As he had for hours, Occultism Kid sat on the simple futon he had felt necessary to include in his private quarters, eyes closed, a state of meditation formed as a barrier to the devastating effects of the Outside World. Only a well-rested, contemplative sort of person can wield the Retcotheric Arts untainted by their power, after all. He hummed, softly, with no real tune; it was a mantra, not a song. Eventually, however, he mentally peeled down the walls and opened his eyes. Subconsciously, he adjusted his trenchcoat, standing up. His eyes surveyed the Spartan room; Beside the futon was a series of bookshelves, where one could find row upon row of aging, leather-bound volumes, with grimoires and scrolls from across history. Across the room, on a wooden pedestal, was the Net.crominicon, protected by a glass belljar. Occultism Kid suddenly grasped his temples, leaning forward in agony. His mystical senses were detecting something grotesque; horribly-played Grateful Dead music forced its way into his head. It wasn't actual sound, but more of a psychic projection. Fighting the urge to vomit as the songs ceased, Occultism Kid could whisper only "By Lovecraft...what manner of attack is this?" =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Blue Light Productions Presents L U R K E R L A D episode the third, entitled "Trapped in the In-Between," written by Ben Rawluk =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= [Cover: Okay, after you adjust to the fact that there are several pages of the comic in front of the cover (Oddly stapled, perhaps?), you focus on the cover itself. You see Lurker Lad, facing the left of the cover, his back against the back of a mysterious, ghostly young man with a white trenchcoat and a tie-dyed T-shirt. The background is black, with wisps of grey smoke behind them...and you can see Occultism Kid amongst the smoke. Along the bottom of the page 'Guest-Starring DeadHeadMan!' is written in a gothic font.] =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= The picketing had lasted a good six hours. A solid crowd of people, unified by that all-too-easily manipulated fervour of distrust, hate, and fear had formed in front of the massive building called LNHQ. They spewed the usual anti-parahuman slogans, and it seemed only those with powers of flight...or flight.thingees...could get out of the headquarters without being manhandled. Oh, the Net.ropolis Police had been willing to come in and break it up, but Ultimate Ninja had blatantly said 'No,' believing that they had the right to express their opinions. Much to the chagrin of the more militant members of the LNH. And pretty much to the confusion of everyone; usually, Ultimate Ninja was one of those more militant members. Special Bonding Boy nearly had a nervous breakdown. Down among the protesters stood J.D. He glanced around, not quite sure what was going on; he had, at first been caught up in the fervour, but the passion dissolved with his teenaged attention span. His shoulder knocked against someone. He looked over, and nodded his head in apology to a young woman moving past him. She barely noticed, but he recognised her; the woman's name was Laura Holic, and the two had been introduced a few hours before, by some of the organisers of the protest. A moment later, Laura had vanished into the crowd, before J.D. could say a word to her. And then, J.D. was overcome by the shouting on all sides of him. Lurker Lad sauntered down one of the corridors in the south wing of LNHQ, hands clutching a compu-pad tightly. He had just come from Doctor Stomper's lab, and the Doc had asked him to ferry data culled in one of Stomper's latest experiments over to Kid Kirby, for further analysis. After all, the Kirbian was among the most cosmic of the LNHers, and would certainly have some insight into the project. A thought struck the young hero, and he came to a halt. "...why am I walking?" He cracked his knuckles, juggling the compu-pad. "I have all of the Lurking at my disposal." The power to lurk was always useful for going places fast. He prepared to shift out of one dimension and into another, when he suddenly felt his eyes begin to blink uncontrollably. "What the...Hell(tm)...!?" He swore he heard Grateful Dead music playing in his head. "Get...out...of...my...head...." There was a brilliant flash of light, as Lurker Lad's will, and power, connected with some presence inside him. The light was accompanied by a huge FWASH! sound effect, so large and all-encompassing that Kid Anarky would no doubt have been sent heading for the hills. The compu-pad left Lurker Lad's hand, clanging to the ground. The hero looked up, his eyes clearing and then locking on a figure which had appeared in the corridor in front of him. The figure was utterly transparent, with a skeletal form...tremendously emaciated, with sunken eyes and nose. He wore an equally transparent, white trenchcoat which seemed to blend with his 'flesh,' as well as a tie-dyed t-shirt. The figure shivered nervously. "Oh my," Lurker Lad breathed, at a loss for eloquence. "...Who're you?" The figure grew obviously agitated and more confused. "Waitwaitwait. You...can see me?" Grateful Dead music again filled Lurker Lad's head. "Oh. Oh Joy. Oh RAPTURE!" He briefly seemed to space out, before snapping back to the present...the music halting as well. "I'm...I'm not sure who I am. I think...I think I'm called DeadHeadMan. Please don't laugh. Unless it mellows you out. I mean..." Lurker Lad's eyes widened, and he decided it would be best to close his mouth for a moment. Then he opened it again. "Er. Oh...okay. I think. Um, why were you confused at me seeing you...?" He had the sinking feeling he wouldn't like the answer. "I...I'm a ghost. I think." Lurker Lad gaped. "Oh, of course. Bloody obvious, that." "No reason to be sarcastic." "..." Lurker Lad brushed back his hair. "Sorry. Just kind of startled me. What happened to you?" Silently, he was thinking something along the lines of Please No More Mind Numbing Deluges of Expositional Backstory Beyond What's Necessary. "I was, you see, at this Grateful Dead Concert..." Thusly, Lurker Lad thought, explaining the music. "...I think. Its all very fuzzy. I don't remember much of what happened Before." "Ah. I'd imagine death's traumatic, which would explain that." Thank Authors, Lurker Lad thought. An amnesiac. "Er, go on." "...Um. I think, maybe just maybe, I transcended my mortal form. Got really mellow, an' all that. All though I do remember someone running around with a pair of scissors or something. Maybe." "...oh," said Lurker Lad. "Um. Right. So, what was that deal with being, er, in my body?" "Sorry about that. I sort of possess people...fill up their heads with music. But only partially. I can, like, control A body part at a time, you know? I think I'm kind of new to this, but I think I sort of get the impression that that's how it works...I think." The blinking, Lurker Lad thought. "Right then," Roll with the punches, "I think I know someone who can figure this out. He's something of an expert with ghosts and such..." Occultism Kid took a long swig of some potion, banishing the effects of his occult-derived headache. Very carefully, he set down the flask on the ground beside his futon, and walked deliberately over to the Net.crominicon. Perhaps there he would find some explanation for... "Occultism Kid?" The Sorcerous LNHer swivelled around to face Lurker Lad, garbed as usual in a black and white spandex costume. Then he looked at the transparent trenchcoater beside Lurker Lad, gaped, and felt the headache start up as Grateful Dead music began to play again. "No," said Occultism Kid. "Not more music!" "Oh sorry," whimpered DeadHeadMan. The music abruptly stopped. "I do that sometimes." He stepped back, and then looked at Lurker Lad. "He looked at me. He can see me too, then?" "No doubt. Occultism Kid, this is DeadHeadMan. Occultism Kid here is the LNH's premier sorcerer. He can probably help you." Occultism Kid looked up, carefully scrutinising the phantom. "Humph. A ghost? But," he squinted, "Not a real ghost, per se. I mean, he's a ghost, but he's...InBetween." Ghost and lurker looked at each other. "...InBetween?" "Yeah, that's what my mystical senses seem to suggest...play the music again and I'll hex you...unlike most ghosts, who are projections from the AfterLife, his lifeforce didn't make it out of our world, but he isn't alive, so he's...InBetween." "Is there some way of getting me out of...InBetween?" Lurker Lad, noticing a tendency for people to pause before saying 'InBetween,' stepped forward. "Like resurrecting him maybe? Or pushing him into the AfterLife?" "...Well," breathed Occultism Kid, "Reverse Necromancy's never been my forte, really. And resurrection's...sticky. Tell you what, though. Give me, like, half an hour, and I'll see if I can call in some favours and try and get some help for you, DeadHeadMan." The ghost nodded, vaguely, and Lurker Lad gestured toward the door. "We'd better let him get to work, then. C'mon, I'll show you around..." The two stepped out into the hallway. Occultism Kid slouched forward, and massaged the bridge of his nose. "Ghosts..." He straightened up again, and made a complicated gesture, each motion leaving a trail of retcotheric light in the air. "Realm of Shadows, hear my plea! Let my light be a key!" **Bzzt,** came a hollow voice inside the sorcerer's mind, **Shadow Realms connection established. Eldritch Alliance Linked to. Occultism Kid of the Looniearth. One moment please...** Occultism Kid tapped his fingers on the wall. There was a flash of light, and he was very quickly joined by a second figure, a grey-skinned man in an old toga. "Feelinks Flawed?" "Mmn. Hello, Kid. Long time no hex. Alliance pulled me up. What do you want, then?" Flawed crossed his arms. "Help dealing with an invasion from the Demon Realms?" "No," answered Occultism Kid. "A Ghost. Called, er, DeadHeadMan. Stuck InBetween, actually. Wanna find out what's holding him there, and maybe push him through to the afterlife?" "Dead...Head...Man," giggled Flawed. "Heard of him. Echoes in the Shadow Realms, an' all of that. A metaphysical nobody, but some of the others think he might be destined to be a trenchcoater. So, of course I'll send him through." Flawed sneered, and gestures mystically, his hands surrounded by sorcerous forces. There was a sudden screech, escaping from Flawed's lips. "Something...some force...protecting him...gnh!" The forces around Flawed's hands turned black as night, and suddenly Flawed turned into a granite statue...which then shattered into dust. Occultism Kid stared. "Coo'er." "Shattered?" "Into dust," mumbled Occultism Kid. "So he's dead," said DeadHeadMan. "Nah. Flawed's notoriously hard to kill. He's got Corporate Resurrection; sold his soul and all of that." "But...but this means I'm trapped like this?" "You can't do anything, OK?" Lurker Lad exhaled. "Pretty much. All I know is that some kind of force is holding you InBetween, and want's you there. Maybe some meditation would help..." "No! I...I mean...no thank you." DeadHeadMan began to float towards the wall. "If you can't help...I'll have to go elsewhere..." And with that, he'd vanished. "I demand to speak to an LNHer immediately!" the huge orang-utan known as BooBoo (Apish Avenger of Dimension 8) commanded, his eyes sizing up the puzzled receptionist in the lobby of LNHQ. Naturally, an aura of energy surrounded him, and he had since levitated into the air. There was probably no reason for him to do this, other than to grab attention and run with it. "You truly have no idea the sheer destruction my people have predicted will ravage your world." "Um...be that as it may...sir....most of the LNH is involved in one storyline or another." the receptionist answered, a worried look on his face. "Um...could you make an...ah...appointment?" "APPOINTMENT?" The orang-utan growled. Never argue with an orang-utan. Just ask Librarian Lady. "I'll deal with him." Both the receptionist and BooBoo turned around to see Johnny Stomper enter the lobby, holding what appeared to be a brand-new jetpack and raygun. "Oh...Mr. Stomper. Yes, please." The receptionist answered, and quickly returned to typing, as the orang-utan and Johnny walked out of sight, into one of the myriad corridors of LNHQ. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= The Dramatis Personae: =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Lurker Lad, DeadHeadMan, BooBoo, and Feelinks Flawed owned by Ben Rawluk. Johnny Stomper and Occultism Kid owned by Joshua Geurink. Laura Holic owned by Aaron. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= ==================================================================== Next Issue: The coming of a....New Mod??! The first part of the Crisis on Looniearth-B! ==================================================================== Credits -------- Lurker Lad, DeadHeadMan, BooBoo, and Feelinks Flawed owned by Ben Rawluk. Johnny Stomper and Occultism Kid owned by Joshua Geurink. Laura Holic owned by Aaron.Back to the Index.