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       [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
        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
        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. 
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
        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. 
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
        Inacoustic Kid looked quite happy with the meal, and soon devoured
        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. 
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
        "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
        "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
        "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
        "Delicious," he said indistinctly, as Retcon Lad removed his
        "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
        "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. 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
        "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, 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,
        "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
        Fan.Boy smiled in a far off way. "Then that's how much time I have
        "Oh, nothing will happen to you, physically," said Doctor Stomper,
quickly. "You'll just wont be able to access the newsgroups mentally
        "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
        "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!"

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.

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