Blue Light Productions presents

Limp-Asparagus Lad #7     Character (Re)Introduction II
Written by Saxon Brenton

Cover shows Limp-Asparagus Lad standing alone on a white background,
with the blurb "Here we go again" pasted across the bottom

  Limp-Asparagus Lad walked through the corridors of the Legion of
Net.Heroes HQ, and entered a particular room. Inside were three
other net.heroes.
  "Well, this seems to be it, everybody," he told them. "Apparently
my writer has made good his promise to try and regain net access
and write a regular series."
  "Cool," said Retcon Lad. "Regular appearances. And I bet
Exclamation!Master! will be happy to have a regular series to be
the villain in, too."
  "Yeah. He would," grinned Fourth Wall Lass. "He worked hard to
establish himself when the first six issues were just a mini-series."
  "That is true," agreed Kid Not Appearing In Any Retcon Hour Story.
"But needs be I must point out that it has been some time in the
Real World since the last issue of this series. Thus, before
continuing with the story, we should all engage in expository
thought balloons to introduce ourselves to any new readers and
allow established ones to reacquaint themselves."
  "Good idea," agreed FWLass.
  .oO(I, Kid Not Appearing In Any Retcon Hour Story, despite being
a one joke character cast off by Badger and then revamped into a
near cosmically powerful being with various deliberately ill-defined
powers and a weakness to the Kryptonite rip-off Retcon Hour story,
continue to fight for Truth, Justice, and the right to publish
absurd comic book storylines) thought KidNAIARHS.
  .oO(As Retcon Lad I'm a part time superhero while I work at
training to be an accountant, although I now know that my reluctance
to devote myself to fighting crime full time is the legacy of my
previous life before I retconned myself into the Looniverse from a
never-even-started piece of Gen-X fanfiction on rec.arts.comics.
xbooks and became Limp-Asparagus Lad's cousin) thought Retcon Lad.
  .oO(As Fourth Wall Lass I embody the principle of characters being
aware of their fictional existence, but I am also the lover of
Retcon Lad, and the alt.version of KidNAIARHS, although the full
details of the latter situation are far too complicated to be
summarised in a one sentence description that has already run too
long) thought Fourth Wall Lass.
  .oO(Although as the nominal star of this series, I, Limp-Asparagus
Lad, require a large supporting cast because I am far too boring to
carry the title on my own, due to the fact that although I am a
mutant my character brief forbids me to engage in angst) thought
Limp-Asparagus Lad.
  "Okay then," said FWLass once they had all finished. "What's the
  "Dunno," replied Retcon Lad. "But maybe this is a clue. I tripped
over this - literally - on the way here." He held up a footnote. It
read: [I've been kidnapped. Send help quick - PW-B].
  The net.heroes considered the footnote. "Do we know anyone with
the initials PW-B?" asked FWLass.
  "I don't think there's anybody on the roster who fits that
description," L-ALad offered.
  "That proves nothing," countered RLad. "There are several hundred
LNHers, and even more villains, but the roster only includes those
who have actually appeared in a stories."
  "And sometimes not even then," added KidNAIARHS grimly.
  The others nodded. It was common knowledge that KidNAIARHS had
been rescued from the fate of anonymity and oblivion as a throw-away
character in comic book limbo purely because Limp-Asparagus Lad's
writer had suffered an acute attack of silliness while writing the
first six issues of the series.
  "Perhaps it's a normal person?" suggested L-ALad.
  "I don't know," FWLass said doubtfully. "Normals don't tend to be
able to create footnotes."
  Just then there was a knock on the door. "Hark," said Retcon Lad,
cupping a hand to his ear and leaning towards the door in a
melodramatic fashion. "Is that the sound of immanent plot
development?" FWLass elbowed him in the ribs to shut him up.
  Limp-Asparagus Lad opened the door. Outside was a woman who
appeared to be in her late 40s, with horn-rimmed spectacles and
lemon-coloured hair brushed to a hard knot on the top of her head.
she wore a tweed skirt and a white blouse with a narrow stiff collar
and a cameo at her throat. She looked efficient to the nth degree.
L-ALad recognised her at once. "Hello, Librarian Lady," he said
tonelessly. "Please come in."
  The LNHQ's hardcopy librarian and archivist stepped in, saying
her thanks as she did so.
  "What may we do for you? KidNAIARHS asked, adopting the dramatic
arms akimbo stance that comes naturally to his category of hero
(i.e., over-muscled, eternal boy scout).
  "I have come to ask your help, particularly that of Fourth Wall
Lass, in finding my sister. She's gone missing from her boarding
school in" Librarian Lady replied primly.
  .oO(I don't believe this,) thought Retcon Lad. (Next they'll be
wanting us to rescue cats out of trees.)
  "Certainly," announced KidNAIARHS.
  "Considering the nature of British boarding schools, especially
ones in the newsgroups dedicated to British comedy, I suspect she's
off involved in an Adventure," LLady added disapprovingly. "Her
name is Petina Witherington-Brown."
  The eyes of the net.heroes all went to the discarded footnote.
  "Coincidence?" RLad asked.
  "I don't think so," said FWLass. "This isn't Real Life, after all.
Things tend to be a lot tidier around here."
  "Convenient, that," observed RLad.

  Later, an LNH net.thingee warped across the newsgroups, and
arrived in the clear skies above
  "What part of the newsgroup is this?" asked Limp-Asparagus Lad,
looking out the window at the landscape below. At first glance it
looked like typical English countryside, but closer examination
revealed eclectic intrusions dotted here and there. There also
seemed to be a disproportionately high number of pubs and bakeries.
 "This is the general discussion area," Librarian Lady replied.
  "It is?" boggled Retcon Lad. "Awfully detailed for a discussion
area. Looks almost like a real world. Is there fanfic posted to it
that helps create the landscape?"
  "There are some few pieces of fanfiction, but not much. The high
level of detail comes from the discussions themselves."
  The others looked impressed. "Wide ranging discussions, I take
it," queried L-ALad.
  "Yes. You know, of course, what general discussion areas usually
look like," she said.
  "Uh-huh. But you'd better exposit for the audience, just to make
sure they do too," suggested FWLass.
  "Very well. The appearance of a newsgroup, or section of a
newsgroup, is largely dependent on the type of articles that are
posted to it," LLady began didactically. "Fanfiction newsgroups have
a high level of detail, both actual and implied, due to the amount
of description written into the stories. That level of detail only
increases if one has a shared universe with many writers posting
stories taking place in one consensual setting, such is the case in
the Looniverse in alt.comics.lnh. In such cases the details
contained in the individual threads merge to create the appearance
of a landscape, with varying degrees of integration.
  "A similar effect occurs in those newsgroups or parts thereof
devoted to particular works of published fiction, although in such
cases the setting tends to be a wholesale duplication of the non-net
template. These regions are usually 'whole' and 'seamless', unless
there are gaps in the original, in which case those faults will be
duplicated in the net as well. This particular newsgroup is devoted
to one author, rather than one work, so it has several such settings
in addition to the general discussion area, the largest of which
being the Discworld.
  "General discussion areas within newsgroups often don't have such
'natural' looking settings. They tend to be bank voids through which
the threads of posted articles pass, since very rarely does article
content mesh together to form a coherent landscape. There are
exceptions, however, and this newsgroup is one of them. The
discussions on a.f.p. wander to cover everything and anything, and
so the critical threshold of detail needed to create a contiguous
landscape is reached simply through random article content."
  Within minutes the net.thingee landed in a secluded area near to
the boarding school. The heroes disembarked, leaving the transport's
lurking device active so that it would (hopefully) wait undetected
and undisturbed until they returned. Then Fourth Wall Lass led them
all across the threshold to track down the whereabouts of the
missing schoolgirl.
  A very short time later FWLass had backtracked to Petina's
disappearance. She was more than a bit irritated though, when
Dramatic Plot Contrivance prevented her from getting a proper view
of the girl's two abductors. Shadows obscured their features for
most of the duration of their presence in Petina's room; and certain
angles of view simply refused to open up, which prevented any
close-ups. Nevertheless, there were certain observations that could
be may about them.
  "Do they look, well, kind of blocky to you?" asked Retcon Lad.
  "Indeed," agreed KidNAIARHS. "Note their silhouettes in profile.
Despite their configuration, I doubt me if these two are fully
human. Limp-Asparagus Lad?"
  The Man of Dull made a small adjustment to the scan.thingee he was
using to record the scenes, then, Spock-like, raised an eyebrow in
interest. "Astute observation. They seem to be some form of
punctuation net.elemental. Non-standard readings... They appear to
be composed of footnotes."
  No sooner had that non-dramatically announced revelation been made
then it was time for the LNHers to come under attack. Dozens more of
the chunky looking, vaguely human-shaped beings reared out from
various points in the fourth wall about them, and quickly converged
on the five of them. A fight scene ensued.
  Kid Not Appearing In Any Retcon Hour Story quickly began punching
holes in them, showering the alien landscape of the Far Side of the
Fourth Wall with bits of footnote. The others were forced to take a
less direct approach against the slightly greater strength and far
greater resistance to damage of their opponents, dodging and
manoeuvring around the slower footnote constructs so as to get a
proper opportunity to attack. Fourth Wall Lass dodged in and out
across the threshold, while Limp-Asparagus Lad and Retcon Lad made
similar feints.
  Librarian Lady drew herself up, glared at an assailant, and hissed
at it in her most commanding tone "Young man, you _will_ sit down
and be quiet," but was not particularly surprised when it did no
such thing. Apparently the footnote creatures had too little mind,
and certainly no free will, to be affected by her gorgonization. So
instead, LLady adopted the more direct approach of grabbing it in a
headlock like the ones she used on some of her more recalcitrant
library patrons, and the creature found itself unable to break free.
This was because carting all those books about for reshelving gives
librarians great strength, even to the one who aren't orang-utans.
  Unfortunately, despite KidNAIARHS's creative mayhem, the fact that
the end of the issue had been reached necessitated a cliff hanger
ending, and so the sheer numbers of their attackers soon overwhelmed
them. Retcon Lad was the first to be captured; partly due to the
fact that as a relative newcomer to the superhero game his combat
skills were not yet properly polished yet, combined with his
reluctance - newfound since _L-AL_ #5 - to actually use his powers
to escape. .oO(Crap) he thought as he was grabbed (I wonder if
Distraction Dude still has problems like this?).
  The other net.heroes quickly followed him in being rendered
unconscious and taken away by the lumbering behemoths.

Character Credits:
Kid Not Appearing In Any Retcon Hour Story created by Badger (Matt
Fourth Wall Lass, Librarian Lady, and Retcon Lad created by Saxon
Limp-Asparagus Lad owned by Saxon Brenton, created by Mystic
  Mongoose (Robert Armstrong) and wReam (Ray Bingham)

All characters copyright and tm their owners and/or creators

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