LNH: Alt.stralian Yarns #11: Q3 - The Path To Greatness

Tarq mitchell_crouch at caladrius.com.au
Thu May 3 01:23:51 PDT 2007

With the hectic ILC now being more-or-less complete, I shall now
return you to your regular-ish reading schedule of Alt.stralian Yarns,
on today, the 3rd of May, being Crouchmas!! /google


"...and that," Been-Out-Bush-For-Way-Too-Long Man concluded, "was how
the legendary Duo Contempo was formed."

The crowd that had assembled to hear the tales of his adopted son,
Contempo Weapons Lad (and by extension CWLad's sidekick, Obsessive-
Compulsive Boy) nodded in a manner that suggested that they were
indeed satisfied with this story.

"But," some exceptionally random bystander said, "I thought that the
Duo Contempo was merged into the Legion of Net.Heroes like, a while
ago now?"

"Yes," Been-Out-Bush conceded, "and no. Let me tell you how it really


Q3 - The Path to Greatness
By Mitchell 'Tarq' Crouch


Many months had passed since Contempo Weapons Lad and Obsessive-
Compulsive Boy had defeated the utterly nefarious Silly Lizard before
continuing to join forces and form the Duo Contempo. Together, working
side by side, they had watching their powers and reputations within
the super-powered Alt.stralian community grow. Grow like weeds. By
which I do not mean that they were unwelcome, but that they grew very

Contempo Weapons Lad, in all his glory, was now able to effectively
disable any foe with even the most harmless of household objects.
Obsessive-Compulsive Boy, too, had become more powerful, and had
mastered his unique abilities to make people behave in a comical
manner when annoyed, and to do whatever he wanted them to just to make
him stop being 'annoying, so bloody annoying!'.

The recap was interrupted as the story began, the door to this
innocent-looking civilian home being kicked down as Contempo Weapons
Lad dived in, wielding a marble.

Three large thugs got up from their poker game, and armed themselves
with various firearms. Before any of them could fire said arms,
however, one of them was on the floor, choking on the marble that
CWLad had thrown into his windpipe, thus causing asphyxiation and
potential harm to the thug.

The two thugs pointed their guns at CWLad, but the Master of Mundane
Materials ducked and dodged his way over to a wheeled office chair.
This he picked up (holding it by the five-pointing wheely stand) and
swung it at a thug's head so hard that the seat itself was snapped
clear off. The thug hit the ground, and before the last remaining thug
could respond, he had been impaled on the short metallic pole that was
usually used to hold the chair up to a convenient level.

Without so much as blinking, Contempo Weapons Lad continued silently
into the house of Caine Smokey, Dir.win's largest drug lord.

~ * ~

Meanwhile, in Lord Smokey's office, he was all too aware of a sudden
thump coming from somewhere else in the house. He moved over to the
door, and pressed his ear against it, listening intently. All was
silent. Eerily so.

He turned to go back to his desk, but stopped in his tracks when he
saw the bright spandex-clad figure sitting behind it, grinning

"Hiya hi hi!"

"Wh-wh-who a-are...?" Lord Smokey spluttered. The spandex-wearing boy
just smiled blankly, as if waiting for him to finish speaking. After a
moment, Smokey continued, "Who _are_ you? What are you doing in my

"I'm Obsessive-Compulsive Boy, ayup, that's me, Obsessive-Compulsive
Boy, I'm a net.hero, yep, yep, I'm Obsessive-Compulsive Boy and I'm a
net.hero, yeah, hi, hello!" The boy waved.

Lord Smokey paused. "Uh. Hi? What are you doing here?"

"Me and my buddy Contempo Weapons Lad, he's my friend, he's my pal,
he's my partner, we're net.heroes, ayup, we are, we are, we're
net.heroes, yeah, yup, uh-huh, we are, we fight crime, like, bad guys,
guys who're bad, yeah, bad guys, yep. Who are you, you, you look
funny, who are you? Do you like, do stuff, like, stuff, and stuff, and
do it, and stuff? Like?"

"I'm uh, Caine. Caine Smokey." Smokey was still very much bewildered
by the child's presence. But there was something horribly irritating
about him.

"Are you like, a bad guy drug lord? A bad guy? Who does drugs?
Illegally? Like, badly? A bad guy? On drugs? Who lords? Lords over the
drugs? Lords over the bad guys? Or a bad guy lord who lords over the
bad guys and the drugs? Or do you drug lords? Drug bad guys? Badly
drug lord guys? Lordly drug bad guys? Guyly bad lord drugs?"

"'Guyly' isn't even a word!" Lord Smokey growled crossly.

"Duyly lad bored grugs? Dordly brug gad luys?"

"Shut up!"

"If," Obsessive-Compulsive Boy paused in his ramblings for a moment of
philosophical insight. "If you _were_ a bad guy drug lord -- and I'm
not saying you are, nope, I'm not, really, no -- but if you _were_,
wouldn't it make sense to hand yourself into the police?"

"What the-- no!"

"But it would, wouldn't it? I mean, police catch bad guys, they do,
they always do, you see it on TV, which is just like real life,
really, except on TV, so you should, if you're a bad, which you're
not, but you are, you might be, you could be, you could be, really,
you could be, so if you were, and I'm not saying you are, but if you
were, you should hand yourself in, to the police, I mean, hand
yourself in, to the police, if you're a drug lord, I mean, only if
you're a bad guy drug lord, nothing wrong with pharmaceuticals now, is
there, I like 'em, they're my friends, my pals, my buddies, yup, yeah,
uh-huh, they are, but-"


"-I'm just saying, if, and only if, really, if you were, if you could,
if you were a bad guy drug lord, you should, you really should, well,
I think you should, I think you should hand yourself into the police,
and that way, you know, you can, you know, hand yourself into the
police for being a bad guy lord, and you don't have to be beaten up
like they do on TV, you know how on TV, the police, they beat up the
bad guys, like the drug lords, of which you may or may not be one of,
who can say, not me, certainly-"


"-but you could be, and if you were, if you are, like, a drug lord, a
bad guy drug lord, or any kind of bad guy, really, doesn't have to be
a drug lord, oh, heavens, no, just any sort of bad guy, you really
ought to hand yourself into the police, so you don't get in trouble
like the bad guy drug lords on TV, who don't hand themselves in, you
know the ones, the ones who-"

"Shut up!" screamed Lord Smokey. "Just shut up! I'll do it, okay?!
I'll hand myself in to the damn authorities, just _shut the heck up_
and leave me alone, okay?!"


The door was kicked in, and Lord Smokey whipped around to see Contempo
Weapons Lad lead an elite force of donut-eating Northern Ter.rec.tory
rangers into the room. "Thanks for coming peacefully," he told the
drug lord suavely. "It stops me from having to beat you up, like I did
your minions."

"Like they do on TV!" OCBoy piped up.

Lord Smokey's eye twitched, and the rangers hauled him away.

~ * ~

"Y'know," Obsessive-Compulsive Boy said a while later, "y'know what's
funny? Do you? Do you know what's funny? As in, really funny. Really
funnily funny?"

Contempo Weapons Lad, who had grown mostly immune to his sidekick's
blathering, kept his maroon eyes dead still on the road ahead to
Queens.lan.d, and spoke in a dangerous monotone. "You tell me what's

"That the polices knew where that bad guy drug lord, the drug lord,
the bad one, the bad guy drug lord, that they knew where he was, where
he was living and everything, and everything, but they got us to do it
instead. Isn't that funny? Don't you think?"

"They probably had some other net.hero or net.hero team find all that
out for them. Then, of course, said net.hero team was whisked away to
another dimension to right intergalactic wrongs and all that. 'Coz
they reckon they got a higher calling then stayin' back here and
lookin' after the good people of Alt.stralia. So Smokey got away with
it for a bit longer."

"A higher calling...? What, do you mean like, when you left your dad's
farm to become a net.hero? Like that? A higher calling?"

Contempo Weapons Lad shot his sidekick a solid death glare. "That's
different. With all those other heroes running off to Eu.rec or
Ame.rec.a or even bloody Af.rec.a, anywhere with a bit more 'rec' than
places that actually need 'em, like Alt.stralia, someone needed to
stand up and do something."

"Like you? Like me? Like us?"

"Yes," said Contempo Weapons Lad, ignoring the last two questions.
"Someone like me."

"But what about the other net.hero teams? What about them? The other
net.hero teams here in Alt.stralia? Surely some of them plan on
staying here, like us?"

"Name me any Alt.stralian net.hero team, then. Go on."

"The Duo Contempo!"

"Any _other_ net.hero team."

"Oh. Um. How about Ran-Out-Of-Fuel Man, and his Desert Devils?"

"Ran-Out-Of-Fuel Man and the Desert Devils _died_, OCB. In the desert.
Because they ran out of fuel. That's why they're called Ran-Out-Of-
Fuel Man and the Desert Devils."

"Oh. Oh, right. Well. Um. How about Convict Kid and Looks-Unerringly-
Like-James-Cook Lass?"

"They went to the Usenet.ted Kingdom years ago! Come _on_!"

"Hm." Obsessive-Compulsive Boy fell silent, pondering this issue for a
moment. Surely there were other net.hero teams that he could recall.
They were everywhere in Alt.stralia! Weren't they? "What about...
y'know, that idiot guy."

"Oh, that narrows it down."

"Q, Q, Q. Q something. The idiot?"


"Yeah. Um. Um. Wassit called. Q, Q, Q... Quih? Quuh? Queh? Queh... Queh,
Queh, Queh... Questionable-Logic Man! That's it! You know, Questionable-
Logic Man. And Team Q. They're still in Alt.elaide, yeah?"

"Team Q? In Alt.elaide, you say?"

"Yeah, yep, uh-huh! I think so!"

Contempo Weapons Lad slammed on the brakes to his dusty old ute and
turned sharply, sending Obsessive-Compulsive Boy flying into the
windshield. His three pet supersteer, Eureka, Foundim and
ThatswhereIputthebluddything, skittered along the ute tray to smash
into the back window. Gosh darn lasers shot out of their eyes in
surprise, and decimated much of the countryside to the left side of
the car.

"Wheeee!" shrieked OCBoy. "Alt.elaide look out, here comes the Duo

"Shut up, Boy. I told you to never say stupid clichéd scene-changing
lines in my ute."

"Sorry, CW."

~ * ~

Halfway through that massive desert -- you know the one, the really
big one in the middle of Alt.stralia. It's actually sort of depressing
that I can't remember it myself. Is it the Simpson I'm thinking of?
Possibly. Sturt's Desert Pea comes to mind for some reason. Probably
because it is a pea from the desert, which is where they currently
are. Well, they're halfway through it. But they're in the middle of
Alt.stralia, that's what I'm trying to say. And then their fuel
started to run out.

"Hnuh," hnuhed Contempo Weapons Lad. "The more I think about it, the
stupider I feel for not filling the tank up before we started going."

"Contempo Weapons Lad?"


"Are we gunna die?"

"Heck no! We'll eat Eureka and Foundim to sustain ourselves until some
other poor sucker comes along. But not Thatswhereiputthebloodything.
We can sell her for big bucks once we reach Alt.elaide."

Thatswhereiputthebloodything fluttered her eyelashes bashfully.

Obsessive-Compulsive Boy, on the other hand, looked slightly worried.
"Do you mean that we're going to hijack someone else's car?"

"We have superpowers. We can take 'em. I mean, you can distract them
with your crazy stuff that you do, and I'll throw the ute at them.
Simple as pie."

"But, really, wouldn't that, like, make us bad guys? Like the people
we arrest? Really? Wouldn't it? I mean, really, though. Would it?
Wouldn't it? It wouldn't surely. Right? Though?"

"Of course not!" laughed Contempo Weapons Lad. He looked away and
gulped as he tugged comically the spandex that stopped at the base of
his neck. The short fat kid who reads this comic in the shop without
even having the slightest intention of buying it snorted with
laughter. What a loser. It wasn't even funny.

"That's good," sighed a noticeably calmer Obsessive-Compulsive Boy. "I
would hate to have become a bad guy when we could have just asked
those people over there for help."

Looking over to where his sidekick was pointing, Contempo Weapons Lad
could just make out two large vehicles on the horizon, black shadows
against a sky of blue and sand of scorching red.

"Well, that's pretty convenient, you've got to admit," CWLad conceded.
"I'd say we have just enough petrol to get there..."

Obsessive-Compulsive Boy began bouncing in his seat jovially, letting
out loud celebratory noises.

"...but not with the two of us in the ute. Get out and walk, ya bloody

~ * ~

The ute failed Contempo Weapons Lad about twenty metres from the two
other vehicles (a car and a small van). Finding it none too difficult
to walk the rest of the way, he got out and did just that. The three
people in the car seemed to be sleeping, though the people in the van
seemed more active. Two of the four were already outside of it. One
was a man in fluorescent orange-and-pink flame-patterned spandex, and
the other was a bald, mouthless, blue-skinned, scantily-clad woman.
The woman had three odd bulges beginning on her forehead and getting
smaller as they went back, which looked oddly like dorsal fins.

"Well _hello_," greeted the queerly dressed man in an oddly-enunciated
voice. "What can I do for _you_?"

Contempo Weapons Lad paused, caught momentarily off-guard. "Uh. We ran
out of fuel? I was wondering if you could help?"

"Get out of here! So did we! My name," the man continued, holding out
a hand, "is the Metro Grill. This is my team mate, Azure X."

"Team mate?"

"Yessssss," the Grill continued, a slight lisp becoming evident.
"We're part of Team Q. You know, the little net.hero team from
Alt.elaide? That's us."

"Really? Well, that is a bit of luck, then. My sidekick Obsessive-
Compulsive Boy and I were on our way to see you."

"To see _me_? Oh, I'm flattered. You humble me, you really do..."

"Uuh... no. To see your team. As a whole. And it was for him. Not for
me. Oh gosh no," he concluded as Metro Grill, who had pushed him into
the side of the van, ran his hand up his leg, "not for me _at all_."

Contempo Weapons Lad pushed his way free just Obsessive-Compulsive Boy
ran up, puffing and panting.

"Look at this! Right on cue. Obsessive-Compulsive Boy, this is Metro
Grill and Azure X of Team Q. Wow. That sounds really stupid. Azure X,
Team Q. Y'know?"

Azure's silence and glare spoke volumes.

"Uh... eh heh heh. Sorry. What's your story anyway? Telepathic, I

Her eyes narrowed.

"Actually," Metro Grill interrupted, "she was hit with a powerful
radioactive blast of radioactivity as a child. And thus grew up
without a mouth. Or hair. But blue skin."

"So... that's her power? She has no mouth but blue skin?"

"I am right here, you know," Azure X growled.

"Maybe I should be more clear," Grill continued, seeing Contempo
Weapons Lad's bewildered expression. "She doesn't have a mouth _most
of the time_. It's constantly being retconned in and out of

"Crummy power," opined the Master of Mundane Materials.

Azure X moved forward, her hand raised in the air, but Metro Grill
stood between them. "Also, when she touches things, things tend to,"
he added, "die. I'll go get Questionable Logic Man, shall I?"

~ * ~

"So," Questionable Logic Man concluded, "you ran out of petrol. Around
here. The same way we did. Therefore, we have a problem."

A small problem popped into existence before them.

"Yes," growled Contempo Weapons Lad. "I know this. I want to know what
can be done about it. You're Alt.stralia's most beloved net.hero team.
You have to be able to do something."

"We already have. We sent the Pelican, our flying member, to look for

"So what do we do now?"

"We wait."

"We wait? That's it? That's the best the mighty Team Q can come up
with?" Contempo Weapons Lad glared at the assembled net.heroes
angrily. He looked around exasperatedly, his eyes falling on the three
people in the car who were still asleep. "What about these guys? What
can they do?"

"We don't know," intoned Pow Bang Wham, the fifth and final member of
the team. "They were like that when we got here."

"Like what? Dead?"

"Dead?" Questionable-Logic Man looked surprisedly from Contempo
Weapons Lad to the three people in the car back to Contempo Weapons
Lad. "I just assumed they were asleep!"

Contempo Weapons Lad rolled his eyes and marched over to the car.
"Hey!" he called in at the resting figures. "Hey! Hello?!" He banged
(by which I mean 'beat his fists') against the window for a moment
before grabbing the door handle and ripping the door right off,
throwing it like a Frisbee off over the horizon as Questionable-Logic
Man and Pow Bang Wham shared impressed glances.

"Hey man!" cried the figure at the wheel of the car, jolting upright.
"The heck do you think you're doin', scratchin' up my ride like

"Well," Contempo Weapons Lad huffed, "if you'd spoken to me when I
asked, I wouldn't have."

"Geez man, do you know who you're talkin' to? I'm a net.hero! I am Ran-
Out-Of-Fuel Man, and these are my Desert Devils, yeah?!"

"Yeah!"  cried the Desert Devils in the back.

Contempo Weapons Lad turned around and rubbed his forehead. "Typical,"
he murmured. "As if I couldn't have seen that one coming."

He turned back around, and said to Ran-Out-Of-Fuel Man, "You realise,
of course, that you died years and years ago?" Directing his gaze to
the Desert Devils, he added sharply, "_All_ of you."

"Oh," said Ran-Out-Of-Fuel Man, looking troubled. "That's not good for
gettin' places."

"No," agreed Contempo Weapons Lad, "it isn't. Now would you kindly get
your dead ride out of here? You're pissing us off in the sense that
your power has also made our vehicles lose all of their petrol, and
we're not all that impressed."

"Well, ours, at least," piped up Metro Grill. "Theirs was pretty dodgy
to begin with." Following a deathly glare from Contempo Weapons Lad,
he added, "What? It's true!"

Obsessive-Compulsive Boy spoke up.

"Oh, shut up already!" cried Ran-Out-Of-Fuel Man after having
witnessed the full, unleashed horror of a babbling OCBoy. "We'll move,
we'll move, just shut up already!"

Ran-Out-Of-Fuel Man and the Desert Devils got out and heaved the car
up onto their shoulders. "Let's go, fellas. See if we can find us some
forces of injustice to battle out here, yeah?"


"Yeah. Be seein' you around, funny-lookin'-guys!"

Team Q muttered various alterations along the theme of 'goodbye' as
Ran-Out-Of-Fuel Man and his Desert Devils disappeared into the desert.

Contempo Weapons Lad faced the dynamic team. "So, does your van have
fuel in it again now that Ran-Out-Of-Fuel Man is, y'know, a fair way
away? Or are we going to have to make it run on sand?"

"Actually," replied Questionable-Logic Man, "I don't think our van can
run on sand. I think it does, in fact, require actual petrol. That
seemed to be the problem when we got too close to Ran-Out-Of-Fuel Man,
anyway. I wouldn't vouch for it, of course. That's just the impression
I was under. Which might be totally incorrect, for all I know. Who's
to say?"

Meanwhile, Pow Bang Wham was trying to start the van up. "Vh-hoom," he
stated as the engine made a spluttering noise. "Vh-hoom! ...no, no,
sorry, it doesn't seem to be working, even though Ran-Out-Of-Fuel Man
is gone. My theory," he continued, "is that Ran-Out-Of-Fuel Man
drained our fuel, yes, but since we have not refilled, we are not

"Gazooks!" cried Questionable-Logic Man. "If our tank is empty, and we
do not refill our tank, our tank will be empty for ever! But don't
worry guys, we can always try filling it up with sand like Contempo
Weapons Lad said. Let's hop to it!"

There were numerous enthusiastic noises as Team Q and Obsessive-
Compulsive Boy began filling up the tank with sand.

Contempo Weapons Lad and Azure X, however, stood back, watching in
equal parts shock and annoyance as their team-mates and sidekick
filled a car up with red Alt.stralian sand.

"Are they always this stupid?"

Azure X nodded sadly.

"But they're meant to be one of Alt.stralia's most illustrious
net.hero teams! This is... this is _Team Q_, for crying out loud! I
mean," he continued, "I had little to approaching-no faith in you
before, but this is just...."


"Yes, exac-" He paused to observe Azure X's mouth fade out of
existence. "That's going to get really annoying after a while, isn't

Azure nodded, and then held up a finger as if to say 'wait'. She then
pointed to the members who were joyfully going about their task.

And wait they did. Many hours later, when no progress seemed to have
been made, Pow Bang Wham called work to a halt to observe how full the
tank was. Picking the van up, Questionable-Logic Man whizzed
underneath with a toolkit and took out the petrol tank.

Viewing inside he announced, "It's empty!"

Shocked gasps ran through the near-exhausted team.

"Of course it's empty," Contempo Weapons Lad spat at them. "You said
yourself that the tank would never be full! That's your power, isn't
it?! The conclusions from your pathetic 'logic' become the truth!"

"Oooh yeah," said QLMan. "I guess I mustn't have thought of that
before." And, true to his word, he hadn't.

"I wonder," thought Metro Grill out loud, "I wonder if you hadn't said
anything just then, if you would have thought of it before. I wonder
if you only didn't think of it then because you said you didn't think
of it now. By which I mean you didn't think it now, not that you
didn't say it now, as you had already said it then. Do you see?"


Obsessive-Compulsive Boy watched the discussion continue, his head
whipping from side to side, eagerly examining each member of Team Q as
they put their two cents in. ( One thing's for sure, )Oo. thought
Contempo Weapons Lad, .oO( They couldn't put their _common_ sense
in. )

"...but then," Questionable-Logic Man was saying, "couldn't I just say
that we're obviously going to get back to Alt.elaide eventually, and
all this dialogue is boring, so we may as well skip and just get
straight back to Alt.elaide?"

And thus were they back in Alt.elaide.

"Wow," remarked Metro Grill. "Why didn't we think of that before?"

"Because you're close to an idiot," snarled CWLad.

Observing the distance between them, Metro Grill sniffed and took a
step away.

"That," growled Contempo Weapons Lad, his face darkening, "wasn't

~ * ~

Meanwhile, Team Q's supreme flying net.hero, the Pelican, landed in
the desert.

"Guys? Hello? Hey, guys...?" Looking around from horizon to horizon, he
screwed up his nose and muttered, "Aah, bugger..."

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