Blue Light Productions presents

| Blue Light Productions
| (and *not* Best Brains)
| present:
| Limp-Asparagus Lad #47
| A Legion of Net.Heroes title
| 'It Came From The Late Late Late Show'
| Part 2 of 5
| Written by and copyright 2003 Saxon Brenton
| Art by Fred H*mback

     Swordmaster: The plot in brief from last issue: Plan Nine From 
Outer Space tried to get a victim from the Beach Party movies and 
recreate the Amazing Colossal Man. 
     Carborundum Armoured Weapon: Limp-Asparagus Lad wasn't able to stop 
it, but he was allowed to decide who got to live and who got to die.

|      After the Wunderkind atomic bomb had gone off, things had gotten 
| a bit hectic. Corporal Anderson waited the minimum required time that 
| mid-20th century medicine thought would be safe before crawling out of 
| the trench and picking up the unconscious Lt. Don Scowie (who was still 
| clutching the yellow and orange marker box in his hand). With the help 
| of Pete Greenberg, Anderson got Scowie into the jeep and rushed him 
| back to the bunker for medical attention. By the time they arrived most 
| of Scowie's hair had fallen out.
|      Major Television-Event was ropable. When the thirty second siren 
| had cut in he'd repeated the order for the countdown to the detonation 
| to be discontinued, only to have the soldiers operating the controls 
| find that they were locked out and the countdown continuing. At two 
| seconds to detonation the Major had the technicians point out to him 
| where the power cables for the controls were and had severed them with 
| a fire axe. This had done no good, and the Major was now digesting the 
| preliminary reports of the technicians that the control of the 
| detonation sequence seemed to have been redirected from the bunker to 
| somewhere else.
|           ((((((((((OOOOO)))))))))
|      Later, Joshua visited Don Scowie in the hospital at Fort Courage. 
| He arrived heavily stealthed, so no-one saw him.
|      The Legionnaire hadn't been feeling well. 

     CAW: He's got Legionnaire's Disease!

| The problem seemed to be that this reality had strong melodramatic 
| tendencies similar to the Looniverse's - but without the ability to 
| subvert such cliches in the name of irony and then use them as tools. 
| This constriction seemed to be affecting his thinking. Just last night 
| he had caught himself brooding over whether he had overlooked some 
| reasonable alternative in a way that went beyond simple introspection 
| and out into what looked suspiciously like angst.
|      This was apparently what happened when he tried too hard to listen 
| to the flow of Drama in the world around him. In any case, it was *not* 
| acceptable, and he had used his powers to decrease the intensity of the 
| local Drama affected himself until a soothing clarity of thought had 
| washed over him. 
|      Unfortunately, he was not skilled at judging the intensities 
| properly yet. Certainly not on an alien Earth with its own quirks to 
| its Drama field. He inadvertently overdid it - and that had brought 
| its own problems. Rather than merely helping him to approach the 
| situation rationally and unencumbered by environmentally induced 
| hysteria, he had then discovered in himself patterns of thought that 
| were both ruthlessly pragmatic and cynically callous. He had spent the 
| night feeling like a member of the Net.Trenchcoat Brigade.
|      So now he was simply focusing on the task at hand. Joshua took 
| out a new roll of bandages that he had brought with him and began to 
| change the dressing on the burns on Don's head. The radiation burns had 
| been severe, but were healing at a rate that even the most optimistic 
| guesses of current medical knowledge would find astonishing. That was 
| the one small consolation that Joshua had: the almost-certainty (now 
| confirmed) that Scowie would survive by becoming a superhuman - with 
| all of the exceptional healing capacity that it usually entailed - 
| whereas nobody else would have. Or at least, nobody else would have in 
| the same way or for very long.
|      This was a b-movie reality after all. The paranormals it created 
| with its freakish accidents were more likely to be horrors than heroes.
|      Joshua lathered some burn ointment over the lieutenant's face, 
| then applied the new bandages. This was important. At least part of 
| Dr. Liverwurst's current plot involved him reusing old mind control ray 
| technology left over from a previous attempt to Take Over The World. 
| The doctor's minions had already used a portable version of those ray 
| generating devices for other tasks, such as gaining the information 
| about the Wunderkind bomb test that had been needed to stage the 
| 'accident' - but the primary use had always meant to be gaining control 
| of whoever became an irradiated monster. That way, when the newly 
| created freak went on the inevitable rampage of mindless destruction, 
| Dr. Liverwurst could direct him for the doctor's own purposes.
|      That was something that was not going to happen now. Not after 
| Joshua had used replacement bandages that had been subtly treated with 
| an aluminium solution to act as protection from it. Finally, Joshua 
| attached a small Plotdevicium amulet to the chain with Scowie's dog 
| tags to act as a distraction when Dr. Liverwurst's minion's arrived to 
| investigate.
|      (He had no idea who they'd be, and had only a strong hint of how 
| they'd get past the security of a military base,

     Swordmaster: Well, hey, it's barely stopped anybody so far.

| but even without Luke's warning Joshua would have assumed good odds 
| for such an investigation once Dr. Liverwurst realised that *someone* 
| had been exposed to the direct force of the blast but who wasn't under 
| the doctor's mental control.)
|      Once he had finished rebandaging Don's burns Joshua paused and 
| looked out the window towards the coast. Now that he had mitigated the 
| one event that - because of Dramatic Tension - he could not have 
| stopped, he was free to take whatever steps he felt necessary against 
| Dr. Liverwurst. A direct assault that took out the mind control ray was 
| an obvious move; then nobody would need bandages soaked in aluminium.
|      Since his back was to the door he did not see Linda Greenberg 
| enter the room. Since he was supposed to be invisible, at first he did 
| not pay particular attention to her question of, "What are you doing 
| here?" In fact, it was not until she repeated it in a considerably 
| louder voice and began to approach him directly that Joshua consciously 
| realised that she seemed to be able to see him.
|      "I am making sure that he is being treated properly," he answered 
| truthfully in his reassuring-to-members-of-the-public tone of voice.
|      This did not seem to satisfy her. "Guards!" she called. "There's 
| an intruder in here!"
|      Joshua reflexively checked the stealth.thingee attached to his 
| belt. Had he forgotten to turn it on? No, it seemed to be activated.
|      "What's all the noise?" asked the guards as the arrived.
|      "That man over there," said Linda, "is a communist spy."
|      The guards looked in the direction she pointed. "What man?"

     CAW: The man with the power.
     Swordmaster: What power?
     CAW: The power of voodoo.
     Swordmaster: Who do?
     CAW: You do.
     Swordmaster: Do what?
     Together: Remind me of the man!
     Swordmaster: Gak! I can't believe I just did that.

|      Linda turned her head from side to side searchingly. "There was a 
| man here," she insisted as she walked forwards to Don's bed. Joshua 
| stepped to the other side of the bed to be out of her way. "He must be 
| hiding," she said - and then lashed out at his belt and damaged the 
| stealth.thingee. "Here he is!"
|      .oO( Oh. Of course, ) thought Joshua, mildly disappointed by his 
| own carelessness.  ( Dramatic Tension again. All she needed was to see 
| me check on the stealth.thingee in the right context to be justified 
| in making a leap of intuition about its purpose. )

     Swordmaster: You know, pointing out how stupid the plot point is 
doesn't stop it from being a stupid plot point.

|      If the guards were surprised by the way a man suddenly appeared as 
| if from nowhere, it didn't stop them from pointing their firearms at 
| him. Perhaps they thought he had simply stood up after crouching down 
| behind the bed. Whatever the case it was clearly time for Joshua to 
| leave if he wished to deal with Dr. Liverwurst any time this evening.
|      Ignoring their order to surrender since there was nothing their 
| guns could do to harm him, Joshua calmly walked back three paces to the 
| open window behind the bed head and threw himself out.
|      Linda and the two guards rushed to the window and looked down. It 
| was two stories to the ground below, but there was no sign of him. It 
| did not occur to them to look to either side or upwards for several 
| seconds, and by that time he had flown over to the other side of the 
| building and out of sight.
|           ((((((((((OOOOO)))))))))
|      Joshua found the situation mildly exasperating. He really couldn't 
| blame people for being so paranoid, since in this world Khrushchev's 
| successors were still frothing out statements like "We will bury you!". 
| But you would think that they would be able to recognise that there 
| were threats *other* than communism and act accordingly. Clearly, their 
| puny civilisation needed to learn proper time management techniques, 
| the likes of which only his firm hand could... AAAHHH!
|     Hastily, Joshua drew in his drama dampening field tight about 
| himself and increased it's intensity several-fold, re-establishing his 
| protective cocoon against the seductive need to Take Over The World 
| that all mutants in b-movie settings seem to instinctively feel. He 
| really needed to find a proper balance to this newest use of his powers.

     CAW: [singing] They're Pinky... Pinky and the Brain, Brain, brain, 
     Swordmaster: [bored] Narf.

|           ((((((((((OOOOO)))))))))
|      A short while later Pete Greenberg was sitting in his sister's 
| car. He wondered how Linda had managed to have him released from Fort 
| Courage's lockup. He wondered how Don Scowie was faring. He wondered 
| what had happened to his hotrod - and then pushed that thought aside 
| with a considerable stab of guilt.
|      Then Linda arrived and they drove off into the late afternoon. 
| After several minutes of uncomfortable silence Pete asked, "Did you 
| find out how Don is?"
|      Linda nodded. "He's stable. Badly hurt, but stable."
|      "Oh," he managed before lapsing back into silence. A few more 
| minutes passed before Pete realised he didn't recognise where Linda 
| was driving to. It certainly wasn't the road back to town. "Where are 
| we going?"
|      "I need to talk with some of my contacts," she said. "There's 
| something strange happening, and I want to get to the bottom of it."
|      Other reporters, Pete thought, and went back to brooding about 
| what he would do to Von Velcro as a way of distracting himself from 
| self-recrimination.

     CAW: He could tear a strip off him.
     Swordmaster: -groan-

|      He still wasn't paying much attention when the car came to a stop 
| and Linda stepped out. Then the door on Pete's side was pulled open 
| and some of the Bats Out Of Hell hauled him out into the evening. Von 
| Velcro himself took great pleasure in slugging Pete with a right hook 
| as the beach-goer was held between two of the stupids.
|      Linda watched impassively as the unconscious Pete was dragged 
| off. Von Velcro looked smug as he walked over to her, rubbing his 
| knuckles, then his demeanour turned serious as he asked, "Why is he 
| still up and running?"
|      "There has been a problem," she said bluntly. "The military saw 
| Peter and intercepted him. As far as I can determine, only Don Scowie 
| was irradiated by the blast. He also seems to have been the one 
| holding the gamma filter."
|      Von Velcro frowned. He'd suspected that tricking Pete out onto 
| the test range was an overly complicated scheme, but it was a holdover 
| from Dr. Liverwurst's love of elaborate death traps, so it wasn't 
| smart to argue the point. Still, Scar's suggestion would ironically 
| have been a better proposal. The biker wasn't normally the sharpest 
| knife in the cutlery drawer, but Scar's idea - that Von Velcro should 
| have Zonked Out Pete with his power of The Digit, then left him tied up 
| with the gamma filter on the test range, propped up to catch the full 
| force of the blast but hidden in the underbrush - had the advantage of 
| elemental simplicity.

     Swordmaster: Unlike that sentence.

|      Well, there was no help for it now. "So where's Scowie?"
|      "Fort Courage hospital, as expected for the test subject. Inform 
| Dr. Liverwurst what has happened. He may want to continue with Scowie 
| as the subject, or he might want to start from scratch. I influenced 
| the minds of the authorities at Fort Courage to release the boy in case 
| the doctor still wants to use him. There is also one other thing," she 
| added, and took out a small trinket. "There is an unknown man going by 
| the name of Joshua Asimov who has been in town for the past few days. I 
| discovered him at Scowie's bedside a short while ago, protected by some 
| sort of invisibility. Such advanced technology suggests that he might 
| be one of Dr. Liverwurst's rivals. I found Scowie wearing this after I 
| chased Asimov off," she concluded, handing over the Plotdevicium 
| amulet. "I cannot identify what it is made of."
|      Von Velcro looked at the amulet, then pocketed it. "Anything else?"
|      "Nothing of significance. I will continue to try to find Asimov 
| and capture him, pending further orders from Dr. Liverwurst. I will 
| report in later."
|      The two turned and went their separate ways. Von Velcro and his 
| gang hopped on their bikes, and with the unconscious Pete Greenberg 
| stuffed in a sidecar, headed back to the Liverwurst Place.
|           ((((((((((OOOOO)))))))))
|      Joshua went back to his hotel room to check out. Then he stepped 
| out into the secluded rear of the hotel parking lot and changed into 
| his Legion of Net.Heroes costume by simply taking off the civilian 
| clothes he had over his spandex. (Readers will notice that he had 
| incorporated the Insecurity Blanket from issue 43 into his ensemble by 
| folding it over his shoulder like a plaid to act as a sort of cape.)

     Swordmaster: People reading will be able to notice something visual? 
But of course...

| Being properly dressed had made no particular difference while he was 
| using the stealth.thingee, but now that he was going to confront Dr. 
| Liverwurst in public his quirk of compulsive tidiness required him to 
| be in uniform.

     Swordmaster: I don't remember him ever having a quirk of compulsive 

|      Joshua briefly entertained that notion that when he returned home 
| to the Looniverse he should get some clothing made of alt.stable 
| molecules which would allow him to change into his heroic ID in an 
| instant, but dismissed it for now. The flightring.thingee was a 
| definite advantage in this line of work - and he was glad that he had 
| finally gotten one - but for the time being he saw no need to indulge 
| himself in numerous optional extras.

     CAW: Joel, can I get a Limp-Asparagus Lad doll with optional extra 
     Swordmaster: I somehow doubt that that would ever be an option 
extra for him.

|      As he adjusted his mask Linda Greenberg stepped out of the 
| shadows where she had been watching. "Stop right there," she said with 
| an authoritative voice.
|      "Good evening, Miss Greenberg," said Limp-Asparagus Lad, 
| unperturbed by her sudden appearance.
|      "What is this? It's too early for Halloween," she said, walking 
| forward.
|      "I stopped dressing up for Halloween when I was twelve years 
| old," he admitted frankly.
|      "Really," she said, and now that she was within range threw a 
| punch at him that would have put a hole in light plate armour. He saw 
| it coming, and combined with certain suspicions that he had formed 
| about her when she had penetrated the effect of the stealth.thingee 
| earlier in the afternoon, was prepared for it. He relaxed the tension 
| of his body mass - generally referred to as 'going limp'. The punch 
| did nothing except briefly deform his head for an instant too quick to 
| be noticed with the human eye. Surprised, Linda stepped back and drew 
| a handgun.
|      Limp-Asparagus Lad wondered what use she thought that it would do 
| her, then put the issue aside. "I would suggest that you put the gun 
| away. It won't do you any good," he told her without moving from the 
| spot where he had been since she had first made her presence known. "I 
| am not interested in harming either yourself or Don Scowie, nor am I 
| spying for any foreign power."
|      Linda prowled around him, a tigress looking for a weakness to 
| attack.
|      Limp-Asparagus Lad continued, "I am however beginning to suspect 
| that you aren't as concerned about communist spies as you claim. What 
| do you want? Who do you work for, really? *What* are you?"

     CAW: When did you arrive? Where did you have breakfast this morning? 
What is the flight speed of an unladened swallow?

|      Linda fired the gun at him - to no avail - and without pausing 
| threw herself at him in attack. He simply used the momentum of her 
| assault to flip her forward over his shoulder onto the car park tarmac.
|      The commotion drew the attention of some passing servicemen from 
| Fort Courage, who ran in and demanded to know what the pair of them 
| thought they were up.
|      Linda saw this as an opportunity. "You dirty commie spy!" she 
| shrieked at L-ALad in an affectation of hysteria. "You sabotaged the 
| bomb explosion to kill any soldiers caught outside during the blast, 
| and now Don's in hospital because of it!"
|      It was a good ploy, and was made even better by the way she threw 
| herself in to attack him again. Either she would subdue him (and 
| everyone would be proud of her because of her accomplishment in 
| avenging her boyfriend, making comparisons to mother bears protecting 
| their cubs as an excuse for how a member of the 'weaker sex' could have 
| pulled off such a feat) or she would delay the Legionnaire until he was 
| captured (and reducing his reputation in the process, because in this 
| time and place fighting a woman was considered ungentlemanly).
|      What she did not - could not - anticipate was principles of equal-
| but-opposite-reaction coming into play. The story had already been 
| given its human sacrifice in demand for an intractable plot point in 
| the favour of the villains. Now it chose to dump a plot point in favour 
| of the hero.

      Swordmaster: That's just handwaving instead of an explanation!

|      Limp-Asparagus Lad threw her over his shoulder and onto the ground 
| again, and as Linda hit the hard surface, her face fell off.
|      .oO( Ah, ) thought Limp-Asparagus Lad with a touch of 
| satisfaction. ( Robots. )  Then, although it made him feel somewhat 
| silly to do so, he adopted a stentorianly heroic voice and declaimed 
| to the soldiers, "Look out men! That killer robot could be capable of 
| anything!"
|      The soldiers gaped at the tangle of circuits and wires that were 
| suddenly exposed by the synthetic skin face having fallen to the 
| ground. The worst of it was the lidless artificial eyes that bulged in 
| the middle of it all. As the robot stood up they fired a few shots at 
| it, none of which had much effect.
|      Then the thing announced to the world, "Identity exposed. Bikini-
| bomb X-039 initiating self-destruct."
|      "Get down," called Limp-Asparagus Lad and then threw himself over 
| one of the soldiers. Although the man was the closer of the two to him, 
| L-ALad nevertheless could not have covered the distance in one leap 
| without the help of the flightring.thingee.
|      The bikini-bomb exploded with considerable force.
|      Limp-Asparagus Lad stood up and asked, "Is anybody hurt?" A 
| groan of pain from the other soldier suggested an affirmative to the 
| question, and when he went over he found that the man had suffered 
| some shrapnel wounds to his arm. The Legionnaire collected the 
| civilian clothes that he had been using and began to tear the shirt 
| into makeshift bandages.
|      As he did so the man demanded, "Just what in Sam Hill is going on 
| here? Who are you people?"

     CAW: And am I about to use words like "tarnation", "dangnabbit" 
and "ornery"?

|      "My name is Limp-Asparagus Lad. As far as I can determine, there 
| is a recluse living up on the headland called Dr. Anton Liverwurst who 
| sabotaged the atomic bomb test earlier today. He tried to trick one of 
| the local teenagers into being on the test site so that he would be 
| exposed to the radiation, but Lieutenant Scowie was caught by the blast 
| instead while he was rescuing the boy. I had thought that the only 
| people that Dr. Liverwurst had working for him were a local biker gang, 
| but it seems that I was wrong. He replaced a reporter by the name of 
| Linda Greenberg with that robot you saw, and that robot has been trying 
| to interfere with my investigation and attempts to bring Dr. Liverwurst 
| to justice." He finished tying off the bandage and stood up. 
| "Unfortunately, that suggests that Dr. Liverwurst still has the real 
| Miss Greenberg prisoner, probably somewhere on his property, so I guess 
| I should go and rescue her."

     Swordmaster: For those of you who missed the previous scenes, we 
present this summary for your enlightenment and edification.

|      "Now hold up mister," said the other soldier. "Just how do you 
| plan on getting up there?" he asked, implying that he would be coming 
| back to explain himself to the brass at Fort Courage. Limp-Asparagus 
| Lad deliberately chose to interpret it instead as a question about 
| methods of locomotion and replied with a simple, "I'll just fly there. 
| Could you please send some assistance from Fort Courage? I'm no longer 
| sure how many people he'll have defending his estate." And then he 
| flew up into the sky and away to the south.
|      The soldiers gaped after him. The unwounded one briefly considered 
| shooting at him, but then gave up on the idea. "How are we going to 
| explain this one, Rich?" he asked.
|      "I think we should keep out mouths shut, Matt."
|      This brought a snort of derision. "And how are you going to avoid 
| explaining how you got wounded? Or how a bomb went off in the middle of 
| town," he added, waving his hand to indicate the presence of the hotel 
| staff and guests and the neighbours and random people passing on the 
| street who were turning up to see what was going on, "but we don't know 
| anything about it?"
|      Rich sighed. It looked as if the best hope they had was that after 
| all the offbeat things that had happened today that something else 
| would turn up and their little adventure would get lost in the shuffle.
|           ((((((((((OOOOO)))))))))
|      Along the coast from town, Chuck! raced over to where the other 
| beachteens were grooving to the music as they danced in the light of 
| some bonfires that had been lit above the high tide line. "Guys! Hey 
| guys! Surfer Boy!" Chuck! called, trying to attract people's attention.
|      "Hiya Chuck! What's up?" asked Boondawgie.
|      "Guys, this is big!" said Chuck! "Von Velcro's got Pete!"
|      "Say what?" demanded Surfer Boy as he left off dancing. "Run that 
| by me again."
|      "I said, Von Velcro's got Pete! Me and Debbie Three-Socks saw them 
| drive past the gas station on the way up to the Liverwurst Place. Pete 
| was unconscious and tied up in one of their sidecars."
|      "Those dirty rats!" someone exclaimed.

     CAW: Jimmy Cagney?

|      "Okay people, listen up!" called Surfer Boy, bringing a halt to 
| the party. "Von Velcro's got Pete and he's taking him up to the 
| Liverwurst Place. Everybody load up your wheels, we're going to 
| rescue him!"
|           ((((((((((OOOOO)))))))))
|      Pete Greenberg had regained consciousness by the time the bikers 
| had arrived at the Liverwurst Place. He was hustled into the green-
| house, where Dr. Liverwurst was pruning his orchids. 

     CAW: [opens his beak to say something, but closes it again after 
seeing Swordmaster's expression]

| There were quite a number of exotic plants growing there, some of them 
| of Liverwurst's own devising. Currently he was removing dead leaves 
| from a very special hybrid orchid: it's three delicate flowers were in 
| the shape of women's hands, and were gently strumming the air (except 
| for the one that had developed a habit of snapping its fingers).
|      "Ah, Mister Greenberg!" the doctor said, looking up and staring 
| with his intense and totally insane eyes. He put down the secateurs 
| with an abrupt movement and glided out from between the tables to greet 
| the boy, waving away Pete's captors as he approached.
|      "What do you want, you old weirdo?" spat Pete.
|      "I want to reunite you with your sister!" answered Dr. Liverwurst, 
| making a theatrical sweep of his hand in an arc which for the most part 
| took in the floor and presumably the lower levels of the building.
|      "What about my sister?" Pete demanded. He jumped forward to grab 
| and overpower the older man. Dr. Liverwurst barely moved until the last 
| moment, grabbing Pete by both forearms with another sudden movement 
| (and clutching him so hard that the beachteen yelled out at the sudden 
| pain), before throwing Pete to the floor.
|      "She is quite safe!" said Dr. Liverwurst, over-acting the threat 
| like the terrible b-movie villain that he was. "As will you be!"
|      Pete jumped to his feet and fled. Dr. Liverwurst did not follow, 
| simply staring after the teenager. Pete almost made it as far as the 
| door to the garden outside when he was nabbed by the odd-job, er, man 
| that had been lurking unnoticed in the leafy shadows.

     CAW: Riffraff!

|      Pete tried to recoil in horror from the figure, but its vegetable 
| grip was too strong. An only vaguely humanoid face stared at him with 
| eyes that were entirely too intelligent. Then it's serrated mouth 
| - which opened vertically rather than horizontally across its face - 
| gaped wide and hissed at him.

     CAW: Oh. Not Riffraff.

|      "Do you like him!?" asked Dr. Liverwurst brightly. "He's a human/
| venus fly trap hybrid! I call him Audrey!" The doctor bobbed his head 
| closer and confessed in a stage whisper, " I'm afraid Mister Von 
| Velcro's friends aren't very taken with him!"
|      That was an understatement of the extent that the bikers were 
| creeped out by the malevolent plantman - although not half so creeped 
| out as they would have been if they could have recognised it as their 
| former fellow gang member Buzz who had made the fatal mistake of trying 
| to leave the Hell's Bats some three years back.
|      "In any case, Audrey will take you downstairs now! To meet your 
| sister! And the giant spiders, of course!"
|           ((((((((((OOOOO)))))))))
|      Lt. Don Scowie was in a bad way. It wasn't so much from the voices 
| in his head. They'd turned up just after the nurse had arrived and 
| changed his bandages, about an hour after the intruder had been chased 
| off. Truth be known, he was barely noticing the voices because of the 
| way he was feeling. Nor was it actually from any radiation burns or 
| injuries taken from being caught by a bomb blast.
|      It was more... well, the way he felt so *constrained*. Like his 
| body was just too small. He wasn't fully awake, but he tossed and 
| turned feverishly to be free of the bedclothes. Barely conscious, he 
| staggered out of bed and down the stairs to the ground floor and then 
| out into the night. He had to be out in the open.

     Swordmaster: Yes? So? If he's barely conscious he won't be able to 
avoid the guards. Remember them?

|           ((((((((((OOOOO)))))))))
|      Only shortly afterwards, high in a tower of the Liverwurst Place, 
| the diabolical doctor was scanning the horizons, using a complicated 
| looked tangle of bent telescopes that were twisted around one another.

     CAW: Just like the ones Witchie-Poo used to spy on H.R.Puffnstuff.

|      "Nothing! Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!" cried Dr. Liverwurst as he 
| flipped between the various eyepieces and realigned the directions of 
| view. "This cannot be!" he protested to the night sky with all of the 
| subtly of Vincent Price. "There are no giant radioactive monstermen 
| making their way to obey *me* and my plan to Take Over The World!"
|      "Pete Greenberg wasn't zapped by the bomb, boss," Von Velcro 
| reminded him.
|      "Yes, I know! But *someone* was!" countered the doctor, stalking 
| around the telescope array with one hand behind his back and the other 
| with a finger waggling in the air. "By all accounts, the army 
| lieutenant."
|      "Scowie."
|      "Yes! *He* has been TRANSFORMED! I *do* have a supersoldier!" 
| Then he darted back to the telescopes and began to fiddle with them 
| again. "I just wish I knew where he was!" he snarled.
|      "Maybe you should check with the bikini-bomb and see what else 
| she knows," suggested Von Velcro. Then he added, "It's kinda ironic 
| that she should've been put in place to get information from him, and 
| now has to be used to try an' keeps tabs *on* him."
|      "Yes!" agreed Dr. Liverwurst. "I am aware of the irony! Still, 
| it's a good suggestion... Hello! What's this!?" he said with sudden 
| curiosity. "Trespassers!"
|      The view cut to the sight through one of the telescopes. In the 
| woods down beyond the edge of the Liverwurst Place grounds the beach-
| goers had parked their cars and were sneaking towards the house. 
| "Here!" cried Dr. Liverwurst, jumping back from the eyepiece with one 
| of his sudden movements and waving Von Velcro to take a look.
|      Von Velcro looked. "What do you want done with them?" he asked, a 
| little too eagerly.
|      "Ah!" said the doctor. He turned to one side and mused, "Capture 
| them!?" Then he swung back to present the other profile, "Or kill 
| them!?" Then he faced back towards Von Velcro, put this foot up on a 
| chair and adopted a 'The Thinker' pose. "So many choices!"
|      Von Velcro rolled his eyes and said, "Why don't you just do both? 
| There's enough of them to go round to do that."
|      "An excellent idea!"
|           ((((((((((OOOOO)))))))))
|       Boondawgie crept back to the tree line that sharply delineated 
| the forest from the lawn surrounded the mansion. "Good news, guys," he 
| said in an undertone. "I found an open door. Follow me."
|      "That's good," said Betty-Lou. "I get the creepiest feeling we're 
| being watched out here."

     CAW: [creepy voice] I like to watch.
     Swordmaster: Don't ever do that again.

|      "I know what you mean," agreed Kitty-Pie. Several of the other 
| females murmured in agreement.
|      "Now shush, you girls," whispered Surfer Boy. "Come on."
|      The beach-goers crept from the shadows under the trees and onto 
| the moonlit lawn, and then onwards towards the house. In the evening 
| gloom they could not see the legions of tacky pink flamingo lawn 
| ornaments blink and turn their heads slightly to watch them pass.
|      As the kids crept through the shadow of the gazebo 

     CAW: I waste it with my crossbow!

| there was a muted rattling noise as one of the flamingos chattered its 
| beak a little.
|      "What was that?" gasped Francine.
|      "What was what?" demanded Wongo.
|      "That sound," snapped Francine.
|      "*What* sound!?"

     Swordmaster: The rattling sound like triffids communicating with 
each other.

|      "Will you two be quiet!" hissed Surfer Boy.
|      The group finished their trek to the walls of the mansion and 
| Boondawgie let them in to the Zen Room. Behind them in the shadows the 
| flamingos turned and stretched their legs and wings in jumpy movements 
| like crude stop motion animation, and then began to stalk towards the 
| house.
| ---------------------------------------------------------------------
| Character Credits:
|      Limp-Asparagus Lad owned by Saxon Brenton. Created by Mystic 
| Mongoose (Robert Armstrong) and wReam (Ray Bingham).
|      CAW, Swordmaster, and the Squeaky Flying Rodent created by Badger 
| (Matt Rossi). Used with permission.
|      All other characters created by Saxon Brenton.
|      All characters are owned by and copyright 2003 their creators 
| and/or owners.
| ----------
| Saxon Brenton   University of Technology city library, Sydney Australia
| The Librarian "liked people who loved and respected books. And the best 
| way to do that, in the Librarian's opinion, was to leave them on the 
| shelves where Nature intended them to be." Terry Pratchett, _Men At Arms_

     "Commercial sign... now."

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