go home." Allen followed quietly, letting Fan.Boy keep his fragile peace. The return trip was more subdued, Fan.Boy thinking about a number of things. He also tried not to think of the reception waiting for him. _-~-_ Marsha Burgenstock walked into the Med Lab to hear Organic Lass chatting quietly with Doctor Stomper. Was quite surprised to be able to hear Organic Lass chatting to Doctor Stomper. She walked quietly up to them, giving a sidelong look to Inacoustic Kid, who lay sleeping on a bed. "It went well, then?" she asked. Organic Lass nodded. "Oh yes, we're very pleased with the results. As you can hear, we managed to remove the silencing field. Unfortunately, we couldn't return Inacoustic Kid back fully to his previous anatomical configuration due to age, so we'll have to wait for him to wake up and then we can find out if there are any side affects." Marsha turned to look at Inacoustic Kid again, seeing how peaceful he looked asleep. She heard Doctor Stomper move away, then Organic Lass whispered to her. "So, will you be leaving soon, then?" Yes, that decision lay ahead of her still, and Marsha still wasn't sure about the answer. As she had found out, she was still as useless as she had been before, and if it wasn't for Inacoustic Kid she would have been gone long ago. Then again, if it hadn't been for Inacoustic Kid, she would never have returned. "I'm not sure," she whispered. "But there really isn't anything to keep me here." Organic Lass smiled to herself. She recognised that look Marsha had on her face whenever she saw Inacoustic Kid. It's the same look she herself wore when she looked at Pocket Man. It was just a matter of Marsha realising that she was wearing it. "There's him," Organic Lass said. "I'll bet he'll keep you here." Marsha looked at Organic Lass carefully, and then both started giggling quietly. "He is very handsome," Organic Lass said. "I know," said Marsha. "But..." "But what? What's stopping you? Yourself, perhaps?" "Do you really think I am?" "I'd say so." "But..." "You just haven't realised it yet." Organic Lass patted Marsha on the shoulder, and moved away. _-~-_ Fan.Boy was right. The Ultimate Ninja stood waiting for them, a look of anger on what was visible of his face. Allen smirked. "Leave this to me," he said, exiting the flight.thingee first. "And your explanation is..?" inquired the Ultimate Ninja. "We were on an important research mission," said Allen. "And for such an important mission, you decided to steal a flight.thingee?" "Ultimate Ninja," said Allen, putting his arm around the leader. Fan.Boy moved away as unobtrusively as possible. "Ninj. What is your position here?" "Leader," said the ninja, eyes narrowing. "Are you sure?" said Allen, feigning puzzlement. "I'm sure it says in the FAQ that you're a cousin of Limp-Asparagus Lad, and are more of a wet blanket than he is." "It says no such thing." "Are you sure?" asked Allen, an edge to his voice. "I could make it say that." "Like that, is it?" The ninja stared at Allen silently for a minute, obviously wanting to punch Allen's knowing smile out. "Very well. Be gone." "You're a real pal," said Allen, slapping the Ultimate Ninja on the back. He motioned to Fan.Boy, and left the hanger bay whistling. "Wasn't that, ever so slightly, more than mind-bogglingly stupid?" hissed Fan.Boy, once they were outside. "Hah," Allen snorted. "What's he going to do? Kill us? He's Mister Nice Ninja now. He'll let it pass. Although," Allen looked around quickly, "I wouldn't be too quick checking for snakes in my bed tonight, if I were you." Fan.Boy struggled to keep a straight face, but failed. _-~-_ Fan.Boy sat up in the Peril Room control room, waiting for Doctor Stomper to join him. He flicked idly through the Peril Room situations, looking, but not really seeing. The explanation maestro emerged from the doorway. "What is it Fan.- How did you do that?" "It's back to normal now. After Professor Bates's computer exploded, it must have relinquished its control on all the systems. I think you'll find you can do whatever you like." "I'm sure the Ultimate Ninja will be pleased," said the doctor, manipulating the controls, and watching as the Peril Room responded as it should. "I also found out how my powers work," said Fan.Boy casually. "Would you like to hear?" Doctor Stomper immediately turned away from the controls. "Would I? You bet!" To Fan.Boy, he sounded like a excited school kid. Or a fanboy. Fan.Boy explained, as best he could, about the relationship between the various systems of the LNHQ, and how they contributed to his abilities. Doctor Stomper sat raptly throughout the explanation, and pursed his lips at the end. "So, these systems here," he gestured to the controls, "are responsible for all your other selves existing in all the newsgroups." "Precisely. Without them, they're as vulnerable as anyone," Fan.Boy said. "Oh, by the way, you were right." "Oh? When?" "Way back when we first met. You said that the real Barry Knewbee probably wouldn't know what had happened. I might be Barry Knewbee Prime, as it were, as far as the net realities go, but I'm just a mere copy of him." Doctor Stomper nodded sagely. "Yes. That sounds about right. You've come along way since then. Especially when you first arrived." "Oh? Ah, yes. The angst. That was a retcon, I'm afraid. In a Christmas story, the Ghost of Christmas Repast took me back, and showed me what would happen if I came in angsting. Not a very pretty sight." "Repast?" "Long story." "Ah. So, what are you going to do now? All your questions you've ever asked about yourself have been answered." "Have they?" said Fan.Boy. "I suppose so." "Is there something else bothering you now?" "I want to know what happened to Professor Bates," Fan.Boy said. "Was she really killed? If not, is she going to try again? Everything is still available to her." "Not quite. Instructions have been passed ordering Firewall to deconstruct her devices. If Professor Bates does want to try again, she'll have to find another way." "That's good. But, if she didn't survive, will others duplicate her work? I don't mean to sound overly paranoid, but what if someone less vindictive than her got hold of it? Someone with more than revenge on their mind? What if a government gained control? Or some secret organisation?" "I think," said Doctor Stomper, "that you've been watching too much _Nowhere Man_." "Possibly." "So, go back again." "What?" "You've done it once, already," said the doctor. "You now know it can be done. Why not go back and find out what happened afterwards?" "I could be dead there. I don't know what happened after I shorted things out." "Then you should just bounce back here. No harm done." "I suppose so. Yeah," said Fan.Boy, gaining enthusiasm in the idea. "Yeah, I think I will." He stood up. "I'll just go talk to someone first." Doctor Stomper watched in amusement as Fan.Boy left, nearly at a run, then turned back to the Peril Room systems. _-~-_ "So you'll help me?" Fan.Boy asked Retcon Lad, once Fan.Boy had explained his plan. "Are you sure you want to go through with this?" "Yes. I have to find out, or it's going to nag me forever. Besides, I might be able to see my family one last time." Retcon Lad knew how powerful a feeling that would be, and also knew with such an attractant, Fan.Boy was going to go anyway, with or without his help. "Yeah," Retcon Lad said. "I'll help. What is it you want me to do?" "Mainly, keep an eye on me," Fan.Boy said. "Lock the door to make sure no-one gets in. I don't really want to come back and find out my body's been used for target practice by the entire LNH." Retcon Lad grinned. "Fair enough." "Got your ear-muffs?" Retcon Lad held them up. They were a wise investment given Fan.Boy's temperament after having sticky tape put across his mouth. "Ready?" Retcon Lad put the ear-muffs on, and gave Fan.Boy the thumbs up. Fan.Boy closed his eyes, and breathed deeply. He was still new at this, and didn't want to end up with his brain a cheese sandwich. His mind leapt. _-~-_ Fan.Boy opened his eyes. He was lying down, so all he saw was an expanse of white, with an occasional light hanging here and there to show that it was a ceiling. Well, this wasn't his room, so he'd gone somewhere. Fan.Boy listened carefully, letting his senses retune to the multiple sounds of a proper universe. The sound of shoes slapping on the floor far away. The rustle of trees being blown gently outside. The odd squeak of what was probably a wheelchair. Fan.Boy sat up, finally looking around to see where he was. He was sitting on a low bunk, one of many in the large room. High up on the walls, small windows looked out onto a clear sky. Some of the other beds had men lying on them, and at one end a woman in a white uniform was pushing a wheelchair with an old man in it. Fan.Boy decided he was in a hospital ward. Pretty sensible. After someone had been in whatever accident must have happen, keeping them for surveillance was an idea he could respect. Fan.Boy swung his legs over the side, and slowly stood up. Nothing too bad happened to him. No wash of dizziness, no signs of his legs collapsing underneath him. Nothing whatsoever to indicate he's been in a room with an explosion of any kind. Not even a scratch on his arm. Fan.Boy moved over to the end of his bed, and, making sure there were no nurses around, looked at his chart. There were no graphs on it, just some medical notes that made no sense to him, and what looked like an entire list of pharmaceutical supplies. Pretty hefty drugs for someone who had escaped major injuries... Fan.Boy quickly patted his chest through his white smock that he wore. Nope, no bandages, so no broken ribs or other internal injuries with external signs. Fan.Boy wandered down the room, idly looking at the patients with him in the ward. A pretty odd mixture. One was a young man, who was curled up in a fetal position. Another was an old man who continually mumbled to himself. And another one who thrashed up and down on his bed every now and then. Fan.Boy decided that he was in the head trauma ward. Must be. Fan.Boy put a hand to his head, but didn't feel anything wrong there. He gave his head a subtle shake. Nope, everything seemed all right. Fan.Boy walked out of the ward, keeping an eye out for anyone who looked like they were suddenly going to point at him and yell "He's moving!" With no idea of what Barry had actually been brought in for, he couldn't be too sure that he hadn't just performed a minor miracle. Pull back. Through the corridors, past other wards, and out to the main entrance. Pull back. The building sits in, and is surrounded by a large garden and lawn, where other patients and nurses walk and talk. Pull back. A wall circles this place, keeping it away from everything else. Move to the side. A sign is here. Splash page: +--------------------+ | | | Porirua | | | | Mental Institution | | | +--------------------+ "Confetti and Lamingtons." by Jamas Enright -------------------------------------------------------------------------- NEXT ISSUE: Well, Fan.Boy's a basket case. How? Find out in _Fan.Boy #21_: "A sparrow in a cuckoo's nest." Credits: -------- Ultimate Ninja - wReam Organic Lass - Rebecca Doctor Stomper - Public Domain Retcon Lad - Saxon All others - mine