I shouldn't have cared I was gonna die.

I did.

I shouldn't have cared /they/ were gonna die.

I did.

*That* ain't Lobo.

It's 'bout bein' the Main Man. Makin' sure everyone else out there knows yer the Main Man, an' showin' them 'zactly what that means.

Strong. Tough. Don't back down from anythin'. Scared o' nothing - not Supes, not those gods, not even death. Fraggin' the bastiches that cross you.

Engine of destruction, that's him.

/I/ ain't the Main Man. Weak. Can't frag nothin', not head-on. Scared, that fear eatin' away at me...

Can talk the talk, but can't walk the walk. Don't have the muscle to back it up.

Must'a been funny for the Racer, huh? 'Oh, you ain't afraid a' death? We'll see 'bout that...'

Yeah. Real funny. Laughin' my head off. Ha ha.

One in a billion shot. One in a /billion/.

Hadta happen sooner or later.

Happened ta me.

Every drop a' blood that falls, turns into a Lobo clone. 'Zactly like the original. Memory, personality, body... everythin'.

An' /'cause/ they're all alike, all the Main Man, ain't scared of nothin', not even Lobo, they start fightin' it out till one o' them wins. Don't matter which one, usually, they're all alike anyway...

Oh, probably happened before... but they'd a' had just the same personality as all the others. Probably got trashed first few seconds.

'Cept... I didn't. Chance, luck, whatever ya wanna call it... sooner or later, it was gonna happen.

I was scared. I /knew/ I couldn't win 'gainst them, knew if I did, I'd die. And I didn't /wanna/ die.

/I/ didn't wanna die.

Why'da /think/ I haven't let loose a horde a' Lobos on the galaxy? There's only one Lobo, an' it's-



He's got the attitude, the rep... an' the strength to back it up.

An' hr ain't got the fear.

Oh, sure he's been outa things for a coupla months. That ain't a problem, probably be looking forward to it. All those worlds, pickin' up after the War an' that Imperiex bastich... yeah, just the sorta thing Lobo was made for. Whole galaxy out there, jus' /waitin'/ for him ta leave his mark on it.

An' me?

I'm down here, stuck on this dirtball.

Got the bike, got the ship, can leave any time I wanna.

Any time.

But I ain't, am I? I'm stayin' here.

Where the hell else is there?

He's already out there, he's got the name, the attitude, the muscle... he's got it all, the whole package, and whadda I get?


Got the wheels, the memories, an' a bod that looks like Lobo's wuss kid brother. Oh yeah, really gonna impress alla those bastiches out there.

Stayin' here. With them.

With Spooky, Blondie, Nita an' all th' rest a'them.

Hey, jus' cause I'm stickin' here with /them/ don't mean I'm doin' this fer anybody else, 'kay? It's fer /them/.

''Sides, the Cycle won't listen ta anybody else, not since Birdboy left.

Listen ta me. What th' fraggin' hell do I sound like? Like one of those frails.

See? This ain't Lobo. This ain't Lobo at all.

So where'd it stop bein' Lobo?


/That/ one's easy ta answer.

Major bunch'a supertypes, gettin' together... yeah, sounded 'bout right for a little Lobo fun.

Lotsa fightin', lotsa chaos, lotsa damage... real good time goin' on down there.

Then Magic Boy decides ta let loose wit' his magic...' suddenly, it ain't the Main Man, it's t' Top Teen.

But I still got it, got alla the Lobo stuff. Jus' lost the age. Nothin' I couldn'ta worked around.

"Hey, he's a kid! Easy pickings!"

Yeah, /right/.

Let 'em think that, right up 'til they find out who they're dealin' with. Clawin' my way back up ta t' top of the heap.


....maybe should drop by flame babe's sometime...

Yeah, anyway... Things'd been gettin' same old, same old. Been everywhere, fragged just 'bout everyone... really /needed/ a challenge, somethin' to sink t' hook into...

If ya can't die, ain't nothin' that's gonna be much of a challenge, yeah? Course not. But bein' a kid again comes damn fraggin' close.

Okay, maybe not there. Jus' somethin' else ta deal with, right?

So, got back out there, started makin' the Top Teen somethin' ta reckon with. Went damn well, too.

Trash, smash and frag. Trash, smash an' frag.

Yeah... just like the good ol' days. An' this time, actually felt like an /effort/ again. Like I needed ta put somethin' into it. Hadn't felt that in a good long time... not really since I took out Czarnia.

Really missed havin' a challenge, y'know? Really missed that.

Yeah, so... cruisin' round on th' hog, an' I get this ship on t' way t' Myrg.

An' /I/ ask if they wanna fight, an' /Spooky/ says, no, but there's one where they're goin, an' do I wanna come along?

Do I? Do I frag?

'Course I fraggin' do.

An' then, while /they're/ all yakkin' bout this police cruiser that's 'bout t' blast them outta the sky, I get in some heavy duty fraggin-

-an' then Birdboy goes on an' on how they /don't/ frag. Yeah. 'Cause only the Top Teen can /frag/.

Then /Spooky/ says no-one died, 'cause she would'a felt it.

Now /this's/ somethin' I can get right behind, y'know? All the way. She knows what she's dealin' with.

'Kay, so we trash two - that's /two/, count 'em - invadin' armies. An' I only get t' frag one person, which really sucks. Two whole armies, /two/ of 'em, an' I only get ta frag one person.

An' he don't even /die/, either.

Second army gets trashed, an' th' Cycle's goin' nuts. An', Speedy bein' Speedy, he opens up a Boom Tube. Got a pretty good idea where it's gonna take us... yeah, gonna be a lotta fun, either way...' so it ends up bein' that syrupy New Genesis place. Yeurgh.

Still don't stop me from havin' a good fight, though. But th' Cycle's /still/ goin' nuts. /Real/ nuts. An' then...

...'Nita goes and tells it to stop, and it *stops*. With one word from her. Now that's good.

/That's/ attitude. That's my girl.

-an' the /next/ thing I know, the Cycle's gone nuts again, an' they're all shoutin'. Somethin' bout breakin' her concentration or somethin'. Not like it was /my/ fault, ya get me?

Anyway, really gettin' heavy 'bout now, so... cigar. Good cigar, an' it gets blasted the hell outta my face.

Like hell it is. So, I let off t' pressure by walloping the Cycle - an' some freaky Infinity Man - half way t' next week. What, y' thought I was gonna stand by an' take it? No chance.

Then - bleaugh - turns out the Cycle's been gettin' /broody/. /Broody/. Seriously. That t' sorta thin' you're 'spected to take seriously? An' it makes a little cycle.

Well, la-di-dah for /it/. I /still/ lost my fraggin' cigar.

Then Spooky shows up, with fraggin' /Darkseid/, Mr "Ooh, I'm A Big Bad Evil God" himself - an' he says she has potential.

/Potential?/ From /him?/

Yeah, I know all too well what /his/ fraggin' idea of potential is, I've /been/ to Apokolips... an' it ain't good.

Right, so we get back... an' then Speedy realises he's left his spaceship behind. So I offer ta go get it - gimme a chance to open it up, see what it can do.

Gives me a chance t' think, too. Not that I'm gonna tell /them/ that. Yeah, /right/.

Can do pretty good, all's said an' done. One thin' I can say 'bout this dirtball, when they make a ship, they make a /ship/.

...but keep comin' back to Nita saying 'Stop'.

Seein' the whole thin' with the hands an' the eyes glowin'... wasn't just that, was the /way/ she was saying it, not backin' down, not scared of it...

An' it listened to her. It /listened/.

Yeah, that's somethin' you could really get into...

....but, yeah, she could do all that. Didn't change t' fact she was one of those frails - puny, fragile... someone who wouldn't get up after the first hour in a fight. Couldn't get into that.' I jus' couldn't stop /thinkin'/ 'bout it, 'bout her, 'bout the attitude an' t' moves...

Didn't know /what/ t'hell was goin' on. Ain't nothin' like this happen first time round the whole teen thing.

Gotta be from Magic Boy's spell. Gotta be.

Hadta be.

Got the ship back, anyway, and Blondie and Wondy're there, an' /Wondy/ actually asks me what's wrong. An' the truth is, I ain't got clue /one/ - so I tell her, 'cause she knows Nita. Thing beginnin' with 'M'.

/M/-press. /Empress/. Oh yeah. Not like I ever saw it written down.

An' then she and Blondie keep tryin' ta convince me that it's normal an' that, totally normal... still feelin' there's somethin' wrong here, 'cause this /ain't/ happened before. Hasta be something wrong, right?

An' /they're/ goin' on an' on 'bout how Nita might be sweet on /me/.

'Kay, /that's/ a surprise. Most I remember was her complainin', th' way people /always/ seem ta.

But they know her, right? Maybe they know somethin' I don't.

Maybe she really /is/ sweet on me. Maybe I /could/ get her t' go out.

'Course, can't do it without knowing what sorta thing she /is/ inta... so I ask Blondie and Wondy.

Goes pretty well, all's said and done. Phone her first, let her know I'm comin' by (an' that I'm on my way, jus' ta be on the safe side), get done up - /really/ not me, but they say Nita's gonna go for it - an' the chocs an' the flowers...

Hey, whatever works, right? Blondie an' Wondy say this'll work, an' Blondie, Speedy and Wondy've given me this bit of hypnosis, help me stay calm fer a bit - don' want Nita gettin' /too/ freaked.

'Course, if it /don't/, gonna be some very fragged people 'round here. 'Cause this's /Speedy/, and the guy forgot his own spaceship. Yeah, real impressive...

But it /does/, far as I can tell. Nita's Dad don't mind (yeah, like what /he/ thinks matters), an' Nita goes for it.

Next step, fancy restaurant. Little persuasion gets t' manager round t' /my/ way of seein' things, an' a table for two. Get the drinks in...' then Nita starts gigglin' her head off, goin' on 'bout how this's so "over the top", so "outrageous". Ain't got the first idea what she's talkin' bout. Been perfectly normal up till now.

What /I/ wanna know is if she's havin' a good time. Know /I/ am, is she?

"If "Good" means "unique", yes I am."

Which's good enough for /me/, any rate.

So, settle down with the drink, an' ask about her story.

An' she's sittin' there talkin' bout herself, an' I'm listening to her voice. Really attractive voice, y'know that? Listenin' to her voice, an' to what she's sayin'. Fills me in on her parents, her childhood, all that sorta stuff.

Then she turns round an' asks /me/ bout /my/ parents an' childhood.

Give her the lowdown - the whole "when I was born, parents became hermits, nurse went insane, somethin' bout me bein' so evil, yadda yadda, last of my race cause I killed them all, take contracts, frag bastiches, get drunk" thing.

She looks like she's thinkin' bout this for a moment.

Then she says "Fine, then. /Don't/ tell me".

But I just did-

"Yes, I know. And we're going to pretend you didn't."

Gotcha. Cause she /really/ doesn't wanna hear anything more 'bout it.

Which's a change. Usually, they either run screaming, or lean forward an' ask me to tell 'em more. More t' first than the second.

Tellin' me she don't wanna hear it, cause it's gonna seriously work 'gainst the way she thinks of me... that's a new one.

Yeah, /really/ likin' this girl.

An' /then/ I find out what went wrong with Speedy's hypnosis. Set it to work /whenever/ I heard a finger snap...' the restauarnt brings in salsa dancers.

An' then things got a bit explosive.

Like I said, good date.

Bring her back, get to hear the whole "he did it for me, which was sweet".


There is an upside to doin' this sorta crap for others, y'know?

Gives me a kiss on the cheek.

/Yeah/, good date.

An' /then/, we get the after date entertainment, 'cause Speedy managed to hypnotise himself, Blondie and Wondy, too.

Lotsa fun.

What's even more fun is gettin' ta go after t' Superidiot, who's gone an' got himself in deep with t' Man. Don't care 'bout that, but it looked like bein' fun, anyway.

An' then the Linear Men throw us from one end of time to the other.

Lotta fraggin', just the way I like it.

Find out I'm still stuck on Earth in /one/ of those futures - maybe not /this/ one, 'cause in /that/ one, the dirtball went boom. Can't figure out why the hell I'd stick 'round...

...lookin' back, it was already too late, wasn't it?

Got t'clobber the Superidiot couple a' times more, just for practice, then hopped back off inta space. Hadta let him recover for the next time, after all. Some punchin' bags ya don't wanna let go.

And /yeah/, I know what it's gonna be like for Lobo. Was a good time for me. Lotsa refugees runnin' from that Imperiex, lotsa fear, lotsa suckers ta play. Could be good.

Then /some/ bastich goes an' thinks he can accuse th' Top Teen of cheatin' at cards. Oh, yeah? Well, you ain't gettun' outta this without payin' up.

Hey, we're in the area; don't take that much effort to crash in on Nita. An' I /mean/ crash in.

Th' human ketchup bottle's goin' on 'bout th' war. Yeah, heard it already, don't give a flying frag, got the money, jus' stickin' round t' talk to Nita...' then she tries ta convince me not ta go on this wussy assignment so I'll come along. Cept I take it at face value, an' leave - and /then/ realise what she really meant.

That's what I said at the time.

Jus' wanted any excuse to be 'round her, if I'm bein' honest. Any excuse I could find.

Didn't take /that/ long.

Missions, yeah, yeah... and then we hit the big time.

Th' Racer. Th' Black Racer.

Headin' for /us/.

Ain't no /way/ I'm lettin' him get away - I /always/ pay my debts, and the Racer's had it comin'. Stolen far too many kills from me. Ain't /no-one/ does that to me.

An' /then/, thanks to Birdboy and the Superidiot's fight, we end up on Apokolips. Which is jus' where I wanted to be, so I'm not complainin'.

They are, tho'.

Have this whole big alpha-male fight - me, I'm on Birdboy's side, cause he don't back down from me. Now that's a kinda attitude in itself.

'Sides, what could take down t' Top Teen anyway?

An' then it all goes to hell.

Birdboy, Nita an' Spooky are out there lookin' for parts - Birdboy nearly made me come out there an' rip his head off, when he said somethin' had happened t' Nita. No /way/ was anythin' gonna happen on my watch.

Then I hear him scream "LOBO! HELP US!".

An' then th' sounds of a fight.

No way. No way.

No /way/ are they getting to Nita.

Oh yeah. Parademons. I can take 'em. Can take all of them.

All of them.

An' they're comin'...

...yeah, this is it...

...comin' for ya, Nita...

...they're nothin'...

...they can't stop me...

...comin' for ya...

...Nita's screamin'... name...

...screamin' my name...

...comin' for ya, Nita...

...ain't nothin' gonna stop me...

....nothin'... last...

...the Racer...

...and then...




An' then I woke up.

An' I /knew/ pretty much somethin' was wrong.

Smaller, weaker, than the others.

Saw myself in the hulls. Yellow eyes. /Yellow/. Not red... yellow.


'Cause that's what I was. Yellow. /Scared/.

Smaller, weaker...' I didn't wanna die.

Not again.

Not... after that.

Waited till all the other Lobos stomped off, got the parts we needed for the ship, fixed it up...

...hesitated a long time, over that one. Longer than I should've.

An' then I came in.

T'other Lobos took care of the guys who'd fragged them - an' who wanted t' frag the guys - while I got the guys outta there hell for leather.

An' they're comin' onboard, babblin' questions, an' they're never gonna stop till they find out what happened.

So I tell them.

Then I turn round...

...and ya know what gets me? What gets me t'most?

The looks on their faces.

It's one thin' ta see it on your /own/ face...

...but seein' it on theirs?


Whatever happened, ain't no goin' back.

Not now.

And... didn't /wanna/ see that look on their faces, y'know? It's gonna be a look I get whenever I go out there...

...but seein' it on /their/ faces?

And maybe I deserve that.

'Cause I ran. I hid.

Lobo would never've done that.

But I did.

Which means I ain't Lobo.

Not now. Maybe not for a long time.

But I still got a set of wheels. An' I still got the talk.

Don't have the muscle... but I got the talk, and the brain.

All I got. Have ta do for now.

It's gonna be a long haul effort, pullin' myself outta this...

Hell, they've seen me at my worst. After /this/, there ain't much more I /can/ do.

If they can live with /that/, they can live with anythin'.

Gettin' back up there, gettin' out there...

...once ya hit bottom, ain't nowhere to go but up.

An' /yeah/, I /can/ go anywhere, do anything.

But one thing I ain't gonna do...

Ain't no way I'm gonna let them die.

No way.

None of them.

Not Blondie, not Spooky, not Wondy, not the Superidiot...

...not Nita...

...ain't none of them're gonna die, long as I'm round.

I know what it's like.

I was there.

An' I /ain't/ lettin' it happen to any of them.

I shouldn't care 'bout that.

But I do.

You wanna make somethin' of it?




Copyright 2001 Imran Inayat.