Blue Light Productions presents

                        SYSTEM CORRUPTORS #23
       [The cover is split into three pieces diagonally. In the 
        top left hand corner is a black and white photo of a man 
        standing next to an open car door. In the middle pieces is
        bars, containing a creature that is glaring outwards. In
        the bottom right hand corner is an image of two people
                        sitting in a cafe.]
"Get me the Eye." 
        "Yes, Heir?" 
        "Project X11R6. How is it progressing?" 
        "He's left the hotel. Currently traveling across the country." 
        "When did this happen?" 
        "Just recently, Heir. He was picked up just after the hotel
collapsed in upon itself." 
        "Yes. I am aware of that. Show me the first photograph of what
        "Immediately, Heir." 
        It was a black and white aerial photograph, taken by one of the
many satellites in orbit. It showed Project X11R6, aka Amorphous Lad, aka
Rick Mansfield, with his hand on an open door of a car. The car itself was
a Mercedes, currently not fitting into the photo due to the tight focus of
the picture. The door was to the passenger side, so someone else was
driving, but that person wasn't visible. Neither was the number plate, but
that would have been gotten from other sources.  The driver should now be
a known quantity. 
        "Visual feed." 
Rick opened the door to the car, and looked inside. Sitting behind the
steering wheel was someone he had met a few months ago, Thad Ritchards. 
Since then, however, his life had been drastically different. 
        Rick finally decided that being written like this wasn't bad. It
was better than the nothing he had faced before. But, it wasn't the best
thing that had ever happened to him. 
        "Weren't you supposed to meet me down at the bus stop?" Rick
asked, not really caring about the answer. 
        Thad shrugged. "It gave you something to do while I waited for
this." Thad motioned to the hotel behind Rick, eliciting a look of
surprise from him. 
        "You knew that this was going to happen? You left me here for
this?" Rick's tone was nearly accusatory. 
        "Think. Without you, would they have won?" 
        Although this sounded rather egotistical, when Rick thought about
it, he saw that Rick was right. Starfire and Skeal would have been trapped
up in room 911 from nearly the beginning. And there were other times that
no-one but him had been able to help. 
        "I'd hardly call that winning, though," muttered Rick. 
        Seeing the look of acceptance on Rick's face, Thad said "Get in. 
We're leaving." 
        "What about my things?" 
        "I think it's a bit late now to worry about that." 
        True. Rick couldn't exactly go back to his room anymore. And it
wasn't as if he really needed clothes, not when he could change his body's
appearance to a pair of jeans, a shirt and some shoes. Still, he usually
kept up the habit so that there wouldn't be any embarrassing problems if
he forgot to keep the morph. That and the shoes helped protect his feet. 
        Rick got into the car, and strapped in. "Where are we off to this
        "Back to Net.ropolis," said Thad, engaging drive, and starting the
car moving. 
        "You've got a date." 
        The car accelerated down the road. 
"Where are they now?" 
        "Just passing through Net.York, Heir." 
        "Keep on them. Get a report ready for Project F19C6." 
        "Yes, Hei-" 
        "Get me the Snifter." 
        "Yes, Heir?" 
        "Status on Meateater?" 
        "Fully grown." 
        "Not to any cognitive degree. Currently only shows signs of a
primitive, brutal thought process. Moves restlessly, but to no discernible
        "Show me." 
        The screen switched to showing what was basically a metal cage. 
The room was large, but the edges were out of sight, hiding whatever or
whoever choose to stand there. In the middle of the room, lighted mostly
from above to avoid any light spilling to the sides and revealing those
watching, was a large cell, with bars for walls. Inside was a simple cot
for a bed, and a bucket containing dirty water. Straw covered the floor,
trampled down by the ... beast woman that lived there. 
        "Open link." 
Doctor Hieronymous stood by nervously. He didn't like being in this room.
He didn't like talking to the thing in the cage. He didn't like that he
had been personally responsible for helping the thing in the cage be
        But what he really didn't like was being found in the morning, his
body cold, his brain fried alive by some drug that would have been slipped
into his food three weeks before somehow. That was the alternative to
doing this, which was why he did this. It wasn't ever said that he'd been
killed if he refused, but he taken part in too many 'refusal contracts'
and knew the price. 
        Doctor Hieronymous studied the creature in the cage. Although it
looked like the patient he had once worked on, it had none of her
personality, and less manners. The creature hardly even rated the pronoun
_she_, seeming to be a mass of aggression and rage. It paced though the
cage, walking from one side to the other, glaring out at the nothingness
around it. It was clothed in only the most simple of tunics.  Anything
more tricky provoked extreme violence from the creature while trying to
put it on the creature. Even so, this one had been worn for a while, and
needed changing, but no-one volunteered. 
        Doctor Hieronymous swallowed, then stepped out into the light. 
        "Hello Marsha," he said. 
        The creature immediately turned and leapt for him, crashing into
the bars. Energy coursed through it, and the creature fell back, dazed. 
The bars had to be electrified, or else the creature had a tendency to
        "Hello Marsha," said the doctor again, going down on his haunches
so he was at the same level. "How are you? Hmm?" The creature growled,
menacingly,. "Are you willink to talk yet? Hmm?" 
        The creature snarled, then positioned itself so it was kneeling. 
It lent forward slightly, its face one of concentration. 
        "Yes? You are rememberink me? Doktor Hieronymous? I helped you. 
Before. You remember." That wasn't strictly true, and the doctor felt the
guilt well up again. 
        The creature put its head to one side, and subjected the doctor to
an enquiring look. It lent forward further, moving its head from side to
side, as if trying to work out what the moving meat in front of it was. 
        "You are rememberink me?" Doctor Hieronymous moved closer to the
cage. This was a good sign. It was the first time it had taken any
interest in her, despite the number of times he had visited. 
        "Perhaps we could-" The doctor's voice was cut off as the creature
shot out a wiry hand through the cage bars and grabbed the doctor by his
        "Errak," was all Hieronymous could say, as he grappled at the hand
at his throat, but was unable to pry it off. 
        The creature grinned wildly as it pulled the doctor close,
bringing his head into contact with the bars. The grinned twisted wider as
the doctor's screams were chocked out into the air. 
        Unfortunately, the bars also contacted its own hand, and the
creature was forced to put its hand back, or have it burnt off. Its claws
raked across the doctor's throat, pulling away skin and letting blood flow
        Hieronymous fell backwards, his hand grabbed his throat, trying to
keep the fire he felt from burning it away. 
        Marsha watched his struggles, nibbling at the torn flesh, and
licking the blood. 
"The man's a fool." 
        "Yes, Heir." 
        "Have him attended to. Unfortunately, since Meateater was cloned
from his patient, he's the only we have who might understand whatever mind
might have transfered." 
        "Yes, Heir." 
        "And have her clothing changed." 
        "Yes, H-" 
        "Give me the Eye, again."
        "Yes, Heir?" 
        "Project F19C6..." 
        "Is located and ready for your inspection." 
        "Good. Show me." 
        The image was of a cafe taken from across the street. Although
there was some reflection on the cafe window, two people could be seen
inside, sitting next to the window. One was an African-American woman, mid
twenties. She held a coffee cup in one hand, and was in the middle of
writing something down on something beside her. Siting opposite her was a
man who, even from this distance, looked dejected. He was looking
outwards, but not at the camera, and not at anything in the photo. 
Marsha Burgenstock finished the sentence, and looked up at her companion.
Gods, but he still looked miserable. He didn't dare to look at anyone in
the cafe, so he stared resolutely outside at nothing. She had explained
several times that there was nothing that could be done about, so he just
may as well accept it, but he couldn't. Rather sweet in a pathetic way,
but he accepted every responsibility to do with himself, even ones he
didn't cause. 
        Marsha tapped his hand to get his attention, then showed him the
note pad. "Do you want to back and sit in the bus?" it read. 
        He shook his head, then took the note pad and started writing. It
was a rather slow way of communicating, but there wasn't much choice.  Due
to Queen Enterprises, the man in front of her, known as Inacoustic Kid,
had his silencing powers extended to a permanent 20 meters. 
        And this annoyed everyone on the bus who wanted to talk. And
everyone with whom they had traveled with or stayed near recently. And
that's what was getting Inacoustic Kid down. It was his problem but there
wasn't anything he could do about it. Just try to survive and get back to
the LNH and see if they could help. 
        Marsha had considered ringing them directly and a lift in a
flight.thingee, but she also wanted to keep a low profile. Since breaking
out of Queen Towers in, Marsha had tried to keep out of any
light that Queen Enterprises might see, and that involved traveling
slowly, and only daring to take buses for some of the harsher parts of the
        Inacoustic Kid moved the pad back. "Stay here and drink your
coffee. Enjoy it." Marsha was surprised at the last bit, and looked up to
see a faint smile fading from Inacoustic Kid's mouth. 
        "You want to go back alone?" she wrote. 
        Inacoustic Kid's writing was urgent. "I wont leave you here with
        True. Her fellow travelers hadn't been inured to them by their
enforced silence, and would easily take it out on her the moment they
found out that their voices worked. 
        "Change buses again?" she offered. Although their money was almost
nonexistent, they should be able to scrape enough together for that. 
        "Too close. Leave it. Not important." was the terse reply. They
were only a day away now, so there really wasn't much point. They had
endured this much, so they could last a little longer. 
        Even so, Marsha tossed back the rest of her coffee. She stood and
motioned to Inacoustic Kid. Followed by hostile stares, they left the
cafe, and returned to the bus. 
        Eventually sound returned to the cafe, but conversation was muted. 
"Is the Hand ready to strike out?" 
        "When you give the word." 
        "Not yet. But I-" 
        "I said I wasn't to be inter-!.. Majesty!" 
        "Is she back?" 
        "Yes, Konrad, I am. Leave us."
        "A pleasure to see you again, ma'am." 
        "I had to come back, Adam, especially after you let Project
Silence out." 
        "I have my sources, and you should know better than to ask." 
        "Yes, your majesty. I'm sorry, your majesty." 
        "That's better. Leave me, Adam. I'll contact you when I want
something trivial done." 
        "...yes, your majesty." 
        "Goodnight, Adam."
        "Goodnight... my Queen."
Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine. Allllll mine!
And that's the third Pentad finished. Look out for some of these threads 
to be taken up in future issues of _Fan.Boy_. 
Back to the Index.