L U R K E R L A D #7 "Kiddie Comics!" Part 1 of the DAYCARE AGENDA! By Ben Rawluk ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------- [Cover - The entire cover is taken up by what looks like a playpen, in which four toddlers play. The four appear to be wearing small versions of the costumes of Johnny Stomper, Captain Napalm, Nomex Man, and, of course, Lurker Lad. The 'DAYCARE AGENDA' logo is beside the main logo.] ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------- ---2:00 am--- In the area of Net.ropolis where both crime rate and property values are low (Yet, fairly close to the Central Business District, which throws the Bid-Rent Theory out the window), stands a building which is seen by citizens and villains alike as the pinnacle of heroism; LNHQ, the home of the Legion of Net.Heroes. It is an immense structure, the very substance of which is tinged by its position on one of the most coherent nexi of realities. The world's greatest heroes hang-out in the hallowed Halls of Herodom: aLLiterative Lass (of course), Ultimate Ninja, Kid Anarky, Kid Kirby, and many, many more. It was the wee hours of the morning. The cafeteria was virtually empty; even the single window, looking out on the grand LNHQ garden, was rendered opaque by unique pseudo-science that made curtains obsolete. The lights had long since been shut off, except for a gimmicked up desk-lamp on one of the many tables. At that table, were the sole inhabitants of the cafeteria at that late out: One was garbed in red-and-gold tights, with a half-cowl and flame-logo, and the other in green coveralls, a half-cowl and another flame-logo, only this time with a slash through it. They were sitting there, the one in red-and-yellow glowing from minute flames, and played cards. Two plates, with quickly prepared lumps of Cheesecake-Eater Lad's roasted chestnut cheesecake on them, sat beside the two net.heroes as they went through their round of gin rummy. "I say, Brother Napalm," The net.hero in coveralls looked up from his cards, "Pleasantly quiet, isn't it?" "Oh, I quite agree, Brother Nomex," The other net.hero, nodded, "Without the hustle and bustle going on in here. Quiet enjoyable, isn't it, Brother Nomex?" "Yes indeedy-do, Brother Napalm." The two paused in their leisurely game, as a shimmer formed in the air a few steps away from their table. The shimmer quickly escalated into a blurred, vaguely humanoid form. And then, without warning, the blur finished its de-lurking, and Lurker Lad stood before the two. "Hello, Captain Napalm....Nomex Man. I didn't think anyone else would be here this late...just in for a midnight snack." Lurker Lad motioned towards the plate of chestnut cheescake he held in his hands. "Oh, do join us, Lurker Lad." Nomex Man smiled, winningly. "Yes, do." Captain Napalm also smiled, equally nauseatingly. Lurker Lad plopped down onto a seat beside Nomex Man, and began to eat. "Playing *mmph* cards *chomp*?" "Oh, muchly. Brother Nomex is winning, actually." "I have to disagree there, Brother Napalm. I do believe *you* are winning." The two looked at each other for a moment, before breaking out in laughter. Lurker Lad looked on, utterly confused by the two net.heroes' conversational skills. But, before Lurker Lad could say a word, the room was filled with a bizarre light. At first, Lurker Lad was sure the ghost woman was back [* See _Lurker Lad_ #4 for details - Footnote Girl], but than realized that the light was achromatic...completely grey. After the initial dose of grey light, the three strained to look at the source of the brightness. "Great Scott, Brother Nomex!" "Gadzooks, Brother Napalm!" "It's...it's...a man?!" Lurker Lad exclaimed, as he adjusted to looking into the grey energy. It was indeed what appeared to be a man. He was tall, middle-aged, with a thin moustache and short hair. He appeared to be wearing a labcoat. However, the colours were all concealed...the form was completely --skin and clothing alike-- grey! After a moment, the man opened his mouth. "Ah," Lurker Lad winced, as the the voice echoed through the near-empty cafeteria, "Three little net.heroes...tensing for battle, all in a row." "Who are you?" Lurker Lad demanded. Beside him, Captain Napalm concentrated, and emitted a blast of flame at the grey being. The flames went straight through. "I am called Professor Edward Vil," The figure answered, not even seeming to notice as the flames passed through, "Or rather, you are talking to an image of me. An image, mind you, produced by a long-range Greyscale Holo-Projector of my own design." "Diabolical, wouldn't you agree, Brother Napalm?" "Oh, very much so, Brother Nomex." "Quiet!" Lurker Lad motioned to the two, who fell silent, and he stepped forward. "What do you want, Vil?" "Oh, I simply am issuing a challenge, of sorts...I wish several LNHers to come and fight me...so that I might prove my power. I trust, naturally, that your security system will log this signal and its origin point. I assume you can provide your own transportation." "Um..that's....well..." Lurker Lad looked confused, struggling the right way to put this into words. But, it was too late, for the greyscale image vanished in an instant. "Um..okay." ---8:00 am--- "Luckily, our security scans picked up the signal." Doctor Stomper glanced up from a security print out. He stood in front of the main transport console of the Transmat chamber; Off to his left, his nephew, Johnny, was busy working on calibrating the controls. To his right, Captain Napalm and Nomex Man stood up straight, and Lurker Lad stood in front of the Explainer Supreme. "Johnny and I have been working for half an hour on the readouts, and I believe we can calibrate the transmat platform to transmat you, and Johnny," He motioned towards his nephew, "To Vil's base of operations. Johnny can take some scanning and investigation equipment, while you three deal with Vil and his challenge." "Is this such a good idea, Doc?" Lurker Lad asked. "It's obviously a trap." "I think, Aaron," Johnny looked up from the console, "That we'll be fine. I can always activate the remote transmat device, and pull us back here, if trouble shows up." "The problem is, it usually does." Lurker Lad muttered, as the four net.heroes stepped onto the platform. Doc Stomper tapped the controls, and in an instant, a familiar tingling filled Lurker Lad's head as his molecules were transmuted into various energy pattern lattices, and spread across infinity to be reassembled...elsewhere. ---8:05 am--- High atop the roof of LNHQ, amidst the hangar bay doors, sensor equipment, satellite dishes and other paraphernalia, stood the tall, mysterious figure called 'Ultra'. Mere days before, when Lurker Lad and several other LNHers had been sent to another looniverse to fight a threat to reality, he stood with them, claiming to be cousin to Lurker Lad [* See _Lurker Lad_ #5-6, and _Limp-Asparagus Lad_ #34 - Footnote Girl]. Garbed in a decidedly Kirbian costume, with bits of old technology added on here and there, the LNHers had been baffled. And, as Ultra gazed carefully into the sky, at the great, nuclear inferno called the Sun. "Fascinating." "Most decidedly so." A rich, mighty voice said from behind Ultra, who swirled around to face the speaker. "You are Ultra, correct?" "Kid Kirby," Ultra's eyes widened, with the awe given to a demigod by a true, full-blooded god, "I have long wished to meet you." "Interesting," Kid Kirby, behind the Kirbian armour which protected his true shape and pure power, carefully examined the strange, cosmic being, "You're manner, and to a certain degree costume, reflects a most Kirbian lifestyle. Perhaps you are the result of some cult born to worship the Power Kirby?" "No. I am an Avatar of....the Source Code!" Ultra rose a few inches into the air. "Once, I was a mortal....Stephen Adams...an astronaut," His aura of Transcosmic energies flared, "My spaceship was obliterated by malfunction, I was trapped in airless space..and chosen...by the Source Code itself. I was given a pipeline to it and its infinite energy...and thus, was transformed. I am similar to yourself because the Source Code and Power Kirby are, in certain ways, linked." "Interesting." Kid Kirby considered, "What power have you gained?" "Allow me to demonstrate, Kid Kirby, the power begat to me from that transformation. Besides the more simpler applications of Transcosmic energies, I have another ability...perhaps you have some miniscule piece of KirbyTech, low on power?" "Yes." Kid Kirby brought out a palm-sized piece of KirbyTech, with a very low hum and seemingly no usage instructions. "This is a Gammazarnotronic Megapulsar Coil. It has almost exceeded its alloted Kirbian energy, and will in soon vanish from this dimension to the KirbyZone." Ultra took the device. "Interesting. But it will not vanish so fast." Ultra's hand, the one which held the device, seemed to glow more brightly than before, all manner of forces erupting from it into the device. The device came to life, and emitted a force-field around him. "You see, while I can not create or construct this KirbyTech of yours, I can empower and use it." "Fascinating." ---8:10 am--- The laboratory into which the four LNHers materialised was indeed vast. Complex mechanisms and technologies spread out as far as the eye could see (And well beyond Legally-Blind Man's range), and energy surged through the air from cathode ray tubes. There was little light, except for what would be provided by the few, low-hanging overhead lamps which dimly glowed, much of their electricity going into operating the mysterious electronics which surrounded our heroes. Lurker Lad squinted, trying to see as much as he could. However, his viewing was cut short when he focused in on one thing. "Vil." He mumbled. Edward Vil stood before the group, with brownish hair, white at the temples, the moustache, labcoat, and everything else, only in living colour. And, one other thing; a large head. Johnny groaned, behind the three other net.heroes. "Not another 'future man' super-brain!" "I would suggest being quiet, fool." Vil sneered. "I see you were not cowards, and came. Good, I do so love it when I get to out-think some poor sod of a net.hero." "I wouldn't count your eggs before they're hatched, Vil." Lurker Lad grinned. All four net.heroes tensed for battle. "Why -are- you doing this?" "Oh, its simple, really." Vil grinned. "There is a certain mark of fame in the villain community for obliterating a group of net.heroes...and, I want to be famous. Removing four youthful superbeings, such as yourselves, from the face of the Earth would certainly get me at least five minutes of Hard Disk Copy." "That's diabolical!" Johnny yelled, from the back of the foursome. Lurker Lad stroked his chin. "Interesting...It's been a while since I've encountered a villain who just wants a bit of the limelight...not power, or money..." "Shall we?" Nomex Man motioned towards the villain. "Let's!" Captain Napalm grinned, and emitted a blast of flame at the villain... Only to have the flame hit a mysterious, invisible barrier. "Force-Fields. One of my earliest playthings. Don't you love them?" Vil grinned an repugnant smile. A moment later, Vil pulled a large device, sort of like a bulky, metal clipboard, from his labcoat. "Now then, I shall defeat you." Lurker Lad tensed. Nomex Man tensed. Captain Napalm tensed. Johnny Stomper tensed. Vil relaxed. "Now then. This device," He motioned towards the clipboard, "Is my masterpiece...the Transformation Augmentation Synchronization Equalization Recombinator (T.A.S.E.R. for short)! It will allow me to transform you into whatever I should desire. Let's see...shall I reverse your gender? Make you fuzzy, anthromorphic animals? Turn you into coconuts? Maybe make you all into talking asparagus-people, so you can take over Limp-Asparagus Lad's series? No...I have the perfect idea!" "Uh-oh!" Johnny started to move, and tapped the recall button on the transmat.thingee in his hands. There was a click and a whirr, but there was no energy shift. "Damn! Of all the times for it to lag out!" "Oh, how the mighty have fallen!" Vil tapped a key on the clipboard, which glowed...a stream of energy flowing out of it, all over the four LNHers. And, a second later, the transmat.thingee kicked in! ---8:15 am--- Four super-powered youths stood around a large, cubic block of metal and circuitry, a bizarre amalgamation of technologies. The group was something of a motely group; The most stylish of the two males was garbed in a black-and-white spandex costume, while the other male was in purple and orange, with 'ACLNH' written on the front of the costume, and 'RACC' written on the back. There was a flaming woman, and the last member of the group was a young woman in green spandex, with a red skirt. "What is it?" The orange-and-purple costumed man asked. "How are we supposed to know, Dickwad? This is your authordamned apartment, you freak!" The woman on fire flamed. "Ssh, Shayla." The black-and-white garbed man, Darwin, muttered. "Scott, do you normally have pseudoscientific equipment popping up in your living room?" "Not as such." Scott suddenly smiled broadly. "But you know what this means, don't you?!" "This is only the start of our wacky adventures as the Legion of Rejected Net.Heroes[* See _Legion of Rejected Net.Heroes_ #1 - Footnote Girl]?" The last woman offered. "No, Edna!" Scott raised his arms dramatically. "This only happens to -real- net.hero teams! This mean's we're for real!" "Author, I hope so. Its too early in the morning to be existential, Hyperactive-Ego Lad." Shayla crossed her arms. "That's 'Cross-Posting' Lad, Shayla." Scott cleared his throat. "But good effort!" Shayla said nothing, but Scott's costume was quickly singed. The only one to notice was Edna, while the others were fighting over the singed costume, as the bizarre machine vented a burst of transchronal energy particles. ---8:30 am--- "Did we make it?" Lurker Lad asked, as the transmat effect faded. "That was awfully short for a villain encounter!" He suddenly realized something was different...his voice was higher. And he'd never remembered seeing the Transmat Chamber from this close to the ground. He realized, and instant later, that he, as well as the others, had been transformed physically, into 3-year-olds. "Oh my!" Captain Napalm exclaimed. "Indeed!" Nomex Man gasped. "Oy..." Johnny eeped. An instant later, there was a 4-person, group fainting spell. Doctor Stomper looked down at the four, toddler LNHers. "Oh my writer.." He struggled at activate his com.thingee. "Organic Lass...we have a medical emergency...I think..." ---8:35 am--- The infirmary wasn't particularly busy; Organic Lass had established a forcefield over the doorway so that none of the latest recruits could come running in after Cannon Fodder was next disintegrated. So, only Organic Lass, Doc Stomper, and the four diminutive LNHer, who were on med-beds. "This is bizarre," Organic Lass glanced down at a datapad she held in her hands, which had readouts on the four, "The four of them have been reduced to near infancy. The initial scan showed some kind of genetic reorganisation...but a secondary, full-range scan shows that their bodies are being held in some kind of state of quantum flux...permeated with a mixture of retconic and chronal energies." "Obviously, this effect was produced by a sort of suspension/physical de-evolution of their physical form by this bizarre energy mix. Vil's device must have been a transchronal projector." Little Lurker Lad's tiny form relaxed on of the med-beds, sitting crosslegged like a little preschooler. "This is rather badly-timed." He mumbled. "Was some sort of Bad-Timing Boy involved?" "Oh, You are tho right! Isn't he tho right, Brother Nometh?" Little Captain Napalm chimed in. "I mutht agreed there, Brother Napalm." Little Nomex Man anthwered...er...answered. "Can you do anything, Uncle?" Little Johnny Stomper, who looked the youngest, asked, laying on another med-bed. "Possibly. We'd have to siphon off the energy with some KirbyTech...then we'd have to dissipate it...perhaps then, the effect will fade. Do your powers still function." "Yeth." Little Nomex Man nodded. "They do thtill work." Little Captain Napalm mumbled, and made his tiny hand into a fist. Tiny flames erupted from his hand. "Phbbt." Little Lurker Lad mumbled, and got off the med-bed...falling to the ground, having forgotten about his altered size. ---9:00 am--- "Maybe the effect is only temporary?" Cheesecake-Eater Lad offered, as he bent over and handed a piece of cheesecake to the toddler Lurker Lad. "After all, nothing is permanent in comics...or netfic, for that matter. Just lookit how long the 'new Batman' thingee lasted." "Phbbt." Lurker mumbled, waddling over to a table and pulling himself up onto it. "At least, if we'd been transmogrified into asparagus-people, we could have gotten a crossover out of it..." "I'd advise against that," Cheesecake-Eater Lad moved towards Lurker Lad's table, where our hero was busy staring at the edge of the table, unable to reach beyond it, "You just had a crossover with Limp-Asparagus Lad." He noticed LL's troubles. "Do you need a high chair?" Cheesecake-Eater Lad never ran so fast in his life. ---9:30 am--- "Um, guys...guys!" Edna stood, tapping Darwin's shoulder. "The machine is...doing something..." Her attempts fell on deaf ears, while her teammates vented at each other. "Uh-Oh..." Another burst of chronal energies erupted from the machine's bizarre pseudo-scientific core. "Huh?" Darwin finally noticed Edna. "Something wrong?" "That!" Edna screamed, as the device emitted another burst...and she vanished from view, hurtled through time itself! "Oh no!" Scott yelped, as Edna's form vanished. "Copy Queen!" ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------- Next Issue: Where has Copy Queen been sent? What manner of machine was it that sent her away? Where did it come from? Will Lurker Lad, Captain Napalm, Nomex Man, and Johnny Stomper return to their own ages? What will Ultra do now? Can he or Kid Kirby help? Be here for the next installment of THE DAYCARE AGENDA, in _Lurker Lad_ #8! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------- -Credits- Lurker Lad, Copy Queen, Cross-Posting Lad, Flaming Lass, Kid Lurker, Ultra and Edward Vil are owned by me. Captain Napalm and Nomex Man are owned by Jeff McCoskey. Kid Kirby is owned by Jameel. Johnny Somper is owned by Josh Geurink. Organic Lass is owned by Rebecca Drayer. Cheesecake-Eater Lad and Doctor Stomper are Public Domain.Back to the Index.