ASH/CONTEST: Coherent Super Stories #19 - IMP in the ARPANET

Andrew Perron pwerdna at
Thu Feb 11 10:46:33 PST 2010

On Feb 11, 12:07 am, dvan... at (Dave Van Domelen) wrote:
>      [The cover shows Brightsword I drawn in Ditko style, swimming through a
> torrent of daffodils while clutching a chocolate bar in one hand.  He's

Brightsword!  Yaaaaaay! <3 Love this cover.

>      SPEECH 6 (AKERS): For the past several years, DARPA has been working on
> something called ARPANET, a way to let computers talk to each other.
> Unfortunately, it looks like an alien intelligence has taken over ARPANET!

Of course!  Awesome!

>      Panel 1: Akers is holding up a stack of punchcards while Zeemon looks on
> in the background.
>      SPEECH 1 (AKERS): Good to know you're not completely ignorant of
> advances in computer science.  But there's two ways to tell a computer what
> to do.  The first is programs, like this one.
>      Panel 2: A circuit diagram of a computer, with speech bubble over it.
>      SPEECH 2 (AKERS, OFF): But for things you want the computer to do a lot
> of, you build it into the actual machine.  We call that hardwiring.

Ah, the Time Before.

>      Panel 3: Nighttime image of a meteor crashing into a farm field.  Akers
> speaks via caption.
>      CAPTION 3: "Two years ago, a meteor fell in Idaho with some very
> interesting metal.  It had almost zero electrical resistance at room
> temperature, something very useful for making computers, since they normally
> generate a lot of heat.  So we've been using it in the ARPANET computers."

Now I'm wondering what ASHniverse metal this was.

>      THOUGHT 2 (BRIGHTSWORD): And the ARPANET is too well-connected to just
> turn things off...try anything at one machine, and the alien will detect it
> and do, um, something nasty at the others.  Did Akers say ARPANET had access
> to nuclear launch codes?
>      THOUGHT 3 (BRIGHTSWORD): Um...yeah.  I think he did.  That's gonna be a
> problem.  

Ah, Brightsword.  You're way more fun than your typical square-jawed

>      THOUGHT 4 (BRIGHTSWORD): I wish I could remember what this chocolate bar
> is for.  Did it have something to do with the LSDemon*?
>      CAPTION 5 (FOOTNOTE): Last seen in Brightsword #9's immortal tale, "The
> Red, White and Blue Acid!"

Wow.  Would a real comic of the time have had this many casual drug
references?  Especially something as infamous (at the time!) as LSD?
*Especially* as something the hero is using to defeat the villain?

(Not that it's not awesome.)

>      This is a splash page with three panels embedded in it, in the lower
> left corner, middle right edge and one in between them.  Arrows lead from the
> lower left panel up through to the rightmost one.  All the panels are
> segments of the overall splash scene, but Brightsword is in the middle of
> each.


>      2 by 2 grid.  All the gutters between panels are filled with a mix of
> daffodils and golden wires.

Man, you're asking a lot of your theoretical artist.  That said, I'd
love to see this in actual pages.

>      BURST 4 (BRIGHTSWORD, OFF): WRONG, alien!  It's time you saw the light!
> PAGE 10
>      Splash page, Brightsword is cramming the candy bar into the center of
> the eye, a rainbow of psychedelic effects exploding outward from his hand.
> Shot is medium-long, you can just barely see some of the floral sea behind
> the pyramid.

Heeheehee cheesy puns.

>      The title is a pun...IMPs are Interface Message Processors, the packet
> switching nodes used in ARPANET.

Ah, interesting!

>      Choco Lite is an actual 1970s-era candy bar from Nestle, ARPANET was in
> existence by 1970 (specifically, the first message was sent over it in
> October 1969), and there really is a drugged out alien mind at the core of
> the Internet.  What, don't tell me you never noticed?

Hey, I've been clean for -- oh, right.

I wonder how many of those systems would still be connected?  Hmmmm.

Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, a possible Netwalker adventure?

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