L U R K E R L A D #1 "Things aren't always as they seem" By Ben Rawluk An LNH mini-series ------------------------------------------------------------------------ [Cover -LURKER LAD is written at the top, in a partially faded font. Below that, you can see Lurker Lad, partially in the shadows, trailing Cheesecake-Eater Lad, who has a slightly dark look in his eyes, looks thinner, and has a high forehead.] ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Some say that LNHQ's Peril Room is an example of some of the most advanced technology on Earth. In its "true" configuration, one wonders how this can be, with metallic surfaces, a large doorway, and a window to the control booth. BUT, when one sees it when active, this description is quite appropriate. The metal surface vanishes, replaced by one of an infinite number of virtual backdrops. Sophisticated holograms, given substance by malleable forcefields and automatons allow the user the ultimate in interactive mock combat. Of course, none of this mattered, as the LNHer known as Lurker Lad carefully observed all the radiating corridors of the alien starcraft he was aboard. The hiss of a Dorfian Combustion Pulser feel upon his ears, and it was followed by a burst of flame. Luckily, Lurker Lad activated his super-power, vanishing into a state of net.invisibility and desolidifaction. The flame hit the wall behind him, and he lurked over to the main control panel, once again visible. He smashed it, and there was a distinctive BEEP sound. The starcraft vanished, and Lurker Lad was in the Peril Room again. "Nice moves." Lurker Lad turned, to see Doctor Stomper, team Scientist, step out of the control booth. "Split-second timing and everything." "Thanks...nice workout. Get the information you needed?" Lurker Lad asked, as he took the towel Stomper offered him. "I did indeed...according," he indicated a datapad he held in his left hand, "To these readings, I have a theory." Lurker Lad stared at him, and waited for a second for the explanation, before blurting out, "Well?!" "Oh, sorry. Pausing for dramatic effect(tm)." Stomper grinned. "My theory is when you lurk, you move out of phase with reality, shifting partially into either the Lurking, like Invisible Incendiary, or the RACM Buffer Zone." "RACM Buffer Zone?" "The RACM Buffer Zone is a dimensional void which exists out of phase, and acts as a buffer between alt.comics.lnh, and rec.arts.comics.misc." Stomper adjusted his labcoat. "At any rate, the effect is that you become net.invisible and intangible." Lurker Lad nodded. "Look...I'm a bit hungry. Do you need me for anything else?" Stomper stared at him. "Yes, actually. I'm sure you've heard about me just waking up a few hours ago...after being attacked by an unknown staff- member." "Yesss...as I recall, you were listed as being active while you were unconscious...Research Lass believes you were copied by a shape-shifter..." "Who, I believe is using another shape." Stomper finished. "At any rate, I believe this investigation will require your talents." Lurker Lad nodded. "Anything else?" Stomper hrmed, glancing down at his pad. "No. I can finish things up here. Just be warned; Cheesecake-Eater Lad is trying Cheesecake Flambe'..." Lurker Lad gulped, and stepped out into the corridor. --- As LNH_Bldr happened to be wandering by, the LNHQ Cafeteria exploded in a blast of flame and cheesecake. The construction-working hero sighed, and made a mental note to obliterate Captain Napalm and Nomex Man off the face of the Earth, for giving Cheesecake-Eater Lad a Flambe' cookbook, after he rebuilt the cafeteria. --- The LNHQ Power Core Chamber, stood empty. The plotdevicium, coupling sat, generating energy, feeding turbines and generators. In the darkness, two figures materialised. "Excellent! Teleport successful! We are -inside- LNHQ!" Captain Coredump exclaimed, glancing at the small scanning device he held. Doctor Periodic-Table glanced around the chamber. "Is this the proper place for your casuality(tm) bomb?" Coredump nodded. "Yes...the LNH's power core. The source off all their energy. Placed here, the bomb will allow me to fracture reality within LNHQ...using the building's own unusual spatial properties....!" Coredump continued to rant, as he set up a large, complex-looking Kirbytech device. Dr. PT massaged his forehead, wondering if Coredump would -EVER- shut up. --- In his quarters, Joshua Dinerstein (alias the Renegade Programmer) carefully finished debugging a program. Running it, a window opened on his computer screen, displaying sensor and security-camera readings of the corridor outside his room. He glanced at the display, and started on another program. --- Stopping off at the Monitor Room, on his way to the Cafeteria, Lurker Lad glanced around the main terminal's sensor readings. "Hmmm...some kind of weird emanations from the Power Core Chamber." "Want I should call security?" Multi-Tasking Man asked, looking up briefly from his game of solitaire, watching SUPERMAN:THE ANIMATED SERIES, scarfing some cheesecake, and cataloguing his comics. "No...no. I'll check this out." --- Johnny Stomper carefully guided the laser scalpel along the underbelly of one of the docked LNH Flight.Thingees. This is what he lived for, building and fixing machinery. Rather suddenly, his com.thingee beeped. "Hello? Johnny Stomper here?" he answered. "LNH_Bldr, here. I'm rebuilding the Cafeteria, after Cheesecake-Eater Lad's unfortunate accident." "Oh, yeah, I heard about that. Flambe', huh?" "Yes. Look, I need you to come in fix the downed com-lines, 'kay?" "Sure." Johnny replied. "Gimme a few minutes, though." --- "There." Coredump looked up from the device, at Periodic-Table. "The kirbytech is set. With a touch of the dial, reality within this building will be twisted beyond recognition." "*sigh*." Dr. PT tapped his foot. "Just hurry up, already! I wanna be out of here PDQ." "Uh-uh. I don't think so." Both villains swerved around, to see Lurker Lad, standing before them, holding a MEGA-BIGGUN(tm) [The kind so big it'd make Master Blaster blush!]. "There were some weird readings down here, so I thought I'd check it out." "Come ON!" Periodic-Table grinned. "I think I'll turn you into a piece of...Green Retcon-Hour story...use it on Kid Not Appearing In Any Retcon-Hour Story, later." He raised a hand, and a beam of energy leapt from is fingertips, changing the MEGA-BIGGUN into cardboard. "Ulp!" Lurker Lad gulped, and lurked out of sight. "Damn! Where the hell is he?!" "Don't bother. Once I activate the causality bomb, we can teleport out, and he'll be retconned out." Coredump muttered, doing a last minute check. "NOPE!" Lurker Lad delurked, smashing the bomb against the wall. The two villains scrambled away from him, and Coredump activated a small device. In an instant, both vanished. "*sigh*....teleportation device...great." --- Johnny Stomper finished connecting the last cables, and LNH_Bldr replaced the wall panel. "Thanks for the help." The construction worker tapped a button on the keyboard connected to his wrist, and all the various tools, ladders, and equipment he had used, flung themselves at him, morphing into a toolbelt. "No problem." Johnny replied, and stuck the welder into his own belt.thingee. "If you ever need more help..." LNH_Bldr nodded, and left the Cafeteria. As he did so, LNHers began to move back into the room, as if nothing had happened. Lurker Lad meandered in, slowly. He looked a bit irritated, glancing for a moment at Cheesecake-Eater Lad, who seemed, for an instant, to look a bit too much like David Duchovny. "Something wrong?" Johnny asked, as he approached the net.hero. Lurker Lad looked up, from the table he had sat at. "I was fighting some net.villains down in the Power Core Chamber. No dice, they teleported away." Stomper nodded, thoughtfully. While he and Lurker Lad had never really talked, perhaps it would have been best if he offered the net.hero some advice, or something. "Yeah well...I suppose the writer'll end up having you meet up with them again, right? Cosmic Karma, or something. Lurker Lad looked up, smiling a bit meekly. "Maybe. Though, sometimes It seems like my writer's just in this for kicks...its like he doesn't care if we live or die, really. Like, back when Kid Mysticism died...[*See _Net.Titans_ #36-37. - Ben]" Lurker Lad shrugged slightly. "Oh well...whatever happens, happens." Johnny sighed, and lowered himself onto a seat. He leaned forward, slightly. "But, what's the point angsting about it? This isn't an X-Book (Is it?!)." "Maybe...just maybe...you have a point." Lurker Lad adjusted his posture, slightly. "Actually, I've noticed something rather unusual...maybe you can offer some help..." --- Several hours later, after nightfall, Organic Lass looked up at the screen, drom the datapads, dossiers, and medical records that covered her desk like a sea. The system was beeping erratically, and she wasn't able open Lurker Lad's medical file, to update it. There was some sort of access block. Her com.thingee beeped. "Organic Lass here." "Ori...when are you coming to bed?" Pocket Man's voice said, over the link. "You've been up for 24 hours, straight." "I'll be down in a while, Pokk. I'm having some sort of computer trouble. I'll track it down, then I'll quit for the night." "Right, luv. Pokk out." Ori smiled, thinking about how much she loved Pokk, and then got up. "Computer, locate source of computer malfunction...." ((Source located: Subsection Alpha-12. Hardware point Floor 23, corridor 10.)) Ori nodded to no one in particular, and left the Med-Lab. --- Organic Lass reached the location mentioned by the computer, to find that part of the wall-paneling had been removed, and a rather portly person was busy with some equipment, including a laptop linked to the system by a fibre-optic-cable thin technoorganic strand, apparently playing with the system. "Renegade Programmer?" "Huh? Oh, Organic Lass. Something wrong?" Renegade Programmer answered, looking up from the laptop's screen. "Not...really. I was trying to access some files, but got an access block." "Hrm. Well, I'm overhauling and upgrading a section of the central system...had to run some checks on some of the hardware...so that might have affected the medical directories...sorry." "Oh, its okay. I was about to turn in...I may be staying up late working, lately, but I'm no Late-Nite Lad." Organic Lass grinned. "Hey!" Late-Nite Lad muttered, walking past, from the Peril Room, no doubt after some midnight combat session. Renegade Programmer chuckled. "Well, G'night." As Organic Lass vanished down the hallway, Lurker Lad de-lurked, stepping out of the shadows. "That went well..." Lurker Lad mumbled. "Finished splicing into the communications hardware?" "Yup." Renegade Programmer nodded. "Once I'm finished writing the software, the second part of your operation should succeed." Lurker Lad nodded. "Johnny's finished working on the new hardware...Thanks for your help; My little sting should work well." "No problem. Though, I have to ask, when did you figure out that the impostor who replaced Stomper is pretending to be Cheesecake-Eater Lad?" "Well, he looks like he's lost 20 pounds....and believe me, with his own cooking being as it is..." Lurker Lad grinned, in spite of himself. "Plus, he seems to flux between having an unusually high forehead and looking like David Duchovny." "That could just be artistic error." "No...my writer hires the best." Lurker Lad shifted his weight. "Anyway, its best you get some sleep...me, as well." --- Late-Nite Lad sighed, dropping his towel into the corner of the Monitor Room, and slumping down into a chair, in front of the main terminal. Because of his natural abilities, he usually got stuck with Graveyard-shift Monitor Duty. He considered setting up some elaborate prank, for something to do, but considered what Ultimate Ninja had done the -last- time he'd done something... "Hello." LNL looked up, to see Cheesecake-Eater Lad had spoken. "Huh? Why are you up?" "No reason." Cheesecake-Eater Lad's fist moved with remarkable precision, smashing LNL into a state of unconsciousness. "Doctor Stomper has no doubt already begun to look for me. Better to give some more confusion." CEL dragged LNL in behind some of the sophisticated machinery, and then his features flowed, soon stabilising into an exact copy of Late-Nite Lad's. ================================================================== NEXT ISSUE: Be here for "The Great Cheesecake-Eater Sting", as the truth about the Moderian Morph-Master is revealed, Coredump initiates the sure-fire, nefarious plan 'B', Not to mention that, like, Lurker Lad is in fact involved, as the series title suggests. *grin* ================================================================== ROLL CALL --------- Lurker Lad is owned by me. Johnny Stomper was created by Joshua Geurink, and is reserved by me. Renegade Programmer was created by wReam, and is reserved by me. LNH_Bldr is owned by me. Doctor Stomper is Public Domain. Organic Lass is owned by Rebecca Drayer, used without permission, because I've never been able to reach her. Late-Nite Lad is Public Domain. The real Cheesecake-Eater Lad is Public Domain. Captain Coredump was created by wReam, and is reserved by me. Doc Periodic-Table is owned by me. The Moderian Morph-Master is owned by me.Back to the Index.