Limp-Asparagus Lad #2 A Sponge Minion Walks Among Us. Maybe. By Saxon Brenton Editing by The Mystic Mongoose ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Cover: Shows a food fight in progress in the LNHQ cafeteria. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Legion of Net.Heroes HQ cafeteria: Limp-Asparagus Lad sat at a table, eating his rice and salad and taking an occasional sip from his soy malt, all while reading some computer print-outs he'd gotten off wReamhack for when he came off- shift from cooking duties. Around him the Legion was going through its lunch hour. A variety of net.heroes were present, ranging from The Forgetting One, Administration Man, and Old Comics Man engaged in discussion at one table, through to Master Blaster and Frat Boy attempting to drink themselves into happy paralysis at another. L-A Lad, however, was as alone amongst the crowd as, well, as the grim Green Trenchcoat would have been. That isolation was about to change. "Limp-Asparagus Lad," someone called. L-A Lad looked up to see Occultism Kid approaching. "Occultism Kid. Hello." "Mind if I sit down?" "Not at all," L-A Lad replied mildly, indicating the chair opposite. As the Master of Mysticism sat down L-A Lad took off his reading glasses and tidied away his papers. "I just wanted to ask you some questions..." OK began. "Hi guys. Can I join you?" asked a female voice. Both L-AL and OK looked up to see a young woman dressed in a red, brown, and grey costume with a domino mask, holding a tray. "Hello, Fourth Wall Lass. Yes, please be seated," said L-A Lad. "I do not believe you two have met. Fourth Wall Lass, this is Occultism Kid. Occultism Kid, this is Fourth Wall Lass, a new character who will be revealed in issue 4 to have a more extensive history in the LNH than is at first apparent." The two made their hellos, then OK commented to L-A Lad, "Looks like your writer is really getting stuck into the foreshadowing and plot exposition." "It's only a six issue limited series," he replied by way of explanation. "Well, I may be able to help you somewhat. I wanted to ask about your origin." "I'm a mutant." L-A Lad replied. "Really?" said Fourth Wall Lass, somewhat surprised. "Well, I suppose that'd put your among a relatively popular group with the fanboys, what with the popularity of the x-books and all... " "But not necessarily with the writers on r.a.c.c.," OK added, alluding to certain recent problems with newsgroup demarcations. "Yeah," she agreed, "but, don't mutants have to deal with a high angst levels? I've never known you to angst in all the time I've known you." "That's because I am not allowed to use angst." FW Lass blinked in surprise. "Why?" "It's character building," L-A Lad replied. She stared at him. "They're not kidding about holding you to that 'Man With No Personality' stuff then, are they?" "No. Although that epithet is something of a misnomer. I do have a personality, it's just that it's a dull one." He turned back to Occultism Kid. "Why do you ask?" "Well, I was doing some research on other dimensions and came across a reference to the original, Golden Age Asparagus Lad." "I don't think I was aware that there ever was another Asparagus Lad," Limp-Asparagus Lad observed. "It's probably just your writer creating some back history, I should think," OK replied. "Anyway, it seems that your predecessor gained his powers from the asparagus people." "I thought they were all dead," asked FW Lass. "You know, toasted when their sun was sent nova." "Not _those_ asparagus people. These asparagus people, sentient anthropomorphic plants from the vegetable dimension, were involved in a bitter war with the broccoli people. It seems they gave the original Asparagus Lad his powers in an attempt to ward off the genocidal attacks of the broccoli forces." "Did he succeed?" asked FW Lass. Occultism Kid shrugged. "For a while, apparently. The records are sketchy afterwards." "That sounds like a plot dangler to me," L-A Lad observed. "So you thought Limpy here may have known something about it?" FW Lass asked. "It was a possibility I had to investigate," OK affirmed. "I'm afraid I don't know anything about a war between asparagus and broccoli. I eat them both," L-A Lad said, picking up a sprig of the former. Occultism Kid took this to be a statement of fact; Limp- Asparagus Lad was physically incapable of making a joke. "Hey people," enthused Cheesecake Eater Lad, wandering over. "Anyone want some of my 'Genocide By Chocolate' cheesecake?" "Just a small slice for me," conceded FW Lass." I've got to watch my figure." "Sure," said OK. "It'll be nice to get away from wing of bat and eye of newt for a change," he joked. CE Lad smiled. "Well, if you ever need me to mix up some of that as a cheesecake, just call," he told OK. People at nearby tables, having overheard that last comment, turned green over their lunches. "What about you, Limpy?" CE Lad asked. "None for me, thank you," he replied. Cheesecake Eater Lad frowned. "Oh, come on, Limpy. Everybody else has had some at least once at some time or other, but I've never seen you touch a slice. And when you've been in the kitchens, you've never nibbled on anything sweet beyond the tiniest bites to make sure they're coming up properly. What's there to be afraid of?" "Raising my cholesterol levels," L-A Lad replied simply. "You have a cholesterol problem?" OK asked. "Yes." "Then that's why you always eat lean meats and vegetarian, and never any of Steak and Potatoes Man's stuff. Or Frat Boy's beers?" said FW Lass. "Actually, I don't drink because I don't enjoy the taste of alcohol. And like most of my eating and drinking preferences, I picked that up from my current writer." "Well, he sounds boring," observed FW Lass. "I think that's why he took over me as a WC. He seems to be applying the adage 'write what you know'." "The bane of my life," grimaced CE Lad in mock regret. "Health fanatics." "Que?!" slurred Master Blaster after overhearing the exchange. "He doesn't eat Unhealthy Snacks(tm)? %@#*in' Sponge Minion!" he managed to roar, slightly incoherently. He whipped out his BigGun(tm) and fired at, apparently, the table the group were sitting at, although it was more likely that he was aiming at L-A Lad and missed. The energy beam sliced the table in two, then continued on to the door, where it incidentally vaporised Cannon Fodder as he walked through with the words, "Hi guys, what's happ..." on his lips. Food flew off the decimated table, showering neighbouring diners. Being vulnerable to the high calibre shells and energy beams of Master Blaster's BigGun(tm), and having nothing else to use against the Man With the Big Guns, L-A Lad tried distracting him by hefting fistfuls of beetroot at him. Cheesecake Eater Lad joined him, and was surprisingly effective. The thing to remember is that if one is going to become engaged in a food fight that it is best not to face off against someone who uses cheesecake dispensers as projectile weapons. The onslaught from the Master Of All Things Munchy was far more effective than that of L-A Lad, and soon MB's BigGun(tm) was clogged with cheesecake mix. "@#%$!" swore MB, trying to unclog his gun, failing because of his alcohol sot, then deciding instead to use the weaponry built into his cybernetic right arm. Limp-Asparagus Lad, having seen Master Blaster's gun out of action, advanced on him to put a stop to this silliness. Meanwhile, Fourth Wall Lass, having quickly read the caption describing MB's intended action, tackled L-A Lad from behind just in time to save the Man of Dull from being toasted by MB's arm armaments. CE Lad quickly gummed up these latter weapons as well. Unfortunately, by this time the fight had spread among the other occupants of the cafeteria. Food flew thick and fast, and everybody became covered in it. It only ended when Ultimate Ninja came in. He didn't threaten. He didn't even speak. He just stood at the door and looked _very_ disappointed in them all. In ones and two, and then by whole tables, the participants stopped, and stood around, looking sheepish. Finally, UN spoke. "I trust that there is a reason for this frivolity?" he inquired with deceptive mildness. It took a while, but he was eventually able to coax a coherent answer out of them. "Is this matter is settled then?" he finally concluded when explanations had been made. "Perhaps not," suggested Occultism Kid. Ultimate Ninja nodded for him to continue. "Inebriated or not, Master Blaster may have a point. We know from the events of the first Dog Boy story arc [Dog Boy #1-6. Go read them. They're good - SB] that B'harne has been able to gain some purchase on this reality." "Who?" someone asked. "Barry the Grinning Purple Nightmare is the name you may be more familiar with," OK explained. "Because Iraqi Alex's devices of destruction fortunately only work part of the time, what he was able to summon through the Dark Portal into Looniverse was actually only a tiny fraction, an avatar, of the full horror that is B'harne, the Lord of Purple. Thus, although B'harne was Barry, Barry was not B'harne, at least not fully. B'harne is a cthuloid horror in the truest sense, existing outside of time and space and plot causality. That is why it is able to exist in multiple times, places and newsgroups; on television throughout the PluRealities and the real worlds beyond, facing off against the anti-B'harne forces in many newsgroups, and here, manifesting for at least part of the time as a satanic plush toy." "Your point being?" pressed Ultimate Ninja, seemingly unmoved by Occultism Kid's impressive piece of exposition. "With the Lord of Purple abroad in the world we cannot afford to take unnecessary risks. If there's any chance that Limp-Asparagus Lad has been dinosaurically possessed, we must investigate and deal with it," OK said. "You mean...?" "Yes," said Occultism Kid. He turned to Cheesecake Eater Lad. "Bring out..." "The comfy chairs!" exclaimed Bicycle Repair Lad and Demon Boy in unison. "I was going to say 'cheesecake'," said Occultism Kid, throwing a withering look at the impudently grinning pair. "Any type you'd prefer?" asked CE Lad. "Passionfruit, if you have some," answered L-A Lad. "Of course I have some," said Cheesecake Eater Lad in a way that made it clear that he thought that was a very silly question. "You _prefer_ passionfruit?" said Occultism Kid. "I thought you said you didn't like it." "No, that was alcohol. I have a sweet tooth, and have to avoid confectionery by force of will." "Your writer again?" "Yes." Once the cheesecake was fetched, Occultism Kid continued. "Now, it's well demonstrated that the poor, doomed souls in the thrall of B'harne cannot eat Unhealthy Snacks(tm). Should Limp-Asparagus Lad really be a Sponge Minion, he will react negatively to eating this cheesecake, much as a demon would to holy water. He should spontaneously detonate, showering his putrid remains across a wide area." "Oh, gross," someone was heard to exclaim. "Don't worry, we're all so covered with food from earlier that a little more mess won't hurt," assured OK. Limp-Asparagus Lad picked up the fork, carved off a piece of the cheesecake, and ate it. He did not detonate. The legionaries cheered. Later, Limp-Asparagus Lad and Fourth Wall Lass walked out into the foyer of the LNHQ. Joe had just arriving only minutes before, and was still talking with Kyoko at the reception table. "Hi guys," Joe called out as they appeared. "Anything exciting happen in the world of world saving?" Not really," L-A Lad replied in all sincerity as he continued on and out the front doors. Joe turned to Fourth Wall Lass. He smiled. .o(You look great, as always.) he thought. She smiled in return. It tended to be a one-way form of communication, but he knew best how to use thought balloons to make intimate conversation with her. "Thanks," she whispered as she leaned close to give him a kiss. "I think we'll be late if you two don't hurry up," said L-A Lad from the door, utterly oblivious to the nuances of romance. Fourth Wall Lass caught sight of that caption, and had to suppress a laugh. Elsewhere. And slightly later: "Soon all will be in readiness, and then nothing will be able to stop our plans for world domination! Mwhahahaha!" cackled the leader of a group. "You there! Lacky! How goes the construction of the Reversion Ray Projector?" "It will be complete within the hour, sir." "Excellent! Then we can begin the second phase of our plan to recapture Limp-Asparagus Lad, gain control of the rest of W.I.R.E.D., and then the world!" < And None Too Soon > boomed a voice that came from both all around them and out of nowhere. "No! You are too early. We still have more time!" <You Do. But Not Much. This Is Your Warning That Your Time Runs Short. You Must Complete Your Appointed Task And Fulfil Your Part Of The Contract. > "But surely we have already done so," said one of the other figures, his voice grown crafty. 'The 'I' in W.I.R.E.D. denotes 'intend'. As long as we 'intend' rule and eternal domination, and are attempting to do so, we are fulfilling the strict letter of our agreement." < Your Obligation Goes Beyond The Definition Of Your Acronym. You Have Bargained For Power Beyond What The Use Of An Acronym Owed You. In Return You Will Fulfil The Terms Of Your Contract By The Appointed Time > boomed the voice, and then was gone. To be continued next issue in: Subplots Advance This story is dedicated to the inhabitants of alt.barney.dinosaur.die.die.die and affiliated newsgroups I'd also like to thank the following people for publicity: * The Mystic Mongoose, for the rerelease of the Coma Kid and Continuity Champ Jr. limited series, and the plug in To The Max #3 * Tick, for the mention at the start of the Crossroads thread and * Martin, for the mention in the 'Top Ten Ways Colourblind Kid Could Die Horribly' post The cheques are in the mail :-) LNH Roster Entry NAME: Fourth Wall Lass (Terri) TYPE: NWC REVAMPED BY: firstname.lastname@example.org (Saxon Brenton) POWERS: Able to cross the 4th wall. Rapid transit between places by moving between panels. Ability to gather information by reading captions and thought balloons; has taken speed reading course to gather such information. APPEARANCE: Red, brown, and grey bodysuit, domino mask. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Credits Limp-Asparagus Lad by Saxon Brenton, created by Mystic Mongoose and wReam Fourth Wall Lass and Joe by Saxon Brenton Administration Man by Wayne Parillo Bicycle Repair Lad by HC61@lafibm.lafayette.edu Dog Boy, Iraqi Alex, and Barry the Grinning Purple Nightmare by Rene Garcia Villareal Frat Boy and Steak and Potatoes Man by uplink Master Blaster by Rob Ramirez, via Martins Phipps Occultism Kid by Josh Geurink Green Trenchcoat and Demon Boy by Paul Hardy W.I.R.E.D. by The Mystic Mongoose Cannon Fodder, Cheesecake Eater Lad, The Forgetting One, Kyoko, and Old Comics Man by Public Domain All characters (c) and (tm) their respective owners and/or creatorsBack to the Index.