Limp-Asparagus Lad #6 If this is the final issue of the story, then we must be due for a fight scene. By Saxon Brenton Editing by The Mystic Mongoose Continuity note: This occurs after the Crysys of Ynfynyte Tyms in Dvandom Force #42. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Cover: Along the top is the blurb: 'King-sized final issue'. The scene is of a triumphant looking Exclamation!Master! laughing fiendishly, with manacled Legionnaires looking on with various expressions of frustration and outrage. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- "Hold, villain!" proclaimed Kid Not Appearing In Any Retcon Hour Story. "Whatever your foul scheme, the Legion of Net.Heroes shall put an end to it!" Exclamation!Master! laughed maniacally, seemingly indifferent to the threat. In fact, he seemed to revel in it. "You won't get away with this!" added Irony Man. "The Legion of Net.Heroes _will_ put a stop you!" announced KNAIARHS. "Good will triumph!" exclaimed Fourth Wall Lass, wondering all the while how they had appeared in an episode of 'Mighty Morphin Power Rangers' that they should just stand around making threats without actually _doing_ anything. "No heroes, Good will not triumph, for I am... Exclamation!Master! You cannot stand against me! "Wrong villain, you can, and will be stopped!" KNAIARHS countered. "We will not allow your evil to continue," asserted Irony Man. etc., etc., etc. And while the heroes were engaged in pointless, if dramatic, proclamations with Exclamation!Master!, his hired goons(tm) began approaching the net.heroes with what were obviously power inhibitors and restraints. The heroes could see them, but were powerless to act. E!Master!'s insidious compulsion to stand about making pronouncements was too powerful. "Not so long as breath remains in our bodies will we fail to oppose your mad schemes!" "Too many lives rest upon our efforts to risk failure!" etc., etc., etc. Limp-Asparagus Lad pondered. He'd balked E!M! before, but this time the villain was obviously prepared. Perhaps he had even found a way to boost his powers. The Man of Dull found that he couldn't block E!M!'s power, at least not totally, although he might be capable of freeing one of the legionnaires. FW Lass was closest. He concentrated on her to the exclusion of everyone else in the room, but nothing he did seemed to make a difference. Thinking hastily, L-A Lad came to a decision. He would have to go with the flow of E!M!'s drama field. It wasn't that he _couldn't_ indulge in absurd comic book cliches of melodrama, just that he preferred not to. But he had to admit that used properly comic book cliches could be useful tools rather than just constraints of stylisation, and it would be remiss of him not to use a tool purely because of personal preference if the situation demanded it. Limp-Asparagus Lad let the force of E!M!'s drama inducement wash over him, then thought, .o(I must unleash the focused totality of my drama dampening field), feeling - perhaps - just a little bit silly as he did so. He directed his power at FW Lass, and - paradoxically reinforced by E!M!'s own ability - it swept out to encompass the net.heroine. She paused in mid exclamation, realised she was free, and stepped back across the threshold of the fourth wall even as the hired goons(tm) were about to place the restraints upon her. Exclamation!Master! did not seem particularly upset. In fact, he seemed almost pleased. "So! She has escaped!" he proclaimed loudly." No doubt to try to foil my nefarious machinations! But whether she attempts a rescue herself, or brings back reinforcements, it will merely act to extend the confrontation! Which means, more exclamations! Mwhahahahaha!" As the captured heroes were placed in manacles against one wall of the huge room, Irony Man said, "I suppose you're going to exposit what your fiendish plan actually is?" "But of course! Although I shall also have to explain how I returned from my death in issue 3! What would you prefer me to rant to you first?" "Your return from the dead will do fine, thank you," replied L-A Lad mildly. "Very well! After my ignominious demise in the foyer of your headquarters, my corpse was stolen from the LNHQ Medi-lab by operatives of W.I.R.E.D.! You recall, Limp-Asparagus Lad, that W.I.R.E.D. wanted us both as pawns for the duality of drama our combined powers represented! With the advanced technology at their disposal they cloned this new body of mine! But your victory over them prompted the Authority on Absurd Acronyms to foreclose on the arrangement that they had entered into with it! This left me newly awakened in the now deserted W.I.R.E.D. base, even as you and your companions returned to make your report and send people to secure the building. Using the resources left after W.I.R.E.D.'s downfall, I absconded to this location, where W.I.R.E.D. had set up a contingency headquarters, as is appropriate for world-girding conspiracies! "And then you set about mastering the secrets of the technology?" Irony Man said. Exclamation!Master! shrugged. "I'm still working on it," he admitted in his normal voice. "But I've worked out quite a bit of stuff. After all, it's almost expected for supervillains to be the masters of advanced technology. For example, the ways you're being restrained; Irony man has had control of his armour shut down with an electromagnetic scrambler. Limp-Asparagus Lad can't use his drama dampening field thanks to this handy dandy psi inhibitor. And Kid Not Appearing In Any Retcon Hour Story... ah, I have something special holding him." E!M! reached from a metal box, which he opened to reveal a weirdly glowing chunk of green rock.. Kid stared at the rock in horror, his face turning pale. "I'm using small, precise amounts of radiation from this little rock to keep him weakened," grinned E!M! "I'm quite proud of it." "What is it?" asked Irony Man. "It is a piece of Retcon Hour story," croaked Kid Not Appearing In Any Retcon Hour Story. The others paused in befuddlement at this, and then L-A Lad spoke. "I don't understand." "It's quite simple!" expounded E!M!, dropping once again into his pontification mode. "During the dying days of Retcon Hour, the very fabric of Looniversal continuity was stretched beyond endurance! Pieces of the severely warped storyline became radioactive under the pressure from so many divergent timelines coexisting at once! Then, when wReamicus Maximus destroyed the Looniverse in Retcon Hour Omega, some of these radioactive pieces of Retcon Hour story were cast out into interdimensional space by the cataclysmic forces unleashed by destruction of the doomed continuity! Some of these pieces were captured by the gravity of the Looniverse when it was recreated, causing them to re-enter our dimension! Their radiations may be harmless to normal humans and superhumans, but to Kid Not Appearing In Any Retcon Hour Story they are deadly!" "Are you sure they're harmless to everybody else? That they're not going to give you long term radiation poisoning, or something?" pressed Irony Man. Exclamation!Master! glared at him. "Well. This _is_ the post-Cry.Sig Looniverse. If it's that close a parallel to Kryptonite, then surely it mirrors Kryptonite's post-Crisis effects." "I know for a fact that these pieces of Retcon Hour story mirror the attributes of pre-Crisis Kryptonite!" the villain exclaimed. "Since I also have... this!" he cried, whipping out a similarly glowing crimson rock. "And what's that?" "Red Retcon Hour story," gasped KNAIARHS. "The type that causes a temporary but unpredictable change for between 24 to 48 hours, each sample provoking a specific reaction but fortunately only affecting me but once." "Are you all right Kid?" asked Irony Man, concerned at how his voice sounded. "Kid?" But it was too late. Kid Not Appearing In Any Retcon Hour Story had already fallen prey to the sinister radiation of the red Retcon Hour story, and had frozen into immobility, transformed into a solid granite statue. The constrained net.heroes stared at the petrified form of KNAIARHS in horror. (Well, Irony Man stared in horror. Limp-Asparagus Lad watched with a barely perceptible look of concern.) E!Master! cackled with fiendish laughter. "Thus fall all who attempt to oppose me! But to continue... "My diabolical plan is to destroy Net.ropolis! After having done so (or at least, attempted to do so) I will have established my reputation as an evil master villain, thus earning recognition and the opportunity for more appearances in LNH comics!" "I'm afraid I don't see the point," said L-A Lad. "You're being a villain for the sake of being a villain? That doesn't seem like much of a motivation." "I see that you're completely missing the point," E!M! told him coldly in a voice that had nothing to do melodramatic pontifications, but a whole lot to do with disgust. "You're an idiot. This whole universe was put together out of comic book cliches. And you really thought you could make a difference? You thought you could actually _help_ villains? By _not_ engaging in the gratuitous fight scenes that sell comics? That's how we get exposure, twit! The more we grab the reader's attention, the more they think about us, the more real we become! You want us to become some sort of Kurt Swan-style Kryptonian utopia, where everyone's _nice_? Moron! The readers'll loose interest that way! You want us to become like the Occult Heroes' universe? Falling apart because there'll be no-one left to write or read about us! Because no-one'll _want_ to write or read about us! You wanted to _help_ villains? By helping them _reform_, so that they become boring old background characters who slip into obscurity and eventually comic book Limbo? "I'm more alive now than that at any time in the past 35 years. Living _means_ something now! Even if that something is hackneyed supervillain cliches and being trounced by heroes at the end of every adventure! I will _not_ go back to what I was, under _any_ circumstances. I _will_ scheme grandiose plans of world domination, and I _will_ match wits with the likes of your companions," he jabbed his thumb towards L-A Lad's impotent fellow net.heroes. "And I will enjoy it. And though they may not admit it, they will too. That's the point of having superpowers in this universe!" Exclamation!Master! paused for breath, then continued in a quiet voice that almost seemed sane, until you saw the hatred in his eyes. "But you're not going to be around for it. I'm going to kill you. You don't enjoy being a superhero anyway, not properly. You don't relish the conflict of Good versus Evil. You just go through the motions, so I may as well bump you off. And not in some ridiculous camp death trap that you can escape from, either. Nor am I even going to use some Image-style 'realism', because for all their so-called hard-edged toughness, their phallic BigGuns(tm) and fights, they're just as much an adolescent power fantasy as any other type of superhero. The Image heroes survive, despite the ridiculous odds they face, which no matter what they say is not realism." He motioned the guards forward. They unshackled L-A Lad and escorted him to another side of the room, where they threw him down against a wall and floor of strongstuffium. E!M! rummaged around among some materials, and brought out a bazooka. He briefly quirked one side of his mouth into a sardonic grin. "Way over your threshold, right?" Limp-Asparagus Lad's eyes focused on the bazooka. And then Exclamation!Master! fired. When the smoke cleared L-A Lad looked something like hamburger mince, but he was still alive, simply because dead men don't continue to bleed. Exclamation!Master! glanced at the body, noted it was still alive, and said almost disinterestedly, "Take him out, chop him up with an axe or something, and throw the bits in the furnace." "You will pay for that, monster!" vowed Irony Man. Exclamation!Master! turned to the remaining net.hero, as if he had momentarily forgotten him. "Sorry about that. Business before pleasure. But I'm sure we'll all be better off for it. He was just going to ruin it for the rest of us. Now then... So you claim, Irony Man! But I do not fear retribution from you!" he announced with renewed grandiose pomposity. Irony Man bridled in anger. Now that he'd removed Limpy, E!Master! had reverted back to treating this all as some sort of big game. But despite Herculean efforts to do otherwise he only compounded the cliche by adding, "No matter what it takes, your villainy will be brought to an end!" Exclamation!Master! threw back his head and roared with laughter. The hired goons(tm) dragged Limp-Asparagus Lad out to the furnace room, where one of them produced an axe from a tool chest. Fortunately for Limp- Asparagus Lad, being barely conscious and incapable of focusing his drama dampening field, there was nothing to prevent the plot from slipping into its normal, Looniversal, comic book-style dramatic pacing. Thus, it was only just as the hired goon(tm) was bringing the axe down that Fourth Wall Lass attacked, emerging through the fourth wall to kick him squarely in the gut with a blow that sent him to the floor and the axe skidding harmlessly away across the floor. The other two, trained professional goons(tm), attacked as well, but she was already gone, having made only a step back across the threshold of the fourth wall needed to disappear from their view. On the other side of the threshold she took but a fraction of a second to reorient her panel. In a comic book the fourth wall had no set location or orientation, but instead changed between angles and distances as required by the needs of the story and the whim of the artist. And unless balked by the whims of plot contrivance, she was an expert at using and arranging her own personal panel between the Looniverse and the intermediate zone that gave access to the real world beyond. Then she was behind the second hired goon(tm), emerging across the threshold to strike him to the floor and into unconsciousness. She didn't even bother the duck back across the threshold, having placed herself so that she could the swing and take out her final opponent. "Fourth Wall Lass... " Limp-Asparagus Lad managed to say weakly. Fourth Wall Lass was surprised that L-A Lad was still conscious, but quickly recognised that he was too weak to protect himself from dramatic plot development with his drama dampening filed. She knelt beside him, and said, "Don't talk, I'll get you back to the infirmary." Limp-Asparagus Lad seemed to be gaining strength, despite his horrific injuries. "No. Go and get reinforcements." "I can get help once I've got you to the infirmary," she reiterated firmly. .o(Funny. I'd always thought Limpy was too sensible for this sort of macho nonsense.) Then, to her amazement, he managed to climb to his feet. .o(Oh God,) she thought (If he can do that, then there must be a plot reason for him to be able to do so.) And she silently cursed as she realised what it must be. "No. I've got to stall him for you," L-A Lad said, blood trickling from his mouth. "You're too weak to fight him." "Not fight; stall. Confuse him with his own repertoire." "Okay, okay. It's bloody stupid, but if that's the way we've got to handle this sh*t of a plot... What reinforcements do you want?" Limp-Asparagus Lad shook his head, as if trying to clear his head to think. "Anyone who's immune to his exclamations. Super Apathy Lad maybe. Or someone who's not from the Looniverse." "Gotcha. Look, Limpy, this sucks, but I'm not going to argue with absurd plot contrivance, because that's obviously the only thing that's keeping you alive at the moment, having to go and confront E!Master! But at least let me drop you off outside the room so you don't waste what strength you have. "Thank you. That would be a great help." "I bet Irony Man's gonna love this," she muttered as she helped him across the fourth wall. "The man who's against comic book drama using it to defeat the guy who practically embodies it." In the control room Irony Man felt the build up of irony, but manacled as he was he was in no position to try to identify its source. A few seconds later he didn't need to. Exclamation!Master! had been toying with his captive, and despite his best efforts Irony Man was helpless to do anything than shout trite superhero dogma at him. But E!M! seemed to have nearly had his fill of this particular game, and now moved towards the control panel. "And now, my dear opponent, it is time to extend my little party to the rest of Net.ropolis." "You shall not get away this!" Irony Man declared. "And who will stop me!?" E!M! smirked. "I will," Limp-Asparagus Lad said, leaning against the frame of the door. It was a full page panel, reminiscent in execution of the typical scene in any story where the hero, thought dead, crawls back, bruised and bloodied for a final confrontation with the villain. A confrontation that, simply because he's the hero, the readers _know_ he'll win. After an appropriate fight scene for the fanboys, of course. Irony Man was shocked, since it was quite definitely not L-A Lad's style to rip-off that sort of conclusion to a story. His irony detectors shrilled noisily. "You," spat Exclamation!Master! with distaste. "Don't tell me you've got the hypocrisy to try and save the day with the very plot elements you despise." Leaning against door, panting with exertion, Limp-Asparagus Lad replied, "Very well," and said no more. Exclamation!Master! wrinkled his nose in disgust. "I should be pleased, you know. That someone as ridiculously principled as yourself should give up everything you believe in, just so you can win. But somehow, I just can't be bothered." He walked over and punched L-A Lad in the stomach, causing him to collapse to his knees. "Why couldn't you just stay dead?" "I haven't died yet," L-A Lad said simply. "Yeah, well. I suppose that means you can honestly say you haven't sold out to be one of the heroes with a sales-driven resurrection," admitted E!M! thoughtfully. "I'll give you that much." Then he kicked him in the head. Exclamation!Master! turned from the fallen hero and walked back to the console. "I don't believe this crap," he muttered. "If I'm going to be defeated they should at least have the decency to send somebody with style." He reached the console. "But enough of this foolery!" he exclaimed, reassuming his grandiose pontifications voice. "The city lies ready for destruction, ready to taken like a ripe apple plucked from a tree!" "You cannot destroy the fair city of Net.ropolis!" said Limp-Asparagus Lad weakly. Exclamation!Master! turned to see that he had risen to his feet again with the aid on a table to lean on. L-A Lad looked at the villain, and said in a voice more like that of an actor reciting lines for the first time than someone who truly felt and believed in them, "For though it needs take my very lifeblood, I will oppose you to my last breath! You will not succeed villain! For I am Limp-Asparagus Lad!" Exclamation!Master! looked at him as one would a rabid butterfly. "Don't be ridiculous," he said. "You don't believe any of that. Do you really think you can tie me up in an exposition duel the way I did them?" He waved his hand in the direction of the captive Irony Man and the petrified Kid NAIARHS. "You will not succeed Exclamation!Master!" L-A Lad continued, as if by rote. "Justice will inevitably triumph over your madness! It matters not that I may fall! I am of the legion, and we are many!" "You got that in one," said someone behind Exclamation!Master! He whirled to see Fourth Wall Lass and a woman his researches told him was Kopikat of Dvandom Force, who was advancing towards him. "Foolish hero! You cannot thwart me!" Exclamation!Master! exclaimed reflexively, planning to do to her what he had to his other prisoners. "Oh, give it a rest!" she replied testily as she morphed into her eight meter tall mecha form, grabbed him in one hand, and knocked him unconscious with a flick of a finger. With the villain defeated the plot had no further use for L-A Lad, and the dramatic need to keep him going deserted him. He collapsed. It was not a heroic collapse. Limp-Asparagus Lad did not mercifully loose consciousness and fall to the ground, confident that because of his actions his fellow net.heroes were saved. Rather, he fell to his knees as the pain became too much, heaved with nausea, and then lost consciousness, falling in his own vomit. Epilogue: Much later, Limp-Asparagus Lad woke in the LNHQ's infirmary. He lay for a moment, getting his bearings. He hurt all over, and wondered for a moment if living was worth it. Then it occurred to him that he was running perilously close engaging in angst and being out of character. How are you feeling? Limp-Asparagus Lad turned his head up towards the sound of the writer's... voice? narration? and replied, "I believe I'll survive. It seems to be one of the conditions of being a net.hero to survive such wounds." Mmm. Yeah. Still, you were pretty badly banged up. "Yes. Climactic final story I should imagine. I guess I can't escape certain comic book conventions." I'm afraid the big final fight scene was almost obligatory, even though I did try to make it more of an ideological confrontation. Limp-Asparagus Lad nodded. "That gave Exclamation!Master! the chance to present his views, at least." Pretty convincing views, I should think. A pointed comment on the nature of superhero/supervillain activities. I was quite proud of the comparison. "Perhaps as they stand," L-A Lad conceded. "That doesn't mean they have to remain valid, though." You've lost me. "Exclamation!Master! is right about the Looniverse being based on superhero cliches, but he was overlooking that it could grow to transcend the limitations of its origins. That point was made back in Constellation #21..." Crikey, that's going back a-ways. "Yes. Anyway, Sig.Lad made the point that when it was first created this world wasn't intended to be stable, or even internally coherent, but that since then people have been working to stabilise it; to make it more than just the parody it began as. That's important, I think. "Maybe I was overzealous in trying to turn Bob from the path of Exclamation!Master! And his death and subsequent relapse is a responsibility I'll have to bear. But just because background characters and non-superhumans get the short shift now doesn't mean it will always have to be that way." You feel guilty over what happened to Bob? Limp-Asparagus Lad thought the writer sounded a little surprised. "Not guilty. Responsible. Guilt runs to close to angst, and you of all people should know I can't do that. Uhmm. Yeah. Funny that. I was wondering how to get around that problem. There was a nice line in one of the 'Earth Stories' in Scott McCloud's Zot: 'If you make a mistake and learn something from it, it's not a mistake'. I was planning on using that with you, kinda as an alternative to not angsting, but I never got around to integrating it into you character. The writer sighed. L-A Lad turned his gaze to the new point where the voice was coming from; which was from the man now sitting on the end of his bed. "I guess you're way ahead of me there, Limpy. You've become a much more realised character than even I envisioned you being, you know that?" Limp-Asparagus Lad examined his writer. He seemed to be an uninteresting man of medium height in his mid twenties, slightly overweight, with short dark brown curly hair and eyes of a washed-out green colour. He was wearing a light shirt, shorts, and thongs. "Aren't you cold?" L-A Lad asked. "It's summer where I am, remember? It's a pity you've been unconscious for the past few days; you've missed Writers Block Woman (and Mouse) #9. You'll have to go and read it. Jaelle made a particularly good description of Christmas in summer." "I'll make a point of it." "Mm-hmm. Anyway, this is the also almost obligatory 'character meets the writer' scene. And the bit where I say good-bye, although hopefully just for the time being." "Meaning?" "I've finished university, which means I'll have to try to get net access elsewhere. I want to try to get back, because I've got lots more stories to write about you, but I can't guarantee anything." "It was nice while it lasted, anyway," L-A Lad. "For a long time I was concerned that I'd never get another appearance, let alone a writer." His writer grinned. "You'd be surprised how many people commented on not expecting anyone to ever write you. Still, the comments in the U-Force annual about your cooking duties were planned before I came along, and as an example in the LNH FAQ you were better placed to hold off against the risk of slipping into total obscurity in comic book Limbo than many other characters." "But it's always nice to make appearances; to be seen," he countered mildly. "That's true." His writer cocked his head to one side, looking thoughtful. "There might be something else though." "Pardon? "I think I should leave you with a little something more, though I'm not sure how to go about it. It's Christmas after all." For a second his attention seemed to wander, and he smiled as if listening to something. "I'm afraid the others have started partying without you from the sounds of the singing and the snowball fight." "I can't hear anything. One shouldn't be able to, anyway. Not from the Infirmary." "Sorry. Forgot that you can't hear that from up here. Wait a sec while I fix the acoustics for you." For a moment he had a distracted look in his eyes, then said, "There." The distant sounds of legionnaires celebrating drifted up from downstairs [See Writers Block Woman (and Mouse) #10 - SB]. "You know, I'm not sure if I won't be making problems for Russ' timeline by dating this scene so explicitly." "If there's a problem, you can always say this was just a dream sequence," pointed out L-A Lad, absolutely straight faced. "Yeah, well. Maybe. No! What I'm here for can't be handled in a dream sequence. At least, I don't think so. Trust me Limpy, you are _not_ hallucinating." "So what is it you're here for?" "Ah, well. Perhaps I'd better explain. When I took you over as my Writer Character, I gave you a distinct personality, appearance, real name..." "Real first name," L-A Lad corrected. "I still don't have a surname." The writer blinked. "You don't?" He looked somewhat bamboozled. "Now how could I forget something like that? Hold up a second." He paused in thought. "Asimov. After Isaac. How's that?" Limp-Asparagus Lad thought about it. Joshua Asimov. "It's good," he conceded. "Glad you like it, although it could've been Roddenberry too. Now, anyway, I gave you all that stuff, which before you either didn't have, or only had in sketch form. Did you know that one of the things that pleased The Mystic Mongoose most about me taking you up was that I'd distilled a personality for you that exemplified limp-asparagusness?" "Is that a word?" "Probably not. Never mind, writers are always taking liberties with language. Anyway, he said that he'd been a little rushed at the time, and wasn't quite happy with his depiction of you." "Your point being?" "The point being that I gave an awful lot of stuff to you that's based on me. Or parts of me, anyway. Including some of the embarrassing bits," he admitted. "But I'm still not sure if that's enough." "I don't understand." "Okay, let's try it from this point of view. Mostly, when writers use other people's characters, it's because they've been loaned to them. And their own characters are, well, created from whole cloth from their own imagination. Spun out of the fabric of their own being, if you want to use a fantasy fiction metaphor. I'm not sure how you're supposed to take on another person's character as your WC. Make the link between the character and the writer, I mean. I'm not even sure if its been done before; I may be setting the precedent." "What about Master Blaster?" "No. Master Blaster is still Rob Ramirez' WC, for all that he was given over to Martin's control virtually from the start. "Anyway, what I'm trying to get at is that characters are made from part of their writer's being. Swapping them around and loaning them out for stories doesn't much affect that link, but I think there's a bit of a difference for WCs. You aren't me. I've taken you as a character, and shaped you with elements of myself, but you still don't share my identity at the most fundamental level, like the way Deja Dude does with Martin," he paused for a second. "Although that may be too extreme an example. More like Pli does with Mike or Kid Kirby does with Jameel. Anyway, that's what I think I should fix." Limp-Asparagus Lad's writer stood up off the bed, and reached out his hand. "Here Limpy..." And he paused again. "Here _Josh_," he corrected himself, "let me help you up." "I thought you said I was badly injured. Organic Lass won't be pleased." "Oh, ye have so little faith. Abide by me, my son." "Please don't hide behind pseudo-biblical language." The writer looked embarrassed. "You're right. It's unfair of me to make those sort of jokes to someone who can't appreciate them. I apologise. Don't worry about your injuries." "What should I call you? Do you have a nickname you would prefer?" He grinned. "What, you mean something impressive sounding and pretentious? Well, I do call myself The Keeper of the Thresholds of the Infinities, but that's only when I act as a FAQ keeper over on alt.games.torg. I've actually always said that with the real name I've got I don't need a nickname. Saxon will do fine," he said, helping the injured net.hero out of bed. "Very well, Saxon. What do you want me to do?" "Just stand there. Now, did you ever read the Legion of Superheroes story, where the Dark Circle cloned Dev-em? And then brainwashed the poor sods into serving them?" He stepped a pace off to the side, letting Josh to stand himself. "I think I remember it. That was before the Five Year Gap and the Modruverse, and well before the reboot." "That's right. Tales of the LSH #s 324 and 325, almost a decade ago. And do you remember how the Legion dealt with those pesky clones?" he asked, standing facing away from Josh but grinning at him side-on. Josh thought. "As I recall, the White Witch cast a spell that merged them with their original." "Uh-huh. Spell of Reabsorption, it was called." Saxon spread his hands. Josh's hands spread themselves in the same movement, as if they weren't under his control. "One of the best things about fanfiction is that you can pay homage to the stuff that you like. Though in this case it's more along the lines of just plain 'absorbtion'." Josh realised he had somehow adapted the same stance as Saxon, and couldn't move from it. Then they began moving, slipping across the floor, converging side-on at each other. They collided, passing into each other. "Aaagh!" cried Josh as every nerve felt as though it had been fired up, all at once. He found himself panting on the floor. How do you feel now? came the voice over of Saxon. "Strange. Like I'm tingling all over," Josh said as he picked himself up off the floor. "What did you do?" I merged us for an instant, and gave you a part of me. A part of my life force. It should've healed all your wounds, but that's incidental. _Now_ you're me. In all the ways that're relevant for WC/writer relationships, anyway." "You did that, for me? I... I guess I should say thank you. I should probably say more too..." I wouldn't worry about it. I'm not good at handling emotional situations, and for rather obvious characterisation reasons you aren't allowed to get emotional. But I understand. And thank you. Good-bye Josh. And remember, I'll always be with you. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Independent Villain Roster Entry NAME: Exclamation!Master! TYPE: NWC CREATED BY: firstname.lastname@example.org (Saxon Brenton) POWERS: Drama inducement; people are too busy making dramatic pronouncements to act against him. ADD NOTES: After Bob Melwitzcht's powers caused him to be fired, he took up supervillainy, and discovered the benefits of being other than a background character. He's working hard to establish his reputation so he'll be used more in LNH comics. STATUS: Alive ENEMIES: Limp-Asparagus Lad APPEARANCE: Black armour and cape, both with silver highlights. ------------------------------------------------------------ Credits: Limp-Asparagus Lad by Saxon Brenton, created by The Mystic Mongoose and wReam Exclamation!Master!, Fourth Wall Lass, and the A.A.A. by Saxon Brenton Irony Man by Public Domain Kid Not Appearing In Any Retcon Hour Story by Badger Kopikat and Sig.Lad by Dave Van Domelen Deja Dude by Martin Phipps Kid Kirby by Jameel al Khafiz Legion of Occult Heroes by Paul Hardy Master Blaster by Rob Rameriz Organic Lass by Rebecca Drayer Pliable Lad by Mike Escrutia Super Apathy Lad by email@example.com W.I.R.E.D. by The Mystic Mongoose wReamicus Maximus by wReam All characters (c) and (tm) their respective owners and/or creatorsBack to the Index.