The obsidian table stood in the centre of the darkened room, absorbing whatever flecks of light managed to penetrate the almost tangible shadows. Around the table sat four men, with carefully designed business suits, smoking cigarettes which filled the air with thick puffs of grey fumes. Their faces were cloaked in darkness, with the exception of the eyes, which seemed to produce their own luminance. "We have a problem," the first of the figures said. "The Legion of Net.Heroes' very existence threatens us now." "That much is obvious," the second speaker stood, his eyes gleaming in the absence of real light. "Even discounting Kid Anarky and his chaos-derived powers, the LNH is far too unpredictable." "Not to mention powerful," the third man spoke. "With beings like Kid Kirby amongst their ranks, we will have to be discreet. What is the plan, then?" The final figure sat quietly, pondering. And then, with a quiet, discerning voice which required instant respect from the listener, he spoke. "Infiltration, of course." The other three looked at the fourth member of the cadre. "Bit rash, isn't it?" The second speaker pointed out. "And very cliche. The mysterious traitor, and all that." "Actually," the fourth speaker took the floor, again, "I have located someone who could be very effective in the roll. He is, you see, particularly disillusioned with both his writer and the LNH. And the fact that he has gone unused, because the writer in question....has stopped crossposting to aclnh. And, he can deal with the Seraph while he's at it." =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Blue Light Productions (Finally) Presents... LURKER LAD Number Eight "The Daycare Agenda, Part the Second," by Ben Rawluk AUTHOR'S NOTE: No pugs were harmed in the manufacture of this issue. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Kid Recap floated in the an endless, dark void, provided by the Blue Light Productions special effects department. "It has been a while, dear readers, since the last issue of _Lurker Lad_ was posted to rec.arts.comics.creative. And, with the myriad of discussion threads propagating themselves these days, the Author asked me, Kid Recap, to come in and do a brief introduction to the players in this mad game, so that Footnote Girl doesn't put herself into a coma by overextending her powers. She is not, of course, Coma Girl, after all." The Riotous Recapper paused, briefly, gathering his thoughts, and then continued with the recap. "Very well. The players in this mad little gambit are four in their number, and they number four. Not three, not five, no more, no less. Four. They number the amount coming immediately after three, and you should not count three when counting them, unless you mean to precede immediately to four." Screams of "Stop Stalling!!" came from the other side of the Fourth Wall. "Oh, sorry," Kid Recap blushed. "The players are all members of the Legion of Net.Heroes, supreme fighting force of the Looniverse. Though, mind you, that really isn't say much, really. Anyway, The first of their number is Aaron Adams, alias Lurker Lad. He is the star of the series. Next, is the nephew of the LNH's pseudoscientist, and he is known by the name Johnny Stomper. The last two are Captain Napalm and Nomex Man. They possess powers over flame, one producing it, the other absorbing it. Perhaps they are brothers, or time-twisted clones. That has not been written." Kid Recap paused again, this time for dramatic effect. "These four net.heroes are in dire straits; after an encounter with the mad pseudoscientist Professor Edward Vil, they were all reduced to the physical appearance of two-year-olds. Will they manage to return to their own statures, our will we be reading about toddlers for the duration of this series?" The scene clears and reorganises itself, as Kid Recap fades away. It wasn't really the Legion of Net.Heroes' fault. They weren't used to having toddlers, super-powered or otherwise, running around LNHQ. Oh, to be sure, several net.heroes had demonstrated parental instincts, but that wasn't really useful. Especially when the 'children' were adults retro-aged. No one was quite sure who had suggested it. The person had probably intentionally suggested it through rumour, fearing revenge-driven LNHers if the four managed to be returned to their true ages. The playpen was not big. Nor, on the other hand, was it particularly small, but it still seemed to have an inadequate amount of room. Two-Year-Old Aaron grasped the bars that made up the outside of the playpen with annoyance. "I don't know what's worse," he spat, "Being stuck in here, or being expected to play with baby toys." "It's not -that- bad," Johnny said, crawling out from under a pile of stuffed animals Domestic Lad had dropped off. "I mean, this baby-like wail thing is pretty useful." "Maybe tho, Johnny," Nomex Tot (Also surprisingly small) lisped, a gap having appeared between his front teeth. "But thith lithp is getting on our nerveth..." "Oh, I agree, Brother Nometh," Little Napalm grumped. "So now what?" Aaron hopped into the corner of the playpen, hoping to pout a bit. "We fight crime ath toddlerth, taking advantage of people's confuthion and dropped defenth?" this was Napalm again. "Oh, would that work, Brother Napalm?" "Maybe we could take advantage and have some wacky adventures as X-Baby rip-offs?" The three other baby-sized LNHers stared at Johnny. "Well, its not like we have to worry about Mojo, or anything." More staring. "Honest!" Stare. Blink. Stare. "Okay, okay...bad idea." It can be said that, truly, the mad (pseudo)scientist is, single-handedly, becoming one of the most common cliches around. Being hated by the scientific community at large is practically a Looniversal prerequisite for science-minded individuals these days. The laboratory, needless to say, was a mess. Edward Vil was the standard, scatterbrained pseudoscientist; Half-finished or untested, all manner of experiments and technology was pretty much left lying around, while Vil sat in the centre of the lab, laser-torch in hand, adjusting the Greyscale Holographic projector, while one of his other 'toys', the Transformation Augmentation Synchronization Equalisation Recombinator (T.A.S.E.R. for short) lay beside him. He glanced up at a computer screen set up on a table nearby; the communications software was open and ready for use. "No email yet...I had expected members of the villain community to email me back quickly, open discovering how I defeated -four- net.heroes." "Unfortunately," Organic Lass glanced down at the four net.hero-toddlers in the playpen, holding a datapad in her hand, "There are no signs that the effects of Vil's device are fading." "So? What are we going to do?" Little Aaron stood, with his tiny hands on his hips, waiting for an answer. "I want to be an adult again!" "Well," Doctor Stomper stepped forward, from behind Ori. "I have a theory. IF we could harness or drain this retrochronal energy from you, it would return you to your original condition. And," he paused again, "We could possibly use the energy in some way to investigate that strange ghost woman you reported seeing, Lurker Lad." "Mmm," Aaron nodded. "This is working out wayyy to neatly. I'm now quite sure this is a bad episode of the Twilight Zone." "You mean," Johnny looked at him, while the Nomex & Napalm twins went exploring the pile of stuffed animals, "We should expect some twisted, surprise ending soon?" "Pretty much," Aaron sighed. "I expect, with my luck, it'll involve orang-utans somehow." "Orang-utans?" "Well, you remember BooBoo [* See _Lurker Lad_ #1-4 - Footnote Girl], don't you?" "Oh," Johnny snapped his fingers. "Oh is right," Aaron glanced up, briefly, as Ori and Doc Stomper left the four, to go find Kid Kirby for the production of the required KirbyTech, "People may think Enright is sadistic, but I get the impression that Rawluk can be down-right evil incarnate." "Actually, I'd heard the other day that he's obliterated what, ten alt.ernate looniverse?" "Something like that." "Joy." Vil glanced nervously at the T.A.S.E.R. After the end of his last scene, the device had begun to pulse with various electrical fields warping, the usual weird special effects provided by our wonderful Special Effects Department, here at BLiP...y'know, the ones responsible for that nifty Exponential Man rig [* See _Lurker Lad_ #6-7, and _Limp-Asparagus Lad_ #34 - Footnote Girl]."Must be some form of power fluctuation," Vil reached for the device, only to his hand shocked by electricity. He snapped it back, before being overcome by a blast of transchronal energies. When the smoke had cleared, a small pug hopped out of the labcoat, in search of some food. In the Memorabilia Gallery on one of the upper levels in LNHQ, amidst the display cases, filled with various bits of pieces from missions past, a trenchcoat slinked towards a large display case, in which a ragged, glowing, red trenchcoat lay. The trenchcoat touched the glass, before giving it a wallop and sliding through the then-present hole in the surface. The two trenchcoats, both now glowing slightly, lurched out into the night. In the Monitoring Room, Procrastination Boy (the LNH's Second Most Popular Plot-Device Character, after Bad-Timing Boy) glanced at the screens, and wondered if Kid Anarky was still looking for his spare trenchcoat [* See the _Vertical Plain_ series - Footnote Girl], the one that everyone thought had probably achieved sentience. He considered comming KA, but decided he could do it later. "This, Good natured mortal friends," Kid Kirby posed dramatically in the center of the infirmary, where the four LNH-toddlers had been moved, and gestured towards a massive pile of KirbyTech waiting to be empowered to provide some bizarre service. "This is the Omnivaxgalactosizenthynizer... designed to drain and recycle retro-chronal energies...essential, energies which normally exist in the timestream, an equivalent to anti-matter... flowing backwards." "Wow," L'il Johnny piped up. "Double-wow," Aaron's eyes grew wide, his mind boggling. "Now that I am set up, my friends, we can begin!" Kid Kirby once again posed all-too-dramatically. He mentally engaged the Omnivax- galactosizenthynizer, surging forces filling the infirmary. Organic Lass let out a gasp, as energies were sucked right out of the four. Their bodies stretched, forced to go through spontaneous, super-speed puberty. Seconds later, they had returned to adulthood. "I think, Brother Nomex, that we need a vacation." "Oh, indubitably so, Brother Napalm," Nomex Man exhaled softly, before slumping against a wall. "Oh...thank the writer...and no twisted ending!" Johnny smiled. "Yet," mumbled Lurker Lad. And all seemed right in the world. For the moment, of course. Muh-hah-hah-ha-ha! =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Next Issue: Just what is up with that one in the timestream? And where did that LRNHer go? Who are these four, darkened villain-types? Who is their agent? And just who the heck is the Seraph? Some of these queries will be answered, if your lucky. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= CREDITS Lurker Lad, the four mystery-types, and Prof. E.Vil are owned by me. Kid Recap, Doc Stomper, and Procrastination Boy are, like, Public Domain. Johnny Stomper is owned by Josh Geurink, on more or less permanent loan. Captain Napalm and Nomex Man loaned to me for this storyline by Jeff McCoskey. Organic Lass owned by Rebecca Drayer. Kid Kirby (Or a KirbyBot) owned by Jameel.Back to the Index.