Blue Light Productions presents

Limp-Asparagus Lad #10     Petina Witherington-Brown's Schooldays
Written by Saxon Brenton

Cover is divided into thirds. In the top third Kid Not Appearing In
Any Retcon Hour Story is standing in space, his arms outstretched
with muscles tensed, a look of extreme effort on his face, and
drenched in sweat. In the lower left third Fourth Wall Lass,
Librarian Lady and Retcon Lad are running in a dramatic-looking
manner. In the lower right third Limp-Asparagus Lad and Petina are
sitting and talking.

  There was a sigh from Petina as she began to regain consciousness.
Limp-Asparagus Lad went over to the girl and knelt beside her. She
opened her eyes, and looked around in dazed confusion. "Wha...?"
  "I would suggest you rest for a moment and get your bearings,"
L-ALad said in a calm, and - hopefully - calming voice. "You've been
through a lot, but you are safe now."
  She half sat up on one elbow and blearily continued to look around.
"Where am I?"
  "I am not sure of the exact location, but it's a fortress of some
  "Uh-huh. And who're you?"
  "I am Limp-Asparagus Lad. I was accompanying your sister, Librarian
Lady, to help find you."
 Her eyes widened. "My sist... _Librarian Lady_?" She snickered. "Oh,
geez, of all the pretentious nonsense. Librarian Lady!" And then she
cracked up completely. He waited as she calmed down from laughing. "I
knew she'd gone to find work in one of the superhero fanfic groups,
but... oh really. She's usually such an old sourpuss..." She snickered
again, as she looked around. "Okay then. So what am I doing here? I
don't remember..."
  "Are you sure you're feeling all right?" he asked, somewhat
  She shot him a look of irritation. "I feel fine. I'm just a little
fuzzy on what's going on here. I remember... being in my room. And...
Oh God." She was now staring at the armour of the Footnote Fiend that
L-ALad had hastily tucked away in a far corner, in what he had hoped
would be out of sight under some tables.
  Fortunately, as he had been releasing her from that armour he'd
found that she was still in her school uniform beneath it. It had
seemed that his Writer had concurred with the notion that getting her
out of the armour would be a good idea to prevent her from having a
nasty shock when she woke up from the mind control she had been
under. There hadn't been any booby traps or anything of that type.
  Limp-Asparagus Lad waited as she quickly pulled herself together,
albeit with visible effort. It was remarkable that it took her only a
few seconds, but it was still clear - even to someone of his limited
perception in emotive matters - that she was badly upset.
  He changed from a kneeling to sitting position and consciously
adopted a casual-seeming position, remembering to shift his weight
from time to time and perform other little actions that made him seem
more approachable. He had discovered quite some time ago that his
unique body language was something of a hindrance to interacting with
new acquaintances. Simply put, he had an almost total lack of
'normal' body kinesics, which people tended to be put off by. For
example, it took a few weeks for new members of the LNH to loosen up
their own body language and not act stiffly when around him. This was
usually how long it took for them to realise that just because he
wasn't making the proper kinesic reactions to their own body language
cues it didn't mean he was snubbing them.
  This, however, tended to be a drawback for a hero who put as much
emphasis on getting people to talk to find rational, sensible
solutions to their problems as L-ALad did. And so he had developed a
technique of simulating more conventional body language to get people
to relax around him. It wasn't particularly easy for him to do, since
it had to be consciously directed, but it did work.
  A kind description of it was 'diplomatic', although a cynical
interpretation could just as truthfully label it as outright hypocrisy.
  "So, would you care to talk about it?" he asked.
  "What's there to talk about?" Petina countered.
  "You have just been rescued from being used against your will in an
insane attempt to conquer these worlds. Most people would be rather
upset at being kidnapped and violated in that way," he pointed out,
perhaps a little too bluntly.
  Petina shrugged. "I'll cope," she said shortly. "I always have
before. My biggest problem at the moment will be finding my glasses."
  Limp-Asparagus Lad considered this briefly, then tried a different
tack. "Then could you tell me something about who or what did this to
you? It's possible that it may strike again, and will probably have
to be dealt with."
  "What, in a fight scene between hyperthyroid dingbats dressed in
long underwear?" she asked with amused sarcasm.
  "That's one possibility," he admitted candidly but without
deliberate irony. "There are some among my companions who would
certainly welcome the opportunity for some gratuitous mindless
violence, although this need not be the case. But one way or another
those responsible will have to be dealt with."
  Petina sagged back and sighed. "I don't remember much at all." She
rubbed her temple. "Just... Being grabbed in my room was pretty much
the last thing I remember clearly. After that I recall doing stuff as
the Fiend, but it's all hazy. I was barely even properly conscious
enough to call up the will to send off a call for help to Sharon. If
you're here I guess she got it."
  "Actually, Retcon Lad found it. It made it to the right building
though. That is quite close, across inter-newsgroup distances."
  "Right, well. Anyway, I don't remember anything from the time in
  He nodded in what he hoped was an encouraging manner. "Very well.
Do you have any idea why they would be interested in you,
  She looked embarrassed. "Because of my powers," she said, as if
admitting to an hereditary disease.
  "You have powers?":
  She nodded, and a footnote fell into his lap. It read [Yes. I do.]
"Getting superpowers... it's not the done sort of thing here on
a.f.p. But that armour only boosted them; it didn't create then in
the first place, although it did help in summoning the footnote
creatures from their pocket dimension. Anyway, that'd be the reason."
  "That must have been a considerable shock."
  Petina shook her head. "Nah. This sort of thing keeps happening all
the time," she contradicted matter of factly. "It's a pain more than
a worry. The supervillain bit's a nasty new twist though. But I mean,
I keep getting thrown into this sort of nonsense. All I've ever
really wanted was to be left alone to read a book and get away with
having to do the bare minimum of sport. And what do I get? Adventures.
Regular as clockwork. I swear, if the Guides gave out merit badges
for rescuing or being rescued from burning houses, solving murder
mysteries to save a school friends' family fortune, or sneaking
through secret passages in the cellar to chase after jewel smugglers
on mist covered moorlands on moonlit nights, then I wouldn't know
what to do with them all. Midnight gossip sessions on the roof are
okay, though."
  "I find it difficult to believe that it could be that bad," L-ALad
expressed his doubt.
  She gave him a cool look. "Oh really? How about this, then?" and
she rolled up her sleeve and indicated one of two nasty scars on her
upper arm. "See that? That's where I was mauled by the bear."
  "What were you doing to get mauled by a bear?"
  "All first formers have to wrestle with the school bear. It's one
of the activities organised by the Flashman."
  "The who?"
  "Oh, sorry. That's the formal title given to the person who's the
official School Bully. She's the one who you have to pay the bribes
to if you want special privileges, like not being beaten up too many
times a term, or the use of the escape tunnels. She runs most of the
school social activities, like roasting people on the spits."
  This story was so amazing that it had actually caused a look of
incredulity (albeit only a very faint one) to trek across L-ALad's
face. "Then how are these things tolerated?"
  "Oh, it all has to do with Tradition," she replied dismissively.
"Most of the boarding schools are very old and ridiculously
hidebound. Traditions grow up and get carried on until in the end no
one knows what they originally meant. At one of them the masters all
used to perform a ceremony at their dinner, where they'd overturn
their tables and sit in them like boats. Then they'd make paddling
motions and chant this old song about 'holding fast'." She sniffed
reflectively. "They probably still do, for all I know. And of course,
even in the saner schools you still have to sit through hours of
tedious old assemblies where the Head drones on about taking the
butter dish to Balshaza and the tent peg to the House of Rashamon
and chopping up goats and sticking the bits in little pots."
  Limp-Asparagus Lad didn't know what to make of all that, and so
turned her attention to the other scar on her arm. "And that?"
  "Oh, that was the leopard," she said matter of factly.
  "You had to wrestle a leopard as well?"
  "No, no. You don't wrestle the leopard. At least, you don't set out
to. It's just that one time I was late because I was caught up in the
middle on an Adventure rescuing one of the lower form girls from
kidnappers who'd snatched her as part of a plot to ruin her family.
Anyway, one of the new teachers thought I'd escaped without paying
Flashman, so naturally she sent the school leopard after me."
  "Strewth!" replied L-ALad in sympathy.
  Petina looked at him. "Why did you say that?"
  "Say what?"
  " 'Strewth'. Makes you sound like an Australian. I thought from
your accent you were a merkin."
  This left him nonplussed. "I'm American."
  "That's what I said: a merkin."
  He decided to let that pass as well. "Am I correct in assuming,
then, that you aren't entirely happy with the arrangements to return
with us to alt.comics.lnh?"
  She looked at him. "Oh, I wouldn't dream of going against Sharon's
wishes, of either leaving me here or taking me with her," she intoned
with pious sarcasm. "But, no, I'm not 'entirely happy' with it. I can
see myself getting dragged into some fight or other with mad
scientists and supervillains and evil aliens... Who are the most
obnoxious aliens over there, by the way?"
  "Most likely the Dorfs."
  "Right, well. The point is I probably won't be able to avoid them.
Especially now that I've got powers. And the death rays of little
green men will probably be a lot harder to dodge," she said. Then
she mused, "You'd think that superpowers would've passed me over. I
mean, I haven't got the figure for it."
  "I mean, I don't look like Dolly Parton in zero gravity."
  Limp-Asparagus Lad considered this. There were indeed a lot of
hugely muscled men and generously busted women in the LNH, but they
tended not to be in his series. There was, of course, Kid Not
Appearing In Any Retcon Hour Story, but that was about all, and
anyway, his physique was hardly obscenely Liefeldian. Retcon Lad was
still pretty weedy looking (although truth be known he was starting
to fill out with regular LNH training), which perhaps influenced his
choice in adopting a loose fitting jumpsuit rather than spandex as
his costume. Limp-Asparagus Lad himself was not quite so extremely
undermuscled: to be so would have made him interestingly thin. He
just looked... unremarkably normal. And Fourth Wall Lass, while not
quite having a Magrat Garlick "flat-chested as an ironing board with
a couple of peas on it" figure, was at the same time far and away
from being so well endowed as Kay Sarah Sarah.
  "In all honesty, I don't think the standard superheroic physique is
all that necessary in the Legion," he assured her.
  "Mmmf. Yes, well. I suppose if they'll take Sharon, they'll take
  There was a noise from outside the chamber they were in. It sounded
a lot more active than the aimless wanderings of the still present
footnote creatures. L-ALad held up his hand to indicate quiet, then
got up and into a defensive posture. So did Petina. He was about to
indicate that she take cover, when it occurred to him that if what
she had been telling him was even half true, then she should be more
than capable of taking care of herself. Still, it wouldn't hurt to
ask for confirmation just in case she had been shamming. "Can you
defend yourself?" he asked.
  "I'm good with a hockey stick," she replied, picking up a stick
that just happened to be lying on one of the tables.
  "I thought you said you didn't like sport." L-ALad said.
  "I don't," she replied, giving the stick a few good thumps on the
floor to check that it was solid. "But you have to remember that at
St. Trinians, hocky sticks aren't used for _sport_."
  Uncertain of the significance of that remark, the hero silently
moved to take cover, with the schoolgirl following suit. As it
turned out, however, their precautions were unnecessary, as into the
room burst Fourth Wall Lass and Retcon Lad in a particularly dramatic
and noisy manner. Librarian Lady accompanied them, but with a bit
more decorum.
  "Hello, everybody," L-ALad said.
  "Limpy! Hi! Sorry we're late," said FWLass. "So, where's the
  "That problem has been taken care of," he replied, making his way
across to where he had stored the black power armour. "Petina here
was in the armour of the Footnote Fiend. Someone took over her mind
and forced her to use that identity," he explained succinctly. He
picked up the black helmet and pointed inside. "You can see some of
the mind control telemptrodes still left in there."
  "And how are you now?" Librarian Lady asked Petina.
  "Fine," she answered shortly, oblivious to her sister's consanguine
  "You know, that's an awful lot like what happened in _Legion of
Occult Heroes_ #5," Retcon Lad mused.
  "I had noted the similarities myself," agreed L-ALad.
  Fourth Wall Lass slapped her forehead. "Oh, great! First story arc
of the regular series and the Writer's already plagiarising other
stories. This does not bode well, Limpy."
  "I rather doubt that is the case. There is an inconsistency in the
scale of the respective modus oprandi," he disagreed.
  "What do you mean?"
  "Whatever used Bicycle Repair Lad was trying to affect the entire
Net. Assuming the same force is responsible in this case, an attempt
to take over one newsgroup, especially one of the limited alt groups,
is a considerable reduction in its goals," the Man of Dull explained.
  "Well, look, I hate to seem pushy, but we haven't got much time,"
FWLass interrupted. "All the extra footnotes that Petina created as
the Fiend are destroying" She turned to the girl,
"Is there any way we can draw back all these footnotes?"
  Petina looked gravely worried. "No. I mean, not really. Creating
them was always easy. Really easy. Even controlling the footnote
creatures were easy. But erasing them, even if the boosters in the
armour were working..." She licked her lips as she tried to think. "I
might be able to fix it on my own," she hazarded.
  "What about the boosters? Can they be salvaged?" asked RLad.
  "The armour was rendered non-operative when I removed it," L-ALad
replied. "Moreover, even if Kid Not Appearing In Any Retcon Hour
Story where here to fix it, putting it on to use it would most likely
only brainwash her into being the Footnote Fiend again."
  "I'll do it myself," Petina stated decisively.
  "Don't hurt yourself," LLady  said.
  "Oh, what do you care!?" Petina flared. "If I'm out of the way you
won't have to worry about me anymore!"
  Librarian Lady's face hardened, but Petina had already turned her
back on her. The girl closed her eyes and stretched out her arms, as
if reaching out to grab or enclose something. The others waited.

  High above the general discussion area, KidNAIARHS felt a
weakening of the gravitational pressure he was fighting against. He
allowed himself a smile; the others seemed to have succeeded. The
decrease was in a localised but expanding ripple, so he assumed that
the footnotes weren't disappearing all at once. Well, that simply
made it easier to pinpoint the area from whence the abatement was
originating. He continued on for a while, ensuring that as much of
the damage as he could affect had been mitigated. Then he flew back
in the general direction of the source of the reversal.

  Petina looked dreadful. Her face was contorted into an agony of
effort, and blood was beginning to trickle from her nose and ears.
L-ALad noticed the hard-edged concern on her LLady's face, and
guessed that she was not quite so indifferent to her sister's welfare
as Petina seemed to think.
  Then, with a cry of pain, the girl collapsed. LLady was by her side
instantly, professionally checking her vital signs. "She is alive,"
she pronounced, "but she requires immediate medical care."
  Fourth Wall Lass nodded. "Good thing we stopped to take our
bearings on where this place is on the way here," she noted. "I'll
go and fly the net.thingee here. We can get her back to the LNHQ in
almost no time." Then she took a step, and vanished.
  "Is she going to be all right?" asked RLad.
  "I think so," LLady replied. "But she's overexerted herself
dreadfully, the brave little fool."
  Limp-Asparagus Lad looked around critically. "And even after all
that, we still have yet to determine who or what is responsible."

Individual LNH roster entries:

LIBRARIAN LADY (Sharon Witherington-Brown)
  TYPE: NWC     CREATED BY: Saxon Brenton
  POWERS: Power to 'gorgonize' (intimidate people into keeping
  quiet by glaring at them at them and going "Shh!")
  ADD NOTES: Stereotypical grim and unforgiving librarian. Speaks
  fluent orang-utan. Elder sister of Footnote Girl
  COSTUME: Tweed skirt, white blouse, glasses, sensible shoes,
  hair in a bun

FOOTNOTE GIRL (Petina Witherington-Brown)
  TYPE: NWC     CREATED BY: Saxon Brenton
  POWERS: Creates footnotes; for the instant she creates the
  footnote she gets a flash of omnicognizance so that the details
  are correct, then she forgets it. Uses hockey sticks as weapons
  of choice
  ADD NOTES: Younger sister of Librarian Lady
  ORIGIN: _Limp-Asparagus Lad_ #10

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

All characters copyright and tm their owners and/or creators

Adventures on the Letterspage #2

  Letterspage Man flew across the chaotic void of the letterspage
dimension on the final leg of his patrol. Ahead, at the heart of the
mailstrom, was his destination - his home and base of operations, the
  Then something caught his eye. He flew across to it, and as he
approached it resolved itself into the form of an unconscious man
dressed in a spandex costume. "By the typewriter of T.M. Maple,"
Letterspage Man exclaimed, noting that this fellow had suffered
severe lacerations at one time. "What can he have been through?"
However, the cuts seemed mostly healed, and LPMan was unable to
discern why his current comatose state persisted.
  Deciding to investigate further, Letterspage Man picked up the man
and carried him back to the DataDome. Once inside he placed the
unfortunate on a meditable, and the device began its scans. Then
LPMan turned his attention to his next duty: monitoring the
letterspage columns.
  As the stranger began to regain consciousness, Letterspage Man's two
not-so-faithful assistants, Hoot and Snob, came to tell him of the fact.
  "Excellent," replied the Commentary Crusader. "Now we shall see
what this matter is about!"
  Letterspage Man strode to the infirmary, where the costumed man was
sitting up on the edge of the meditable. "Ho, stranger. I trust you
are feeling better?"
  "Yes, thank you," replied the other. "And it seems I have you to
thank for that, since my own regenerative powers seem to have
malfunctioned and browned out. But who are you? And what is this place?"
  Letterspage Man drew himself up to his full height and struck a
heroic pose. "I am Letterspage Man, crusading hero and guardian of
the letterspage dimension. From my base here in the mailstrom I
patrol this world and monitor the letter columns of the various
net.comics. For instance," he said, turning and activating a screen
which displayed the following text:

Mail on Limp-Asparagus Lad #8

[from Jamas Enright]
    [on Footnote Fiend's dialogue] You bastard. I hope you're happy
  with all the insanity you caused by doing that. :) (Although, I
  have to point out that they were more endnotes than footnotes. In
  comics, footnotes appear at the bottom of the panel.)
    - I'm a naughty boy <mischievous grin> Don't worry though, it
    wasn't going to be a long term gag. You're right about the
    endnotes/footnotes bit though; I was originally going to put it
    at the end of that scene, but moved it to the end of the story to
    be more in keeping with the way the posts on a.f.p. are done. End
    of scene would've been more comics-ish though (and easier to read
    as well :-).

    Decided to show your appreciation for things Pratchett, eh? Well,
  even though I don't read the group, I could recognise the topics
  (yes, even the bread :). Also, it gave you a good excuse for the
    - Not only that, it's giving me the opportunity I need to intro
    Footnote Girl. I was originally going to wait a while before
    doing the a.f.p. x-over, but decided to do it first off so that I
    could start the FG running gag right from the word 'go'.

    Oh, and a proper ending (if rather limp, but that's appropriate :).
  Thank you.
    - And here I was expecting you to yell at me for drawing
    attention to the cliffhanger ending again :-)

[from Dvandom (Dave Van Domelon)]
    Ooops, I forgot all about alt.telepathy myself (hey, it's been
  more than two *years* since Bellerophon Gambit). I guess that
  between multiple GIF-regenerations and stiffening of mental walls
  that Sig.Lad and Acton Lord's minds were effectively separate by
  the time of Bad Forms.
    - That's as good a reason as any :-) And it'll mean that
    Skysabre's eight years as Iron Eagle will keep Acton Lord out of
    his head too.

    Good KirbyMonster scene....
    - Thanks.

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