The Fantastic Has-Beens: Something Just Aint Right Bout Those Folks

January 09, 2016:

The Fantastic Four get a bit closer to finding out what's really up with the Frightful Four

New York

Big Apple


NPCs: Wizard, Sandman, Trapster



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Baxter Building
2:34 PM

Reed Richards lets out a terrible sigh and shakes his head slightly as he continues to scrub one of the bathrooms in the Baxter Building. It's pretty inglorious work, but these sorts of things have to happen over the weekend because they cannot occur during the weekday.

"It's not that bad, Johnny," Reed says as he scrubs the tilework on his hands and knees. "Furlough days are furlough days and if this sort of thing is good enough for our janitor staff, then it is good enough for us when our janitor staff has to take unpaid days off."

He looks back towards the Storms, but it's questionable whether his heart is actually in the statement.

"It's fine, Reed," Sue reassures. In sweatpants and a t-shirt with her hair pulled back into a loose twist, she's scrubbing the toilets with rubber gloves to protect her hands. "And Johnny, if you suggest making yourself into an autoclave and heat-sterilizing everything, you can be the one to mop up all the water from the sprinklers."

"Believe me," Johnny grumbles from inside one of the stalls. "The thought crossed my mind at least seven times!" The statement is followed by a *thud* of head on porcelain, and a very grumbly, "Ow."

Backing out on his hands and knees, Johnny Storm is regrettably wearing one of his older F4 uniforms, strictly given how tempted he is to do as Sue warned against him doing. Stripping the latex gloves off, he settles back on his rump and sighs. "Human Torch? More like the Human Lurch. I think I'm gonna be sick."

"It could be worse," Reed says, giving Johnny a sympathetic look. "It could—"

Suddenly, the soft yellow warning lights begin to hum on and hum off, notifying the team of an ongoing emergency.

"H.E.R.B.I.E? Update," Reed says as he gets to his feet. He, too, reaches to pull off his latex gloves.

"Sir, odd phenomena is occurring in Battery Park. We are receiving reports of odd discrepancies with physical science, and structural damage to several of the older buildings surrounding the park. It seems, sir, as if they are literally being ripped apart!"


The southern tip of Manhattan looks as though a snow-globe was shaken and set upon a table, but rather than snow it's motorvehicles, trees, park benches, traffic lights, and people that are floating in the air and, slowly, making their way higher and higher.

A wide-eyed business woman screams as the pearls on her neck, her purse, and one of her pumps begins to float into the air. It doesn't take long, but she eventually gives flight as well. It seems like anything that is not securely fastened to the ground is trying to leave the ground and head up towards the Earth. From afar, the debris looks like bread crumbs on a pale sky, blue table.

The Fantasticar screams in from the north carrying Sue in the pilot seat and Reed running the science from the co-pilot seat in the cockpit straight behind her. The white plane weaves in between the buildings as Reed tries to get more information.

"Several buildings are about to tear apart. We have thousands of objects up here in the sky and I cannot get a fix on why this is happening," he says, part fascinated, part terrified.

"Emergencies to the rescue," Sue smiles ruefully back at her brother, tossing the toilet brush aside to get into uniform and warm up the Fantasticar. As she flies toward the debris, she throws a small field up to deflect what she can as she flies. "We're not going to be able to stay up here with all of this going on, Reed," she points out, wincing as a bike bounces off of her shield. "Can you triangulate a source?"

A raging ball of fire soars through the sky in formation with the Fantasticar. The fireball slows up and comes in closer to the vehicle, revealing a face amidst the flame. "And there's no way we can get everyone back down to earth," he calls back, answering Sue. "Not with only three of us -" The word is cut off as he ducks low to avoid striking a floating Retriever, the brown dog barking madly into the air.

"Whoa! Sorry, Ubu! Close call!"

The Human Torch will feel a hard push as the spread of the force now ensares him as well. The pressure is all encompassing and constant, as if the ground itself is pushing up against him, raising the young hero higher and higher. But he can press against it; he can get lower, but it will take some strong effort.

The Fantasticar feels the same push. Well, sort of anyways. The force collides with Sue's shielding, forcing it upwards, while the Fantasticar sort of drops down lower and closer to the edge like a marble in a balloon.

"Whatever it is, the energy signature is being masked somehow. I don't see anything here. Anything, and that's the odd thing," Reed says. "There should be trace readings of normal energy output: city power, StarkPods, toaster ovens. There's nothing."

From below, the Trapster can be seen running along the ground. He first a shot upwards that ensares that earlier business woman and fastens her in place!

"Nice shot, Pete!" exclaims the Sandman as he begins to grow in stature, several stories now, and begins to reach out to try and grab the floating people!

"Nothing?" Sue struggles with the controls for a moment, grimacing as she looks out the window. "That's not very promising." As the villains show up to play, she twists in her seat, slapping a few of the controls to engage the autopilot. "All right. Whatever it is, the fields seem to be able to hold up against it. I'm going to try skimming the area with one and see if we can see a reduction in effect in any particular area."

"Augh!" exclaims Johnny Storm. "It's got me!" He twists in the air and aims downward, then fired a blast of flame behind him. It's not strong enough at first; he simply hangs in the air, face toward the ground, hovering.

"Guys, is it me, or… is it kinda weird that those guys aren't caught up in this?" The Human Torch glowers at the would be bullies down below. He has a sinking feeling that somehow, they're behind all of this. How else would they not be affected?

"I swear, if they're causing this just to one up us…" Johnny Storm is not pleased.

"I think you might be on to something," Reed says gravely as the fantastic family is almost impotent in helping the people floating in the air (aside from the ones protected by Sue's shielding).

"I'm not sure how they-" But Reed cuts short. There, floating in the sky with arms out wide, and blue energy crackling all over him, the Wizard seems to be keeping his allies stuck to the ground. The dark bearded man lets out a guttural scream of movie-style epic amazeballs goodness and Really Turns His Powers on!

Suddenly, those who were floating upwards crest, stop, and begin to slowly pull back down towards the Earth.

Wizard, Trapster, and Sandman begin snaring people and pulling them back down to the Earth.

"Wait, where's Medusa?" Reed asks.

Sue reaches out with her powers and is able to 'find the ends' of the force. In all it's circular and roughly 5 city blocks in diameter. The force is uniform, as if a platform is rising up out of the sky. All until the Wizard begins to counteract it with his awesome might.

"Reed, honey. We really need to talk to someone," Sue says as she focuses on finding out what she can about the force. "In general. Not personally, but really more on a professional level. Something to work on marketing for some of our work to improve our funds at the Baxter Building."

As she finds the edges of the field, she glances out the window to see the rogues gallery assembled outside. "And maybe a little publicity would help with the quality of our enemies," she adds ruefully. "This field is five blocks across, I'm not going to be able to suppress all of it."

"I'll bet you Medusa's at the center of that field," Johnny answers. What he doesn't verbalize… is that he's wager she's behind it being there in the first place. "I'm going after her. Point me in the right direction!" He checks to assure his Torch-Resistant communication device is secured, before firing a maelstrom in his wake. Fire spews into the sky, and he begins to descend against the push of weird science, headed down and into the fray. He had a birds eye view of what was going on moments ago. It won't be hard to make way toward the center of things. Here's hoping his compatriots will be able to fine tune his vector.

The Wizard is still yelling, showing New York what heroism is all about, by laying it all on the line for these people, these New Yorkers he clearly loves. As time goes on, Sandman and the Trapster begin to ensnare larger and larger amounts of people, bringing them to safety!

"I'm not really sure, Johnny. My best guess would be right in the middle of the force. Sue, I can't triangulate a darn thing in this mess. Can you find a best guess from your powers? It's probably somewhere down in the sewers."

He sighs before looking down at the blonde hair of his soon to be bride. He knows she's right; that the way they've been operating has been focused on science and not on publicity. Perhaps Johnny has been right all along. Unless they truly give in to their celebrity instead of keeping it at arm's length, maybe they won't be able to pull out of this mess.

"We'll worry about it later, hon. Suffice to say, duly noted."

"Wait, are they- Johnny, slow down," Sue calls back to her brother, peering out the window at the chaos around them. "It looks like they're actually getting people out of this mess. I have no idea why and wouldn't be surprised if they set it up to do it, but…" At Reed's question, she closes her eyes to try to concentrate. "I can try, but going into the sewers probably won't help. I can't see down there. But maybe just…"

She forms a dome about the size of a van, starting to move it over the area around the center of the field. Theoretically, once it's over the source, it should stop the transmission of whatever is making things float.

The Human Torch continues his descent, until he's near street level. His body twists in a somersault, but before the force can push him up again, he raises both hands into the air and continues throwing fire skyward. "Sue, make sure that stuff doesn't hit anybody, okay?" Without her force fields, his skyward flame could cook someone in the air above him! "You might be right, but someone caused this mess and we need to bring them to justice!"

With his feet firmly on pavement, he begins walking the eerily quiet streets, fire raging above and forcing his body to stay down, since gravity ain't doing it for him. He's still headed for the center of everything, but knowing that Sue's forcefields will be occupied, he takes a different approach. Spreading his arms, the fire shoots upward in a fierce, conical shape, still providing enough force to do the job, but without putting anyone skyward at risk.

"Johnny, you'll want to get down into the sewers," Reed winces, not knowing how much resistance the young man might give to the idea of what might be down there and how it might smell and how it might hurt his image when the reporters come. But if Storm wants to find the source, it's a good bet it's down there. Off into the distance, Johnny can see the Wizard land towards the ground, get flanked by the Trapster and Sandman, and eventually by cheering throngs of people who are so very thankful for these three heroes who have saved them from everything here today.

Likewise, Johnny will feel the force dissipate and it becomes less and less difficult to keep himself down. Sue will also feel the edges begin to pull back and almost disappear.

Whatever started this thing is ending it. Or has been defeated by Wizard. Or something. Reed isn't sure.

"Where is Medusa? She's got to be around here somewhere."

"It's easing off, Reed," Sue reports back as the force against her field starts to fade, brows furrowing in confusion. "I don't understand. I don't understand any of this," she admits, grimacing as she looks back to the ground below. "Johnny, I know this seems to be over, but we really need to find some evidence of what just happened here. Not that I don't like the idea that these guys just decided to be good, but I'd rather know for sure."

"From stalls to sewers," quips Johnny. "All in a day's work."

Moments later, the young hero is climbing down into the sewers, upside down and using the rungs to pull himself against the steadily changing gravimetric forces. It's the quickest way to make downward progress at the moment, but when he finally reaches the underbelly of the city, he's able to stand on his own two feet. The rest of his body extinguishes, using his hands only to illuminate the area.

"I'm in," he reports over the communicator, and begins looking around for any sign of trouble, or anything that seems out of the ordinary.

"Ugh. It smells worse then Grimm's old socks in here."

Reed nods towards his fiance out of habit, even though she cannot see him. "Whoever is doing this is backing off. The question is if that person is on Wizard's side or not. Sue, can you put us down close to Johnny?"

"Grimm's old socks could be in there, who knows?" Reed says through the radio. Inside, the sewer opens to a large opening. Johnny's flames light the way ominously and the expanse. At first, there's nothing, but then, something strikes the young hero. The sides of the walls look like they've been scraped against recently. Almost as if something was here and slide against the walls. In short, there are disruptions in the slime.

"I can," Sue nods to Reed, letting the field beneath them dissipate and opening her eyes to guide the car back down to the street closer to where Johnny's gone underground, and away from most of the chaos of everything coming back to the ground. "Careful down there, Johnny."

"Oh, don't worry, sis. Worst thing's gonna happen to me down here is I'll slip on some… uh, some dookie, or something." There's a sort of anxiety in his voice that only his best friends would recognize. He sure would be glad to have Ben Grimm at his side right about now.

"Someone - or some thing's been down here. Recently." He treads in deeper, engulfing his hands with a bit more flame. He's well aware that too much fire down in the sewers could be… well, an explosive situation.

Once the Fantasticar has landed, Reed heads down into the sewer, presumably with Sue in tow. For extra lighting he's brought a handheld lamp. Through his expert engineering, the lamp can light up an entire room, despite being smaller than a flashlight.

As he joins his future brother-in-law, he peers at Johnny's find.

Then, looking back to Sue, "I think I can prove that the Wizard has been here. And that he created this whole thing."


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