______ _________ _____ ____ ____ _______ _____ ___ ___ | | | | / _ \ | \| | | /\ \ / _ \ \ \ / / |BLiP| | |~~~~~ / / \ \ | | | | \/ | / / \ \ \ | / | | | ~~~~~| | ~~~ | | | ____ | / | | | | | | |ANNU| | |~~~~~ | ___ | | | | | | | /\ ~| \ \ / / | | |AL#1| | | | | | | | |\ | | | | ~~ / \ ~ / | | ~~~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~~~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ A N N U A L [Cover has Fan.boy sitting at a Christmas table, being menaced by the food.] -------------------------------------------------------------------------- "Good King Wenceslas looked out On the Feast of Barry..." -one of the unknown Christmas carols. Fan.Boy staggered out of the cafeteria, leaving behind the boiusterois noises of the partying LNH. Christmas Eve was a perfect excuse to let your hair down and do some serious drinking. He should have just refused Frat Boy, when Frat Boy asked him to try out a new recepie. Fan.Boy wasn't sure what was in, but it was probably illegal in most states. Pleasently sloshed (ie. almost horizontal) Fan.Boy made his way to the lifts and got inside on only the third try. He slumped against the back wall, eeling queasy as the Kirby inproved lift rocketed up to the forth floor. He had been quiet suprised by the turnout. Even the Dvandom Stranger had been there. But, as he put it: "While once I may have nibbled on hors'doerves and made small talk, now I cannot, for I am a...oh, hell, pass the nachos." Fan.Boy had nearly reached his room before his stomach decided to empty itself, and was forced to leave an unpleasent suprise waiting in a nearby potplant. He fell into his room and collapsed on his bed, the room spinning gently around his head. A low moaning reached his ears, but Fan.Boy thought that it was coming from him. It wasn't until he turned his head and saw the ghost walking through the walk that he realised that he might have had just a wee bit too much drink. "Gaa," Fan.Boy said. "G noo blurgh gib gree." Fan.Boy wasn't actually sure what it was he had intended to say, but he was pretty sure that that wasn't anything close. The ghost extended a transparent arm. "You shall have three visitors tonight. Your life is wrong and therefore forfeit. You have this night only to change your ways. Should you not, your very existence shall be erased from this reality." Charles Dickens, eat yer heart out, thought Fan.Boy. "Glu bar fleese glosts?" he asked. "Who are these ghost?" repeated the ghost, providing a convient translation for those without alcohol for a bloodstream. "Well you may ask (not that you asked it very well). These are the ghosts of Christmas Pudding!" it wailed. Fan.Boy gasped. His brain instantly sobered, but unfortunately the rest of his body didn't follow and he was unable to jump up in shock. "The ghost of Christmas Pudding!" he repaeted for added emphasis. "Oh no, not a ghost of the savage portion of the international christmas pudding that escaped from its pudding pit and was viciously defeated by the Society of Wireless Heroes?!?!" The ghost thought about this. "What?" it finally asked. "Umm, don't worry. I think the author must have been read _Dvandom Force #39-41_ too many times." [Rubbish. You can never read about the Society of Wireless Heroes too many times - The "This plug for rent" Writer.] "Never mind these irrelevant Goon Show-type references. Your life hangs by a fine thread. You shall see the error of your ways and will repent your wicked life." "Hang on," complained Fan.Boy, still unable to get up from his bed. "I haven't been mean and nasty to people. I haven't hoarded my money, or what I have of it. I haven't even fired my servant recently, althought the fact of me not actually having a servant should be taken into account." "That is your error," the ghost said. "You have been nice, pleasent, warm and fuzzy." The ghost shuddered at the thought. "Er, Fuzzy is Fuzzy, but we'd better not go into that or Writer's Block Woman might get upset and want to go shopping with me again or something." This time Fan.Boy shuddered at the thought. "Quiet!" roared the ghost. "Know that you are living your life wrong. You should be surly, mean. You should agonise over decisions that you make, and try to see what else you could have done. You should carry large guns and have muscles the size of Net.York." "What?" said Fan.Boy distastefully. "Angst?" "YES!" "I think you got the wrong series, mate. Try _Limp-Asparagus Lad_. I think he's suffering badly right now." "I am not here for angst, I am here to turn you to angst. Or rather, the ghosts of Christmas Pudding shall do that. Enough. I shall waste no more time here. My breathe shall be used on those more worthy, not that I can actually breathe or anything. I'm only dead after all. Skulking through corridors, frightening people, warning them of danger ahead. I really should get a better career agent. People might start mistaking me for a Stranger..." Muttering to itself, the ghost slowly left the way it came, fading through the too solid wall. "Well," said Fan.Boy to himself. "Looks like I'll be having an adventure tonight. Should probably get myself some caffine to wake up pro-" The alcohol in his body took advantage of Fan.Boy's wandering mind to leap up and hammer Fan.Boy into unconsciousness. _-~-_ "Wake up. Waaaaake uuuuuuup," a voice whined in Fan.Boy's ear, to the accompainment of a hand shaking him. His befuddled brain kicked into action, and reminded him of recent events. "I juggled goldfish?" he asked the world incredously. His brain kicked him and told him of even more recent events. "The ghosts! The ghosts!" Fan.Boy yelled, jerking upright. "About time," said a petulant voice, and Fan.Boy turned to see a little girl munching some snack or another. It was quite hard to tell what the snack was, but it certainly seemed Christmassy. The girl herself looked eleven, her brown hair falling lightly to her shoulders. She wore a pink dress with white trimmings, tied to her waist with a red ribbon, which matched the one in her hair. "And who are you, little girl?" Fan.Boy asked pleasently, looking around to try to see where the ghosts would jump out at him from. "You wouldn't call me little if I was bigger." Fan.Boy was unable to fault this logic, but wasn't really concentrating on the conversation anyway. "I'm the ghost of Christmas Repast, and I'm here to show you what should have happened long ago." "That's nice," said Fan.Boy absently. "Now run along and play while Uncle Barry keeps an eye out for ghosts." The girl spun around on one foot and slammed the other into Fan.Boy's stomach. "I'm the ghost you're looking for." Fan.Boy gasped. "I'm here to take you back to the time you arrived here." Fan.Boy wheezed. "I'm going to show you what should have happened." Fan.Boy tried to suck air in. "Are you ready to leave?" Fan.Boy rolled around on the floor and generally did impressions of a fish out of water. "Oh, come on," complained the girl, hauling Fan.Boy up by his hair. "Let's go already." She started skipping out of the room, still holdig onto Fan.Boy's hair. "Ow. Ow. Ow. OW!" Ripping his hair out in the process, Fan.Boy extracted his head from the girl's grip. "Stop that!" "Come one then, Mister Slow-poke!" Fan.Boy stood up, burshed himself off indignantly, straightened his glasses, and then deigned to step out the door. He fell twelve meters onto the Peril Room floor. Fan.Boy remained face-planted for a few moments, waiting for the pain to roll over him. He heard giggling. "Oh, you do look silly. Get up, get up, get up!" Slowly, Fan.Boy did that. He prodded himself gently, trying to find out which bones had been snapped into millions of pieces, but found none. "How..?" "When you're with me you can't be hurt. It wouldn't do for you to die while I'm trying to teach you something," Repast explained. "Where are we?" Fan.Boy asked, right before he recognised the place. Hmm, didn't look like this last time he saw it. Shouldn't it be covered with jungle or something? Come to think of it, what the hell was he doing here getting drunk when he was stuck in an arc in his own title? Oh well, it wasn't up to him to work that one out. "We're in the Peril Room, about ten months ago. Do you remember what happened then?" Ten months. Geez, a lot had happened in ten months. For example, he had arrived here... about ten months ago. "I'm going to arrive soon, aren't I?" Repast pointed up to the Peril Room window. In it could be seen the figures of Contraption Man, Squeaky Clean, Cheesecake-Eater Lad and Bad-Timing Boy. They were looking through the window with fear, but Fan.Boy didn't know why. Then he turned around and was face to warp with an orange swirly thing. He backed away as he saw a small figure in the middle of the swirly thing, getting larger and larger as it got closer and closer. As he watched, smaller figures seemed to shoot off of him, and then disappear, but it was hard to tell if that's what was really happening, or just his eyes playing tircks while trying to make sense of the space distortion. Fan.Boy felt an eriee sense of deja vu as he watched his own body tumble out of the warp and collapse onto the floor. "Now," said Repast, wiggling her fingers, "let's see what happens when we add that missing dose of angst." Fan.Boy watched as a low moaning emanated from his past body. "I'm lost, lost and alone. So lost. So alone," Barry said. "Geez, get this guy some happy pills," commented Fan.Boy. "This is how is was meant to be," said Repast. Barry stumbled to his knees. "Oh woe is me. Oh, blighted fool that this poor soul is. Oh wearyness and dispair. Oh..." "Enough already," said Fan.Boy. "It was just a reality shift. How much angst can one person get from that?" "Oh woe. Oh horror. Oh terror..." "Quite a lot, appearently," said Fan.Boy. "And now you will be properly introduced to your companions," said Repast. "Huh?" Fan.Boy looked up to the the Peril Room monitoring room empty. He heard the Peril Room door opening, and turned to see the watchers enter. Cheesecake-Eater Lad was talking into a com.thingee. "Could Doctor Stomper please report to the Peril Room?" "Hi guys," said Fan.Boy. "Hey, listen. This really wierd girl here just brought me back to this time. Pay absolutely no attention to anything this guy says." He pointed to Barry, who had looked up to see Contraption Man looming over him. "She's doing something to him. This is nothing like how I really am." He would have continued, but Repast kicked him in the shins before head- butting him. "I thought you knew the rules," she said haughtily. "We are here as observers only. They can't hear youuuu," she taunted. "If you weren't a girl..." Fan.Boy muttered. "What was that?" she asked sharply. "Nothing you wouldn't hit me for," Fan,.Boy said. "He looks like $%^& to me," said Bad-Timing Boy. "I'm lost!" Barry wailed. "All alone in this warped reailty. How can I bear to be away from others like me?" The LNHers all looked at each other. "I don't want him." "Don't look at me." "I can't stand angst." "I got a note from my Doctor protecting me from things like this." "Shunned and spurnned even by those I turn to for help. How can I go on? What hope is there for me in this barren and lightless land?" Barry continued. "Should I snuff myself out? Better to end it now and to endure this prolonged agony of nothingness." "That's got my vote." "Fine by me." "Repast?" asked Fan.Boy. "Aren't I supposed to enter the LNH?" "Of course," Repast confirmed. "They aren't exactly warming to me like this," Fan.Boy siud, pointing to his own quivering form. "This is the LNH. Sillyness and absurdity. And those are just some of the words the Ultimate Ninja has used. How is angst supposed to get me into their membership?" Repast considered the figure on the floor, and the others surrounding it, all trying to work out a way to help Barry kill himself. "Perhaps this should have been thought out more," she admitted. Fan.Boy crossed his arms in a superior way. "Glad you finally agree with me. Can we finish this now?" Doctor Stomper entered. "Get back. My sensors were going off in the medical bay about this guy. Some outside force is inflicting angst on him. Help me get him unconscious before he's seriously damaged." "Too late," said Bad-Timing Boy. Contraption Man and Cheesecake-Eater Lad held Barry down (not that he needed dissuading from the bliss of sleep) while Doctor Stomper administered a hypo- spray. After a brief hiss, Barry's unconscious form thudded onto the Peril Room floor. Contraption Man, Bad-Timing Boy, Squeaky Clean and Cheesecake-Eater Lad each took a limb, and Doctor Stomper led they way out of the room. Fan.Boy turned away from them as they left. "Happy now?" Repast chewed her lip, but didn't say anything. "Can you take me back to my room now, please?" "I'll have to report this in," Repast finally said. "Fine, fine. Just get on with it." Repast flashed Fan.Boy a look of anger. "Oh, shut up!" She took a flying kick at him and connected solidly with his head. Blackness welled up faster than the floor. _-~-_ Barry awoke woozily, his eyes coming to focus on the features he would soon know as Doctor Stomper. He heard another voice speak while he tried to work out why his head kept falling off. "Will he be all right?" "The outside influence has stopped, although I'm not sure why," the doctor reported. "With that gone, he should soon be acting normally." "Whu.. where am I?" Barry asked. Doctor Stomper turned abruptly at the sound of his patient's voice. "You're at the Legion of Net.Heroes. As far as we can ascertain, you were brought here across a rip in space/time/reailty. Seems to happen a lot these days." Barry's face filled with wonder. "The LNH? Really? Wow! Who are you people?" Doctor Stomper looked a bit taken back by Barry's enthusiasm, but he recovered and made introductions. "My name is Doctor Stomper. This is Contraption Man. He is Cheesecake-Eater Lad-" "Cheesecake-Eater Lad? Cool," Barry said. "Can I have a cheesecake?" "Wow," said Squeaky Clean to Cheesecake-Eater Lad. "You have a fan." "Just what we need," muttered Bad-Timing Boy. "A fanboy." "Hey, I like that," said Barry. He took a deep breathe. "I AM FAN.BOY!!" "What?" _-~-_ Fan.Boy returned to consciousness lying on something soft. He carfeully opened one eye and looked around, waiting for something to hit him. Pillow. Blanket. Sheets. All blue with the LNH logo plastered all over them. Hmm. He was back on his bed. He rose, slowly, and held his head. It alternated between imitations of a jackhammer and a balloon. He crept into the bathroom, removed his glasses, then splashed water all over his face. It helped. Not a lot, but it helped. Fan.Boy blinked, letting the last drips fall from his eyelashes into the sink. He stared at himself in the mirror, a vaguely recognisable blur. "And he lived happily ever after," he murmurred to himself. He thought back over the events he had just been a part of, then he tried to remember what had really happened. Damn! He couldn't. All he could remember was suffering some kind of angst attack, and then coming to in the medical bay. Thinking quickly, he flung his mind back over alt.comics.lnh, and accessed _Fan.Boy #1_. He read the scene where he arrived carefully. It looked... different now. Familiar, but wrong. Damn. He picked his glasses back up and put them on. He took one last look in the mirror and half jumped out of his skin as he saw someone else in the reflection standing behind him. He swiftly turned and looked at the tall, lanky man. His nose seemed to extend a foot from his face, and his eyes jumped about from place to place. His lips twitched, going from a smile to a frown to something in between. His clothes were the kind you find in the rag bag, a dusty red checked jacket over a previously white shirt. Straight brown pants hid thin legs, and his old shoes looked ready to either fall apart or leave his undersized feet. He held the cooked leg of some bird or another in one hand, and took little nibbles from it every now and then. "Hell-" the man said, stopping his own speech abruptly. "Hello," returned Fan.Boy, casting his eyes around for something to use to defend himself against this crazy person. "Where did you come from?" "I. All. Here." The man's hand flew away from his body, supposedly indicating the bathroom that the man here was, but the man caught control of it and brought it back to himself before he could fully gesture anything. "Christmas. Pheasant." Fan.Boy gulped. He was really drawing in the loonies tonight. "Now, look," he started placatingly. "I've already been through this with the ghost of Christmas Repast, and it didn't really work out. She's already stuffed my life up once, and I don't need anyone else messing with it. Just leave me alone." The man's eyes lit up, and made full contact with Fan.Boy's for the first time. "Angst." What? Oh hells. He was being depressive, wasn't he? With the recent visit to Net.Zealand, and now these ghosts messing around with him, it was hard to keep his usual cheerful (although some said idiotic) demeaner. Right. If they really want angst, here goes. Fan.Boy leapt forward and grabbe the man's lapels. "How about I rip your flaming nuts off and force feed them to you through your nostils? Get the smeg out of here before I do something that will ban this issue." Pheasant's head didn't so much as nod as jiggle. Fan.Boy feared for a moment that it was going to fall off and roll about on the floor, jiggling all the while. "Like. Good." About... turn! "Wow," gushed Fan.Boy. "This is really cool. I'm being visited by all these really cool ghosts. Never thought I'd be in a take off of _A Chrsitmas Carol_. Can I've your autograph? The guys'll never believe this. Retcon Lad will be so jealous." The man fought Fan.Boy off, his arms flying about without any real sense of purpose. "Bad. Bad. Badbadbadbadbad." Fan.Boy grinned. "That's neat. Do it again." "Enough." The man's arms actually contacted with Fan.Boy's head, and he tripped up and was sent hurtling along the floor straight into the bathroom wall. He rebounded and staggered round, trying to catch his breath. When he finally had done, Fan.Boy found himself no longer in his bathroom, but down a mine shaft. He had hardly a chance to work out where he was when he heard a group of people coming from the entrance. He looked surprised when he saw a horde of green kiwis followed by some LNHers he knew quite well: Mouse, Bladed Lad, Retcon Lad and, of course ,himself. "Hey, this happened just a few hours ago," the ghostly Fan.Boy said. "Know," said Pheasant, his eyes darting over the rocks around them. "Bad." Fan.Boy snorted. "Hardly. As I remember, we defeated the villain." "Defeat?" Pheasant looked in Fan.Boy's general direction. "Watch." Fan.Boy lent back against the side of the mine shaft, rather surprised when it actually held his weight. One of the kiwis, Harris, Fan.Boy remembered, held up a wing. "/It's just up ahead,/" he said to the rest of the team. "Okay," said Bladed Lad. "Reconnaissance team?" He looked to the kiwis for volunteers. "What's the plan?" asked Mouse. The Fan.Boy that the others could hear shrugged. "We go in, look around, see if there's any villains about, and get captured. Usual cliched plot line." "Hey," said Retcon Lad. "That's my writer you're talking about." "He's the one making you angsty, remember?" Fan.Boy said, a twinkle in his eye. "You're right," Retcon Lad agreed. "Let's shoot him." "Enough, guys," Mouse interrupted. "Can we just get on with this? I didn't exactly picture my Christmas being stuck down a mine shaft while snow fell on Net.Zealand." Bladed Lad squared his shoulders. "Right. The five of us shall scout ahead, the rest of you wait here to come to our rescue when we get caught." "Five?" said Fan.Boy. Bladed Lad pointed to Harris. "You're with us." "/Of course, Oh mighty lord and master,/" said Harris. "/Your word is my command./" Bladed Lad ignored the sarcasm and led the way ahead. Fan.Boy and Pheasant tagged along with the party, Fan.Boy mouthing the words as various witticisms were traded. The party grew silent as they neared the lair of whoever was inside. Retcon Lad had barely poked his head around the entrance when they all heard something behind them. Fan.Boy looked on as they all turned and looked through him at the walruses that had come around behind them. "Come in, little ones," a voice from inside the cavern. "I have been waiting for you. Your unpleasant body heat betrayed your presence." Mouse eyed the walruses warily, looking for a way past them. "Care to talk about cabbages and kings?" she asked hopefully. The walruses bared their teeth, and barked, causing the party to jump back. "I think we better go inside," said Retcon Lad, leading the way. Inside, they were face to face with a tall, thin man with cold green eyes. "You have dared to come to challenge me," the man said. "ME! Coldheart, the greatest wizard you will ever see." "Really?" said Fan.Boy. "The greatest? Can I have your autograph?" "I really don't think this is the time to get chummy," warned Mouse. "Hey," said Fan.Boy. "If this guy turns out to be a really big villain, think how valuable his signature would be." "YOU DARE TO TRIFLE WITH ME?" Coldheart roared. "You shall not have breath enough in your body to dare utter meaningless inanities ever again." "I don't know about you," Bladed Lad whispered to Retcon Lad. "But this guy really needs to cut down on his caffeine intake." "/You mean you humans aren't all crazed psychopaths under a veneer of stupidity?/" asked Harris. The Fan.Boy with Pheasant cast his eyes upwards. Pheasant caught this. "Doing?" he asked. Fan.Boy pointed to somewhere on the ceiling above where Coldheart was standing. "About there, I think it was." Pheasant's eyes roved the roof, which was easy for him, and he noticed a few cracks creeping in. "..and all the heat and passion shall be sucked out," Coldheart was expositing. "You'll never get away with it," said Mouse. Bladed Lad winced. "Did you really have to say that?" Mouse nodded. "Unfortunately. Someone had to." "And why not?" asked Coldheart condensendingly. Fan.Boy posed. "Because we're the net.heroes, and we always win." He beamed. Coldheart looked at the rest of them. "Does he always do that?" The others nodded. "Unfortunately," they chorused. "Hmp," Coldheart hmped. "Prove it." "All right," said Fan.Boy. "I call upon the power of Binky to collapse this roof on your head, in the name of HEROES!" [The roof caved in, followed by a wash of green as the kiwis who following their natural instinct, perched on top of the building, and fell with the roof.] Fan.Boy smirked at Pheasant. "Weirdness Girl taught me that trick." They all looked aghast at the result. "How did you do that?" asked Bladed Lad. "I have my ways." Retcon Lad was checking on the rubble of ice. The kiwis were all right, but he found something unpleasant when he revealed Coldheart's body. "Hey, guys," said Retcon Lad. "He's dead." "Oh great," said Mouse. "I can't you guys anywhere without something angsty happening. Thanks. You've just ruined Christmas." "Yeah, well, we did what had to be done," said Fan.Boy to Pheasant, as he watched himself help to clear up some of the mess. "Angst. More," said Pheasant. "Better. Watch." He waved his hands, and the scene before Fan.Boy's eyes suddenly blurred into backwardness. The roof reformed, the talking flowed in reverse, then the gang retreated out through the tunnel. When the scene resumed normal speed, they were back in the corridor of the mine shaft. The party was following Harris, and paused when he stuck up a wing. "/It's just up ahead,/" he told them. "Okay. Reconnaissance team?" Bladed Lad said, asking for volunteers among the birds. "Ready?" asked Pheasant. "What's the plan?" Mouse asked. "Now," said Pheasant. "FAN.DOOM SMASH!!!" snarled Fan.Boy unexpectedly. [Everybody stared at him, stunned. Even Fan.Boy. Out of chracter, yes, but one thing was really silly. "Fan.Doom?" asked Fan.Boy, incrediously. "You," said Pheasant, shrugging. "Choice."] "What are you talking about..." began Mouse, only to be cut off by a growl from him that was truly chilling in its bestiality. "Fan.Doom smash villain!!!" he reiterated, lumbering ahead. ["Hulk," said Pheasant. "Good." Fan.Boy rolled his eyes in disgust.] When the others had come too again, Fan.Doom had moved forward towards where Harris had indicated the core of the anomaly was. Retcon Lad rushed after him. "Fan.Boy..." began to soothe Retcon Lad. "Fan.Doom!!!" countered Fan.Doom (nee Fan.Boy) aggressively. ["Isn't this getting ever so slightly overkill?" asked Fan.Boy. "Possibly," said Pheasant. He waved a hand. "Less."] "No, no. You're not Fan.Doom. You're Fan.Boy," said Retcon Lad earnestly. "You're not a bloodthirsty and homicidal anti-hero. You're a Legionnaire. You're supposed to represent all that's good in humanity. You stand for hope for a better tomo... urk!" Fan.Doom had grabbed Retcon Lad by the throat, causing the latter's eyes to bug out. "Fan.Doom not be confused by babbling of puny net.hero." " but... you always liked my babbling before... " protested Retcon Lad with laboured breaths. "Hit him hard," Mouse yelled to the others. The kiwis and Bladed Lad rushed at Fan.Doom, nasty sharp natural weaponry bristling. The kiwis pecked and Bladed Lad sliced. And none of it seemed to do the slightest bit of damage. Fan.Boy grinned. "Heh, at least I don't go the way of Retcon Lad." "Like?" asked Pheasant. "No, no, no," Fan.Boy said hurriedly. Fan.Doom grabbed a random kiwi, and held him by the throat much like Retcon Lad. "Fan.Doom not impressed by puny kiwis. Fan.Doom is strongest and most violent and can talk about self in third person. If puny kiwis not like, then Fan.Doom will squish puny kiwis like bugs." Fan.Boy looked on as his normal weakling self was totally unphased by the brutality of the kiwis attacks. "Puny villain, Fan.Doom is coming for you," Fan.Doom snarled and lumbered further into the lair. "Hey, what happened?" asked Fan.Boy. Pheasant pointed. "Oh yeah," Fan.Boy said, seeing Mouse. "She would be able to affect me now, wouldn't she?" "Urk," managed Retcon Lad, massaging his throat. "So, now what?" "We follow him," Bladed Lad said decisively. Retcon Lad nodded, and followed, along with Fan.Boy and Pheasant. When they caught the rampaging Fan.Doom, he was facing off against the sinister Coldheart. "Now puny villain," announced Fan.Doom. "Fan.Doom smash." Coldheart was unimpressed. He waved a finger dismissively. "Hardly." On the floor about him, pale coloured walruses in white waistcoats and wearing fur trimmed cap with little tinkling bells on the ends grinned unpleasantly. Fan.Doom snarled and strode forward, fists clenched and muscled knotted. His opponent looked disdainful and launched some sort of fancy special effect at him. A swirl of greeny-orangy-purple light accreted about Fan.Doom's head, causing him to go " eep " before his eyes rolled up into his head and he fell to the floor unconscious. "Great," said Fan.Boy. "I've become a pudding." "And now for his little friends," the villain commented to the walruses. Outside, the other Legionnaires all went " eep " too. The walruses sniggered. "We get captured?" Fan.Boy said. "The great all angsty Fan.Doom gets captured. Oh yeah. Big help." "Issue," said Pheasant. "Read." "Say what?" "Newsgroup." Fan.Boy finally garnered what Pheasant wanted, and checked out alt.comics.lnh. He accessed _Antipodean Antics #2_ and read the scene he just witnessed. Then he read the rest of the issue. "Hey," he said. "Coldheart doesn't die. And we still win." "Correct," Pheasant nodded, but with his normal twitching it was hard to tell for sure. "Better." Fan.Boy had to admit this one. "Yeah. Looks that way." "Think," advised Pheasant. "Ponder." Fan.Boy was thinking. This was a better way of doing things. Unfortunately, as he was occupied thinking, he didn't see the elbow that connected with the back of his head. A bright light flashed in his head, wiping out all consciousness. _-~-_ When he finally woke up again, Fan.Boy waited for the thudding to stop. He idly wondered if this was going to be a running gag for the issue or something. It finally occured to him that the reason his head was pounding was because he was continually knocking it into his pillow. He stopped and tried to think of some reason why he may have started doing that. No reason came to him other than the sheer hopelessness of his own situation. Damn. There was that angst again. Fan.Boy pondered the possibilty of Retcon Lad retconning this issue into non- existance, but decided that Joe had his own problems, and didn't need extra worries about affecting the nature of reality by erasing an LNH issue. Trying to find some way of drawing himself out of selfpity, he looked over to his shelf containing his meager collection of comics. When you can read any LNH issue ever written with your own powers, you don't tend to keep hardcopies around. Also, DC and Marvel comics just didn't appeal to him. (Although his rec.arts.comics.dc.universe and rec.arts.comics.marvel.universe counterparts would disagree.) As he crossed to the shelf, he gave a look of amusement at the 17 foot tall doll of Easily-Discovered Man. No-one was quite sure how he managed to get it into his room, and how he managed to stand it upright. Given that the room was eight feet high, and that the doll wasn't bent in any way, something had to be going wrong with reailty. Then again, these were the same people who wondered how Demon Boy fit his video collection in. Fan.Boy took down a copy of _Bloodkitty #1_, the one issue of the sereis he had managed to find so far. It was personally autographed by Panta. He flicked through the pages, marvelling at just how distorted Patna could look and yet still be beautiful. He was lost in admiration when a hand came down on his shoulder, and for the next few momnets Fan.Boy was clinically dead as his heart stopped beating. "Don't do that!" he yelled as he turned to see his latest visitor. This time it was a giggling old man. His hair was short and white, but there was a lot of it. His face looked made up of wrinkles, but his eyes looked made of diamonds. The clothes were well worn, but they were worn well with pride. His shoes were scuffed, but actually stayed on his feat. He was chewing on something brown with odd bits in it. "Greetings, me boyo," he said pleasently. "I'm the ghost of Christmas Fruitcake." The light finally dawned on Fan.Boy. "Oh, I get it. Repast, Pheasant, Fruitcake all make up the ghosts of Christmas Pudding. It's a running Christmas food gag thing. Hehe," he laughed weakly. "Can I go now?" "No," said Fruitcake, just as pleasently as before. "I'm here to show ye that you're future is much better through a nice healthy dose of angst. Hold on tight, me boyo, we're off for a wild ride." "Hang on a minute," said Fan.Boy. "What sort of Irish accent is that?" "Don't ask me, me boyo. I'm not the one writing it." Fan.Boy didn't have a chance to say anything else as he was pulled striagth upwards and through the roof of the LNHQ. He had a brief glimpse of green feathers before he was whisked away over the countryside. Fruitcake was holding onto Fan.Boy's cape, so Fan.Boy could do little more than dangle helplessly, and make vague gagging noises as the top of his outfit tried to strangle him. "Where are we going?" he managed to gasp out. "To the place of your battle, me boyo," Fruitcake said. "Battle? What battle?" "The one you have in three years from now." Fan.Boy didn't need to think to long about this. "Wont me knowing about it affect the outcome?" "That's what I'm here for. To show you that the outcome can only be changed if you change your attiitude." Fan.Boy was going to say something else, but when Fruitcake dived groundwards, he didn't have time to do more than gurgle. He quickly grabbed his glasses to stop them rom falling off as the wind increased rapidly around him. The final choking came when Fruitcake stopped, and the rapid reverse of Fan.Boy's velocity nearly strangled him. He lay on the ground dry retching for a while before he managed to find the awesome strength it took to rise onto all fours. He broguth his head up to see a battle being played out in front of him, and one of the competitors was an exact copy of him. Not an exact copy. This Fan.Boy was three years older, and had the scruffy look of an unshaved chin that looks rediculous until it becomes a full beard. But, the clothes were the same. The glasses looked the same too. One thing that suprised Fan.Boy was the fact that his future counterpart was using a gun. It looked like a chunky BIGGUN(tm), but something in the way the older man was weilding it suggested that it's purpose was not as deadly as the outward appearence would have you think. Fan.Boy finally got around to looking at the antagonist. She was no-one he recognised, although it was obvious that he soon would. She stood 5' 10" and was very well built. This was easy to tell as she wore little more than a few pieces of red leather on her body. While Fan.Boy was drooling over the woman's appearence, his future self was firing his gun. A thin beam of light shot out, and rapidly grew into an image of Fan.Boy, complete with autograph book. The future self fired several times, and the battle ground became littered with Fan.Boy images, all asking for her photgraph, or sighing with pleasure, or both. "Hah!" the woman called. "Do you really think the Red Leather would be fooled by your Industrial Light and Magic Army? Think again, pink boy!" The Red Leather pulled a out long whip (and , although he looked really hard, Fan.Boy couldn't see where from), and lashed nearby images with the tip. They gave an "Oo!" of pleasent pain before disappearing. "Geez," Fan.Boy commented to himself. "This is sick." His future self was not dwadling over decisions of how to fight. He had already left the scene, and Fan.Boy looked around in vain for him. "Hey, Red Leather," Fan.Boy heard, and saw his counterpart come out from behind a building behind the woman. He was holding something up. "Care to try this on?" The Red Leather disdianfully finished off the last of the fake Fan.Boys before deigning to turn around. When she saw what he held, she started drooling herself. Fan.Boy moved in to get a better look. His other self was holding something that looked like the dogs had been at it. As he got closer, he finally cottoned on to what it was supposed to be. It was an all over body suit, with horizontal lines removed to excite onlookers with a show of flesh. But the main thing about it was, it was made entirely from leather. Admittedly, it was black and not red, but the effect on the Red Leather wasn't dampened. "Oh," she gushed. "I must have it! Give it to me." "No," replied the future Fan.Boy, taking a step backwards. The Red Leather moved towards him, swaying her hips gently. "Come one, big boy. You give that to me, and then maybe we could play some games together. Would you like that?" she asked softly, seductively. The older Fan.Boy took a few more steps back. He waved the outfit enticingly. "Come on, pussycat. Come here," he said. Fan.Boy looked on disbelievingly. "I really get like this?" he asked. "Well," replied Fruitcake. "With a nice healthy dose of angst in ye, ye'll never have to worry about this sort of thing, me boyo." "Hey, I like it. I like it," Fan.Boy quickly assured. The two combatents had retreated to some distance away, and Fan.Boy and Fruitcake jogged to catch up. They turned a corner after the Red Leather, and what they saw nearly popped Fan.Boy's eyes out of his skull. Fruitcake seemed merely amused. The Red Leather was leaning on the outift, rubbing her head up and down it, while Fan.Boy held it against his chest. Every now and then the Red Leather's tounge would like the costume, and slip between the slits to play with Fan.Boy's body through the spandex. "Come on, baby," the future Fan.Boy whispered. "Why don't you show me some of that good lovin'?" The Red Leather purred throatily, and they moved out of sight, the Red Leather putting the outfit around her neck like a scarf. Fan.Boy faced Fruitcake. "Oh, come on. I would never act like that." Fruitcake shrugged. "You're older now, me boyo. Your hormons are rushing through your system. A pretty lass like might just be able to reel you in." Fan.Boy shook his head, but said nothing more. Fruitcake lead the way back they came. "Come on, let's see it again." "I don't think I could stomach it," said Fan.Boy. "Don't worry, me boyo," said Fruitcake, with a twinkle in his eye. "They'll be a few wee changes to ye, that you just might prefer." They turned the corner and Fan.Boy saw himself cross the battlefield again, heading towards the haugty Red Leather. Something was different this time. Something in the other's manner sent a shiver down Fan.Boy's spine. Perhaps it was the serious look on the counterpart's face. Or maybe the fact that the gun no longer looked like a fun hologram projector, and instead projected something far more deadly. Or maybe it was the simple fact that Fan.Boy knew that this was going to be a more angst Fan.Boy. "Okay, baby," said the angst Fan.Boy in a deep, rough vocie. "This time it's just you and me. No outsiders. No innocents." "There are no such things as innocents in this town," Red Leather replied. "Everyone is guilty, even if they don't know it yet." "I'm here to collect your guilt. Why don't you just give up now. It'll be easier for both of us, and less painful for you." Fan.Boy shook his ehad wearily. "Got any spagetti?" he asked. "Ock, laddie. Shuttup, why don't ye?" Fruitcake replied. Fan.Boy looked at him strangely. "Is it just me, or has your accent gone from approximate Irish to stupid Scottish?" "When we get to Ja.mecha, mon, den you can worry," said Fruitcake. Fan.Boy blinked a few times, then turned back to the fight. "Well, sister. What's is gonna be? I haven't got all day," said the older Fan.Boy. "What do you want to try? A macho face off? Do you really think you could get the better of me?" the Red Leather said, standing akimbo. "I can always get the better of you." Fan.Boy parted his stance, readying himself. The Red Leather slowly drew out her whip (although Fan.Boy still couldn't tell where from). "You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?" "Hey," the future Fan.Boy complained. "That's my line." Fan.Boy winced at the cliche. "Go for your gun," said Red Leather. "Go ahead. Make my day," replied Fan.Boy, wanting to get some good lines in. "Don't mind if I do," Red Leather replied, flicking out with her whip, and catching hold of Fan.Boy's gun. With a trumphal grin, she flicked her wrist and sent the gun sailing towards her. She caught it and turned it on Fan.Boy. "Now it up and beg." The Fan.Boy of the future raised hs hands in a gesture of peace. "Now, look here, little lady. Perhaps we can talk about it." Red Leather shook her head. "I wanna see you dance." With that, she started firing the gun towards her adversary's feet. He jumped around trying to avoid the exploding landscape, much to the Red Leather's amusement. Fan.Boy watched with incredulity. "Should've taken lessons from Amazing Dodge Woman." Red Leather laughed at she fired, not caring if the bullets ran out or anything. She got lazy in her arm movements, and, in a terrible instant, shot Fan.Boy through the gut. He stopped dancing immediately, and droppped to the ground. Blood bubbled out of his mouth, not to mention his stomach. Watching, Fan.Boy's mouth dropped open, agast. This was supposed to convince him to go angst? He rushed to side duoble's side. The Red Leather joined him moments later. "Oh, @#$%," the shot man said. "This is how I met my end. Not in glory, but at the hands of a mere woman." "I'm sorry," the woman sobbed. "I didn't think... hey, watch that `mere woman' remark." "You didn't think what?" the man asked, irritated. "That it was loaded? That it would go off?" "Oh, shut up already," Red Leather said, disgusted but the chovanisium. She brought up the gun to the man's temple. "Hey, hey, hey, hold on here," said Fan.Boy. "That's me you're shooting. Just calm down and think about things for a moment, eh? No need to off half-cocked." "Go ahead," said the man toughly. "You aren't woman enough to kill me cleanly. Just a wussy babe in leather." He spat blood. "Can't even shoot properly." "Oh yeah. I'll show you." Fan.Boy turned away quickly as the Red Leather pulled the trigger. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the landscape gain a new, red, covering. He stood up and return to where Fruitcake was standing.. "And this is the way to go, is it? Not survive, albiet rather distastefully, but to have my brains splattered across the gound?" "Ock laddie. But what a wey t'gae," Fruitcake replied. "That's a great death, that is." Fan.Boy thought of something. "Hang on. I won't die though. I'll just return to the Peril Room." "Nae. Not anemore." "Other thing, she wasn't stunned. He, I swore, and she wasn't stunned. What do you mean, not anymore'?" "That's enough for now, laddie. Bedebyes until you change your ways." Fan.Boy looked up in confusion to see a very wrinkled fist smashing into his face. He was sure his nose was crushed, but he was too unconscious to tell. _-~-_ The sun woke Fan.Boy, which was quite unusual given that his room faced west. He opened his eyes, but immediately shut them again as the early morning sun dazzled him. Gods, they've got to move that building opposte the HQ. The sun reflecting off it was just too much. He got off his bed, by stint of rising onto one elbow, then slipping sideways onto the floor. As he thumped down, a hammer ran through his head. What the hell had he drunk? The memory of the ghosts slammed back into him. He'd have to tell Frat Boy about them. That drink was really something if he had dreams like that. He pulled hmself across the carpet by his hands, heading for the bathroom, when a leg came into vision. It was quite a strange leg. This much was obvious as Fan.Boy's head was half inside it when it came to his notice. He lay there, thinking about nothing in gerenal, and waited for something to happen. Eventually, the ghost was forced to bend down so Fan.Boy could see him. "Guten Abend," it said. Fan.Boy managed to find enough energy to raise his hand at the wrist and wave. Satisfied that this was good enough, the ghost straightened itself. "I have come to hear your judgement,." it boomed. "Know now that your future lies heavily on you. This shall be a deciding point in history. Have you realised your errors and come to your senses?" The ghost looked down to see Fan.Boy curled into a feotel poaition. Gradually, he uncurled. "Are you always going to shout?" he whipserd. "Er, yes," said the ghost in normal voice. "It's a part of the job." "Sod off and get a better job then," said Fan.Boy. "I do realise that you are feeling somewhat tender right now," said the ghost, understadningly. "But I really must have your answer. I do have other matters to attend to. In fact, other LNHers are also having their lives reassessed by this same procedure." "What, thumping them until they give in?" The ghost shrugged. "We tailor each correction on an individual basis. We feel it's more personable." "So, what are my choices again?" "You shall either," the ghost shouted, but on seeing Fan.Boy wince, it lowered its voice. "You can either continue on your wicked ways, and face everlasting moral decay and eventualy decrepititude." A pause. "Or?" Fan.Boy prompted. "Or, you can give into your true destiny and assume the mantle of angst on your shoulders and forever more consider your every decision with agonising scrutiny and second guess yourself in every year to come." Another pause. "Sod that." _-~-_ Catalyst Lass was walking innocently down the corridor, wondering what the strange smell was, when one of the doors opened and Fan.Boy stepped out. "Hello world!" he shouted, causing Cat to jump in fright. She watched carefully as Fan.Boy's face crumpled, and he grasbbed his head. "Remind me not to do that again," he said in a much quieter voice. "What happened to you?" Cat asked, helping him over to a wall. "I just had a visitation but the Ghosts of Christmas Pudding, who tried to convince me to become one with the angst." Cat's face twisted at the distasteful prospect. "What did you decide?" "I told them to stick it where the turkey can't see." Cat smiled, but a worry remained. "Won't you be forever damned, or something?" "Yep," said Fan.Boy. "But they forgave me when I asked for their autographs." They luaghed together (quietly) as Cat helped Fan.Boy to the medbay for some aspirin. "A Chrsitmas Dinner." by Jamas Enright -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Credits: All characters are mine expect for those that belong to other people. The "Fan.Doom" scene was written by Saxon Brenton and cannabalised by me. (Which you all recognise having read _Antipodean Anticsd_, haven't you?) The Dvandom Stranger's line was written by Dvandom in a context totally unrelated to this issue, but I though I'd stick it in anyway. Merry Chrismas, Dave! And Merry Christmas to everyone else!Back to the Index.