______ _________ _____ ____ ____ _______ _____ ___ ___ | | | | / _ \ | \| | | /\ \ / _ \ \ \ / / |BLiP| | |~~~~~ / / \ \ | | | | \/ | / / \ \ \ | / | | | ~~~~~| | ~~~ | | | ____ | / | | | | | | |#21 | | |~~~~~ | ___ | | | | | | | /\ ~| \ \ / / | | | | | | | | | | | |\ | | | | ~~ / \ ~ / | | ~~~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ [Fan.Boy sits in a chair while a spotlight shines brightly on him. In the background are silhouettes. On the cover in spooky letters are the words "NOWHERE FAN"] -------------------------------------------------------------------------- In his own home universe, Fan.Boy has been shunted into mental institution, but he doesn't know this yet. And, obviously, he doesn't know why, or what happened. However, what he does know is that he is currently sitting in an uncomfortable chair in a poorly lit room. Sitting opposite him is a doctor, who is asking questions. Q: Who are you? A: I'm Barry Knewbee. Q: Why do you think you're Barry Knewbee? A: That's who I grew up being. Who else am I supposed to be? Q: Why are you here? A: Where am I, exactly? Q: You don't know? A: If I knew, would I ask? Q: You answer a question with a question. That's a very defensive attitude. What are you trying to hide? A: I'm not trying to hide anything. I'm trying to understand. Q: What is it you don't understand? A: I don't understand what I'm doing here. What have I done that has made you so afraid that you lock me away and ask me questions? Q: We haven't locked you away. A: So I'm free to go? Q: Don't try to leave. The interns here wont let you go. Not until I say. A: When will you say? Q: After you've answered my questions. A: Fine. Which question now? Q: Why don't you know where you are? A: Because I've just popped in from another universe to make sure I saved this one when I was last here. Q: And when were you last here? A: I don't know. Can't have been more than a day ago. I didn't find out the date properly, and I don't know when now is. Q: How did you get here? A: My mind jumped in. In fact, I can jump back anytime I want to. Q: Why haven't you? A: Because I want to know where I am, and why I'm here. Q: Where do you _think_ you might be? A: A hospital. Q: Why? A: It looks like a hospital. You know, with beds, wards, nice shiny corridors. Q: Why would you be in a hospital? A: Because I was injured. Or people thought I was injured. Q: Are you injured? A: Not as far as I can tell. Q: Are you a doctor? A: No. Q: Then how are you qualified to tell if you're injured or not? A: It's my body. I should know what it's like when it's injured. Q: Why? You've just 'popped' in here, how do you know how this body is like when it is injured. A: Because I originally came from here. I lived here for nearly twenty years, then I was shunted to another universe. I only recently got back, and then I was back in the other universe. I've only just come back again to see what happened the last time I got back. Q: What do you do in this other universe? A: Have you ever heard of alt.comics.lnh? Q: No. A: Have you heard of Usenet, the Internet, newsgroups? Q: Yes. A: Okay. On one level, they're just computers interacting, holding files called messages and passing them around. What if, in this grand multi-cosmos we inhabit, what if, somewhere, those newsgroups were reflected in reality? What if what was described in a post on a newsgroup really happened in that reality? Everything is fictional from some viewpoint, so everything must be reality from another viewpoint. Q: That's very interesting. Where does alt.comics.lnh come into this? A: That's the newsgroup that defines the reality I come from. It's like a comic book world, a parody of the DC and Marvel comics we have here. It's quite a silly place, usually. Q: And what did you do there? A: I am... a superhero, I suppose. I not a very powerful one, but I am in the LNH. Q: The LNH? A: Legion of Net.Heroes. Q: And what does this have to do with you coming back to this universe? A: I was placed in the LNH as an agent so that someone from this universe, Professor Jill Bates, could take over the net. When that happened, I was kicked out of the LNH, and ended up back here. Q: Why were you kicked out of the LNH? A: I don't mean physically. When I entered the LNH, my mind was copied from this universe and placed in a new body in that one. When I was 'kicked out', my mind was forced to leave my body, and come here. Q: And what did you do here? A: I stopped Professor Bates. I shorted out the electricity in the plug sockets with my tongue, and, I think, blew up her computer. Q: Wasn't that dangerous? A: Of course it was. I never said it wasn't. I'm rather surprised I'm not dead. Q; What can you tell me about Barry Knewbee. In this universe. A: He was a student at Victoria University. Took comp and maths courses. Lived a fairly normal life, I suppose. Q: You don't know? Aren't you Barry Knewbee? A: My mind is a copy of his, taken over a year ago, that has grown up in the LNH. For the past year, Barry here has grown older, not knowing much about me, except for perhaps reading about me on alt.comics.lnh. Q: You said you were a superhero. What is it you actually do? A: Fight evil. Live a good life. Be a good guy. Q: Do you have any powers? A: Yes. Q: What are they? A: I can read any post on any newsgroup. Can assimilate all the information that has been posted on any newsgroup if I concentrate hard enough. I can also stun people by pronouncing punctuation. Q: How do you mean? A: In the LNH, all swear words are replaced with punctuation to stay Comics Code Approved. However, normally whoever listens will here the swear words anyway. But in my case, they heard the actual punctuation I said that replaced the word. The people were surprised, and therefore stunned, by actually being able to hear the punctuation. Q: Can you give me an example? A: Not really. In this universe swear words aren't replaced, so you'll hear the normal words anyway. Q: Nevertheless, can you...? A: Sure. !@&!. !&*@. !@*@&@^. See? Q: Hmm. Anything else? A: Yes, I can also survive death. Q: How? A: By certain devices in the LNH, my mind is copied and then a new body is created for me. Q: Does this work anywhere? A: Oh yes. I've seen it happen in other places. Q: Have you ever seen it happen here? A: No... Are you saying that the Barry here came back to life? Q: How could that be? You're here, and you are saying that you're Barry Knewbee. A: Is that what happened? Did I die? Did the Barry in this universe die? Q: I think that's enough for today. A: Tell me. Did? I? Die? Is that why you've locked me away? I died, and... came back to life. Of course. Q: Take him away. _-~-_ MAN DIES AND COMES BACK TO LIFE! by Peter Markham. On Friday, 14th June, there was an explosion at the Victoria University of Wellington. The Cotton building, which held several scientific and mathematic faculties, was consumed by a fireball that was traced to an electrical short initiated in the offices on the second floor. The short spread and, due to faulty wiring, and electrical fires rupturing the gas mains, the entire building was flooded in flame. Firemen on the scene were able to trace the source due to finding a very bizarre situation in the office of Professor Jill Bates, who worked in the Computer Science Department as a Senior Lecturer. Professor Bates's body was found in her office, but so was the body of a student who was identified as Barry Knewbee. By the placement of the second body, the firemen were able to ascertain that either through accident or design, the student was the cause of the short. But what makes this story truly surreal is that Barry Knewbee, somehow transported and uninjured, woke up in his flat on The Terrace. And yet his body was still in the office, burnt to death. Medical tests, including DNA testing, have proven that the body and the man who somehow appeared back in his apartment are the same Barry Knewbee. No explanation has been given, but some of the more outspoken members of the medical community are claiming fraud and a conspiracy of a nature that remains indeterminable. Barry Knewbee has been committed to the Porirua Mental Institution for further evaluation, but so far no comment has been made. Is this a miracle? Some sign made by God for the coming millennium? Or is it a prank? Some ghastly joke made on Barry Knewbee's family, who, so far, we have been unable to reach. You decide. _-~-_ CASE #4915341 The patient has begun to suffer from delusional fantasies, of being a superhero from a reality that is somehow being created by a newsgroup on the Usenet. There have been no signs of this personality before. The patient has claimed total ignorance as to the events on the 14th. But now, we are presented with a personality that can provide answers. If these answers were some how true, then the matter can be explain, but the personality presents a theory so wild that it cannot possible be true. The patient must have created this personality in his mind, either as a reaction to his ignorance, some way of explaining what happened to him, or as a way of proclaiming what he believes to be the truth, which he has tried to keep from us until this personality could be fully conceived. The new personality is distinct, and claims no knowledge of the other self after a certain time. This would be a symptom of Multiple Personality Disorder, born out by the theory that this personality was present when the event occurred, and was buried again until it recently resurfaced. But, even if the patient does suffer from Multiple Personality Disorder, this does not explain the event that occurred. Further testing should be taking with this new personality to see if it is self-contained, or if there is some contradictory point that can be used to show the patient that they really are one and the same. _-~-_ MEMO: Obtain Barry Knewbee. Find out what he thinks happened. Find out feasibility of reconstruction of the events. _-~-_ It was night time, and Fan.Boy was annoyed. He now knew what happened to his other self. He didn't survive. The computer had exploded. Everything had exploded. And now, because of his oh-so-wonderful powers, Barry was sentenced to a life of imprisonment and mental torture. Fan.Boy tried not to think of what his family was going through. To lose a son, only to find out that some strange miracle had given him back to you, only to have him snatched away again. And there was still a body. His body. A funeral? A funeral for a man who was both dead and alive? Fan.Boy turned over, his body as restless as his mind. He was completely unable to sleep, despite being forced to take enough drugs to knock down an elephant. His own sense of guilt nagged at him. Something also occurred to him. What if this wasn't an isolated incident? Fan.Boy knew he existed in other dimensions other than just the net realities. Faq Boy was proof of that. As was Tan Boy. What if he existed in other realities where life was supposed to be as normal as this one? What if he died in that one? Most likely he would come back to life as he did here. And be subjected to the same indignities. Fan.Boy sat up, and put his feet on the floor. He may as well go for a night time stroll. Do him as much good as thrashing about on his bed had done. Fan.Boy stood up, and sat back down again. Those drugs had more effect than he thought, as his system washed with dizziness and the room spun around him. The next moment, a bag was slung over his head, and chloroform drifted him off to sleep. _-~-_ Organic Lass watched Marsha as she sat by Inacoustic Kid's bed. Organic Lass was certain that, if there wasn't love there already, it should soon develop into that. A warm feeling ran through her. She liked seeing people realise that were made for each other, as she and Poc were. Organic Lass didn't need to check Inacoustic Kid, as Marsha was a better meter to gauge his condition. When Marsha straightened, Organic Lass knew that Inacoustic Kid had woken. She stayed where she was. this was a private moment for them. Marsha looked at Inacoustic Kid fondly. She noticed his eyes blinking open and smartened up, subconsciously trying to look her best. When he opened his eyes, he gazed straight into hers. His mouth turned up, and the look in his eyes brightened, and Marsha felt a thrill run through her. "Hello," he said, and Marsha realised that this was the first time she had ever heard his speak. His voice was soft, understandably, but surprisingly deep and rich. "Hello," she said. "How are you feeling?" Inacoustic Kid's became one of concentration, weighing up his response. "Light-headed," he replied. "Hungry." Marsha turned her head and caught Organic Lass's eye. They shared a secret smile, then Marsha mouthed "Food". Organic Lass understood, and moved, but Marsha had already focused back on Inacoustic Kid. They merely looked at each other, no words really necessary, until Organic Lass bustled up with a tray. When she put it on Inacoustic Kid's lap, Marsha saw that it contained a small salad and a glass of milk. As she raised the head of the bed, Organic Lass said "Simple foods. We'll try something more substantial when we've seen how you handle that." Inacoustic Kid looked quite happy with the meal, and soon devoured it. Organic Lass adopted a more concerned expression, holding a scanner in her hand. "I want you to try using your powers," she said. "Either you will be able to now, or not at all. I'll recite the periodic table. You try to silence me." Inacoustic Kid nodded, and Organic Lass started. "Hydrogen. Helium. Lithium." Inacoustic Kid relaxed further, and started concentrating. "Beryllium. Boron. carbon. nitrogen." Organic Lass's words were getting quieter. "oxygen. fluor..." Organic Lass continued to recite, but no more sound came out. She stopped and smiled. Inacoustic Kid stopped. "Great. I still want you to stay here, to see if there are any side effects, but as far as I'm concerned, you're perfectly fine." Marsha beamed at Inacoustic Kid, who turned to her and said one simple word. "Thanks." _-~-_ Fan.Boy woke to a light blazing in his face. He squirmed, but was unable to get away, strapped, as he was, into a chair. "Geez, guys, can't you come up with something more cliched?" he muttered, squeezing his eyes closed. "Tell us about the LNH," someone said. "I already told you. It's the Legion of Net.Heroes." "How powerful are they?" "What do you mean 'how powerful are they'? Do you mean 'who's the strongest', or what?" "Mr. Knewbee," another voice said, this one much more suave. Fan.Boy could picture the man behind it steeped in hair gel. "You are no longer in the Mental Institution." This was news to Fan.Boy. He hadn't been aware he had ever been in one. Still, that explained a few things. "We have already gained much knowledge of your experiences with Professor Jill Bates, but are some things we want to clear up. If you will co-operate with us, you will find that we can deliver pleasure as well as pain." "Fine," said Fan.Boy. "I don't suppose you could start be switching that lamp off. I'm not Tan Boy, you know." There was a click and all was darkness, with afterimages imprinted over everything. Fan.Boy blinked his eyes, trying to get them to disappear, and when they abated, he couldn't see a thing. The room must be well sealed, he thought, and no other light source. "Thank you." "You're welcome, Mr. Knewbee. Tell us, what is the easiest way of gaining entrance to this.. Looniverse?" "I don't know. I was pulled there by the Peril Room and whatnot. I can only switch back and forth using my mind." "And yet, they can move out of their reality, and into others, is that not true?" "Yes. Er, no. Yes, they can leave their own reality. Why?" "Mr. Knewbee, we are asking the questions. Would they be able to come here?" Fan.Boy laughed. "Not likely. The closer they get to a reality where common sense rules, and the laws of physics are actually paid attention to, the less power they have." "What computer was Professor Bates using?" This was a different voice again. "A Power Mac." "Was there anything special attached to it? Some piece of equipment you didn't recognise?" Fan.Boy smiled in the dark. "Ah, trying to replicate what she did, eh? Finally believe that the net.realities are real, eh?" "We simply wish to understand the genius of Professor Bates. Or the insanity." "Oh, she was most definitely a genius," said Fan.Boy. "One so bright that madness could not be differentiated from it." "And yet, her work can be replicated, once we know what it was. You should be able to tell us that, Mr. Knewbee." "I don't think so," said Fan.Boy. "I wanted to know if anyone could use it to do it again. I don't think you can. Goodbye, fellas. I'll be taking my leave of you now." "Not so fast, Mr. Knewbee. I do not think you should be so eager to depart. We have thought of such an event." "And?" said Fan.Boy, feeling a finger of dread. "If you leave us, we sill kill Barry Knewbee's family." Fan.Boy hung his head. "All right," he whispered. "All right, Mr. Knewbee. Tell us everything you know." _-~-_ "..and that's when I blacked out," said Fan.Boy. "And now you know as much as I do. More even. I'm still not sure what happened afterwards. Are you sure she's dead?" "Quite sure. Medical identification of the charred remains was most positive." "Mr. Knewbee. Is there any possibility of us being pulled into the LNH?" "I don't even know how I was. All I know was it had something to do with the Peril Room, the HoloDecStations, and the Transmat Chambers. Oh, and a big whirly purple thing." "Thank you, Mr. Knewbee. That will be all." "So what happens to me now? A bullet through the back of the head?" "We are never so crude." "So, is my family safe then?" asked Fan.Boy. "Yes. As I said, we already knew everything. We only wanted it from a different viewpoint. If you had lied to us..." "If I go, what happens to Barry?" "For him, there is nothing we can do. He is a miracle that should never have happened. He must live out his life somewhere out of view, where the public will forget." "You guys are all heart." "Thank you. We will leave you now. You may go if you wish." There was a soft click, like a door bolt slipping into place, and all was quiet, no matter how much Fan.Boy strained his ears. "Ah well," said Fan.Boy into the nothingness. "Tell Barry I am sorry. This isn't _au revior_, it's goodbye." With that, Fan.Boy's mind leapt. _-~-_ Fan.Boy opened his eyes to see Retcon Lad dozing in a chair, the ear-muffs still in place. Grinning, Fan.Boy tiptoed over to the fridge and got an ice cube out. He walked quietly back to Retcon Lad. As he position the ice cube over Retcon Lad's neck, he heard "If you even think about dropping that..." Fan.Boy looked down to see one eye open and peering back up at him. It then focused on the ice cube, and Fan.Boy popped it into his mouth. "Delicious," he said indistinctly, as Retcon Lad removed his ear-muffs. "How long was I gone for?" Fan.Boy asked when he could. "Over a day. What happened?" "Oh, the usual. Got captured, was asked questions, got captured again by some other people, got asked more questions. Had drugs used on me. Nothing terribly original." Behind Fan.Boy's flippancy lay a more thoughtful edge. Retcon Lad heard it. "What is it?" "What's to stop them from trying again? I told them everything I knew, which admittedly wasn't much, to find out just how much they had, how far they had to go. I think they're replicating the same viruses Professor Bates used, or, at least, capable of creating similar programs." "That sounds incredibly paranoid," pointed out Retcon Lad, "but plausibly true. What do you think can be done about it?" "There's only one option I can see. Not only will it remove any chance of a similar event being tried, but it will also mean that my other selves can live normal lives." "Huh? What?" "I died back there. But, due to my powers that bring me back in a safe spot, I was recreated back home. So I existed as a corpse and as a living person. While we can handle that sort of thing here, my home universe is too real to accept that. I was locked away in a mental institution." "Hell," said Retcon Lad. "I can see why you want to change that. Well, this plan of yours sounds great. What is it?" Fan.Boy sighed. "Thing is, I'm gonna lose all my powers. Every single one. I won't be me anymore." "Sh*t." _-~-_ "Sh*t. Are you sure you want to do this?" Fan.Boy sighed. "Yes, Allen. I'm sure. It doesn't really effect you all that much. It'll be like it was back in your own dimension. The only power than transferred to you is the ability to survive death." "I know," said Allen. "But it's such a nifty new power. I was kind of counting on it to survive through the general silliness of this place. That and when Paytan finally kills me for going to far." Allen grabbed Fan.Boy's arm. "You won't tell her about this, will you?" "Why not?" "I have a hard enough time seeing her as it is. She knows how angry I get her, although heaven knows why, and I suspect that she really does care for me. Currently, if I push her too far, she'll probably strike back, in a very violent way, possibly killing me." "And?" "And, if she finds out that I'll stay dead, she might not want to see me anymore." "Why not?" "If I really can get her angry enough, she'll kill me, and she knows this, and if she really does care about me, she's not going to want to see me dead, and so won't see me at all. In case I do drive her over the edge." "That's an awful lot of ifs," Fan.Boy said. "But it's possible." A tone of pleading entered Allen's voice. "Please, Barry, don't tell her. I really love her, and couldn't stand to lose her again." "If it really means that much to you..." Fan.Boy was surprised by the depths of Allen's emotions. Even though they were one and the same person, Fan.Boy couldn't see himself acting that way. About Savannah maybe, but not Paytan. "Thank you. You'd better not mention this to her friends either, in case they tell her." Fan.Boy nodded in resignation. "Thanks," said Allen again, as he left. _-~-_ Fan.Boy spent the next ten minutes searching for Doctor Stomper, and finally found him in the Ultimate Ninja's office. "Hi, Fan.Boy," said Doctor Stomper. "How'd it go?" "Not well. I think you'd both better hear this." Fan.Boy then told them what had happened, and his fears. "Do you see a way out of this?" asked the Ultimate Ninja. "Yes, I do. The only possible answer to remove the possibility of interaction between the LNH systems, so no virus can manipulate them in the same way with the same results." "And how do you expect that to happen?" "Doctor Stomper?" said Fan.Boy, turned to him. "Right now, the Peril Room, HoloDecStations and Transmat Chambers are all interlinked, right?" "Of course. That's how you are what you are." "You're going to have to separate them. Make them completely independent from each other as well as from everything else, so no link between them can ever be set up again." "Won't that affect you?" "Yes. I'll lose all my powers," said Fan.Boy quietly. "But it's the only way to be sure." "That's a brave step to take," said Doctor Stomper. "You'll be forever cutting off any access you have to your own universe." Fan.Boy shrugged. "I can't go back anyway. Barry is locked away, and there's nothing I can do to help." "How long will this take?" asked the Ultimate Ninja. Doctor Stomper ran a hand through his hair, thinking. "Let see. Totally disable the electronic systems. Have to cut into the walls. Then rebuild them almost from scratch. Have to duplicate some parts that they have in common. It'll take the best part of a week." Doctor Stomper gave Fan.Boy a brief look. "But, that's a complete breakdown and rebuild. To just severe the systems so no interaction is possible... one day, maybe two." Fan.Boy smiled in a far off way. "Then that's how much time I have left." "Oh, nothing will happen to you, physically," said Doctor Stomper, quickly. "You'll just wont be able to access the newsgroups mentally anymore." "Ah, but that's about all I am. I'll be a fan with no knowledge." The Ultimate Ninja waved to Doctor Stomper, who took the hint and left. "Fan.Boy," the ninja said carefully, not unkindly. "You still have all that knowledge. You just won't be able to access it as easily as you once did. You'll just have to rely on your memory. And you know far more about most of the people here than we do." "Thanks, but it wont be the same," said Fan.Boy. "There's really only one option for me." Splash page: The Ultimate Ninja's office, mid shot. In the middle in the ninja's desk, and one the right sits the Ultimate Ninja, looking as black as always. On the left sits a dejected Fan.Boy, who says: "I'm going to resign from the LNH." "The Last Straw." by Jamas Enright -------------------------------------------------------------------------- NEXT ISSUE: Is this it? Is Fan.Boy really finished? Will the Ultimate Ninja now be able to get back at Faq Boy for threatening him? It all happens in _Fan.Boy #22_: "Angst Attack!" Credits: -------- Organic Lass belongs to Rebecca Drayer Retcon Lad belongs to Saxon Brenton Ultimate Ninja belongs to wReam Doctor Stomper belongs to Public Domain Rest are mine, I think.Back to the Index.