Persistent to the point of idiocy, Blue Light Productions throws all aesthetic taste to the winds and continues to present: The Death Of Cheesecake-Eater Lad #4 `Invisible Sun' Written by and copyright 1997 Saxon Brenton (who's surprised that he's gotten this far without being nerfed from orbit) Guest artist: RobGoblin "There has to be an invisible sun It gives its heat to everyone There has to be an invisible sun That gives us hope when the whole day's done" - The Police, `Invisible Sun' --------------------------------------------------------------------- What has gone before: Three members of the Legion of Net.Heroes are currently dead. Cannon Fodder and Retcon Lad are used to this sort of thing, but Cheesecake-Eater Lad is a bit leery of the whole schtick, this only being the second or so time it's happened to him. On top of this, he's been told that his skills are needed to help deal with a great threat involving an attempt to take over Net.Hell. All three of them are currently expositing dialogue with Ending of the Finishless and the Ending of Rodents at http://www.Realm_Of_ The_Dead.net/Recently_Deceased.html And _you_ wondered why this place was called the Looniverse. "Why do you suddenly look like a steroid-taker's wet dream come to life?" asked Cheesecake-Eater Lad of Retcon Lad. Aghast, Retcon Lad self-consciously shifted his stance from the `arms akimbo and feet ten meters apart' stance that he had found himself in, hiding the fact that - despite his now grotesque and hyper pseudo- realistic musculature - he seemed to have no genitals. His face flushed red. While it was true that since joining the Legion last year regular workouts had improved his physique a bit, but he still preferred his loose-fitting jumpsuit for a costume. That was now gone, replaced by tight-fitting spandex with lots of pockets, and a belt with a stylised `X' on it that screamed out the fact that he was a mutant. Cheesecake-Eater Lad stared at the others, who were now becoming aware of their own transformations. Cannon Fodder looked like he had been made over with the Grim'n'Gritty Insanity Gem. Numerous old scars adorned his body, including across his lost right eye; all of which was improbable in the extreme since he always regenerated fully when he returned from the dead. He now had a dark costume consisting of black jeans and T-shirt, heavy boots with steel-capped toes, and a studded leather jacket with a skull-and- crossbones emblem. Cheesecake-Eater Lad realised that he was no longer an overweight young man in a slightly goofy costume that looked like it had been designed in the 1960s; but instead was slightly taller, had a perfectly flat stomach, and solid pectorals. He also noticed that his cheesecake dispensers looked far more... dangerous. Ending, who had always been a babe, now looked like a chariacture. Whoever was responsible was clearly under the delusion that the most important thing about female beauty was a wasp-waist combined with a Dolly Parton-esque bust. The Ending of Rodents was now a snarling, red-eyed example of vermin with enlarged fangs and sharp claws. She was looking at the latter in what was clearly the rodent equivalent of horror. "Squeak!" she announced with distaste. "I think I see the problem," said Retcon Lad. "You know how last issue the opening credits advertised how desperate they were for artists on this project, and that they'd even take L**feld?" The others groaned as realisation hit them. "Oh no, they _didn't_!" "Yep. Take a peek at the `Art by:' box at the start of this issue." They all read the `Art by:' box. "Oh, this is getting silly," said Cheesecake-Eater Lad. "This place is always silly," Cannon Fodder reminded him. "Well this is the WRONG TYPE of silliness," C-ELad countered. "Hey, you! Writer! Fix this, or we don't go through with the story!" .oO(Not that there's much of a story anyway,) thought Retcon Lad. (Just a bunch of disconnected vignettes stuck together with a rambling, semi- plausible concept.) There's not much choice on the artist, C-EL. I was lucky to get RobGoblin to fill in as it was. "But it's bad for your creativity to be working one of the `Image-style' artists," C-ELad countered, getting crafty and trying something that would appeal to the Writer's interests. "They keep demanding more say in the direction of the story. Before you know it they'll have squeezed you out, and replaced your insane ramblings pretending to be a plot with their own insane ramblings pretending to be a plot, and all you'll be stuck with is being faxed the finished pages of art to script for dialogue 24 hours over deadline. Remember what happened to John Byrne when he tried to do the writing chores for _X-Men_." Hmmm. You've got a point. Okay, hold up a second. [SFX: rapid typing on keys, a few seconds silence, than a `you have new email' type chirrup] Okay, I managed to beg a favour from another artist. A new `Art by:' box appeared, hanging in mid-air. It read; `Guest artist: M*tt F**zell'. "Good going, C-EL," said Cannon Fodder, slapping the cheesecake master on the shoulder in congratulations. They all examined themselves. They seemed to be back in their proper costumes and physiques, although it was a bit hard to tell considering that they were all now drawn as stick figures. "It'll do," Ending said, and the others had to agree. "Okay then. Before we were distracted, you, Ending of Rodents, were telling us about this attempt to take over Net.Hell." said Cheesecake- Eater Lad, trying to draw the story back in the direction of something that could - by dint of considerable effort - be considered to be the plot. "Squeak," nodded the Ending of Rodents. She raised her arms and began to wave them about in a particularly loose-jointed way, at the same time swaying her body back and forth. The rest of the scene began to imitate her as the visuals began a wavy cross-fade into a flashback. [Paraphrase of the end of the _Giant Sewer Rat Special_ by Tom Russell: ] Four members of the Legion of Net.Heroes stood in the sewers beneath the city of Net.ropolis; Elvis Man, Anything-You-Can-Do-I-Can-Do-Better Lad, Sarcastic Lad, Sister-State-The-Obvious. Also present was the net.hero wannabe, Malingerer Lad. Together, they were being menaced and facing immanent doom from... the Giant Sewer Rat. [SFX: `Jaws' theme] Suddenly, dramatically, plot-devicily, Golden Man returned after having rescued a cat from a tree. A rabid cat. Leaping from the arms of Golden Man, the cat threw itself upon the Giant Sewer Rat. Screeching, the villain fled into the mysterious depths of the tunnels below the city, his plans of world conquest in tatters. Why a giant, super-intelligent rat should be concerned about a cat, even a rabid one, is beyond me. It's probably one of those Silver Age comic-book weakness things: `all otherwise omnipotent characters must have a power flaw in order to simulate danger to maintain reader interest' or something. All right, all right, so it's handwaving. Leave off. For their part, the Legion returned to their headquarters to take up their normal activities: eating pizza and watching daytime cartoons. But even after his death, the Giant Sewer Rat lusted after... revenge! He had cloned bodies that could be activated! He had contingency plans to fall back on! He had the insane, primordial lust to become a major league net.villain before whom the entire world would tremble! ( with all the merchandising opportunities that went with it... ) [End paraphrase] With the power of his mighty intellect the Giant Sewer Rat kept he psychic form intact against the wReamEntropic forces of spiritual dissolution, preparing to transfer his mind into a new body. The clone was activated, and the body began to stir. This was actually the first time the Giant Sewer Rat had tried this process, so he was sure exactly what was going to happen, but shouldn't his spirit be sucked into the body, preferably with a snazzy sound effect and visuals? Disappointment and frustration wracked the disembodied Sewer Rat as the body open its eyes and proclaimed in triumph to the world at large, "I live again!' Hmmm. The RNA sequences implanted into the clone's brain to facilitate memory reproduction must have recreated the original mind without the need for the original spirit. So much for the theory that the mind and soul were of necessity inter-dependent. The Giant Sewer Rat realised he should've paid more attention to those Star Trek movies with their Vulcan katras, or at least to the precedent set by all those Acton Lord clones. This moment of distraction almost proved fatal; the Giant Sewer Rat found himself slipping from the material plane. He scrabbled to retain his grip, but continued to slip away into the darkness. He found himself falling despite his best efforts to do otherwise; his soul was too dense and iron-bound to climb towards the light. After a bit of thrashing about, however, he found an unexpected alternative to aesthetically unacceptable `down' and the unattainable `up': sideways. A subtle tug of unworldly evil that the Giant Sewer Rat nevertheless found quite pleasant led away in directions that were oblique to the Looniearth's collective afterlives. He followed. Before he knew it he was above the Looniearth and accelerating. Looking around curiously, he could see the solar system laid out clearly; the position and attributes of each planet and moon and asteroid were well defined and obvious. It was as though outer space were no longer a vast empty region were sheer mind-croggling distance reduced things to indistinguishable pinpoints, but instead a vast auditorium kept in the dark. Around this room the planets and moons moved, each highlighted by a spotlight, and its details written out on plaques that were clearly visible. The Giant Sewer Rat also got the distinct impression that there were things moving around that were not highlighted - a sensation in that vast echoey auditorium that there were power both benign and terrible sneaking around with their own agendas that had deliberately turned their own spotlights off. Most - but by no means all - were out beyond the radiopause. The essence that he had been following was coming from somewhere far above the plane of the ecliptic. Advancing on it, the Giant Sewer Rat was in wonderment to behold the Invisible Sun. Far out, beyond the Oort Cloud of our solar system and high above the plane of the ecliptic, there lurks the Invisible Sun - the dark sister and Evil Twin of our own Sol (crank up the album `Flood' by They Might Be Giants...). This is the dark star Net.mesis! Sol and Net.mesis orbit each other, the latter having a highly elliptical polar orbit some 26 million year longs. And when it comes close Net.mesis crosses into the region of our solar system's Oort cloud, disrupting the fragments of dirty ice that slowly float out there in the endless dark a third of the way to Proxima Centauri. It is this disruption that has sent comets screaming into our inner solar system every 26 million years from the past 150 million years, and creating the periodic cataclysms that repeatedly wipe out some 90% of whatever passes for life on Looniearth at these times when one or more of these comets strikes the planet. Some 50 million years ago it wiped out the dinosaurs. In Real Life the Nemesis theory is often dismissed; a star with an orbit that distant would be only loosely tethered to its companion, and would not survive many passages before being disrupted and torn away by interaction with some other stars. But this is the Looniverse, not Real Life, and so Net.mesis is a perfectly workable, if not necessarily plausible, astronomical phenomenon. It is also because this is the Looniverse that Net.mesis hasn't be found yet by Looniearthlings. After all, the Invisible Sun is a pulsar, and it hard to keep something that massive hidden, especially when it sends out a light-house like beacon every 1.23 seconds. Having Net.mesis' beam running parallel to our solar system's orbital plane helps, of course. All this the Giant Sewer Rat took in at a glance as he advanced rapidly towards Net.mesis. Yet it was not the Dark Star itself that had drawn him to this place. Rather, it was Nox - the inhabited planet that circles Net.mesis - that was the true source of his interest. Nox, the home of the Giant Radioactive Net.Hamsters From A Planet Far Beyond Mars. No, really. --------------------------------------------------------------------- Character Credits: Giant Sewer Rat created by Tom Russell. Retcon Lad and Footnote Girl created by Saxon Brenton. Cannon Fodder, Cheesecake-Eater Lad, Ending of the Finishless and the Ending of Rodents are all Public Domain. All characters copyright 1997 their owners or creators.Back to the Index.