Post by Charlie on Jun 19, 2019 11:33:53 GMT -5
Issue #1: “Discoveries”
Written by Don Walsh
Cover by Borize
Edited By Patrick J. Nestor, Jr.
Act I: Mayhem Adjourns the Meeting!
It was an elegant restaurant, with white linen tablecloths and a full array of silver for the courses. Three men sat around this table in this atmospheric room, talking in barely restrained voices.
“So you’ve managed to find a way to control the fluctuations in the quanta in relationship to the stability of the surrounding elements?” the eldest of the three men asked. He was well-dressed, his suit impeccably tailored to his aging body. Short gray hair topped the weathered face, but bright brown eyes peered out like those of a young man.
The blond man at the table looked tired but happy. His ill-fit suit looked out of place on him. He sipped at a glass of wine and gave the older man a big grin. “Indeed, Dr. Van Dyne. Bill and I were able to derive a serum that turns flux levels into a chemical equation, permitting safe bonding.”
“Hank’s being too modest,” Bill Foster offered up with a soft clap of on the blond man’s shoulder. Bill was a tall, lanky African-American who wore an inexpensive suit but wore it with style; unlike his friend. “The serology was all his. I just helped him refine some of the receptors is all.”
“Well, I’m just thrilled,” Vernon Van Dyne said as he beamed. “Now that you can combine this…’quantum compound’, what’s the next step?”
“We’re hoping to test out various applications against different elements,” Hank Pym explained as he drained his glass. He glanced around, and then looked at his watch. “We’re hoping that we can refine the serum to make specific fluctuations occur for different effects. First up will be miniaturization.” He twisted around again in his seat and then asked, “Shouldn’t Janet be here by now?”
Bill filled the three wine glasses as he chuckled. “Hank, will you settle down? She’ll be here. You know her, she’s probably only just tried on her fourth outfit at this point.”
He and Vernon chuckled as Hank looked at the two men with a sheepish grin. “The Count said he would fly in this afternoon to see the initial results. He’s going to be very happy.”
Vernon sipped his wine and nibbled at a warm roll. “I wish you would take Jan up on her offer to fund you two. I know you’re both close to her, and that makes you uncomfortable taking money from her, but I just don’t trust this Count Luchino.” He chewed on the roll and then swallowed some more wine. “Even if he is your former father-in-law, Hank.”
“I have to agree with Dr. Van Dyne,” Bill said. “I’m not sure I really like getting help from Jan, but there’s more about the Count that bothers me every day.”
“I know, I know,” Hank admitted as he sank back into his chair. “But he’s done okay by us up until now. It would see odd, even…ungrateful to cut him out at the point that we’re making real strides.” Hank looked over his shoulder again, and once more to his watch as Bill merely shook his head and chuckled.
However, even Vernon Van Dyne snuck a peek at his watch and wondered about his wayward daughter.
Janet Van Dyne stepped out of the sprawling mansion and lightly stepped to the waiting limousine. She held her pixie-like face up to the blue sky and let the gentle breeze caress her flawless skin. Clad in a new black and red-trimmed suit of her own design, it hugged her slender curves and elfin body. Bobbed auburn hair swayed in the breeze as she headed for the opened rear door of the stretched formal car. Her chauffeur stood by, dashing in his blue suit and dark tie. His glittering brown eyes trailed quickly over Janet’s body and he smiled broadly at her approach.
“Time for the big lunch, Ms. Van Dyne,” David Cannon stated as he gave a short nod of his head.
She entered the limousine with a smile and a bounce and nodded back at him. She gave David’s cheek a gentle pat and said, “Absolutely, David. And it’s Janet. How many times do I have to tell you that, you silly goose?”
“I think that will be the last time,” he replied as his smile turned into a sly, almost mischievous, grin. He then closed the door behind her and headed for the driver’s seat.
The car started up and then headed out. Jan double-checked her make-up in a compact before pulling out a palm pilot and checking her schedule.
“Busy day, Ms. Van Dyne?” David asked her as he took the elegant black vehicle onto the highway, headed out of Long Beach and towards Manhattan.
“Yes it is, apparently,” she answered as she jotted down a note. “And there you go again, avoiding my first name. Whatever will I do with you?”
“I’m sure we’ll think of something… Janet.” She thought she noticed a tone in his voice, a different tone than ever before, which caught her attention for a moment before she returned to the planner. David glanced at her through the rear-view mirror before turning the limo onto the highway headed to Brooklyn.
Janet finished her work on the palm pilot and then finally looked up. The scenery was unknown to her and she looked around, then towards the driver.
“David, where are we going?” the young woman asked in a curious voice.
“Someplace where we can get better acquainted, Jan,” David replied as he spared her another glance. He hit a button and locked the doors of the car.
“Jan?” she repeated with irritation. “Maybe that’s a bit too familiar. Now head to the restaurant and I’ll forget this whole incident.” Her slim arms crossed over her chest in a demanding fashion as she sneaked her hand to her bag.
“I don’t think so, Jan honey,” David answered. He turned towards the exit to Brooklyn with casual ease. “Oh and I took the liberty of giving your cell phone the day off.” Jan looked up to see him with a leer in his face through the mirror. “We’re going to get to know each other very well, just like you’ve been wanting.
Janet found she was gritting her teeth in frustration as the limousine swung through the narrow streets of Brooklyn, old run-down storefronts and rows of duplexes passing her by. She pulled out her palm pilot after leaning to the other side of the backseat. She feigned an attempt to force the door open as she grabbed her machine. “You took my cell phone? That’s just mean!” she said indignantly. “How’s a girl supposed to survive without her cell phone?”
David continued to maneuver the fancy car through the streets, a smug look on his face. “I couldn’t have you calling for help, Jan. I don’t want anything ruining our day together.”
“Hmph!” she grunted as she fingers flew over the pilot’s controls. “Guess you’re just too smart for me.”
…back at the restaurant, the three men nursed drinks and all looked nervous now. The phone in Vernon’s pocket rung and he quickly snatched it up, taking a quick glance at the ID screen first. “Jan’s secretary,” he told his companions then lifted the phone to the side of his face.
As Hank and Bill looked on with concern, Vernon nodded and shook while he listened to the woman on the other end of the line. Finally, he closed the device up slowly.
“She’s been kidnapped,” Vernon said in a hushed voice. Bill and Hank sputtered, a rush of questions stampeding over Vernon’s ears. “Boys! Please! Her chauffeur drove off with her. Myra got an email through her palm pilot. They’re in Brooklyn, and Myra’s called the police.”
“Well let's get down there!” Bill said as he stood up so fast his chair tipped over. His face was filed with anger. “Come on, we can take my car!”
Vernon followed as Hank trailed behind them. His heart pounded, but he knew that he had to try what was now racing through his mind.
“Have Myra tell us where the police are headed,” Bill said as the two men split up to flank his car. “I’m hoping Jan will be able to tell her.”
“I’ll follow in my car,” Hank said as he moved past the two men. “You lead the way.”
The two cars pulled out from the lot, but soon after, Hank had turned his car away, headed for the lab as he took a last glance at his companions’ car.
“Where is Henry going?” Vernon asked when he saw the other car turn away.
“Probably got afraid of what might happen,” Bill said with a small shake of his head. “Great guy, smartest fellow I’ve ever run into, but just no good with confrontations. Any word from Myra?”
“Yes,” Vernon answered, his face going pale. “Another message came in before having to sign off, but we have an address.”
“Don’t worry, professor,” Bill said with his face set in a grimace. “The cops are on their way, and we’ll be there soon.” He pressed harder on the gas pedal and the car sped down the highway.
Act II: Detour Into Danger!
“This is Brenda Kane, reporting for NewsCenter 5, here on Bookman Avenue in Brooklyn, the scene of a brewing hostage crisis. According to police reports, fashion mogul Janet van Dyne is within the two-story home behind me, held captive by what reports state is her chauffeur, David Cannon.”
The calm, dispassionate professional woman gripped her microphone and stared with earnest intent into the camera held by her partner. Occasionally, she allowed a glance towards the old, beaten building to her rear as she spoke.
“Police have cordoned off the area, but officials state that Cannon is armed and considered dangerous and authorities are waiting for professional negotiators to arrive and take over.”
A commotion caught Brenda’s attention as two men pushed through the crowd of onlookers; a larger black man leading the way for a distraught older Caucasian gentleman. Sensing a new direction to further her story, as a shark senses wounded prey, Brenda made a bee-line towards the pair.
“Excuse me please, sirs, Brenda Kane, Channel 5 news,” she declared herself as she met with them at the police line. “Who are you and can you shed any light on these events?”
The two men ignored her and tried to cross the caution tape. When a police officer stepped up in front of them, the older fellow said, “Please, I’m Vernon van Dyne! That’s my daughter Janet in there!”
The cop looked unsure, but a glance at a plainly dressed superior convinced him to lift the tape up and admit them, leaving Brenda to stare after their passage. “Janet van Dyne’s father has now arrived on the scene, no doubt applying further pressure on the police to resolve this matter peacefully. For now, this is Brenda Kane, NewsCenter 5, reporting.”
The woman could be called adorable and she turned several heads as she moved through the busy terminal. Elegantly dressed in a professional suit, her skirt flared at the knees, the deep blue casting little shine from the lights. Her full brown hair flowed over to the middle of her back, while ice-blue eyes scanned the crowds moving around her. She walked quickly, with a purpose in her stride, while she clutched her purse to her chest. She was slim, and she was attractive, and she was also clearly nervous.
She stopped at a convenience stand, looking over magazines with mild interest, and took a moment to dart her attention around her.
“Maria? Maria Trovaya?” came a deep, resonant voice. The tall man approached her, looking very dashing in the black turtleneck and slacks, a deep blue coat setting off the stylish ensemble. He had dark brown eyes, and short well-groomed black hair, and he exuded a confidence in his every moment and mannerism. “That is you, right? Long time no see.” His face offered a warm smile to the nervous woman.
Maria seemed to relax when the man arrived. She turned from the periodicals and gave a wan, but sincere, smile of her own. “Doctor Pym. I’m so glad you came to meet me,” she said in a deep, smooth voice. The accented English pricked charmingly against the man’s ears, and he smiled wider.
“Maria, please,” he encouraged as he took on of her hands in his. “Call me Greg. Dr. Pym is my brother. I see no reason why we can’t be more than in-laws anymore, all right?”
Her smile cracked a little further apart and she nodded. “Of course, Gregory… and thank you. I had no idea where to turn.”
“Not a problem, Maria,” he answered as he started to lead her away. “I know how things can be… how he can be. Come on, let’s get you settled in and we’ll figure out a future for you.”
Maria nodded again and followed Gregory Pym out of the airport.
David Cannon slowly peered out of the window, then quickly turned back to look at Janet van Dyne. He ran a hand through long blond locks and shook his head, eyes narrowed cruelly as he appraised his prisoner.
Janet looked disheveled, but hid her nervousness under a veneer of confidence.
“Just walk out and surrender to the police, David,” she said to him, trying to sound calm and concerned for him. “I won’t press charges, we’ll just get you help. It will all work out.”
He took a menacing step towards her and curled his mouth in a sneer. His hand reached out to a nearby dresser and snatched up the pistol in his hand.
“Dammit, Janet!” he snarled. “How? How did they get here? I was just gonna grab my sedan here and we’d be gone!” He looked over at the window, and then back to Janet once more. “We’re soul-mates! Don’t talk to me like that! That’s how Mom used to talk to me. So don’t talk to me like that!”
Janet watched as he lifted the gun shakily at her and she nodded. “How do you think you’ll get away with this then? David, you’ll be killed.” She tried to give him a sweet look with those soft blue eyes, that slender adorable face. “That would be terrible.”
David stared at her for long, tense minutes of silence and then turned away and stalked back to the window. “Just so you bastards know what’s what, I’m armed and I’m not giving up my soul-mate!” He fired a shot out of the window into the air to emphasize the facts. “Never,” he muttered more softly, spoken for her benefit as she spared her a lingering look.
From a nearby backyard, the blond-haired, blue-eyed scientist named Henry Pym shuddered at the sound of the shot. He closed his eyes and swallowed hard as he held the syringe in his hand. He shook and he breathed hard, and railed inwardly at himself for such a stupid, hare-brained scheme. The lab coat scratched against bare skin.
“This will never work,” he muttered again, out loud this time. He closed his eyes, lifted up an arm and clenched his fist. He partly opened one eye and plunged the needle into his arm, pressing the brownish fluid into his vein.
And then the world went white around him. He could see nothing as he looked around, then upwards. His heart raced faster than ever as sweet and cloying air assailed his nostrils. Then he realized that the white world was just his lab coat heaped like a mountain around him, the swiftness of his heart due to his new size as much as his panic. The smell of fertilizer-fed grass pressed in on him and he looked around to see the jungle that surrounded him.
“Yes!” he screamed. “It worked! God damn it, it worked!”
Hurriedly, he pulled out the small padded latex garment from a nearby inside pocket. He donned it fast, impressed with its fit for a non-tailor. He stretched himself out in the dull red suit, and then pulled out a black belt which he wrapped around his waist. He patted the thick buckle protectively, and then slipped what looked like a cell phone from a pouch on his belt. He pressed a button and two slender antenna slid out.
“Now to see if my hobby pans out as well,” Henry said as he burrowed under his jacket and out into the gargantuan bright green world. He glanced around and began to speak into the odd, jury-rigged phone.
He continued to look, trying to get his bearings, and not able to see much beyond the immediate forest of grass. Soon, a loud buzz of wings could be heard, and some of the green parted to permit the arrival of an ant.
Henry stared at the gigantic, segmented alien form. He hand always been an amateur entomologist from early youth, and never once found an insect that bothered him. But the horse-sized flying beast now landing near him made him step back with wide eyes. Antennae swiveled to take in the tiny human, bizarre eyes looking him over slowly. Henry stared up into the mandibles that he knew could slice him in half, and nearly fainted.
“Oh my God!” Henry gasped. With fumbling hands, he hit a button on his belt and then spoke into the phone. He watched the antennae cease to flutter in agitation, and the insect settled against the ground with a nod of its head. “He’s actually letting me ride him. Good Lord, I made this work too.” Henry was stunned at his successes as he felt the cool, slick exoskeleton under him while he settled onto the ant. “Okay, fella, let’s you and me go save the day.”
With a lurch, the ant hurtled into the air and Henry struggled to contain his nausea. The massive world spun around him, eyes unused to such a massive reorientation of scale and perspective battling with the sloshing of his inner ear from the violent, unusual flight. But Henry held on, and spoke rapidly once more into the phone before pocketing it back into the pouch.
The insect soared around the house and finally alighted on a sill, the same window sill that had so recently witnessed David Cannon’s warning shot. Henry Pym slid off with little grace or control, but with presence of mind to press a pair of buttons on the buckle. The ant nodded its head and twitched stalks in appreciation as it flew off. Then Henry looked up and fiddled with a different set of controls elsewhere on the belt.
Inside the room, David Cannon still peered out of that self-same window. Looming ominously over the scarlet speck of a hero, David paid the insect no mind, focusing on the array of blue lights and blue uniforms. Suddenly, a powerful sting cut across the stalker’s jaw, burrowing a thin trail through skin and drawing blood. Cannon took a step back and clutched his free hand over the red line.
“What is it?” Janet asked, daring to stand up and looking at Cannon with visible concern now.
“Something…stung me?” He pulled his hand back and looked at the small smear of blood in confusion. His eyes darted around the room.
Henry Pym landed on the dresser and cracked the top from his focused weight. He patted the new set of controls with a smile. “Fluctuator works too. Man, maybe I am a genius. Wow! I kept my strength despite my size. Quantum physics, you are a dream.” He grinned and then realized he was talking to himself. “Got to stop that,” he chastised himself. With a grin, he hurled himself with powerful legs, and crashed into Cannon’s cheek this time. Henry felt the boots break skin and sink into the shallow flesh until bone stopped his momentum. David gave another yelp and cursed as he stepped back from the window. Instinctively, his hand flew up to slap the insect on his face, but Henry could see the gargantuan attack as if it were slow motion. With a sharp tug, he pushed off of David and landed on the floor.
“Shit! Dammit! This hurts!” David swore as he slapped his face. Janet giggled nervously at the sight, and made David whirl around in fury, gun leveled at her chest. “Shut up! Shut up! This was supposed to be easy, you were supposed to make it easy, damn it!”
Henry stood on the floor and felt the thunderous words cascade throughout the room. David was deteriorating and there wasn’t much time, he realized. But even with his full strength, he was too small to make a big enough impact.
“Calm down, Dave, don’t get upset, we’ll work this all out, you’ll see,” Janet tried to soothe the crazed man down.
Henry’s hand struck the last button on his buckle and felt the jolt rush travel through him. Nothing happened at first, and Henry panicked that his luck had finally run out. Suddenly though, he could feel the air growing less oppressive around him. He took a fast dash as the world around him shrunk at incredible speed. He completed the shooting growth under David’s bloodied chin, and the sudden uppercut crashed into the jaw hard and loud, sending the gunman to the floor.
Janet heard an odd tearing sound, a heavy ripping and her eyes were glued to the explosion of smooth flesh color that interposed between her and the prone David. She giggled again and put a hand over her mouth to keep from losing control.
“Why, Dr. Pym,” she said as she gazed with the eyes of a fascinated young lady in lust. “This is a side of you I never expected to see.”
Henry turned and stared at Janet and exhaled long and heavy to see her safe. His eyes met hers and then followed her gaze down to his naked body. He flushed crimson and the fainting sensation returned.
“Oh boy,” he muttered.
TO BE CONTINUED!