______ _ _ _ ____ _ ____ _____ ___ _ _____ _____ | | | | / \ | | | | | | |___| | |____ \___ |BLiP| | _ | | | | | | | | | | | | | \ | | | | | | | |--- | | | ~ ~ ~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ | #3 | | | | | | |\ | | | (An ACROPHOBE Imprint) | | |/ \| \ / | \ | | | ~~~~~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~~~~ ~~~~ FEATURING: Kid Kirby [Cover has Kid Kirby standing upright, arms folded, looking down at the Phantom Walker, who has the back of his head towards us. A speech bubble from Kid Kirby says "Why have _you_ summoned Kid Kirby?"] -------------------------------------------------------------------------- "Injection Of" Space moved out of the way as Kid Kirby settled down on the moon's surface. With the recent influx of new members and the distance between him and his herald, Kid Kirby had left the LNH for a brief vacation that consisted of seeing some of the other planets in the solar system. Now he was preparing to return to earth, feeling somewhat refreshed. He was about to take off on the last short hop when a small alarm alerted him to an incoming message. Kid Kirby switched on the audio communication circuits. "It is I, Kid Kirby, here," he announced. "Ah, Kid Kirby, good to finally hear from you." The Kirbian recognised the voice of Multi-Tasking Man. "We've got a call for you from Squeaky Clean. Hang on a moment while I put you through." The line popped and buzzed as various signals were sent. Kid Kirby had time to wonder about the state of telecommunications before contact was made. "Kid Kirby?" "It is I." "Squeaky Clean here. I'm currently at the Hardy Hospital in Con.net.i.cut. I was wondering if you could come here to help me with a slight problem. It's rather complicated." Indeed. Kid Kirby raised a hidden eyebrow. Already there was a need for his services. "The Wielder of the Power Kirby shall be there." With that, Kid Kirby disconnected and took off, leaving large prints in the dust. His sensors had already located Hardy Hospital and calculated a course. _-~-_ Squeaky Clean lay on his back and fretted. He didn't really have much choice about laying on his back. He had been thrown out a seventh story window and had landed in a manure truck, breaking his leg. Now, he was forced into immobility to let his leg heal. This didn't concern him right now. Also, while he had been visiting Maurice Beyke, aka Captain Cleanup, in hospital, a nurse has professed her love for him, and was unwilling to give up the idea, even though he had told her that he could never love her. This also wasn't his biggest problem. His real concern was that Maurice Beyke, after suffering major injuries in a fight, died. And currently, Maurice Beyke was in an apartment that belonged to his cousin packing their things and getting ready to move back to Net.ropolis. He could tell when he was out of his depth, and this was one of those times. When Maurice had been injured, he had refrained from calling the LNH. He doubted even their sophisticated machinery would have helped. Maurice needed time to rest and recover. Squeaky had been worried about Maurice for a while, which was why he had suggested a holiday in the first place. Even severely wounded, Maurice would be better off not in the LNHQ, which was attacked on a regular basis. But with Maurice rising from the dead, Squeaky had given in. Something was exceeding strange here. When Maurice had appeared at the end of Squeaky's hospital bed, Janice, the nurse who had been with him, and the one who loved him, had nearly fainted. She had then gone to alert her superiors. The doctors had been unable to find anything wrong with Maurice, and were unable to prevent him from leaving. Squeaky had summoned Kid Kirby in the hope that the cosmic traveller might have met something like this before. What he was not expecting was to have the Kirbian knocking at his window. _-~-_ Kid Kirby hovered six stories above the ground looking in at Squeaky Clean. While he could have easily entered the room without help, he realised that many people disapproved of the destructive manner involved. Instead, he waited for someone to open the window and let him in. In due course, a nurse arrived and did just that. Kid Kirby noted her wide-eyed astonishment and approved. It is good that people are respectful of the Power Kirby. Once in the room, and positive he had Squeaky's attention, although this was not hard, he posed dramatically. "What is the menace that causes you on call on Kid Kirby? What devastation has occurred that requires the aid of He Who Wields the Power Kirby? What has happened that-" "KID!" yelled Squeaky. Kid Kirby, surprised, stopped in mid-speech. "If I may explain?" The Kirbian nodded. "Certainly my young, and rather loud, friend." Carefully Squeaky explained the events of Maurice's death and his apparent return. "What is the problem here?" asked Kid Kirby. "I, myself, have nearly died yet still lived on, only to return to my full might. Indeed several LNHers have also been killed and many of them have come back to life afterwards." "But, Captain Cleanup? Is he really the sort of hero that would be capable of such things?" Kid Kirby considered this. "Well, no," he admitted. "But that does not mean that he can't have returned from death." "Still, I'd be grateful if you could examine him... just to make sure nothing disastrous has happened." "Certainly. Kid Kirby has given you his word that he would help you, and help you he will. Where may I find Captain Cleanup?" Behind him came "Hi Squeaky, are you ready to get out of here? Oh, hello Kid Kirby. What brings you here?" Kid Kirby opened his mouth to answer but Squeaky got there first. "I'm worried about you," he said. "You're not suited for this sort of thing." "You sound as if you'd prefer that I remained dead." Kid Kirby could easily see that Squeaky was hurt by this. He decided to keep out of this and concentrated on acquiring parts from the 'Kirby Zone' to create the scanners he would need. "I'm sorry," said a quiet Cleanup. Squeaky looked away, unable to keep up eye-contact. "Are you ready, Kid Kirby?" he asked. "Indeed. I have just finished assembling a biopsytrioconic entraphonoscope. It will enable me to scan every part of Cleanup and cross-reference it with the records in my own database." The Kirbian One turned to Cleanup. "If you would just put your hand on this imager?" Kid Kirby pointed to the appropriate part of the device and Cleanup obligingly put his hand on it. The Kirby tech proceeded to take samples of Captain Cleanup's DNA and perform its tests. Slowly, the results came up for Kid Kirby to study. He did so absorbedly. "Interesting," said the Kirbian. "Yes?" asked Cleanup and Squeaky as one. "Physically, you are Captain Cleanup..." "But," prompted Squeaky. "There is something different about your powers." "What about them?" asked Cleanup. "Are they gone?" asked Squeaky. "They are still there," assured Kirby. "But, they are somewhat diminished." "What?" "They do not register as much as they used to. Whether this is due to your death or if this happened naturely over time I cannot tell." "So that's it?" asked Squeaky. "He dies, then comes back and nothing much as changed? Makes death seem... almost trivial." "Death is never trivial," said Kid Kirby. "Well," said Cleanup, picking up the bags he had walked in with. "Now that's settled, let's get you back to the LNHQ." "In case you haven't noticed," replied Squeaky. "I happen to be strapped into a leg support. I can't simply get up and walk out of here." "With Kid Kirby here, I'm sure you don't need to." Cleanup turned to Kid Kirby. "Can you create something to support Squeaky while we travel back to the LNHQ? He can rest up there while I get back to work." "Certainly," replied the Kirbian. "I will take you there myself." Kid Kirby sent out a call for a private flight.thingee he had, and changed the biopsytrioconic entraphonoscope into a susocutrino hetretulol which would keep Squeaky's leg in one position during the flight. "Are you sure you should be going straight back to work? You haven't had much of a rest." "Nonsense. I feel fine. Besides, think of the mess the LNH must be in right now without our support. Once you're better, then we can discuss my retirement and you taking over for me." "What? Retirement? Who said anything about retirement?" Squeaky said, almost panicked by this. The flight.thingee choose this moment to arrive outside the window. Kid Kirby caused a break in conversation as he placed the susocutrino hetretulol on Squeaky's leg and removed the primitive hospital leg support. He carried Squeaky into the flight.thingee, then helped Cleanup and the bags into the craft. As he piloted the craft back towards Net.ropolis, Kid Kirby heard Cleanup continue in the background. "Now that you've graduated, I'm thinking about leaving the hero business. I'm sure you'll be able to fill in for me. There's a nice little dry cleaning business I've been thinking about setting up." Hearing Squeaky protest, Kid Kirby turned his mind to other matters, not the least of which was piloting the flight.thingee. When he got to the LNHQ, the Kirbian hoped that he would remember to notify Doctor Stomper and Organic Lass about the genetic disturbance in Cleanup's body. It wasn't anything that would affect him, rather it was more like junk DNA that hadn't been there before. Not harmful, just unnecessary. Back in the ward room that Squeaky had so abruptly left, a nurse turned up to check on him and was not a little surprised to find the bed empty and the remains of the hospital's leg support lying on the bed. "Well, wherever you've gone, Squeaky," promised Janice to herself, "I'll find you. I know we're supposed to be together." She turned and angrily walked out of the room. _-~-_ Kid Kirby entered his room, glad to be away from the maddening crowd. When they arrived in Sick Bay, with Kid Kirby holding an injured Squeaky Clean, they had immediately been barraged with questions. Kid Kirby had finally been able to get away, but managed to give Organic Lass a full report in private of his findings on Captain Cleanup's body. He had gone from there straight to his room. But even then he was not allowed to rest. In his room was a note to come down to the Monitoring Room and pick up a message. Curious as to why the message couldn't have been given instead of the note, Kid Kirby left for downstairs. Entering the Monitoring Room, Kid Kirby saw immediately why he had had to come down. Spayed on the wall in large glowing red letters was the following message: "KID KIRBY, MEET OUTSIDE BAY 4312 AT THE DOCKS OF NET.YORK CITY THE PHANTOM WALKER P.S. THANK YOU OCCULTISM KID" [I'll reveal this joke. It's an injoke concerning how Occultism.Kid left me a message on Tiny Tim. - Jamas] Giving this message the evil eye was Multi-Taking Man, who was also reading alt.devilbunnies, reading _Flatland_, doing a Times crossword, and lots of other things. "That message appeared last night. Nobody saw who did it as someone put Figment Lad down for duty last night. As nobody knows if he really exists, we can't really ask him anything. "Anyway, the Ultimate Ninja has already sent a team in to investigate the area. You're to go as soon as possible." "Nobody tells Kid Kirby what to do." "And nobody's telling you what the UN will do if he finds out you've disobeyed him." "What does Occultism Kid say on the matter?" "Funnily enough, we can't seem to find him either." _-~-_ The docks of Net.York were not the nicest place to be, and Kid Kirby reflected on this as he touched down. Despite what Multi-Tasking Man might think, it was not the ninja's wrath that brought him here. He was sure that he had heard of the Phantom Walker before, or, at least, his kind, and wanted to find out more. Kid Kirby scanned the area and quickly managed to locate Bay 4312. This was helped by the sound of bickering that he heard on the air. "This is just so brilliant. We come all the way here to meet with some trenchcoat wannabe only to find out that we can't do whatever the hell we like just because we're not Kid Kirby." "I AM NOT A TRENCHCOAT WANNABE!" "Oh, so even tempered and moderate. May I have your autograph?" Kid Kirby could easily identify one member of the team the UN had sent. As Bay 4312 came into sight, Kid Kirby immediately spotted the figure of Sarcastic Lad. He also recognised Cheesecake Eater Lad and Parking Karma Kid, who were currently keeping out of the away, and snickering at Sarcastic Lad's performance. The other figure, by process of elimination had to be the Phantom Walker. Kid Kirby focused his scanners on the Phantom Walker, but they weren't quite as sensitive as the one he had created earlier to examine Captain Cleanup. The information was just as interesting though. According to his scanners, the Phantom Walker should have collapsed in on himself long ago. His density reading was higher than that of iron. Theoretically, his own body shouldn't be able to hold him up. Yet, the gravity reading was no higher than that of any normal person. Kid Kirby could also detect high muscular strength (though not high enough to account for him standing), and the possibility for other super powers. This was definitely what he had suspected. He looked forward to the following meeting. By this time, the Phantom Walker had spotted Kid Kirby. "Finally," he said, glancing at Sarc, "a real hero." "Oh no," gasped Sarc, falling backwards. "You're words wound me." Leaping forwards, Cheesecake Eater Lad and Parking Karma Kid grabbed Sarc before he hit the ground and dragged him out of the way. Kid Kirby strolled forwards. "What task drives you to calling upon the Wielder of the Power Kirby in such an abrupt manner?" he asked of the Phantom Walker. "I need power to back me up. There's a job that needs doing here and you're someone who knows what that implies." Kid Kirby nodded. He did know what forces were acting on the Walker. "Very well. Where do we need to be?" "Over at Bay 1239. I said to meet here in case others came." The Walker shot a glare at the other heroes, who said nothing. Kid Kirby nodded again. "I will meet you outside there." He launched himself into the sky. While the others watched the Phantom Walker stepped backwards into a nearby shadow and was swallowed up by it. "Come on," said Sarc. "Let's get over there as quickly as possible." As they got in the flight.thingee and PKK prepared to take off, none of them noticed as something flashed momentarily behind them. _-~-_ Bay 1239 was much like Bay 4312, large, deserted looking and dark. However, Kid Kirby could sense people inside, moving about quietly. He saw the Phantom Walker step out of a nearby shadow and nodded to him. The Phantom Walker indicated the Bay and motioned that they go inside. Kid Kirby put up his hand to stop the Walker. "Why?" "There's something going on inside," said the Walker quietly. "This something is evil, rotten. Drugs." "Kid Kirby does not get involved with that sort of business." "You do now." The Phantom Walker strode forward and kicked at the door. It burst open revealing him and Kid Kirby to those inside. Those inside were men, a lot of them, all on the thickset side. They looked up startled at the intrusion. One of them stood up and pointed a finger at the Walker. "That's him. That's the one I was telling you about. He's the one wot organised-" A shattering sound filled the air and Kid Kirby traced it to the submachine gun that was now in the Phantom Walker's hand. Bright red marks splattered across the front of the man who had spoken, and he fell down, limp and broken. "It's a bust! Protect yourselves!" yelled one of the other men and quickly they all melted into darkness. All too soon return fire burst from the shadows and the Walker was forced to duck behind cover. Kid Kirby walked over to him, the bullets ricocheting off his armour. "What was that man about to say? Did you organise this?" Any answer would have been inaudible as the flight.thingee containing Sarcastic Lad and co. showed up at that point. It touched down, and the door spung open. Cheesecake Eater Lad stepped out. "What's going on?" he asked. Kid Kirby heard the Walker say "I might be able to get out the way, and you don't have to worry about mere bullets, but what of them?" The Walker was right. The heroes would be cut to pieces. "GET BACK!" roared Kid Kirby. "TURN THE SHIELDS ON!" His words were punctuated by the chatter of gunfire from the warehouse. Cheesecake Eater Lad jerked back in surprise as bullets bounced off the pier, making their way towards him. "Get the shields on!" he yelled stumbling back inside. A shout was heard from inside the warehouse "Eat this!" and a bright blue laser beam shot out, tearing its way through the flight.thingee's cockpit window. Kid Kirby could barely make out Parking Karma Kid hurriedly scrambling out of the way before the controls exploded. Kid Kirby moved forward, into the path of the beam, confident that his armour, strong with the power Kirby, could handle any laser weapon. It came as something of a surprise, therefore, when he felt a laser mark score across the front of his armour. Realising that this was no ordinary weapon, Kid Kirby reached into the 'Kirby Zone' and pulled out a macron deflector to absorb and displace the force of the beam. It did so for about five seconds. This was just enough time for Parking Karma Kid, Cheesecake Eater Lad and Sarcastic Lad to escape from the flight.thingee before its systems went critical and it exploded. Fortunately, during this five seconds, Kid Kirby also managed to summon a strectron contracter to absorb the force of the explosion, which not only kept the heroes from being killed, but also stopped them from being thrown into the harbour. Men erupted from the Bay, eager to make the battle personal. Some were armed with knives, other submachine guns like the Walker had, and others had futuristic weapons, obviously similar to the beam weapon that had destroyed the flight.thingee. The Phantom Walker leapt up from his shelter. "Still want to keep out of it?" he yelled to Kid Kirby as he sprayed the mob with his gun. Kid Kirby turned away from the fight to check on the others. They were picking themselves off the ground, winded but otherwise unhurt. "I think we have a problem, guys," muttered Cheesecake Eater Lad. Kid Kirby decided that the Eater of Cheesecakes was right. He had to get into the brawl, if only to protect the others. Summoning a simplistic stun gun, he turned back and choose a target. The first thing that came to his eyes was a knife thrown by one of the men. He watched for a moment, plotting its trajectory, and its likely source, until it bounced off his armour. Having selected his target he aimed and fired. The man dropped, unconscious. It was then that Kid Kirby saw the bodies lying on the ground, victims of the Phantom Walker. "Decease these activities at once!" roared Kid Kirby. The Phantom Walker remained stoic. "Will you fight them your way, then?" "Yes," replied Kid Kirby. "I must." Setting the gun to wide beam, he had time for a brief shot, affecting nothing, before a blue beam shot the gun from his hand. "These aren't kids, Kid Kirby. Neither are they psychotic villains, malleable to the mere force of your presence. These men are prepared to kill, and you have to do the same." "Oh yeah?" came from behind the Walker. "What about us? We aren't so easily taken out either, you know." The Walker turned to see Sarcastic Lad jeering impudently. The Walker dropped to the ground as he sensed heavy fire from behind him, and saw Sarcastic Lad quickly jump to one side as the laser beam shot towards him. "This time," he heard Parking Karma Kid say, "we just might be." Only Kid Kirby followed the flashing arc of metal as it flew through the air, finally embedding itself in the chest of the man who had just fired. The others saw the thrower come out into the light. It was the Ultimate Ninja. "I can't leave anything to you, can I?" The three addressed slowly shook their heads. "Haven't I trained you better than this?" This time, not waiting for a response, the ninja leapt from his standing position beside the wreckage of the flight.thingee, over Kid Kirby, and into the fight, his ginzu katana blade flashing. The Phantom Walker took this as a cue and moved closer, still firing his gun. Kid Kirby, thinking more of everyone's safety from the Walker's gun, also waded in. Feeling left out, Sarcastic Lad, Cheesecake Eater Lad and Parking Karma Kid took up ninja fighting stands and jumped in. _-~-_ Page 20 - Three tiers consisting of five panels. Two on top, one wide in the middle, two on the bottom. Panel 1 - Mid range shot, focusing on Kid Kirby, who is firing energy blasts at the thugs. His back is facing us, and there is a slight halo around him due to his blasts. Also in the picture is Cheesecake Eater Lad and Parking Karma Kid, who are fighting hand-to-hand with two thugs. The one facing Cheesecake Eater Lad has a gun, the other a knife. In the background, the Phantom Walker is weaving in amount the thugs, shooting them down as he goes. No dialogue. Panel 2 - This frame is one second after the first, but the focus has panned left. Parking Karma Kid is still visible, but facing towards the first panel. Focus is on the Ultimate Ninja, who is dodging lasers and bullets while slicing two opponents, his katana still in the guts of his second victim. Sarcastic Lad is to his right, throwing another thug into the water. In the background, the Phantom Walker is nearly at the door of the warehouse, and is turning away from us. No dialogue. Panel 3 (wide) - Full shot of the pier. Kid Kirby is on the left and is firing a large blast, larger than the previous ones. It runs the length of the panel, finally striking a thug at the other side, who is carrying a scaled up version of the laser pistols, which is now blowing up. On our side of the beam, now in silhouette, are the Ultimate Ninja and Sarcastic Lad and several thugs. On the other side, faces bathed by the blast, are Cheesecake Eater Lad, Parking Karma Kid and the rest of the thugs, The Phantom Walker has now made it into the doorway, only the back of his shirt and jeans are visible. No dialogue. Panel 4 - Close up on the face of Kid Kirby. Although he is wearing armour, we still get the impression that he is surprised by the consequences of his actions. Behind him is Net.York by night, and the burning wreckage of the flight.thingee can be seen. KID KIRBY Kid Kirby has taken a life! Kid Kirby does not kill indiscriminately! Panel 5 - Close up on the face mask of the Ultimate Ninja. His eyes are set grimly and his features under the mask are set in a grimace. To his left is his katana blade, moonlight glinting off it. Behind him, Sarcastic Lad has thrown a thug off the edge of the pier, but now has the thug's gun. ULTIMATE NINJA Save it for later, Kid! We've got other problems! Page 21 - Same layout as page 20. Three tiers, two panels, then one wide in the middle, then two more panels on the bottom. Panel 1 - Mid shot. Sarcastic Lad and Cheesecake Eater Lad are in the foreground. Sarcastic Lad is holding the gun and has accidently fired it. The blast goes over CEL's head, who has ducked down, hands up to protect his head. In the mid ground, the Ultimate Ninja is dispatching two more thugs with his katana. Top right, from the warehouse in the background, is a _scream_. CHEESECAKE EATER LAD Hey! Watch where you're firing that thing! SARCASTIC LAD Let's see you do any better with five seconds practice. Panel 2 - This is a shot down the length of the pier. Kid Kirby is in the foreground, refraining from his energy blasts, but pushing thugs into the water. Parking Karma Kid is knocking over a thug. The Ultimate Ninja is killing another one. Cheesecake Eater Lad has grabbed Sarc's gun, and they both watch as CEL throws it into the harbour. There are only two other thugs standing. The Phantom Walker is running out of the warehouse, in which there are flickering lights. PHANTOM WALKER Get down! Panel 3 (wide) - The right two-thirds of this shot is of the exploding warehouse. The fireball is wide and high, and parts are flying through the air, flaring as they go. The other third is of the Phantom Walker, the Ultimate Ninja, Sarcastic Lad and a thug being knocked down by the blast. No dialogue. Panel 4 - Close up on the heads of the Ultimate Ninja and the Phantom Walker as they face one another, the ninja is frowning but the Walker is smiling faintly. Above them can be seen two terrified thugs, back to each other, as they face Sarcastic Lad and Cheesecake Eater Lad on one side, and Parking Karma Kid and Kid Kirby on the other. ULTIMATE NINJA That was extremely stupid. PHANTOM WALKER Wasn't it just? Panel 5 - Far shot. Everyone is walking towards us, outlined by the burning warehouse behind them. Sarcastic Lad and Cheesecake Eater Lad are holding a thug each, and the Ultimate Ninja is glaring at the Phantom Walker. PARKING KARMA KID Looks like there'll be a high time in the ol' town tonight. _-~-_ Cheesecake Eater Lad winced. "Did you really have to say that?" he asked. Parking Karma Kid shrugged. "Someone had too, and it may as well be me." Sarcastic Lad shook the thug that was in his care. "So, what do we do with this scum now that we've got them?" "We've drop them off at the nearest Police Station," said the Ultimate Ninja. "They're not our concern." He turned to the Phantom Walker. "But you are. Just what do you know about this situation." "One of the men identified you as the source," said Kid Kirby. The Walker shrugged. "He was probably high as a kite. He wouldn't have the slightest idea about what he was looking at." "So what do you know about this place?" snarled the ninja. "I know that some company set this place up. I also know that that company has to be stopped." "And we're going to stop them?" asked Parking Karma Kid. The Phantom Walker looked at them sullenly. "I had wanted Kid Kirby's help. Him I can use. I guess you'll have to come along too, now that you're here." "Well, thank you so bloody much," said Sarcastic Lad. "Don't do us any favours." "We will help you," said the ninja, glancing at Sarc to quieten him. "If only so I can keep an eye on you." The Phantom Walker bowed gracefully. "I just love it when a team gets along on trust." He walked off into the darkness, the others following him wearily. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- NEXT ISSUE: Up against a drug company. And what does the Queen bee have to do with all this? -------- Credits: Squeaky Clean and Captain Cleanup are public domain, and are unreserved. Kid Kirby belongs to Jameel al Khafiz, used with permission Multi-Tasking Man belongs to Jeff Coleburn, cameoed without permission Cheesecake Eater Lad and Parking Karma Kid are public domain. Sarcastic Lad belongs to the Saint, whose mail site denies his existence. Ultimate Ninja belongs to wReam, used with permission. The Phantom Walker belongs to Jamas EnrightBack to the Index.