Blue Light Productions presents

-----=====##### GUITAR(less) MAN#####=====-----

[Episode 3]
"I want to be an LNH'er,
 I want to live a life of Danger"
-Source unknown.

   Guitarless Man walked into the Net.ropolis employment agency with an empty 
wallet and a heavy heart.   3 days 'till rent, and he still hadn't managed to 
find a plausable explanation to give his landlord about the fact his door had 
been kicked in.   He scanned the jobs vacant board, looking for something 
that he could do - anything.   A small note caught his eye... "Out-Of-Work 
Hero looking for employ?   The LNH wants you...Board only, apply in person."
Guitarless Man was shocked.   Here he was, assuming that the LNH snobbed 
applicants away for their high-powered friends to party all week, when in 
fact all it took was a simple application?!   "I'll apply at once," he 
thought, and flew quickly to LNH HQ.
   When GM entered the LNH lobby, there was a small queue of people in front 
of the reception desk.   Brian, the secondary-relief receptionist, was under 
pressure from the first person in the queue, a woman dressed in a lycra 
bodysuit and a mask that covered the top half of her face.
   "But I tell you, it says to apply here."
   "Sorry," replied Brian, "but it's my first day here, and I have no idea 
what's going on.   I'll see if I can track down someone who knows."   Brian 
left the lobby, vanishing down the corridor.  The second person in the queue, 
a youngish guy dressed in jeans and a motorbike jacket, smiled at the woman 
and pushed past her, moving to stand behind the reception desk.
   "Ooh... nice setup," he said.   "Let's see..."   He shuffled through the 
papers in the IN tray and found a note.  "It says here all applicants for LNH 
entry are to be sent to the testing range, set up in the Peril Room."   He 
looked up at the rest of the queue.   "Shall we go find it?"
   "Good initiative," thought Guitarless Man, "He's a dead cert for a 
   The group walked into the corridor and almost immediately spotted a large 
sign on the wall... "APPLICANTS REPORT TO THE PERIL ROOM --->".   The guy in 
the leather jacket turned to GM, and smiled again.   
   "Maybe they need to find a better receptionist."
   GM nodded in agreement.   "It's so hard to find good help these days."
   "Tell me about it... hey, nice outfit by the way."


   The applicants walked into the Peril Room.   The room was configured as a 
large field with an obstacle course down one side.  List Lad sat at a desk by 
the entrance.
   "Hello there!   I am List Lad, keeper of lists.  Are you here to apply for 
the LNH?   If so please form an orderly queue.   Right.  You first, name 
please?" he said, pointing at the lycra-clad woman.
   "I'm Amazing Dodge Woman."
   "I can dodge anything that comes my way."   List Lad noted this carefully, 
then picked up a Kirby-device from the desk and waved it at her in much the 
same way that the Star Trek tricorders are used. 
   "Power level 21%," said LL, noting it.   "Please demonstrate your power."
   "I need something to dodge."   
   "I, List Lad, will throw my pen at you."   List Lad threw his pen at her.   
ADW flicked nimbly out the the way, performed a slick shoulder-roll, and 
popped back to her feet, bouncing lightly.   As she did this the readout on 
the Kirby device flickered.
   "Wow," said the leather-jacketed guy, "Amazing dodge."
   "Full power accounted," said LL, reading off the device.   "Please make 
your way to the next waiting area."   ADW moved off.
   "You next," he said, pointing to the jacketed guy.
   "Bladed Lad."
   "I can make my hands or feet whirling blades.   I also have some martial 
arts experience."
   LL waved the device.   "34%... I, List Lad, would bid you demonstrate."   
Bladed Lad assumed a loose stance, and clenched his fists.   His hands 
disappeared, to be replaced by fast rotating knives.   List Lad nodded as the 
device flickered again.   
   "All right, go wait with ADW.  You." he said, pointing to the girl waiting 
with GM.   She was wearing a pink tutu, and had "ML" on the chest of her 
costume.   A baseball bat was hanging from a strap at her hip.
   "I'm Marshmallow Lass."
   List Lad nodded, and consulted the device.   "28%...Powers?"
   "My body has the suppleness of marshmallow.   I can survive almost any 
physical attack.   I also swing a mean baseball bat."
   "All right.   Move on."   List Lad took in GM's costume.   "Name?"
   "Guitarless Man."
   "Guitarless?   Why guitarless?"
   "I used to have a guitar, now I don't."
   "Please elucidate."
   "I understand the prison infirmery are having difficulties separating it 
from Paintac Nemo's head.   I don't really miss it."   List Lad noted all 
this information.   He waved the device at GM.   It smoked, and melted.   
List Lad stood up, the smoking device in his hand.
   "I, List Lad, will be right back.   Wait right here," he said, and left.   
He returned a couple of minutes later with Kid Kirby.   Or maybe a KirbyBot.   
It's impossible to tell.   Guitarless Man looked in some trepidation at Kid 
Kirby, who cut a pretty awesome form in his armour.
   "I, List Lad, am telling you it hit 194% before it melted," said List Lad.
   "No way," said Kirby, "I calibrated it carefully."   He pulled another 
device, almost the same as the melted one, seemingly from nowhere.   "This 
one has a Di-Flural Overload preventation system, it should be fine."   He 
waved it at Guitarless Man.   It sparked once, then dimmed.   Insofar as GM 
could tell under the armour, Kirby frowned.
   "Excuse me," said Guitarless Man, "what's going on?"
   "You have the highest power index I've ever seen on a human," said Kirby.   
"You nearly double the power level of any human in the LNH.   I think.   I 
can't really measure it with a portable unit like this."   List Lad nodded
   "Wow," said GM.   "What does that mean?"
   Kirby looked at him carefully, then popped open the back of his Epishal-
2000 power meter and fiddled with the internals.   "Every hero has a power 
level that can be detected with devices like these.   The power level is the 
sum of your powers.  The power output can also be measured as you use powers, 
and you can confirm that someone's powers are operating at full capacity by 
comparing the values."
   "I follow," said GM.   "Why is mine so high?   Bladed Lad got 34%, mine's 
   "Well, I don't really know.   What are your powers?"
   "I can fly," said Guitarless Man.
   Kirby looked at him expectantly, like he had more of a sentence to say.   
Nothing was forthcoming.
   "That's it?"
   "Yes.   It's the only thing I've managed to find I can do since I was 
bitten by that radioactive guitar."
   "A what?" said Kirby, sounding confused.
   "Never mind.   The only power I know I have is flight."
   "Please take off for me, then,"   said Kirby, snapping the meter closed 
and turning it on again.   GM obliged, and hovered a few feet of the ground.
   "7%," said Kirby.   "This is interesting."   List Lad took notes.
   GM landed neatly.   "You're worrying me.   What's wrong?"
   "Nothing's wrong, per se.   You probably have a large number of unfound 
powers, that if they were fully utilised could make you one of the most 
powerful heroes in history."
   Guitarless Man's mouth opened, but no sound came out.   He looked kinda 
silly standing there with his jaw flapping about.   "B...n...b...b..." he 
said, less than intelligently.   He managed to regain some composure.   
   "Really." said Kirby.   Guitarless Man fainted.


   When Guitarless Man came to, he was in the LNH HQ Infirmary.   Sitting by 
his bed was someone he recognized from LNH press releases ... Ultimate Ninja, 
Head of the LNH.   Kid Kirby was at his side.   Guitarless Man blinked, and 
shook his head to clear it.
   "Are you all right?" asked Ultimate Ninja.   "We've been a little worried 
about you since you passed out."
   GM sat slowly up.   "Ummm... I'm fine thank you... sir."
   "Good, good.   I understand from Kid Kirby that you have quite a lot of 
untapped potential."
   "So I hear," replied GM, "but I have no idea how I'm going to get in touch 
with it."
   "That's all right," replied UN, "many heroes have teething troubles 
towards the start of their careers."   He sat down on the edge of the bed.   
   "I've been talking with Kid Kirby and List Lad while you were out, and we 
think that it'd be best if we didn't let the rest of the recruits know about 
this.   We'll take you on as an LNH Cadet and put you through the training 
tests and see what develops, but we'd prefer it if word of this wasn't spread 
about.   We feel that it'd be a lot better if your potential was channelled 
for good, and not for evil.   What do you think?"
   "Well, sir, if I live in the training barracks, can I keep my goldfish?"
   UN laughed, and exchanged glances with Kid Kirby.   "I think we can 
arrange that.   Recruits get their own rooms, which they keep if they become 
full members of the LNH.   Training starts tomorrow at 9am, in the peril 
room.   Your room is 76, Cadet ... welcome to LNH training."


   Guitarless Man opened the door to room 76 with some trepidation.  Inside, 
however, was pleasant surprise.  The room was fairly large, at least compared 
to his previous apartment, with a bed against one wall and a window 
overlooking the street.   The wall opposite the bed was dominated by a large 
bookcase, currently empty, and the carpet was green.   A desk in the corner 
had a mousepad and network connection, but no computer.   GM made a mental 
note to bring his stuff from his apartment first opportunity ... right after 
lunch, probably.   And speaking of lunch... he consulted the stack of papers 
given to him regarding the LNH and the layout of LNH HQ.   He found the 
cafeteria on the map and walked back into the corridor.   He bumped into 
Bladed Lad and Amazing Dodge Woman in the corridor.   Bladed Lad had a large 
smear of something yellow across his front.   ADW's costume was spotless.
   "Hey guys, what's up?" said Guitarless Man.
   "Oh, hi again," said Bladed Lad.   "We thought you'd dipped out when you 
didn't run the obstacle course with us."
   "No," replied GM, "I just got a little overwhelmed, I guess I'll run it 
later.   I'm Guitarless Man, by the way.   Do you know if lunch is still on?"
   "Well," said BL.  ADW looked at her feet.   "Dodge here and I were just 
down there.   We had a bet ... I bet her that I could hit her with a 
cheesecake, and she bet I couldn't.   She won... but I wouldn't go down there 
for a while.   There was just a little bit of a foodfight, really."   BL 
sighed.   "That guy, what was his name...?"   He looked at ADW.
   "Captain Cleanup," said ADW in a small voice.
   "Yeah, Captain Cleanup.  He didn't seem too impressed by the mess.   I had 
a good chat with Cheesecake-Eater Lad about ballistics, though."  He grinned.   
   "I'd better go clean up, I'll catch you around."
   "Bye," said GM, and headed to his apartment to get his stuff and see what 
he could scrounge from his fridge.


   It was late evening by the time that GM finished moving his stuff.   His 
room looked much more lived-in ... the bookcase had most of his plants on it, 
his computer setup was in place on the desk, and Monster the goldfish was 
swimming happily (as happily as a goldfish can be) in the goldfish bowl, 
placed on the shelf over the bed.   The Smashing Pumpkins were playing on his 
stereo and his landlord had paid back 1/4 of his bond after the deduction of 
the destroyed door.   GM slumped onto the bed and closed his eyes, letting a 
moment's relaxation wash away the worries of the day.   When he opened his 
eyes, Marshmallow Lass was watching him from his doorway.
   "Hi there," said GM, sitting up sharply.
   "Hello," she said, "are you OK?   When you were carried out by that guy in 
armour we were worried something was wrong."
   "Things were just a little ... sudden, is all.   I'm part of the Cadet 
program too, now."
   "What was so sudden that you passed out like that?"
   GM thought carefully, mindful of Ultimate Ninja's request to keep quiet.   
   "Um, nothing really, just a bit overexcited I guess.   I had a busy week 
and things caught up with me."
   "Oh," said ML, furrowing her brow.   "Well, as long as you're OK now..."
   "I'm fine," replied GM, "though somewhat hungry.   Want to grab a bite?"


   When ML and GM walked into the cafetaria, Captain Cleanup and Squeaky 
Clean had made a good job of cleaning up earlier that afternoon.   The room 
was back in its usual state.   They wandered along, and grabbed cheesecakes.  
GM had a roast-dinner flavoured cheesecake and Marshmallow Lass a marshmallow
one.   They picked an empty table and sat down.   Guitarless Man gawped openly
at the assembled heros.   Finally Marshmallow Lass spoke.
   "So, how long have you been a hero?"
   "Well," replied GM, "only a few weeks really.  I spent a long time working 
up to it, practising and so on, and I actually made my first heroic capturing 
of a villain about a week ago."
   "Wow.   I never actually met a villain yet."
   "Really?   This guy wasn't so bad, he was just misguided."
   "Everyone says that.   The prisons are superprisons are full of people who 
were unloved by their mothers.   Society's to blame."
   GM finished his cheesecake, and leaned back in his chair.   "I don't know 
really.   I just found that heroing didn't pay well, and this seemed like a 
decent chance to make it doing something I enjoy.   Anyway, I'm going to turn 
in now, we have training tomorrow and I'd like to be fresh."
   "Okay... I'll see you."


   Guitarless Man awoke the next morning as sunlight filtered in his window.   
The sky was overcast but not at the actual point of rain.   He smiled at his 
new room, got dressed, and wandered downstairs for breakfast.   Cheesecake.
   "Y'know," he muttered to himself, "I could get kind of sick of this 
cheesecake."   He was almost bowled over by the combined urgent "sssssh"'ings 
of the rest of the heros in the room.
   "We don't want Cheesecake-Eater Lad to know," came a voice.   GM sighed, 
and tucked into his muesli cheescake.   Finishing his breakfast, he wandered 
into the peril room a few minutes early.   Cannon Fodder was fiddling with 
the computer settings.
   "Good morning," said GM.   Cannon Fodder looked up from the console.
   "Oh, hello, are you one of the Cadets for training?"
   "Yep," said Guitarless Man, "I'm a little early."
   "That's OK," said Cannon Fodder, "I'm almost done."
   "What're you doing?"
   "This is a setup designed for the training.   It tailors situations for 
Cadets based on their abilities to help them develop an adaptive mentality."
   "Yeah."   CF pulled the last lever.   "I'm done... want to try it?"
   "Sure."   They left the control booth and walked down to the main floor.
   "Initialize," said Cannon Fodder.
   "Please provide subject," said a soft voice.   Cannon Fodder pointed at 
Guitarless Man.
   "Uh, me," said GM.
   "Subject selected.  Configuring."   A green laser washed over GM, scanning 
him.  The stark room was replaced by a vast plain of black obsidian.   Cannon 
Fodder frowned.
   "Hmmm... never done this before."
   "Subject must reach top of tower," said the voice.   A vast black tower 
materialized, nearly 600 feet high.   A door was in the base.   The rest of 
the Cadets entered the peril room, and gaped.   "Starting," continued the 
voice, and the door sealed.   A glowing number appeared in the sky.    
"00000.... 00001.... 00002" it counted.
   "What's going on," asked Bladed Lad.
   "This is part of the training program, I was just giving a demonstration," 
said Cannon Fodder.   "We might as well go on up."   He started towards the 
door.   GM, BL,  Marshmallow Lass and Amazing Dodge Woman followed him.   CF 
paused at the door, and turned to face them.
   "This tower should be configured to Guitarless Man's ability level.   He 
should be able to solve this puzzle easily."   He turned back to the door, 
and put his hand on the doorknob.   The tower flashed red for a second and 
Cannon Fodder was blasted to dust.   Marshmallow Lass screamed.
   "He's gone!" said ADW.   "Just... gone."
   "Well," reasoned Guitarless Man, "I don't need to use the door, it's easy 
to get to the top of that tower.   I'll show you."   He scooped ADW up in his 
arms, and flew to the top of the tower, and landed neatly.   The counter 
stopped at 00038.
   "Can you bring me up too?" yelled Bladed Lad from the bottom of the tower.   
GM fetched him and ML.   When he landed the second time, the soft voice spoke 
   "First challenge negotiated.   Preparing second challenge.   Please wait."
   "Where'd Cannon Fodder go?" asked Bladed Lad.
   "This whole thing is a simulation," said GM.   "I guess the computer 
superimposed that dust thing over him, he's probably just out until the next 
   "Cool," said BL.
   "Second challenge ready.   Please enter tower."   A door grew from the 
slick surface.
   "I don't like this," said Marshmallow Lass, drawing her baseball bat.
   "It's just a game," said GM.   He opened the door and went inside, trailed 
by the other three.   The door locked behind them; they were in a round room, 
about 30 feet in diameter.   A golem-like creature flashed into existence, 
and grinned a fanged grin at them.   Unleashing its claws, it charged the 
   "Mine," called GM, and kicked it in the head as it moved into range.  The 
kick knocked it over backwards.   As it stood up again, it split into two 
identical copies of itself, and attacked again.   Marshmallow Lass knocked 
one over with her baseball bat, and GM punched the second in the throat.   
They collapsed, then doubled again.
   "Wait," cried ADW, "stop killing them!"   The golems attacked again.   GM 
spun in a swift footsweep, knocking two of them to the floor.   ADW dodged 
easily as the third tried to bite her, then dodged again.   Bladed Lad 
assumed a defensive stance and blocked... and blocked... and blocked.   Each 
successful block he made, the creature struck again faster.   Finally it 
scored with its claw, raking it down his shoulder across his chest.   He 
cried out in pain, and punched it in the face, his fist a whirling blade.   
The creature collapsed.   Bladed Lad looked at his chest - the wound was 
oozing blood.
   "That really hurt!" he said.
   "This place is really sophisticated," said ML.   The golem that BL had 
killed split again as it stood.   They were facing a veritable army.   
Guitarless Man lost his cool, and stepped forward into an aggressive stance.
   "Let's rock."


   In the LNH HQ system room, Multi-Tasking Man sat up suddenly when the 
lights dimmed.   He called up a power usage readout for the building...the 
peril room was taking 85% of all power resources!   The lights flickered 
again...90... 95...  He hit the alarm button but at the same moment the 
lights went out, plunging the room into darkness.

This was going to be one issue but it's kinda got away from me.

Coming in GM #4 "In peril in the Peril Room"
*Bladed Lad & Marshmallow Lass in their only ever other issue.
*Amazing Dodge Woman
*Some wicked fight scenes.  Maybe.   If there's a fight, that is.
*And the star of our show, um, what's his name, of course, it's on the tip of 
 my tongue...

Guitar Man is copyright me - Campbell "Sasquatch" March

Kid Kirby, List Lad and Ultimate Ninja used with permission.

Multi-tasking Man's cameo used without permission.

Back to the Index.