LNH: The Alt.Riders Election Special
thad at eyrie.org
Mon Nov 1 15:57:54 PST 2004
[Continuity Note: This takes placed after _The Alt.Riders #30_.]
[Narrative Note: The election process depicted in this comic bears only as
much resemblance to reality as I found out from a two minute conversation
with an American colleague, and the rest of it I assumed for dramatic
Blue Light Productions presents:
________ ____ _ _____ _ _ ____ _
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| BLiP | | | | | | -|-- | | o |
| | | |--| |--| |---| | | |--~ |--| |--| |--- ----
|#ARES | | | | | | | | | | | \ | | | | | | |___
| | | | | |~~~ | | | | _ | | | | | |~~~ | |
~~~~~~~~ ~ ~ ~ ~~~~ ~ ~ ~~ ~~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~ ~~~~
[Cover shows a billboard with President Luthor's face on it.
And a gunsight targeted on his forehead.]
THE ALT.RIDERS ELECTION SPECIAL
[The following takes place between the hours of 9pm November 1st and 9pm
November 2nd in 2004.]
"This is Agent Donald-"
"Someone is going to kill the President in the next 24 hours."
He clunked the briefcase down on the desk, pausing to glimpse out the
window. Night had fallen, the street outside lit by street lamps and store
fronts, garish light threw lurid colours on the people waiting.
Any minute now, he knew, snapping the catches open. Focusing his
attention on the briefcase, he swung the top up to reveal an interior of
gleaming black metal and padding foam. Though time was pressing, he gently
took each piece of the packaging, caressing each component as he clicked
them together, twisting here, slotting there.
When he looked out the window again he held in his hand what looked
like an ordinary gun with a silencer attached. Looks, as ever, were
The room wasn't lit, but he had no trouble moving through the
darkness to stand by the window. Raising the gun, he tested the sights on
it, making sure the infra-red information was being processed as well as
visual and quanta-spectral signals. The mass of people caused distortions
to start with, but the intelligent software in the gun slowly filtered
them out until he had a clean target space.
A roar of the crowd further up alerted him to the coming moment.
Shaking his head to clear his mind, he peered up the street. The initial
honour guard could be seen already, but there would be a few cars yet
before the one he was interested in.
The next few moment slid past, he kept absolutely silent, and deadly,
waiting in the dark. Finally the main limousine came within range, but he
didn't spring into action just yet. Better to wait one moment more.
Improve the chances.
The limo crawled through the street, people cheering, waving,
throwing streamers to celebrate the person inside. Whether they cared
about the actual person or just the office was irrelevant at the moment,
the celebration itself was enough.
He lined up the target carefully. He knew he would get only one shot,
but that would be enough to end this now. He slowly tightened his finger,
the gun displaying vectors and targeting solutions on figures as they
entered into the cross-hairs. Finally, he had his target fully centered,
and in one forceful motion completed the movement.
The bullet shot from the gun, the force of the air before it smashing
the window open. It flew through the air, breaking the speed of sound as
it traveled the relatively short distance to its goal. In many ways, this
was overkill, there was no chance of missing, of failing.
The explosion that destroyed the city block, encompassing the room he
was in, was merely a collateral incident.
Agent Keifer Curtsy's reflexes were such that he was already picking up
the phone before he realized it was ringing.
"Curtsy here," he said briefly.
"Curtsy, better get into the office. We've had an accident." Curtsy
recognized the voice of Directory Tyrone Hillman, but there was none of
the usual friendliness.
"I've been watching the news, haven't seen anything," Curtsy said.
"How bad was the accident?"
"We've got until 10 at best." Curtsy glanced at his watched, 20
minutes to go. "And worse, we think there'll be more to come."
"I'll be there in ten," Curtsy said, hanging up.
"Dad, who was it?" Curtsy looked up to see his daughter entering the
room, carrying the bowl of popcorn that was to help them sit through the
"Honey, I have to go into work. You'll be all right here?"
Honey sighed. "Yes, Dad, I am seventeen, I can take care of myself
Grabbing his jacket, Curtsy stood, pausing only to kiss his daughter
on her forehead. "Anything happens, give me a call. I'll see you when I
Honey smiled as she fell onto the couch, grabbing the TV remote as
she did. Waving goodbye to her dad, she flipped channels until something
gory caught her attention.
"Cool, splatterfest," she said to herself, and settled down to watch.
From that point it was only five minutes before she was kidnapped by
the terrorists from Albuquerque.
Curtsy strode into the office of the Counter-Terrorism Unit to see five
other people buzzing around desks. His second in command, Elle Neeno
(otherwise known as El Nino) was already on the phone arguing with
someone. She waved to him, and pointed in the direction of his office, but
otherwise kept her attention on the conversation.
Curtsy nodded to the other agents, and hurried along and up the
stairs to his office which could look out on the entire floor but also
provide a degree of privacy. Inside, as expected, was the large presence
of Director Hillman, his dark skin showing up strongly in the light brown
"Keifer, take a seat," Hillman said, going over to look out over the
office floor while Curtsy took his usual chair behind his desk. "Less than
an hour ago there was an attack during the Presidential parade."
"We said he shouldn't have done that," Curtsy said, knowing that
wasn't the real issue here but he couldn't stop himself.
Hillman turned briefly enough to offer Curtsy a raised eyebrow. "The
President did take your advice, Keifer. He wasn't in the car, a
like-a-look was." Hillman paused to give his next statement more gravity.
"The entire city block was destroyed. Whoever was doing this was taking no
"My god," Curtsy whispered. This wasn't the first terrorist attack,
but on such a scale... "What's the President's call on this?"
"We think..." Hillman started again. "Just before the attack we
received a warning."
After a pause, Curtsy prompted. "What kind of warning?"
"We think this is an inside job. Whoever wants the President out of
the way, they're working alongside us."
"I know how you feel, Keifer, but we've got work to do. The President
feels that we should still go ahead despite this."
"Go ahead? With all respect, Ty, has he gone insane?"
Hillman shook his head. "He wants to make a statement. Go ahead to
spite those that tried this."
"But all those people dead, and he wants..."
Hillman nodded. "And if he waits there's a chance that worse will
happen, or that others will take advantage of this. He wants a public
investigation, which we've got underway. But you'll be leading the real
"What's the cover?"
"Asian Dawn terrorists. The President plans to make this big deal
about outside attacks against Ame.rec.ian interests, even use it to ride
into another term in office."
"That's cold," Curtsy said.
"That's politics," Hillman replied, not exactly denying the
accusation. "But in ten hours the polls open on the next Presidential
election, and we're going to make sure we keep the President we got."
"That's going to take time," Curtsy said. "I need to pull my people
in, check contacts...I'll need manpower."
"We've got a deadline, the warning said 24 hours. That's 9pm
"When the polls close," Curtsy completed. "I'll get onto it. But if
there's someone on the inside..."
Hillman nodded. "We've asked someone else to step in and help.
There'll be an onsite team within the hour."
"Onsite team? Of who?"
"Of the LNH. They're sending us a crack team of investigators, the
Agent strode into the large room that served as the Counter-Terrorism Unit
Operating Center, grabbing the first person that came anywhere near him.
"Get me a coffee, black, five sugars," he ordered, before pushing the
Striding over to look at the large computer screens that had been set
up to display important information, he announced, "I want a full update
of your latest plans, and full counter-measures available."
There failed to be an immediate response other than shock, but Agent
stood there, hands on his hips, quite prepared to wait.
Behind him, not quite as forthcoming with their presence, was Morph,
Dva and Missy. It's not that they were embarrassed, it was more they just
felt like melting into the floor rather than be associated with the first
Elle Neeno was the first to move, and came over to Agent. "Have you
been helped?" she asked.
"We're the Alt.Riders," Agent replied. "I'm sure you're expecting us.
Now that we're here, we'll be in charge."
"I don't think so." Neeno glanced at her watched. "You were supposed
to be here over half-an-hour ago."
"It's nearly midnight. We weren't planning on being called in on an
assassination attempt. Some of us weren't so easy to reach."
"But you, on the other hand, should have been planning for just that.
What happened earlier?"
"One of the President's like-a-looks was taking his place in the
final parade. Someone blew up a city block just to get at him."
"And now, what's the President's current situation?"
"He's in the White House, and he's staying there until this is over."
"I want one of my people in there. Morph, you're up."
Morph stepped forwards, somewhat hesitantly.
"You're not in charge here," Neeno said. "Agent Keifer Curtsy is."
"And where is he?"
Neeno paused. "At the moment, trying to find his daughter. She was
kidnapped by Albuquerque terrorists. I'll call him now and let him know
the *advisory* group from the LNH is here, and about your request."
"It's not a request, it will happen." Agent trailed after Neeno,
leaving Morph, Dva and Missy to themselves.
"It's so nice to see everything so well organized," Morph muttered,
looking up at the computer screens. Currently some were showing news
channels, which were now covering the explosion and the aftermath,
including the President's decision to go ahead with the election. Other
screens were flicking through information about terrorist organizations,
and still other screens were displaying the President's planned itinerary
over the next day.
Missy looked over the three banks of computers, wondering if she
might be able to access them. "We here to help?"
"More or less," said Morph, looking over at Agent arguing.
"I've sure you'll be able to help," a voice put in, and they turned
to see a man holding out his hand. After an uncertain moment, Morph
reached out and shook it. "Hi, Al Madeira, third in command."
"I'm Morph, this is Missy, Dva, and that's Agent over there."
"I'm sure El Nino can sort him out."
"I'm not so sure about that..." started Morph, but broke off as Agent
came back over to them.
"Okay, we've reached a compromise. We're strictly an advisory group
and we can make requests at best," he said.
"Right. It's great to see the give and take of personal dynamics in
action," Morph put in.
"And the first request we've had has been okayed. Morph, you're on
your way to the White House. You'll be liaising with the President
Any further comments died on Morph's tongue. "Me? The President?
Wouldn't you be better...?"
"Probably, but you're up. On your way. We're here to make sure
nothing happens to the President unless it's okay by us." Agent beamed.
"What could go wrong with that?"
"Something's gone wrong."
"The Alt.Riders. They're here."
"Someone called the LNH, and they got sent."
"Make sure they keep out of the way. Get them outside if possible."
"I'll do what I can, but-"
"Just make it happen."
Elle Neeno walked over to the Alt.Riders. "Agent Curtsy's on his way back.
Apparently his daughter managed to free herself, and we're sending
someone else to pick her up." Focusing on Dva, she added. "And there's a
phone call for you."
Dva looked puzzled, but went to the phone Madeira indicated and
picked it up. "Hello?"
There was silence from Dva, then "Where?" and later "When?". Putting
the phone done, he turned to the others. "Someone has information. Wants
"Who?" Agent asked.
Dva shrugged. "Worth following up?"
"Sure. Get over there right away," Agent commanded.
"I'll check with Agent Curtsy," Neeno put in. "Maybe he could meet
Agent rolled his eyes. "Of course. Heaven forfend the idea of us
doing anything on our own."
"Exactly," she replied.
Morph looked at the high ceiling. He had seen it in plenty of movies, but
the real place had a grandness to it that couldn't be portrayed on film.
And it was very white.
"Glad you're here," Special Agent Three said, pumping his hand again.
"Couldn't do this without you. Now, I've here to help you out with
anything you need. Let's go see the security arrangements, you'll like
them, I'm sure you will. Come on."
Guess that's appreciating the White House over with, Morph thought as
he was abruptly dragged off on a tour.
Agent Curtsy looked around the dingy garage, uncertain of why exactly he
was here. "You sure he said to come here?" Curtsy questioned.
"To a garage?"
"Garages can be useful places," said a British-accented voice,
"Useful for fixing things that are broken."
Curtsy peered towards the back of the garage, where the voice had
come from. "Are you saying something's wrong?"
"Very much so." There was a brief flare of light, an exhalation of
smoke, then the sound of a severe coughing smoke. "Okay, that's not going
Dva considered the situation. "Bicycle Repair Lad?"
Still coughing, BRL stepped into the light. "All right, it's a fair
cop," he said. "But let's try to keep this on the q.t. eh? Just call me
"Why?" Curtsy asked.
"Look, never mind, gov. Let's just get on with this. There are
important things about the President that you need to know."
"He hasn't always been the President."
This revelation wasn't met with the loudest exclamations of surprise.
Or any exclamations of surprise at all, loud or otherwise.
"That's right. He was elected four years ago," Curtsy said in a calm
tone, trying to get BRL excited.
"No, that's not what I mean. Strike a light. I mean, he hasn't always
been the President that was elected in the last election."
"Well, there was some question about Flo.rec.da, but that was dealt
with quickly enough."
"No!" BRL said emphatically. "There's no easy way to say this. It was
a retcon device. He retconned himself into being the President."
This time the pause was more significant, although in Curtsy's case
he was trying to work out what exactly BRL was talking about.
"You have proof?" Dva asked.
"Just what I know, gov'ner," BRL replied. "He called it a Cosmic
Reset Button, and after he pressed it he was President and only I
remembered what it was like before." [This was revealed in _Limp-Asparagus
Lad #45_ - Footnote Girl.]
"So...you saying that President Luthor changed history to become the
President? You're insane!" Curtsy said.
"It's possible," Dva said, a serious expression on his face, which
then became thoughtful. "But what of it?"
"What do you mean?" Bicycle Repair Lad said. "He changed history!"
"But only you and he know this, yes?"
"Then what has that to do with this? If no-one else knows this, it
can't have any bearing on this current assassination attempt."
"Well, er..." said BRL hesitantly. "Possibly, possibly. But, at
worst, he interfered with the democratic process. Yeah..."
"If that is true," started Curtsy.
"We'll need proof," Curtsy continued. "Do you have any?"
"Um, no, just what I saw, like I said."
Curtsy shrugged. "Then we can't do anything."
"What if he does it again?"
"If he had that sort of power, I doubt he'd be worried by any
"Well, it is hard to retcon yourself back to life once you've been
killed," BRL admitted.
"Unless you're Retcon Lad," Dva added.
"All this sounds too fantastic to me," said Curtsy, glancing at his
watch. "I've got to get back to the CTU. We need to start organizing for
the President's media breakfast."
"What about the retcon?" BRL asked.
Dva shrugged. "Sorry."
As the pair walked away, BRL called after them, "Don't trust him!
He's up to something!"
"Now here's one of our fine paintings, also of one of our previous
Presidents," Special Agent Three continued, holding Morph tightly.
"That's, um, great, but can we get on with this? I am supposed to be
liaising with the President, and I would like to meet him at some point."
"Yeah, he's great isn't he? No, I'm afraid that's never gonna happen.
Internal policy. Never gets too near superheroes. Not sure why, don't
care, but you're not getting near him, and that's that. Oh, and he's not
here right now."
"Yeah, breakfast thing, out preparing for it, exciting stuff I'm
sure, but not for the likes of you nor me. Well, you anyway."
"But I've got to see him!"
"Life or death matter?"
"Don't you worry none, son, as long as I'm around, you won't get
within swinging distance of him."
Having escaped her escort, Honey decided that rather than return home, she
might go see what her boyfriend was up to.
Which was a good idea up to when the drug cartel busted in.
Elle Neeno put her head in her hands, trying to rub the tiredness from her
eyes with the palm of her hands. She'd basically been up since yesterday
morning, catching only brief snatches of sleep over the night in one of
the interrogation/conference rooms out back. She scrolled through lists of
information, eyes glazing over as she tried to make sense of reports from
the explosion last night.
"All right people, who do we have at the media breakfast?" Keifer
Curtsy's voice broke her limited concentration and she looked up to see
him striding about without any sign that he was running on as little sleep
as she was. Bastard.
"The President's Security Service are all over it," Al Madeira
"But no-one from our team?"
"I'll go then," Curtsy said, grabbing up his jacket.
"One moment." Neeno turned her head to see the strange alien
creature, Missy, go over to Curtsy. "Take this. Scan." She passed
something to Curtsy, who nodded and tucked it away.
Curtsy was about to leave again, when he turned and headed over to
Neeno's desk. "How you going, Elle?" he asked quietly.
"Fine, Keifer," she replied wearily.
"You look great," he smiled.
She returned the smile. "Thanks. But I'm good for a while yet."
Curtsy gave a brief look over to Missy, Dva and Agent, before
lowering his voice further. "I'm worried about something." Elle raised her
eyebrow at him. "I think there's a superpower involved here."
Elle considered this. "Well, we do have the LNH here," she pointed
"One of their own talked to us before, spinning some strange tale
about how President Luthor organized some kind of change to history to
make himself President."
"What? That's absurd."
"I know, but what if there are other super whackoes out there with
worse ideas? One of them might be behind all this. Look into who would
have the power for this, and keep an eye on them."
Elle gave another look towards the Alt.Riders. "If there are
superpowers involved...what exactly can we do about it?"
"That...is a very good question."
"...with today being a lovely day, we expect a good turn out as the polls
open for the 2004 Presidential Elections..."
Keifer Curtsy looked around the large room the media breakfast was being
held in. One entire wall was taken up with television cameras and
monitors, all pointed towards the head of the long table. Various
journalists were already seated, all awaiting the entrance of President
A quiet beep caught his attention, and he glanced at his pockets
wondering what it was, before remembering the device Missy had given him.
Pulling it out, it was like a PDA, although the screen was some kind of
radar reading. Another quiet beep sounded, as a light wave passed over the
screen, presumably reflecting an actual scan the device was taking.
"Excuse me, sir, but what is that?"
Curtsy looked to see Special Agent Seven standing next to him,
peering at the device.
"Just a scanner, Agent," Curtsy replied, extracting his badge at the
same time. "Official CTU business."
"Very good, sir. Just checking."
"Ladies and gentlemen of the press," a Presidential aide announced.
"President Luthor will be here in a moment. If you'll all take your seats,
the agenda will be for him to come in, we'll serve the meal, and then you
may ask questions."
Giving Luthor a perfect excuse to delay answering questions while he
ate food, Curtsy smiled to himself. Some political tricks never changed.
A moment later, the door opened to admit the President, but Curtsy's
eye was caught by the device in his hand. Was it just his imagination or
were the light sweeps a little brighter now? If so, what did that mean?
Amidst the clatter of breakfast being served, Curtsy moved about
carefully, checking the scanner regularly. Yes, it was getting brighter,
he thought. Or was it? It was hard to be definite.
As he neared the camera equipment, the beep became louder. Not enough
to disturb anyone else, but definitely enough to concern Curtsy. Glancing
around, and seeing the conference about to get underway, Curtsy considered
his options. Did he have enough evidence to call this off? And what was
his evidence? A beeping device he presumed scanned for dangerous
Drawing closer to the cameras, Curtsy became aware of a low hum, just
at the edge of hearing. It wasn't from the scanner, but he couldn't quite
The scanner screen beeped urgently, and a large part of it became
white. Curtsy stared at it for a moment, before realizing that the white
part corresponded to the side of the room containing the cameras.
Whirling to the cameras, he searched, but couldn't see anything
obvious, and yet...
"Get out! Get out now!" Curtsy was a little surprised to realize that
he was the one shouting. Confusion erupted, but the Secret Service agents
acted immediately, surrounding the President, and quickly escorting him
from the room.
"There's a bomb in the cameras!" Actually, Curtsy didn't entirely
know if that was true, but it had the desired effects. People started
running, Curtsy pushing them along as he tried to get to an exit.
The explosion's blast wave, heat and sound hit his body all at once,
slamming him through the door he was nearly through, and tossing him
across the hallway. The inside media room became an inferno of fire and
noise, his senses shutting down as Curtsy reeled from the impact, hearing
nothing, barely seeing the bright light around him.
His head hurt, but he managed to raise it enough to see that the
scanner device was unharmed, although for some reason blinking "Boom!"
Honey breathed a sigh of relief, having escaped the drug cartel cross fire
that had erupted. Now all she had to do was cross over the hill and she
Perhaps she might be able to rest at the cabin up ahead. It's not
like there were loner weirdos out here or anything.
"Agent, I've been looking for you."
"Oh?" Agent turned from where he had been watching Missy work on the
computers to see Al Madeira next to him.
"Look," said Madeira, glancing around. "I didn't want to say anything
before, but I'm worried about something."
"I'm not sure if everyone in this office can be trusted."
"How do you mean?"
"Well, what if not everyone here was exactly what she seemed?"
Agent narrowed his eyes. "Do you have someone in mind?"
"I don't like to say in here, people have ears. But I've been
gathering evidence back at my house. I'd like you to take a look. If
there's any weight to this, you'd be the best person to act on it."
Agent looked around the room. "Do I have to ask permission to leave
first?" he asked, a slight smile on his lips.
"Let's go, and see if anyone notices."
Carefully, Agent and Madeira made their way out of the office.
Elle Neeno took a deep breath before entering the private office of Keifer
Curtsy. She winced as she saw the banged up but still determined form of
her boss sitting in his chair, then turned and nodded her head to Director
"Keifer, I've been looking into that situation you discussed," she
said as Curtsy turned his attention to her.
"It's all right, Elle, I've already informed Tyrone of my thoughts."
"What have you found out?" Hillman asked.
"It looks like you were right. But you're not going to like this."
"Take us through it," Curtsy said firmly.
"Reports from the explosion last night have finished coming through.
They sifted through the wreckage, and found a room suspiciously clean of
"How do you mean?"
"It's as if the explosion didn't effect it, just happened...around
"I've been looking at superpowers to see who could do such a thing,
and there were more than a few."
"I hope you have more than just a list of suspect superpowers, Elle,"
Hillman put it.
Neeno hesitated a moment before continuing. "And then there was the
attack this morning. We've found out that it was a power overload that
made the cameras explode."
"A power overload? But how is that possible?"
"Something at the scene overrode the power circuits, forced them to
overload. A quite sophisticated device..."
"You're not saying..." Curtsy's voice trailed off.
"What?" Hillman asked.
"We had that scanner analyzed. As far as we can tell, it's what
caused the overload."
"And Dva. His powers would enable him to silence the explosion and
allow him to survive in that room."
"So the Alt.Riders are the assassins," Curtsy said in a flat voice,
rising to look through his window onto the floor below. "But why are they
here if they are the ones...Where's Agent?"
"He should be..." Neeno followed Curtsy to the window.
"Is there a problem?" Hillman asked, a dangerous note in his voice.
"There might be, Tyrone. I'll get a team onto looking for Agent.
Elle, detain Dva and Missy in separate interrogation rooms right now."
"Keifer...Morph is in the White House."
"Bald Man has entered the building. Be on alert. We have received a Code
17 regarding operative known as Morph. Bald Man is on threat alert."
"Roger, Eight. Three, report location."
"This is Four. I have found Three. He was unconscious, stashed in a
cupboard. His earpiece is missing."
"We have a breach. Lock down Bald Man and start Charlie Sweep."
Five prowled down the corridor, eyes peeled for any sign of danger.
However, they all knew their target was a shapeshifter, and unfortunately
they hadn't time to issue the broadbeam stun rays yet.
Something distracted him, and he turned to see a blue vase pour off
the pedestal and onto the ground.
"I have him, he's in Corridor Ba-"
Something in the goo whipped out and Five was down.
Ten and Twelve split up, taking different corridors. They were near Five's
last known position, so they would be the next targets.
A flash of blue dropped from the ceiling, covering Ten's head,
putting him down, but not before he got a wild shot off.
Twelve backtracked, keeping her gun out, but didn't see the wall
reaching out for her until too late.
In the antechamber outside the President's rooms, agents paused
expectantly. Their chances weren't high against a superpower, but this was
their business. A thump from outside made them point their guns in the
direction of the entrance, their backs to the secure room beyond.
In that room President Luthor stood, flanked by agents, but not
bothered in the slightest by what was happening. He had his own defenses.
However, he still flinched when gunfire exploded in the room beyond.
Bullets thumped into walls, and probably people, as shots were fired in
the vain hope of hitting a fast moving target.
The door was solid hardstuffium, not as strong as strongstuffium, but
close. However, it shook visibly as something thumped into it.
"Sir, perhaps you should leave," One said, nodding her head towards
the emergency transporter.
"Nonsense. This is my office, and I'm not leaving it."
The door exploded into splinters, agents firing into the blue mist
that was revealed. Tendrils shot out of the mist, knocking into agents,
sending them flying.
One stood in front of the President, ready to give her life for his.
However, she never got the chance as a large hand shot out, picked her up,
and threw her out of a nearby window.
She had been the last obstacle, so Hexadecimal Luthor was left to
face the congealing form of Morph. "What do you think killing me will
gain?" Luthor sneered.
Morph lashed out, knocking Luthor backwards onto his desk. Morph
pounced, landing over Luthor. Something rose behind his back, and Morph
reached back to grab a knife. With cold eyes, Morph reached up high, ready
to plunge the blade into Luthor's chest.
A low power hum sounded, and Morph's body erupted into tiny pieces,
showering about the room. In the midst of the sudden rainfall, Luthor sat
up, a small sonic weapon in his hand.
Reaching over to his intercom, Luthor kept one eye on Morph's pieces,
which were slowly quivering, then running across the floor like liquid
metal to recombine. "Sally, send in a nitro team. Put Morph on ice."
Releasing the intercom button, Luthor's eyes fell on the blade.
Reaching down, he picked it up, and saw a tag hanging off the end of the
handle. Turning it around in his hands, his eyes widened as he saw the
text: "Pure History Only."
"No, look, I have to go. No, it's a very nice gun collection. I'll just
let myself out shall I? Sure, call me later, no problem."
Honey quickly made her way through the trees towards the highway.
Would this never be over?
"Has he said anything?" Keifer Curtsy asked, looking at the monitor feed.
"Not a word," Elle Neeno replied. "But that's not unusual."
Al Madeira stuck his head in. "Sir, we've received word from the
President's office that Morph is secure and non-communicating."
"Right, I'll go talk to him. Perhaps I can get something out of him."
"I'll come with you," Director Hillman said.
Dva didn't look up as Curtsy and Hillman entered the room, but continued
to stare down at the table top.
"Tell us about it," Curtsy said.
"We know you were responsible for the attack last night on the
"We have proof."
"What?" Dva looked up at Curtsy. "What proof?"
Curtsy shared a look with Hillman, then slid reports onto the table.
"This is from the attack. The room the attacker was in was barely damaged.
Consistent with someone who can silence explosions, amongst other things."
"We also have proof that Missy was involved in the attack this
"Not to mention the attack by Morph a few hours ago."
Dva's mouth worked for a moment, then eventually, "That wasn't me."
"Evidence says otherwise."
"Tell us," Curtsy pressed.
"I think you should be talking to me."
Hillman and Curtsy took a step back, unable to believe their eyes for
a moment. Up to a moment ago, they'd been taking to a sullen fair-skinned
man with dark hair, but now...
"Call me Marsha. It's a long story," she said.
"Oh...I'd heard about...but..."
"It's not any easier to believe for me," Marsha replied. "But we get
"What do you know about this?" Hillman asked. Marsha shot him a
hostile look that neither Hillman nor Curtsy could quite work out.
"Brainwashing," she said. "Unfortunately, not our first encounter
"It activated a while ago, kept Peter in control until you could
interfere with his mind. Giving him proof was enough for him to wonder if
something had happened that made him responsible. As I said, not our first
experience with it."
"To what end?"
"To kill the President."
"But you weren't effected?"
Marsha shook her head. "No, but if Peter, Missy and Morph were, I
think it happened earlier this year. When we were kidnapped by
"Bennington?" Curtsy questioned.
"Crime boss, or some such," Marsha shrugged. "Was trying out some
equipment on us. Got to Peter, not me." [This happened in _The Alt.Riders
#22_ - Footnote Girl.]
"Do you know why?"
Marsha shook her head. "Not a clue. But I think I can help."
"Most likely, no-one knows I'm not brainwashed. Maybe if we can find
Bennington, I might be able to make him think I'm under the influence and
can get some information out of him."
"Sounds like a long shot," Hillman said.
"Wasn't asking your opinion," Marsha shot at him.
"We'll look into it," said Curtsy, heading for the door.
"So you'll let me out of here then?"
"I think it's safest if you stay here for now," Hillman said.
"Sod yourself," Marsha replied.
Hillman lent towards her. "Just what is your problem?"
Marsha stared into his eyes as she replied. "You."
At that point, Hillman got it. This wasn't the first time he'd seen
this reaction to someone with his skin colour, although this was the first
time it was from someone with the same skin colour. He drew back, feeling
disturbed at this response from someone who, by all rights, shuold have
"Come on," said Curtsy. "She can stay here while we follow up this
Marsha watched them leave, eyes flashing. "Better run, n*gg*r boy,"
"Al, what's the latest situation on Agent?"
Al looked up at Elle, hovering over his desk. "Haven't heard
anything," he replied. "I doubt the President has anything to worry about
"Just keep on it, will you?"
Elle Neeno returned to her own desk, and logged onto her computer to find
an email waiting. It contained a video attachment of security camera
footage. She had asked one of the agents to look into what footage they
had of Agent's presence in the CTU office, and now she finally got a
response. She opened the file and was about to call out for Madeira to
join her when the image that came up held her tongue.
"Al, can I have a word?"
Al raised his head at Curtsy's voice. "Sure."
"We've got orders to move Dva and Missy offsite so others can talk to
them, find out what they know. Organize it, will you? Someone should be
here to pick them up in about half-an-hour or so."
Al smiled. "No problem."
Al Madeira entered the room where Marsha turned to face him. Holding his
finger to his lips, he walked over to the monitor camera and unplugged it.
"Right, we've got to get you out of here."
"Why?" Marsha said.
"State Troopers will be here in a minute to escort you offsite. I've
only just managed to get away myself, so we'll have to be quick."
"What's the problem? It's not as if I know anything."
Al peeked out through the door. "We can't take that risk. We'll get
Missy, then get you out of here. As far as anyone knows, you've made a
"So I can make another attempt on the President? Pretty pointless,
considering we've had no luck so far."
"We've got to get him before he can retcon himself into Presidency
"You know about that?"
"We found out the truth a while ago. This can't be allowed to
continue. Who knows what effects he's had on history? Manipulating any
events to his own end. Any other President would be preferable to that."
"They've successfully got me, Missy and Morph. That only leaves
Agent, but what are you expecting him to do?"
"He's a last extreme measure. Come on," Al said, stepping into the
"I don't think so."
Rounding the corner, gun out and pointing directly at Al, Curtsy
said, "We trusted you, Al."
"You think that was a mistake?" Al said, realizing quickly that the
game was up. "You trusted the President. That was the biggest mistake of
"Who else is involved?"
Al kept silent.
"What is Agent going to do?"
Silence was the reply again.
"Take him away."
Al paled as El Nino descended on him, full force.
"Damn!" Curtsy slammed the phone down. "Nothing!"
Neeno looked at Curtsy in shared frustration. "No sign of Agent."
"Extreme measure. Could be anything."
"They've pretty much demonstrated that they'll go to any lengths."
"What's the schedule for tonight?"
"The President's staying at the White House for the rest of the night
until the close of the polls."
"So an extreme measure would be..."
At the same time, they said "Destroy the White House!"
Agent sat patiently. It wasn't quite time yet, but when it was...
Agent turned the modified bazooka over in his hands. From his vantage
point, it would be a long strike to the White House, but one he was sure
his missile could make.
His instructions were to wait until the last moment, give the others
a chance to try for a smaller scale attack. But if he had to, he would
"Satellite lock! Radiation trace. Washington monument."
"He's at the Washington monument?" Curtsy asked.
"I think...he's on the top of it!"
Keifer Curtsy stood near the bottom of the Washington monument, looking
upwards 555 feet. Night had fallen and the monument glowed an eerie white
under the moonlight. It was currently closed for renovations, but that
wasn't going to stop an officer of the Counter-Terrorism Unit.
The lift rose quickly, and Curtsy drew his gun in readiness. It
wouldn't be the most subtle entrance, but it was the best he could manage.
The lift slowed, and the doors opened, the light spilling out into the
dark foyer beyond.
Curtsy dodged out into the foyer and jumped back, but saw nothing.
Retrieving his torch from his pocket, he stepped out into the dark,
flicking the light on.
However, it was too late to save himself from an attack crashing into
him from the side, punching into his ribs. Curtsy and his attacker flew
one way, the gun and torch another, and they thumped heavily to the
Clasping his hands together, Curtsy smacked down onto the body,
raising a grunt, and making the other person back off a little. Curtsy
struck out a wild punch, landing on the soft part of the throat. Gagging
noises erupted as the figure backed off, and as the lift doors closed the
final sliver of light lit up the features of Agent before he fell
backwards, swallowed by the surrounding blackness.
Curtsy wheezed, cradling his ribs briefly, staggering to his feet. He
was able to find the torch easily enough, as it was on, and a subsequent
quick sweep of the floor revealed his gun. However, that still left Agent
Moving cautiously, Curtsy explored about him. The torch revealed two
rooms off from this one, and Curtsy moved towards the one he thought Agent
As he entered it, a silhouette passed in front of the window, and
Curtsy reflexively fired two rounds in the direction of it. The gun barrel
flashes revealed the figure of Agent, who was ducking from the shots, but
By the time he brought the torch around, Agent had disappeared again,
but something else flashed in the reflected torchlight. Crossing over to
the window, Curtsy crouched down and examined the weapon he found. It was
basically a bazooka, although there were certain features enhanced on it
that Curtsy could tell added to the deadliness of it.
However, now that he had the weapon, that made him even more an
urgent target than he was already. Swinging the torch around quickly,
there was no sign of Agent, but Curtsy knew him to be nearby.
Keeping the torch actively moving, Curtsy considered his options. He
had to take the risk of putting his gun away so he could grab the bazooka
and still see around him, but that's when Agent had to attack.
Slowly, Curtsy replaced the gun in his holster, keep his hand near it
while taking a final visual sweep. As he then reached for the bazooka, a
sudden movement headed towards him. Barely grasping the front end of the
bazooka, he stood, but the torch revealed Agent standing in front of him.
With his hand on the trigger.
"Move," Agent hissed. "This is not for you."
Curtsy swallowed. "You have been brainwashed. You are not in control
of your actions. Put the gun down."
"I will fire if I have to."
Curtsy jumped to one side, lashing out with his foot. His abrupt
movement caught Agent by surprise, flinging him to one side, the bazooka
fouling his balance.
Curtsy jumped on top of him, landing several hard punches, but not
enough to put Agent out. A sudden thrust threw Curtsy away, and Agent
reared up, blocking out the window and casting a final shadow over Curtsy.
Rather than fire, Agent spun around, thrusting the bazooka through
the window enough to break the glass. Pointing it out, he pulled at the
Which is when Curtsy crashed into him, the momentum knocking Agent's
hand away from the trigger, the bazooka away from Agent. And Agent out the
Curtsy just managed to catch himself on the windowsill, and peered
down into the hideous drop below. The thing to catch his eye was the far
spiraling shape of the bazooka as it was caught by the law of gravity. The
second thing was a shape hanging onto the side of the monument.
Grabbing his torch, Curtsy shone the light down to see Agent staring
back up at him, holding on by only one hand which had nearby buried itself
in the side of the building.
"Get me up," Agent growled.
"I'm not sure..."
"I don't give a f**k about the President. Get me up, or you'll be the
one I kill."
"Welcome back, Agent."
Keifer settled down in front of the television set, Honey on the couch
beside him. She had been picked up for vagrancy, but Keifer had been able
to get her off without any more trouble.
She grabbed a handful of popcorn. "So they're in jail?"
"For a long time. No doubt the LNH has lawyers that can prove that
the brainwashing has worn off, or something. And Marsha's helping would
also count in their favour, but they won't be out any time soon."
"So democracy is safe again," Honey teased. "So, who did you vote
Keifer looked at his watch. How much longer did he have to vote?
"As the polls close," the TV announcer said, "We'll be right back
after these messages with the final results of the polls, and then we'll
announce the next President of the Loon.ited States of Ame.rec.a."
CREDITS: The Alt.Riders belong to me. The Counter-Terrorism Unit belongs
to Ame.rec.a (and can be considered Public Domain). Hexadecimal Luthor was
created by Chris Hare, but is been considered Public Domain.
NOTES: Blame Saxon. Simple as that. When I wrote AR #22 I didn't have any
particular person in mind as the target. However, I then remembered the
set up Saxon did in LAL #45 which he wasn't going to pay off any time
soon, so decided to hook the two together.
Which lead to me needing to pay AR #22 off somehow. And the events of
November 2nd proved too good to pass up.
"Answers answered and questions questioned."
Blue Light Productions homepage: http://www.eyrie.org/~thad/blip/
"If a great state has decided by law that twice two is five, it would be
foolish to allow mathematicians to testify." - Comment during the Scopes
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