Limp Asparagus Lad #18

Limp-Asparagus Lad #18

Multiple-choice titles for this issue:
* Today's Weather Report: Extensive Periods Of Sunshine With
  Intermittent Showers of Time Travellers (Thanks to Jaelle for the
  story title)
Part 2 of The Flame Wars III

* Preludes and Nonsense
Part 0 of Leftovers
( i'm gonna regret this, i just know i will... )

Written by Saxon Brenton
Art by Fr*d H*mback  :-)

Cover shows Limp-Asparagus Lad (with huge muscles) and Footnote Girl
(with a hockey stick) facing off against an armoured foe. Contraption
Man and Good Kid lie unconscious in the foreground (underneath some
rubble). Below the (extraordinarily dull) 'Limp-Asparagus Lad' logo
is the far more interesting 'The Flame Wars III Part 2' logo.

  What has gone before: In the beginning there was nothing, which
exploded. More recently, however, in part 1 of The Flame Wars III
(_LNH Triple Play_ #8) a mysterious man regained his memory and found
Renewed Purpose. He snuck into the LNHQ to get some stuff that he
could use in his war against time travellers, and fought Contraption
Man and an LNH applicant called... well, he was going by the name of
Teen SqueezeCheeeze at the time, but I think the name more likely to
stick will be Good Kid.

  Elsewhere/elsewheen, a figure in black armour brooded. He'd had a
lot of practice, and was getting quite good at it.
  About him was your basic comic-book style mad scientist (or mad
scientessa :-) lab. It's owner was currently without a project to
keep him occupied - other than a vague inclination to redesign his
armour so that he could more easily go to the lavatory - and bereft
of purpose they both sat gathering dust.
  A proximity alarm went off. The armoured figure shot to his feet
and assumed a determined pose. "The proximity alarm," he began,
stating the bleeding obvious. That was always a good place to start
when one was engaging in expositionary monologues. "But who could
possibly know my location? Is it an ominous consortium of my most
deadly and implacable foes? I must look to my defences. Whoever it is
shall know the wrath of... Oh! Soddit! Damn! I forgot to put
exclamations in that dialogue!" His shoulders slumped, and he sighed.
" i need more work at this, " he grumbled under his breath, and then
he hit a switch. "Alright, who is it?" he demanded ungraciously.
  "I am Artemis. I have searched long and hard for you. The fate of
humanity hangs in the balance, and we must have words to plan its
  The armoured figure drew himself up. "What care I for the fate of
humanity!?" he snarled, remembering to add exclamations to the
rhetorical question. That improved his mood a bit. "The matter is of
sublime indifference to..." and he paused for three beats, "Sufferyng!"
  There was a second's pause from outside, before the voice over the
comm system replied and spake thusly, "Geoff, it's Natalie. Stop
p*ssing around and let me in." There was more than a hint of
irritation in her voice.
  Sufferyng started as he recognised her voice. "Wha... Natalie? Oh,
okay. Hold up a sec..." he said, disengaging some of the defence
systems for her to enter.
  When she arrived he briefly looked her over. She was a woman in her
mid thirties. That implied that despite all the jumping around in
time he'd done earlier in his career at the behest of his brother,
Mr. Minister, they were now meeting at a time when their personal
chronological ages matched properly again. She was dressed in an
approximately practical costume (i.e., one that wasn't necessarily
skin tight or showed too much cleavage for the fans to drool over) in
red and brown, and with only a few discrete pockets. She also carried
a staff. It was definitely a heroes costume though, since it didn't
set out to project sullen menace like his own wickedly bladed armour.
"So what's the big deal?"
  "I need your help on a mission."
  He looked doubtful, though she had to read that from his body
language rather than his visored face. "Go on."
  "In the mid 24th century the RACelestials are about to conclude
their 50 year judgement of humanity, and the decision isn't going to
be good. I need your help in pinpointing the right moment back in the
late 20th century to change history to avert that timeline, or
preferably mitigate it. It sounds strange to me, since as I understand
it that should only diverge an alt.ernate timeline. But the Scientists
Supreme of that era all swear its possible in theory. That's when I
thought to try and find you."
  "Riiiight. And why should I help you? Why should I bother helping
them? It's just another alt.ernate future, right? What's in it for
me?" It was standard supervillain spiel.
  "Oh geez, man! I can't believe you! You haven't got the courage of
your convictions to stand up for yourself or anything you believe in,
but you're perfectly capable of committing any atrocity for someone
  "Shut up, b*tch! I don't need you moralising at me! My life is my
  "It's not your bloody own! Ever since I've known you you've been
under someone else's thumb, usually your blasted brother's!"
  They stood, glaring at each other, trembling in fury. With a massive
effort of will Artemis drew herself back under control. "I've missed
you, Geoff," she said quietly. "More than you can possibly imagine.
But I can't afford to keep trying to prod you on and prop you up. Not
when the fate of the entire Looniearth hangs in the balance. If you
can't commit yourself to doing something for once, just because it's
right, and not because someone else is pressuring you into it, then
just say so and I'll go."
  She watched his eyes. They were pools of anxiety, self-loathing and
pain. Part of her wanted to hold him like in happier times, and love
him, and make the pain go away. The rest of her felt sick with disgust
that even after all this time he _still_ didn't have the spine to make
a decision on his own.
  "I'm scared Natalie," he admitted, eyes downcast. "I've done a lot
of sh*tty things in that time period, and the Legion will blame me,
rightly, for playing a part in the death of Sig.Lad."
  ['Electrocutioners Song', leading to the events of _Dvandom Force_
#48 - Footnote Girl]
  "You can't spend you life running away."
  He nodded, guiltily.
  "But maybe if you aren't wearing such distinctive armour..." she
suggested. "You know, from the moment I found you were using this
identity, I've wondered what possessed you to be so masochistic."
Then, to his look of wild-eyed confusion she added. "You look
ridiculous in that thing. Especially the toilet paper to stop the
bleeding where you cut yourself putting it on. And you stick out like
a sore thumb."
  "I... I don't... What do you mean?"
  "What possessed you to wear that armour?" she countered.
  "Well, it, uh, looks cool. You know. Dangerous."
  "In other words, you wanted to look like a villain. It's a
supervillain's idea of chains and 'death' spelt out in studs on a
leather jacket, with most supervillain costumes being adolescent
attempts to look tough anyway."
  "Well... I guess so."
  "And did it occur to you that by wearing such a cliche that you'd
only end up looking like a dork who was _trying_ to look tough?"
  "Hey!" he protested.
  "Well? Did you ever manage to create a rep as a villain not to be
messed with?"
  He thought back to his participation in the events of the
'Electrocutioner's Song'. "No. Not really," he admitted.
  "And in any case, can you imagine how the Legion of Net.Heroes would
react if you turned up dressed like that? I need your help. I don't
need an impediment of every Legionnaire dropping everything to take
revenge out on your hide."
  He squirmed uncomfortably at the thought.
  "So the simplest thing is to get you a new costume, right?"
  "Uh, well, hold up a minute. I mean, a costume... That's your
identity. It says who you are..."
  "And you want to say you're a wanna-be villain with pretensions of
being bad-ass?" she asked sceptically.
  He shrugged in resignation. "It seemed appropriate at the time," he
said bleakly. Then he added tentatively. "I've, uh, always had trouble
getting out of this thing, you know."

  The LNHQ medilabs:
  "Okay, that's all Limpy. You can get down now," said Dr. Stomper.
  Limp-Asparagus Lad did so, swivelling off the examination table and
putting his shirt back on. It was not his usual spandex top, but then
that part of his costume hardly fitted him anymore. Last issue he had
undergone a freakish physical transformation, and now had muscles on
his torso that made him look like a case of steroid abuse taken to
horrible extremes. His chest, shoulders, upper arm and thigh muscles
had grown to the size of watermelons, but the rest of his anatomy
remained the same, making him look absurdly disproportionate.
Although he could have put it a bit more tactfully, Dr. Bad-Bedside-
Manner had been absolutely correct when he'd observed that if L-ALad
put on a pair of goggles he could have passed as Megaton Man.
  "What is your prognosis, Doctor?" the Man of Dull asked in his
usual bland monotone.
  "The energy schematics confirm what I suspected. It's Leifeldian."
Dr. S frowned. First Retcon Lad starts exhibiting excess Niciezan
energy, and now this. He made a mental note to check the records of
the rest of their family to see if there was a history of overdoses
of fanboy market energies. Maybe it was hereditary. The Doctor
continued, "That would imply RobGoblin. Whenever he's not powered up
as Youngstud the Ravager, his modus operandi relies heavily on
transforming others to his overmuscled conception of anatomical
correctness. The tennis ball you were hit with seems to confirm that
theory, though I still have to run a few tests on it for absolute
  Limp-Asparagus Lad nodded. "And what are the prospects of a cure?"
  "I don't know. I know that it _is_ possible, since Fortnight Man
was cured of his condition." [_Dvandom Force_ # 48 - Footnote Girl]
"But it may take time to come up with a safe method."
  "Very well. Do you require anything else?"
  "Not at the moment. I'll call if something crops up. However, make
sure to come back if you start feeling strange."
  "In what way strange?"
  "The effects of RobGoblin's powers sometimes have a detrimental
effect on those of his victim. Keep an eye out for anything unusual,
and make sure whoever's on duty at the Peril Room knows to take
precautions during your workouts."
  "Actually, there may be something..."
  "I think I may have been feeling a bit silly about looking like
  Dr. Stomper pursed his lips. Feeling 'silly' would be a normal
reaction for anyone in this situation, but L-ALad was supposed to be
insulated from any sort of emotional reaction as a side effect of his
powers. Did this indicate a weakening of his drama dampening field?
"Okay. Come back in two days time, or sooner if you notice anything
else. I'll devise a few more tests to investigate this."
  The other nodded and left.

  Geoffrey buried his face in Natalie's hair. It had been a very long
time since they had shared snugglebunnies, but now he was content
simply to be in her presence.
  "You smell, Geoff," she told him tolerantly. "When was the last
time you washed?"
  "Uh... about four days ago, I guess. I _told_ you I had trouble
getting out of that armour."
  She laughed weakly, and snuggled closer to him. "Well, that's not
going to be an excuse you can hide behind anymore."
  "No, I guess not." He grinned at her. "Spandex in primary colours
is beginning to sound attractive."
  "Bet you want a cape too."
  "Mmmm. A cape'd be nice."
  She hugged him. "You're impossible, you know that?"
  "Maybe. I notice that it never stopped you trying to make me over
into what you wanted, though."
  "You've never been beyond hope as far as I was concerned," she told
him seriously.
  He smiled shyly. "Well, I'm with you... Uhm... I'd better think of
a name too. Uh, Brooding Boy? Whipping Boy? Angst Lad? Snivelling
Lad? Loser Lad? Pathetikid?"
  She stared at him. "You can't be serious."
  "Okay, okay. Maybe not. Redemption?"
  "That'll do. So, have you given any thought to how to fix the
  "Hmm. A bit." He got out of bed, and dressed only in his shorts
walked over to a table covered in bits of high-tech looking junk. He
stood before it, looking at the ill-assorted pieces of equipment
speculatively. Then he picked one of them up. "This is a fluxsensor.
It's used for tracking time aliens. The slug slime in it detects the
Doppler shift of chronons and tachyons put out by temporally displaced
beings because of the variance between the energy levels of their
native time period and the one they're in created by the second law
of thermodynamics." He paused, then looked up. "With modifications it
should be possible to track down a Cosmically Important Point relevant
to the timeline you want to affect by its exotic particle output. Once
that's done, theoretically manipulating the C.I.P. to effect the
changes you want shouldn't be all that difficult."

  Back at the LNHQ:
  Limp-Asparagus Lad was making his way down into the sub-sub-sub-sub-
sub-sub (etc. for however long you feel like carrying on the joke)
basements. He held in his hand an inventory of some stuff that was
wanted up in the kitchens that he had to get out of storage. He also
carried a map to find his way, and a torch with fresh batteries to
read the map by. The sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-sub (etc.) basements weren't
particularly well lit. This was partly because of the need to cut
back on power bills, and partly because of the conventions of the
genre (things had to be dark, with just enough light for the audience
to see what was going on).
  Of course, the reason why there needed to _be_ sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-
sub (etc.) basements was not just because of plot contrivance, or
because of the ever-increasing number of Legionnaires. It was also
because of all the junk that needed to be stored. Including things
that, strictly speaking, had nothing to do with the Legion. Stuff
that dated back before their formation, back to the times of the
Legion of Net.Hippies and the Net.astic Nine in the sixties, Four
Colour Man and the P.U.L.P. Syndicate in the forties. And probably
beyond as the demands of absurd back history demanded.
  He consulted the map, and then the section numbers on the walls.
Almost there.
  Then, up ahead, there was a noise.
  He paused, trying to catch the sound more clearly. Could it be
_another_ receptionist gone feral in the protean depths of the
  Once the echo of his own footsteps was gone, it seemed to the Man
of Dull that it was the distinctive sound of a fight scene. And then
there was the roar of falling rubble. He moved forward to investigate.
  As he rounded a corner, he found someone in black armour looking
through a hole in the wall, staring at a mess caused by a ceiling
  "What is going on here?" L-ALad asked.
  The armoured man started in surprise. "Another one!" he cried.
  .oO('Another one'?) thought L-ALad. Then he noticed the form of
Contraption Man conveniently visible through the hole, half buried
beneath the rubble of the collapsed ceiling. "I trust you have a good
explanation for this."
 "Yes! I am here to stop you, time traveller!" yelled the black-clad
man, cutting loose with a barrage of missiles from his armour.
  .oO('Time traveller?) L-ALad wondered again as his body absorbed
the impact.
  .oO(Blast!) thought the other. (This overmuscled freak must have
invulnerability to go with his superhuman strength,) he decided.
  .oO('Superhuman strength'? I think he has me mistaken fo... Oh.
Wait. That was a thought balloon. I shouldn't have read that.)
  Just then, Footnote Girl was walking past. (I wonder what she's
doing down here in the sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-sub (etc.) basement? Hmm,
absurd plot contrivance? Nah. I used that excuse last issue. Okay,
uhm, she's been down in the sports storeroom getting a new hockey
stick. Yeah, that's it. Hey, and that'll mean she's armed for the
fight scene too! Cool.)
  Footnote Girl heard sounds in the distance. She paused, head cocked
to one side. What to do? In the past she would have carefully crept
up and found out what was happening, then gone off to get the
authorities if necessary. Of course, if there was a need to hurry,
then going back to get the authorities would also include the risk of
spraining her ankle. But that sort of thing was a fairly standard
hazard thrown in for dramatic tension purposes and could hardly be
avoided in many genres.
  Now, however, FGirl felt the need for more direct intervention. It
was almost certainly the fact that the Looniverse had a different
gene to what she was used to. Hefting her stick, she boldly advanced
  She took in the scene with a glance, and what she found was this:
Two people were fighting, while a third was lying unconscious, half-
covered in rubble. The non-participant she recognised as probably
being Contraption Man. There were very few other people who had an
'L' tattooed on their face covering their eye. The other two, well,
she could hardly tell.
  One, of course, had to be a goodie and the other a baddie. On that
score the genres of school fiction and superheroics agreed. The
simple black and white mentality made keeping track of things so much
easier. But who as who? One, wielding pyrotechnic blasters built into
his armour, she couldn't recognise at all. The other... well... It
could be Limp-Asparagus Lad. The LNHQ rumour mill said something had
happened to him last issue, and this freak who looked like Prime - or
worse, Crazy Melvin - was wearing clothes in the same colour scheme
as L-ALad's, and with L-ALad's stylised asparagus symbol.
  So, after only a second's pause, Footnote Girl came to a conclusion,
and leapt into battle, giving the armoured guy a solid thwack. It
didn't do much good though.
  "What? _More_ time travellers?" demanded the man in the armour.
  "Legionnaires, actually," replied FGirl, circling him.
  The two LNHers continued to make jabbing attacks, but it was
basically an impasse. Limp-Asparagus Lad, being unarmed, and Footnote
Girl, being armed with only her hockey stick, were unable to have any
serious affect against the armour. On the other hand, their opponent
was still getting the hang of the armour's capabilities, and wasn't
having an effect against L-ALad's ability to absorb the force of
impacts, nor FGirl's sports field-derived ducking and weaving. But
L-ALad knew that it was only a matter of time before the other's
skills improved, and in the meantime Contraption Man could well be on
the brink of death.
  That gave L-ALad an idea, though he was a bit surprised that he
hadn't thought of it earlier. Touching his comm.thingee he announced
loudly enough for the armoured intruder to hear. "Limp-Asparagus Lad
to security. Intruder on level 5, section C. Require backup and
medical assistance. Over."
  "Limp-Asparagus Lad?" wondered the armoured man. "You don't look
anything like Limp-Asparagus Lad." Then his voice filled with horror.
"Oh no! You're a future version of Limp-Asparagus Lad who's been
hideously transformed and gone Evil!" he exclaimed.
  "What!?" boggled FGirl.
  "He seems obsessed with the idea of time travellers," observed
L-ALad blandly.
  The armoured man quickly considered his options. He couldn't stay
here. Even if this Evil future L-ALad's call for help was faked, a
prolonged fight would still bring the LNH down here, and he still
wasn't conversant with enough of the armour's systems to want to risk
a fight with so many opponents. Moreover, he knew from experience that
the LNH wouldn't listen to him; if he wanted to save them, he'd have
to do it himself. Now, this thing was supposed to be flight capable.
How did... Ah!
  He took to the air, and with computer-assisted precision flew off
through the twisting corridors of the LNHQ. The Legionnaires were no
match for his speed, even the relatively slow speeds he was using to
keep from running into walls, and could only watch him go.
  The two of them began clearing rubble away from Contraption Man.
After only a few seconds a group of Legionnaires materialised by
transporter, including Dr. Bad-Bedside-Manner bringing a stretcher
with an attached antigrav.thingee. As it turned out, Contraption Man
wasn't the only one unconscious under the rubble. There was also an
adolescent boy in a garish costume buried as well, but in far better
condition than the Hero From The Future, despite apparently having
had more of the ceiling drop on him. The consensus was that CMan had
probably protected him with a gadget of some sort that had since given
out, which had probably saved the boy's life.
  Then, as L-ALad briefed the security team, and Dr. BBM beamed away
his two patients, something on the floor caught Footnote Girl's
attention. She knelt and picked it up. It was a small black cube,
about eight few centimetres across, with five prongs on one side.
"More high tech stuff," she murmured. Oh well, better not leave it
around. It nothing else List Lad will want to know about it so he
could catalogue it.

  Well, actually, perhaps not quite 'meanwhile'. It's normal to use
that word to describe events occurring elsewhere that are concurrent
with other events. Unfortunately, things get a little bit messy when
you're dealing with time travel. Nevertheless, the following events
can, in at least one sense, be said to be happening 'meanwhile', for
reasons that will hopefully become clear. But they are not happening
at the same time. Hence the problem. Oh well, I'll just have to make
  Hm? So when are they happening? Oh, sorry, of course.
  The Rear-End of Time:
  Look about you. See the ruins of a once mighty newsgroup. Ah, sorry.
Nothing to see them by. The sun went nova several trillions of years
ago, and is now just a black dwarf. Now it's little more than a
traffic hazard for those pesky teenage alien Teasers who cruise
around the cosmos finding inhabited planets that haven't made
interstellar contact yet, then setting down in a deserted spot in
front of some poor soul who no-one's going to believe and strut up
and down making 'beep beep' noises. Or it would be, if there were any
Teasers left. There aren't. There haven't really been many people
about for quite some time. Either here or anywhere else in this
universe. Anyway, hold up a sec while I arrange for some illumination
for us. There. Okay, _now_ can you see the ruins of a once mighty
newsgroup? Good.
  Smell the air, stale with the eons-old passage of time. Well,
what's left of the air. The atmosphere boiled off into space when the
sun went nova. So why, I hear you ask, is there still _any_ air left
to breathe? Good question.
  It was imported. (Why do you think Brainiac 5, Duo Damsel, Saturn
Girl and the others were able to breathe when they went after the
Time Trapper in _Legion of Super Heroes_ #50 back in '88, hmmm?) And
then it was lovingly tailored just so that it _would_ smell stale as
if from an eons-old passage of time. Some people have very strange
ideas about interior (or exterior, as the case may be) decoration.
But then the Rear-End of Time attracts some very strange people.
  It's like, you know, necronerds. People who think it's cool to
dress up in black and have a pale complexion and look consumptive
and generally affect the appearance of being a vampire when you're
really a vegetarian. Well, there are some daft idiots who think it's
cool to hang out at the Rear-End of Time. People who are about as
balanced as an up-turned pyramid. Mr E. K. Mouse _didn't_ set up shop
in the final newsgroup of net.death.immenent because he liked the
view you know; he did it because he's a loony.
  ['Wrath of the Administrator' part 12 - Footnote Girl]
  Anyway, enough of these Net Trenchcoat Brigade references.
  Up ahead, a being that defies description monitors the passage of
ages. He is the Emperor of Excrement, the Czar of Coprology, the
Potentate of Poo, the Sultan of Stool. He is... the Time Crapper!
  With hands that could _really_ do with a wash, the Crapper caresses
a viewing crystal. Within, the flux and flow of eons was his to
behold. And guess which particular part of time he's watching. Yes,
_that's_ why this scene warrants a 'meanwhile'.
  "It is as anticipated," he noted to himself. (Have you ever noticed
how much supervillains like to talk out loud? Although I suppose
_they'd_ say they were engaging in dramatic monologues or something.
Boy, talk about pretentious. And cosmically powerful ones like the
Crapper are among the worst.) "In the wake of the chronological chaos
of Retcon Hour, the time streams are in a state of total disarray,
despite Continuity Champ Jr.'s repairs with the Ring of Retcon."
  ['Retcon Hour Omega' part 3 - Footnote Girl]
  "With that disarray has come the opportunities of using it to
affect the flow of history. Even now, time travellers are converging
on the period, to make or remake history to their desires, and in the
process weakening and tangling the threads of time even more. This
does not suit the Time Crapper's plans, and thus it must not be. The
Time Crapper has plans for that era, and their schemes must not be
allowed to interfere."
  (Another thing about supervillains giving monologues or whatever
you want to call it is that they have the annoying habit of lapsing
into talking about themselves in the third person. But you've
probably already noticed that.)

  A bit later, on a Net.ropolis rooftop:
  Two figures materialised. One was Artemis. The other was a man in
an unknown blue and white spandex costume. Which had cape.
  "A rooftop?" Redemption queried as he took out a piece of hand-held
equipment. "Isn't this a bit conspicuous? I mean, wouldn't an alleyway
have been a bit better concealed?"
  "You've been playing supervillain too long," she replied. "You'll
have to get out of the habit of skulking. With all the other
superbeings and general weirdness in this city, no-one's going to
remark on, or probably even notice, our arrival."
  "HALT, TIME TRAVELLERS!" boomed the amplified voice of a black
armoured form from above them.
  "...On the other hand."
  Energy blasts strafed the roof. 'Demp dodged out of the way,
inexpertly, cursing the fact that in all the excitement he hadn't
thought to bring more defensive equipment, just an array of most
non-combat stuff. He'd have to fix that when he got the chance.
Artemis dodged with the grace of... well, a huntress, laying into her
opponent with energy blasts from her staff. It wasn't doing much good
though, primarily because they were stunning rather than concussive
force and the armour seemed to be shielding against it.
  And their assailant, for some reason, was concentrating on her as a
target. 'Demp wondered why; he certainly wasn't using his own power,
and surely this tin-plated goon wasn't silly enough to concentrate on
her as the only moving target. Was he?
  Well, whatever the faults in his overall strategy, his specific
battle moves were good. Perhaps too good. Computer-assisted? Perhaps
'Demp could cobble together a uni-directional EM pulse and short
out... uh oh. No time.
  Across the roof the flying foe had pressed Artemis hard, and she
had been forced off the roof. Not fallen, knowing Artemis (although
she'd no doubt be able to make it look like that), just forced off.
And now the black-clad warrior had turned his attention back to 'Demp.
  "And now, it's _your_ turn!" his flying foe snarled.
  Redemption thought quick, and settled on the option of just making
him go away. "Wrong, fool!" he taunted. "You can stay here and tear
up the building as much as you want, but you won't stop me from
reaching Net.ropolis Park." Then 'Demp ducked behind a television
antenna. The other, who had been glaring at 'Demp, puzzled as his
opponent suddenly and completely vanished from sight. Obviously the
spandexer had teleported. The assassin flew off, intent on tracking
down that blasted time traveller.
  With the time-obsessed terror leaving, 'Demp quickly brought out a
small gizmo and pointed it at the departing form. He frowned, then
made his way across to check on Artemis. She somersaulted up over the
edge of the building with an acrobatic grace. "I take back what I
said about skulking. It's a bit early for that sort of thing. Wonder
who that nutcase was."
  "Dunno, but I got some very interesting readings off him with the
fluxsensor as he was flying off. His personal Doppler shift indicates
he's a time alien who's come back to the past, too."

  Okay, The Flame Wars III continues in part 3 in _Fan.Boy_ #11.
  Next issue of _Limp-Asparagus Lad_... Well... The arc is called
Leftovers. No, its not a crossover with _Leftover Lad_. Y'see, during
the course of trying to come up with a workable plot for TFW3 a lot
of ideas were raised. Mostly by me, I admit. I suffer badly from
fractured hypercreativity (lots of ideas, but they rarely fit
together properly). But some of them came from the others. Anyway,
rather than let them all vanish away, or wait to use them later when
most of them would be most appropriate now, I'm going to do something
with them, even though I've probably bitten off more than I can chew
with this. Tune in to see how badly I can fluff this up.

Character Credits:
  Contraption Man and Dr. Stomper are Public Domain.
  Sufferyng is Public Domain, reserved by Saxon Brenton. People who
were present at the time and remember back that far maintain that he
was created for his original appearance in the 'Electrocutioner's
Song' by Jef Kolodziej at the request of Dave Van Domelen.
  Dr. Bad-Bedside-Manner created by Tick (Peter Milan).
  Good Kid and that time traveller hating guy created by Drizzt (Jeff
  The Time Crapper created by (used
without permission).
  Artemis and Footnote Girl created by Saxon Brenton.
  Limp-Asparagus Lad owned by Saxon Brenton, created by Mystic
Mongoose (Robert Armstrong) and wReam (Ray Bingham).

All characters copyright and tm 1995 their owners and/or creators.

Add Notes:
  Cosmically Important Points (C.I.P.s) are all Dvandom's fault (Even
if they are about the only sane explanation for the Age of Apocalypse
mess; its just that he gave a coherent explanation and Marvel didn't.)
The explanation of their significance can be found in _Dvandom Force_
#46; but they'll be explained again around here later if you don't
feel like rummaging through your back issues.
  The fluxsensor and slug slime jokes come from Doug Moenech's _Aztec
Ace_ series, published by Eclipse back in the 1980s. Fluxsensors were
used to track time aliens, but the slug slime was a 'dirty' substitute
for time travel fuel. Thus, in _AA_ slug slime wasn't what detected
extratemporals; it was one of the things that left a trail for the
fluxsensor to follow extratemporals by.
  The RACelestial's 50 year judgement of humanity parallels the
similar judgement by the Celestials in Marvel Comics, which culminated
back in _Thor_ #300.
  And lastly, a correction for last issue: the version of Faerie
created by Jasyn Jones should have been called Tir Nan Og.
Adventures On The Letterspage #6

  This is a story about creativity and its cost.
  The glittery creature you see as it makes its way about the world
is a psychotrope. One of many. Like its kin, it is an avatar of the
Madness, and is one of the pieces of the latter entity that can
actually leave the Writing.
  When the psychotropes touch upon the minds of humanity, they bring
creativity. They are, in effect, like muses, and bring inspiration of
a greater or lesser degree to those that they so bless. Or curse. It
depends on your point of view, I suppose.
  And this is the reason that the Madness itself is bound. It is a
creature of pure creativity, beyond that which the mortal mind can
hope to cope with. In extreme cases even the touch of the psychotropes
can be too much to bear. Although what, exactly, 'too much' is remains
a matter of debate itself. Composers, deaf as posts, transcribing
melodies that only they can hear... Artists, working and slaving and
starving in garrets, or cutting off their ears.... Singers performing
and touching on the primal soul of their audience, but burning up
and burning out with the frenetic energy of trying to maintain that
level of emotional contact...
  For many their brilliance will be accoladed later... Often
posthumously. But even for those lauded in their lifetimes, there are
still the reputations of being... eccentric. Difficult. Visionaries,
but often hard to deal and socialise with.
  The psychotropes are not kindly harbingers. Not for they the gentle
role of Greek muses, bringing inspiration like the kiss of spring
rain. Their inspiration hits hard, like a hailstorm. And there is
always a price to pay...
  This is also the story of George Hamilton, and the price he payed.
  As Anticlimax Kid, George was one of the founding members of the
Legion of Net.Heroes. But there was more than that. Much more. Apart
from the regular _Anticlimax Kid_ series, he had written quite a
number of LNH projects, plus in Omega, NTB, Patrol, and Crossroads.
He was pretty good at it too, and won a modest number of RACCIES...
  But one cannot live by fanficking alone, and George had other
activities on the Net. IRC conversations, various MOOs and MUSHes and
MUDs, favourite newsgroups and mailing lists.
  All this took up a lot of time. Perhaps too much time. It might
explain why he only just barely scraping through college.
  Worried, his parents and siblings had tried to talk to him, but
hadn't really understood his descriptions of what it was like to be
involved in something that one could commit oneself to. More often
than not they ended up arguing with him.
  His family insisted that George see a psychiatrist. He agreed,
simply because it was easier than resisting. He also agreed to getting
a part-time job, which his parents hoped would help him get is
priorities in life in order. Or at least get him to set aside some non-
Net time in his life. So he had taken the job at a computer company,
working as a system admin. But he still spent a good eight hours each
day on the Net, coming close to giving up sleep altogether.
  That would explain why, just four days before Christmas 1994, while
driving home in his mother's car, he fell asleep at the wheel and
crashed at over 70 km/h.
  Indifferent to his death, his personal muse moved on. After all,
there were other minds to illuminate with the fires of creativity and
madness. More than all the psychotropes in the world could ever
service, though they were certainly willing to try.

Mail on Limp-Asparagus Lad #16

[from Abhay Khosla]
    Heheh... that was fun. These Culinary Disaster stories sure have
  turned out well. It's funny, everytime I think of KNAIARHS I end up
  thinking of Overman in his Animal Man appearance. I still haven't
  seen #14 and #15 (and maybe 12)... these newsreaders things act up
  somthin' weird. #13 was pretty neat. Maybe not a huge story like
  you said in your letter page, but I like all the exposition and
  explanation of the Looniverse, not to mention the layer after layer
  of continuity-acknowledging. I'm surprised you aren't writing a The
  Whole LNH series or something...

    - The Culinary Disasters did work out quite well, didn't they?
    Although I suspect that they took longer to get done than poor
    Jaelle would have liked.
    - Overman? You mean Overman who's brain got fried by the sex
    virus? Well, I kinda think of Kid more as a cross between Icon,
    Superman, and Kid Kirby.
    - As for all the continuity acknowledgment, and all the
    explanations of why things work in the way they do in the
    Looniverse, well, I like that sort of thing. But that should be
    obvious, 'cause otherwise I wouldn't have wrote them. :-)
    - A series called 'The Whole LNH'? Gaah! Don't DO that to me!
    I've got several ideas for really big stories (okay, okay,
    stories with really big casts), as well as some with not so big
    casts, that'll probably turn up in _LNH Comic Presents_. Lotsa
    silly stuff. Well, I _hope_ it'll be, anyway. But a regular
    series? Arrgh! Just let me dabble with guest stars and LNHCP and
    I'll be happy.

Mail on Limp-Asparagus Lad #17
    - Perhaps a word of warning is in order here: the responses were
    all from people on, to which #17 was also posted,
    so the discussion may get a bit esoteric.

[from Shawn Metcalf]
    Very clever! Looking forward to seeing the rest.

    - Thank you.
    - Oh yeah, and for everybody who was around last year on a.g.t. to
    listen to my blatherings and has an awful suspicion; yes, Garbage
    Guts _is_ a tharkoldu jakatt.

[from Megan Grimm]
    I wish to add my kudos as well: great job. I forwarded it to every-
  one I know who's not on the mailing list (slackers) so they could
  have a copy for their very own (yes, they could have fetched it
  from the newsgroup, but I was feeling generous. It's a rare
  occurrence) I'm definitely planning a foray into the world of Limp-
  Asparagus Lad as soon as I have more than five minutes to myself.
    Of course, the Demon Goddess could not possibly let things go at
  that (isn't it a pain having a dominant alter-ego?) and since she/it
  has possession of our shared corporeal form at the moment,
    A Tharkoldu Jakatt? *WHAT!*
    Irony. I love it. I'd also love to know how THAT managed to come
    Anyway, good work, liked it, planning to read the rest, etc. etc.

    - Well, I dunno about having a dominant alter-ego. I had an
    emergency back up one when I was doing my Higher School
    Certificate exams back in '87, but I haven't used her in years...
    - Tharkoldu jakatts are something silly I created last year. We
    had lots of fun arguing about trying to make them less powerful
    and what Spirit axiom they'd need to function at.
    - As for how it came about, well, eventually a techno-demon
    physically transformed and adapted to survive in the low Magic
    environment of the Living Land. As this was happening, Lanala saw
    that this new worshipper of hers was a walking deadthing, and this
    made her sad. So Lanala now practices divine intervention in all
    tharkoldu physical transformations to LL reality, and makes sure
    they become people rather than demons.

[from Jeremy Morris]
    I liked the Limp-Asparagus Lad issue.  I've been lurking on
  r.a.c.c for a little while, and I loved the TORG humor in it.
  (Thanks for the mention in there too.  Does this mean that I can no
  longer call myself a lurker on a.g.t?)

    - I think you can call yourself whatever you want; it all depends
    on how you perceive yourself. Anyway, I had lots of fun with #17,
    and I anticipate having even more the next time Torgish stuff
    turns up there (there's so much absurd accumulated history for
    a.g.t :-)

Character Credits:
  The psychotropes created by Saxon Brenton.
  George Hamilton respectfully based on Nathaniel Davenport.

  All characters copyright and tm 1995 their owners and/or creators.

Saxon Brenton     Sydney, Australia (preferred email address)

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