To Catch a Thief or Two

January 26, 2017:

Scott infiltrates a HammerTech warehouse to investigate a potential Ant-Man prototype, only to catch a ride with a fellow thief with altogether different motives..



NPCs: Hank Pym, EVA



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…



Scott was both a thief and an engineer, and even felt like he had more pride than to go cribbing stuff from Hammertech. Waynetech? That was respectable. Stark Industries? Practically obligated. But Hammertech? Even Hank had doubts that they were capable of developing even the crudest imitation of his miniaturization technology when the rumors started circulating, but eventually shrugged his shoulders with the same drudgery Scott had felt ever since they started this crazy corporate jihad.

"Better check, just to make sure."

And so here Scott was, checking. He hadn't come across something that seemed terribly Ant-Mannish, if that was an adjective (and it totally was now), but there were a few quips and doodads that caught his attention as engineer. Bad iPhone knock-off, some gizmo Stark already did better, a hateful-looking robodog…man, it was starting to get a little depressing.

That was when he found the slug.

Not a gastropod, mind, but an actual piece of ammunition-a single lone bullet, to be precise. It was long, sleek, and made of an entirely black material that seemed to 'suck in' the soft ambient lighting of the warehouse, for lack of a better word. It was in a pretty carefully secured glass case that probably had some impressive sensors and stuff around, but miniaturizing got Scott past most of the scary stuff and into the casing with the bullet. "Hank, are you seeing this?" He buzzed in over the Ant-helmet's radio, eye's still on the bullet's strange, unknown material, "It looks really…weird. It definitely doesn't seem like it belongs with the rest of this crap."

"Hmm. What do you think? 'New York, New York'? Seems fitting, don't you say?"

«'My Way.'»

"You have too little faith in me. Or too much faith in Hammertech. I don't know which is more disappointing."

«Perhaps 'Something Stupid' would be more appropriate.»

"Hah. So cold. But I think I'd rather something more leisurely. How about…"


"'Swinging on a Star'?"


"Duly noted."

Just outside one of Hammertech's obscure and unimportant warehouses, a figure shrouded in so much white it might as well be a ghost slips in through an opened window. A guard passes by below. He seems not to notice.

By the time that figure is inside?

… Justin Hammer in all his three-piece suited glory casually slides his way past a pair of security guards. They nod to him, utter a surprised, "Mister Hammer, we didn't expect to see you—" but he doesn't seem to notice.

He's much too busy singing along to 'Swinging on a Star' as it fills his world via a pair of silvery earbuds, only pausing to pivot on a heel and fire off two fingerguns to his would-be employees.

Such an eccentric, that Hammer is, they surely mutter as he strolls on by.

"Oh would you like to swing on a star… carry moonbeams home in a jar… hum hum something, something something…"

«'And be better off than you are.'»

"I'm afraid I don't understand what that means."

«Of course you don't. Now, hold on while I take care of these locks…»

And so it goes, such that, when Ant-Man shrinks down, as he starts to approach that strange object, the heavily secured doors leading into Hammertech's closely guarded vault of subpar secrets hisses open with a hydraulic shunt. A voice, off in the distance. "You could be swinging, on a star! Perfect timing. What do you think?"

«I think you're too obsessed with that movie.»

"I think we can debate the merits of my impeccable taste later. Believe it or not, we should take this at least somewhat seriously. Now, let's see…"

The sound of footfalls echo throughout the otherwise empty warehouse. Growing closer… and closer. The deadpan sarcasm of that voice encroaches evermore.

"Ah. Look at all this wonderful, exciting dreck. Fantastic. Are you sure it's— … hm."

And that's when the all-white figure of Fantomex stops directly in front of that slug. Tilts his head to the side. Behind his mask, brows lift faintly. "… here. Perfect. EVA — if you would, please?"

The would-be most notorious mutant of Europe extents one, white-and-black hand. What was once earbuds at his ears melts down into so much liquid metal and slithers along his arm. Ballooons outward like a metallic parachute, tendrils extending to start methodically bypassing security systems and alarms in record time.

And Scott Lang gets all of half a second before he's engulfed within the grossly slick confines of a techno-organic blob as it just about consumes the entirety of that glass case.

As 'Justin Hammer' handily hums his way past security guards and various biometric measures to gain access to the warehouse's inner sanctum, Scott tried to solve the conundrum before him.

«Not any material I've ever seen before.» Hank Pym mused over their commlink «Looks like a syntehtic material, or…»

"Off-world?" Scott filled in the blank, still reeling from his own recent encounter with jackholes from another planet (See ish 5148-excelsior!), "You think this could be incident technology?!"

«Damn it Scott, stop calling it that!» Hank became completely sidetracked as his old man rant instincts kicked in «Do you have any idea how stupid it sounds when people call it 'the incident'?! It was an invasion, an alien invasion in the New York City! Just call it what it is! And he's not some 'Guy with a hammer' or 'The green guy', they're Thor and The Hulk! Doesn't anyone listen to the news anymore?!»

"Wow." Scott deadpanned, "Okay first, you totally need to get Hope to serve you some warm milk or something, because you are /cranky/ tonight." He waited for the opportune moment to hear the Pym heir groaning in the background, then added, "And second, nobody does that anymore. I'm just being hip with the kids and their generic lingo, I wanna be able to actually have a conversation with my daughter when she gets older."

As they quibble, the inescapable, thooming sound of human footsteps heard by miniaturized human ear drums (And the strange basal humming of some tune Scott was going go nuts trying to remember) alerted the world's tiniest thief to impending complications, "And third, someone is totally coming now, thanks a lot!"

With little time to get gone, Scott opts to hide behind the casing of the bullet instead and hope nothing seemed awry-it should be pretty hard to spot him with the naked eye, and even moreso if he stood in the shadow the slug was casting. Those hopes are dashed quite expertly when the other masker interloper deploys some sort of strange matrix goop to entrap the case-and the tiny man within it.

"Oh god oh god oh god" Scott mildly panics as as grips the smooth polish of the cell for dear life, "Please don't let this be the kind of goo that crawls inside of tiny cracks and spawns freaky tentactles."

Normally, Fantomex is a very astute and observant man. He has to be. But there's always something to be said for the unexpected. Like a man the size of an ant being swallowed up inside your living techno-biological nervous system before you can notice that faint by of movement from the corner of your eye.

And that's the story of how Scott Lang becomes the X-Factor. By being swallowed up within the glistening sleek insides of an ever-expanding, be-tentacled blob.

Lucky him.

For his part, the phantom thief seems not to notice poor Ant-Man before EVA has completely engulfed that container. Alarms, turned off. Security, bypassed. Right now, cameras play what Fantomex wants them to play. People see what he wants them to see.

"… All things considered, this was unsatisfying."

The voice that rings out next is one that Scott can hear — because it's echoing inside of his newfound, gloppy prison.

«Yes, well. You don't rob Hammertech for satisfaction, do you?»

"I suppose not. Let's take the alternate exit strategy. I don't want people knowing I stole something from here — it might ruin my reputation."

Dry amusement tinges on Fantomex's voice as he checks the inside of his coat and starts to walk away. By the time he reemerges from the vault, the men outside it will see Justin Hammer once more, dismissively waving off any attempt to distract or engage him. And that's how Fantomex ends up strolling out the front door.

Scott Lang, meanwhile, at least gets his wish: there's no tendrils trying to crawl inside tiny cracks for him. On the other hand, he does end up getting utterly drenched in liquid-metal goop as it warbles and floods around him to start disassembling and invading that glass case piece by piece.

Lucky Ant-Man.

Fortunately, it doesn't last too long. The goop recedes as quickly as it gushed in, and the dark world surrounding Lang suddenly expands and builds on itself in bizarre, criss-crossing cross hatches of metal goop, expanding and forming diffinitive, metallic structures all around him as that strange slug is lifted -up- off its pedestal. The goop, it seems, is flying. And growing. And growing, and growing…

By the time EVA flies out of an airduct in Hammertech, Ant-Man will find himself in what looks like the obnoxiously futuristic and alien cockpit of a ship, glowing lights and strange inscrutable monitors and consoles lining a sleek, circular chamber, with his Hammertech prize suspended upon a pedestal that literally grows out of liquid metal. It all looks like something crafted from a H.R. Giger concept piece. Really. Just bizarre.

He'll have time, at least, to take everything in, get his barings, before the escape hatch starts to hiss open — and a moment longer before the distinctively monochromatic form of Fantomex starts making his way in.

Since becoming Ant-Man, Scott has borne witness to many things he does not fully understand. In a lot of cases he doesn't really care to understand them, preferring to get in, do the job, and get out with zero complications like any proper burglar.

However, he did wish he understood what this metal goop was so as to have a better sense of whether or not he should be /flipping out/ as it filled the case and drenched. "Oh my god I hope i'm not going to die of mercury poisoning or something." Scott bemoaned as his captive case, now shrouded in darkness, moved to and fro in it's transport.

«Scott, what the hell is happening?!» Hank demanded over the commlink, but Scott heard nothing but static owing to whatever unique properties the medium that currently held him captive possessed.

While Fantomex skips and tunes his way back out of Hammertech as easily as he'd slipped in, the Ant-Man tried to leap about this impromptu prison and debated breaking out, dismissing the all-too tempting idea for the fact the he had no idea what he was walking into. However, that same gray goop was now making it's own impromptu exit, taking Scott and the black bullet on a discombulating journey that ended with him in a creepy looking ship that he imagined those lizard guys from the park might've had.

"Oh man, this keeps getting worse." Scott muttered, instinctively trying to get the /feel/ of the metal goop off of him even if there was no trace of it on him. Bad luck has it that he triggers the suit's sizing mechanism in his frenzy, inadvertently re-sizing just as the escape hatch hisses open to admit Fantomex.

Scott turns, looking at his white-masked captor with through semi-opaque, crimson hued lenses of the Ant-Man helmet.

He turns back to the black bullet, still strangely thrust upon it's creepy pedestal.

"So uh.." His head swivels back to Fantomex, "Funny meeting you….here?" His hand waves in a furtive greeting, "I'm Ant-Man. Hi."

«Fantomex, something's wrong. Biometric scans are picking up an unknown lifeform aboard—»

And just as Fantomex steps aboard, Ant-Man helps solve EVA's beffudling conundrum by suddenly expanding out of Fun Size mode right inside that cockpit. The hatch closes with a steady hiss as Fantomex stares, blankly, at the masked, crimson-lensed face of his uninvited guest.

"Yes, EVA, thank you," he intones flatly. "Somehow I managed to put that together."

A moment of tense, awkward silence passes between the white-clad phantom thief and the red…ish… thief…ish… superhero…ish. Fantomex tilts his head to the side, brows furrowing inward into a bemused knot as if trying to suss out just who his unintended shipmate is supposed to actually… be.

'I'm Ant-Man. Hi.'

"Oh. Of course. The man who shrinks and grows calls himself Ant-Man. That makes a bamboozling degree of sense."

The phantom thief lifts his hand. Returns the wave with a gracious one of his own.

"Well. Bonjour, Monsieur Ant-Man. I am sure you are popular somewhere with… someone… and this is all a great honor for me, in some way."

His voice is utterly dry; and if it doesn't manage to sell the man's dripping sarcasm, maybe the swift way he looks to draw one of his ceramic, white handguns and level it right in the direction of Scott's heart will help bring the point home. Or. Where his heart is supposed to be. Who knows, with someone who calls themselves Ant-Man.

"So I hope you'll one day forgive me for my shameful etiquette as a host if I very calmly ask you—"

The escape hatch opens. Ocean waters churn below.

Far below.

… Far, far below.

"—to please kindly jump out of my ship."

"Thanks." Scott says, either completely unaware or deftly ignoring Fantomex's brand of sarcasm, "I didn't come up with it. Kinda fell into the name." He tries to scratch his head, then remembered he was wearing a helmet, "Well I mean, I think i'm getting my name out there, you know? There was thing with some lizard aliens a few days ago, and I think I..uh.."

The slow, sure bead of a gun drawing on Scott's chest interrupted his recounting, eyes widening his hands instinctively reached from the air, wishing he had an easy way to access the the shrinking shurikens that came with the suit. Mental note: Ask Hank about a wrist launcher or something he gets out of this.

"Noooow I get it, you weren't complimenting me at all! You were doing that debonair, suave french guy saying-one-thing-and-meaning-the-opposite bit on me the whole time!" Scott pointed somewhat accusingly, hands still raised, as the escape hatch winked open behind and gave him a startling view to the roaring ocean beneath. "Wow, okay, you got very far, very fast in this thing. Yikes, wow, okay."

With an unseen, tight-lipped grimace, Scott carefully considered his options between a bullet and dip in the sea, quite unsure how the Ant-Man suit would fare in water. "Look, I mean.." He edges just a bit backwards, but not too far, "This is all just a big misunderstanding. I was in their looking for something else, happened across this weird bullet, and I got scooped up by your weird metal goop! I wasn't looking for it, i'm not interested in it! Could we, you know, at least get over some ground first? I don't swim well in this at all."

As he tries to stall for time, Scott frantically tries to broadcast to any and all ants in the area, hoping the ship isn't as impeccably pest-free as it looks and that maybe Fantomex left croissant flakes somewhere.

"Well, everyone has to start somewhere," is Fantomex's conversational aside, even as trains that gun on his would-be guest. "Making your start with lizard aliens seems a bit of a cliché to me, but who am I to judge?"

His tone suggests he is exactly the one to judge.

Not that he isn't gracious and patient in waiting for Scott to clue in to that classic Frenchman sarcasm. When it comes, his head tilts, brows lifting behind that white mask as the winds roar deafeningly beneath them. "Yes. It's a deeply rooted defense mechanism. I suppose it could be worse. I could be trying terribly to play the fool. I'd apologize, but, well—" He gestures vaguely, with his free hand.

Defense mechanism, snark, etc.

"—wouldn't want to ruin my image."

His voice barely carries over the roaring slosh of the ocean beneath them, but still, he manages to make it work somehow. The monochromatic thief's gun never wavers for a second, even as he listens patiently to Lang speak. Even as Scott reaches out with that broadcast. Unfortunately — there doesn't seem to be hide or hair of ant-life. Inside the ship, at least; outside might be another matter, of course. In fact, everything inside seems remarkably, impossibly clean. Like it literally just got off of whatever weird, scifi horror assembly line it came from.

"Hm," begins Fantomex, tone thoughtful. "Let it not be said I'm not reasonable." That gun lifts, slowly. The hatch starts to shut. It might be a sort of comfort. Except—

"EVA, if you would, please."

—except for the tendrils of liquid metal that seem to drip their way out of the ceiling above Scott to surround him before they all forge into strange, insectoid appendages. What they are is a mystery.

Though from the way they spark with pent up electricity, 'cattle prod' is probably a fair guess.

Fantomex, meanwhile, falls back into the cockpit seat, turning it around to face his guest with the tilt of his head. "Let's negotiate, shall we? Here are my conditions. One — the bullet is mine." It's not, really, but he took it, so — it might as well have belonged to him to begin with, right? "As such, it stays with me. Two — tell me just what you were looking for in -Hammertech- of all places. I feel like I need a shower simply being there. I am almost ashamed for both of us. And… three."

Fantomex leans back, pats the arm of his chair almost consolingly.

"Apologize to EVA. 'Weird metal goop' is offensive to her people. And she has a tragically delicate self-image."

He'll wait.

Okay, the guy wasn't just strutting around with the image of the suave and debonair french thief, he was pretty perceptive as well. Scott felt his lips tighten when the other man called him on playing the fool, and his head began to run the numbers on what he had at his disposal if Fantomex decided to stop humoring him. There is a brief, tensed moment between to the two thieves, both fingers on their respective triggers (In Scott's case, his shrink button), waiting to see who moved first.

The hiss of the portal and it's watery promise of doom snapping shut let that same tension out of Scott's shoulders like an untied balloon, "Ha! Oh man, thanks. See, it's like I tell my kid: Show people a little reason and you'll always find them…"

Scott froze in the half-step he was taking, slowly lifting his arms back up as the same metallic substance that brought him here now arrayed itself in a frightening configuration of unfriendly-looking bug zappers, "…willing to meet you halfway."

He probably would've had little trouble shrinking before Fantomex could shoot him, but Scott didn't like his chances so much against whatever superhuman reflexes the thief's steely companion was capable of. On the bright side, while his captor rattles of his lists of demands the Ant-Man helmet picked up a nugget of activity on the hull of the ship-seems a cluster of ants managed to get picked up along for the ride. Scott began gently coaxing them into the innards of their flying conveyance just in case this all started to go even further south, all the while grateful his helmet his the shit-eating grin on his face.

"Like I said, I wasn't after the bullet, enjoy it." There's a moment of deliberation where Scott wonders how much of his purpose he should reveal for Hank's sake, but Fantomex seems to be completely unrelated to the matter in the first place, "Well, let me put it this way-I was there to make sure they /didn't/ have something. And as far as I could tell, they didn't. Case closed. And for the record, i'm not any prouder of being there than you are."

He chews on the last request for a moment, but decides it's way better than being subjected to whatever horrid kinds of Scott-torture these sparking appendages could come up with, "Oh, well, umm…EVA.." He turns to the prod that seems the least terrifying, "I'm…very sorry if I offended you. I uh, honestly didn't know you had a people or something like that, and i'm sure you're a…very fine person of metal?" He looks back over to where Fantomex sits, lifting his shoulder as if to say 'Huh? Huh?'

Silence reigns for a long and unpleasant moment as Fantomex settles his hands into his lap and turns those cool blue eyes on his fellow thief. Or. Superhero thief. Always so complicated. A quiet moment in which the Frenchman just makes a note of even the smallest changes in his companion's body language… and then they'll both feel the motion of the ship making a gradual turn.

"Your kid," Fantomex echoes, slowly. "Hm. You should probably reconsider instilling them with such relentless optimism, oui?"

This is the parental advice that Fantomex, who has never been and with any luck will never be a father, confidently supplies as if it was just an inescapable matter of fact. Ants crawl across the hull of the ship, but even as scanners pick up those minute life forms, -whatever- is controlling the thing seems to ignore them; insects are insects, after all.

Not that it makes Fantomex's eyes any less keen. There's silence once more as Scott explains his situation, and just what he was after — or rather, does anything -but- explain in a way -just- vague enough that, well… piques Fantomex's curiosity, if the faint arch of his brow is any indication.

"So. You broke in to spy, and steal if you had to," surmises Fantomex. "Which means it must have been something important to you, if you were going to Hammertech to find it, whose only reputation is a sterling talent for stealing other people's innovations and parading them as their own." Fantomex's fingers tap against each other once. Twice. He considers that suit, scarcely looking like he's paying attention as Scott offers his apologies. To the horrifying prod-appendage. He certainly doesn't respond as Scott looks over at him, at least, eyes downcast at a little data readout. Instead—

"<It's quite alright, Mr. Ant,"> —another voice responds, tinny but distinctly feminine, seeming to come from everywhere and nowhere — or maybe more accurately… coming from the ship itself. "<I have no people to speak of. And I, unlike some I know, actually have a rather sturdy ego.>"

"… hm?" Fantomex looks up, brows furrowed. "Oh — yes. Good job. It was probably very heartfelt." Really. A second passes. "One last thing, Monsieur Ant-Man: is it you doing the shrinking, or your suit?" His head tilts.

"I would ask what it had to do with an ant either way, but I imagine the answer would leave me even more confused."

The turn of the ship could mean any number of things-headed back to land for instance, or possibly to some remote area where no one would find a body. Scott tried not to think about it for now, silently brushing off Fantomex's unsolicited parenting advice. He hardly needed tips on being Dad from some sort of super thief…never minding that he himself was a certain kind of super thief. But hey, it was different-he didn't make any money off being an agent of industrial espionage, after all!

Wait, didn't that just make him a /bad/ thief?!

"You're pretty good at connecting dots." Scott tilts his head, arms crossed, "I bet the crossword puzzle guys hate you." Part of him wondered just what Fantomex's stake in all this was, but he was far more concerned with getting back to the ground in one piece. The fact that the ants seemed not to have tripped anything was encouraging enough at least, and he continued to instruct them to hone in on his location…discretely, of course.

Those brainwaves became a little jumbled when EVA unexpectedly replied to him, and got a barb in at her apparent partner as well. Scott exchanged a slow look between his foreign host and the still-threatening, alien cattle prods for a moment before he spoke, "Well uh, glad there was no harm done, at least. Especially to me." And he thought he was the one with a weird assembly of gadgets and helpers.

Scott grimaces a bit internally when asked about the suit. Probably couldn't lie his way past this one, "The suit does the work, yeah. It's pretty amazing. Naturally tailors itself, too!" He gestured to the all-too impressive cut (velour, anyone?!) "As for the name, well, i'll just say I kind of lucked into it."

He also wasn't clueless as to how useful the ability to shrink might seem to a thief, taking careful measure of Fantomex's curiosity, "Don't get any funny ideas though-even if you /could/ dump me and take the suit, you'd probably get yourself killed without knowing how to use it." He waits, then adds, "Or worse."

He'll let that innocent threat simmer in the air a moment before adding his own question, "So what about you? Do you just fly around the world in your fancy ship and EVA here, hitting heists and leaving playful calling cards?"

"… Gads. Truly? Hmmm. I'm sure it'd be a decent challenge to try to figure out without killing myself," muses Fantomex, lost in thought. He looks at Scott for a long, quiet moment as if debating the very idea that the other, more selfless thief just gave him. Maybe inadvertantly.

"… but then I would probably have to kill you… hm."

More seconds of tense silence pass.

"… and I am not really in the business of making orphans." It might be a thoughtful gesture. "Usually." Or maybe he just thinks the downsides outway the benefits.

Either way—

"Actually, I am secretly an agent of a vast government conspiracy. I simply fly around hitting heists and leaving playful calling cards as a convenient cover while I work to undermine the very foundation of the world. Plus, it makes for a delightful side-hobby." The words come, flat as a board, wreathed with that ever-present hint of biting sarcasm. The French. Honestly.

"Yes, however; I am -quite- good," he decides to pick up on that previous praise, helpfully cutting off the echoed sentiment where he feels appropriate. "For example, the tone of your voice indicates you're stalling for time." Unfortunately, he has no idea -what-. And he certainly wouldn't suspect what Scott is working on; his expectations are rather conventional. Backup, maybe, or some sort of timed device. Body language only goes so far, after all. And there's only so much you can expect, especially from an Ant-Man.

"But that strategy is a bit old hat. How about this, instead: I will drop you off, on dry land, and without killing you in the fall-" so thoughtful "… I will even ensure that 'whatever' it is you are looking for at Hammertech truly is not there, and if it is, deliver it back to you without charge… if you will do me a favor." He watches Scott, carefully. Cautiously. Perhaps too much so.

"Do we have a deal, monsieur?"

He waits, patiently. Apparently, he's not going to actually explain the favor.

Where'd the fun in that be?

Scott seems to endure that moment of silent consideration over whether or not to kill him with an admirable sense of stoicism. Maybe he had just learned to recognize that biting French wit and sarcasm in record time, or perhaps he was, this very moment, consider how best to shrink down, dive into the nearest console, and start frying circuits until that smug self-assurance was wiped off the other thief's masked face!

"Well, that's very noble of you." He finally says, unsure of what else he could really offer, nodding his head at other's revelations, "Yeah, but I bet you don't know /what/ i'm stalling for, do you?" Scott pounded one hand into an open fist, feeling his ambition rising, "And since you don't know what I know, that means you don't know that I know what you /don't/ know, and that gives me the upper hand!"

There was a moment of possibly awkward silence before Scott rubbed the back of his helmet, and even the shock prods around seemed like they sparked in shared embarrassment, "Uh, okay, that sounded way more impressive before I said it. By the way, EVA, mind easing up on the shocky-touchy? I think we can do this like gentlemen and all."

The deal Fantomex offers sounds like a good one, but Scott still wasn't about leap in without reservations, "Well, that's terribly generous of you, especially for someone I just met." Hank wouldn't like the sound of it, certainly, but he also wasn't listening right now, and this was clearly one of those Godfather-type deals to Scott, was a con, was totally familiar with. Fact is, he was a lot more likely to get back to land by seeing what Fantomex did than trying to mess around with the situation himself.

"How about this: Once my feet touch the sweet, sweet earth, we'll have a deal. Sound good?"

'And since you don't know what I know, that means you don't know that I know what you /don't/ know, and that gives me the upper hand!'

There is a long moment where Fantomex just stares at Scott Lang mutely, as if letting the silent weight of an entire room full of judgment fall upon him to just let him… fester in it a bit.

"… Yes. You've certainly showed me."

"I suppose I will just have to take the awkwardness of this moment as a consolation prize."

But, for all the dryness of his voice, Fantomex is certainly patient in waiting for Scott to think through his offer. He simply leans back in his seat and drums fingers against the arm of it at a pleasant rhythm as he looks aside towards the consoles surrounding him at Scott's request. There's another moment of silence, and then:

"<If I understand human high society well, sometimes gentlemen -do- enjoy this sort of thing,>" is EVA's ever-so-pleasant response. "<But if you insist…>"

Slowly, those tendrils retreat back up into the ceiling once more. Except one. That just seems to spark all the brighter. Or maybe it's just a trick of the imagination.

"<Sorry, Mr. Ant-Man. But 'distrust and caution are the parents of security.'>"

Fantomex, seemingly only half-paying attention, taps something out on a nearby console. Biometric readouts scroll past his vision before that seat slowly turns around to face the viewscreen to the outside world, currently shut off.

"I am an exceedingly generous and selfless individual," Fantomex calmly insists like someone matter-of-factly listing all the reasons why they're remarkable. As he speaks, the top of that seat seems to bend and melt and twist, forming into a strange half-dome that encompasses the man's eyes with shifting, glimmering metallic panels. "And don't worry."

The screen turns on, and Scott will see that New York cityscape swiftly approaching on the horizon, lit up in vibrantly in the night sky in a way that chokes out starlight even from however far out they might be.

"I was already planning on that."

The ship fast approaches; the speeds are almost dizzyingly fast, especially now that one can see it in motion from the inside. EVA takes them up, soaring past the wharf. And when she finds a suitable location — one of many warehouses dotting that landscape — she begins to touch down. Slowly but surely.

"<I do hope this hasn't been an unpleasant experience, Mr. Ant-Man.>"

"Yes, I am sure it's all been terribly traumatizing for the man who can change shape at will. My heart goes out. So we have a deal, Monsieur… … I am not going to repeat that name again. It's too much."

Pleasant to a fault.

"No worries." Scott assures the sensibly cautious EVA, "I'm pretty used to this sort of thing, actually." Maybe he shouldn't be? But that's how it rolls when you sign up to be the guy who, as Fantomex just put it, changes size at will, among other things.

New York light before them like the big, glitzy, gaudy gem it has always been, and Scott breathes a quiet sigh of relief that his fellow thief seems to have been on the level about his promses. "Phew, thanks!" He offers, headed expectantly towards the exit hatch once the ship touches down, "I'm /really/ glad I didn't have to find my way back from the ocean, that would've been a pain." He'd have had to call up all the ants outside and have them turn into one of those big ant balls, probably drift on it for days.

Speaking of, now that thing seem to be taken of safely, the ants on the outside of the ship quickly scatter about and find their way to the ground, relieved to be in more familiar environs.

"I mean, it was unexpected and a little strange, but i'm just glad to be back where I belong." Scott answers EVA, tipping his hand to Fantomex, "So long, and good luck with whatever you have planned for that bullet!" Hopefully this thing wasn't going to assassinate a world leader or something, he definitely didn't want to be associated with that in any way, shape or form, "You don't have my name or where I live or…anything really, but i'm sure you'll find some way to reach me if you want. I owe you one."

Scott approaches that hatch, and for a moment, it seems like it's just not going to open. Maybe it's just some cruel joke, maybe Fantomex is just going to use some special eject button to launch Scott back out into the ocean. Or to the moon. Also a strong possibility. Who knows what this ship can do.

"You're much too pessimistic. It would have been an adventure. And if you survived, you would have had something to tell your child," Fantomex begins, ever-so-considerately. Fantomex: full of great parenting advice.

"Frankly, I'm a little disappointed."

But, conversational as he is, Fantomex's attention seems elsewhere — as if the man were multi-tasking something. "Farewell, monsieur. Trust me, that bullet is in the hands of someone who knows how to use it best." That may or may not be exactly encouraging, but the phantom thief hardly seems to mind either way. "Do take care. And do not forget our deal."

Perhaps that wording is ominous. It's at least delivered, casual as can be, before that hatch hisses open slowly to allow Ant-Man access to the outside world once more — the cold wintery wind blasting through that freshly-made opening.

"You certainly do, monsieur. Do not worry. I will be able to find you, when it is time to find you."

Yes. Probably ominous. Maybe.

But, he'll let Scott off without a single hitch; once the man is gone, that ship — some sort of strange, techno-organic rendition of a conventional flying saucer, with flashing lights like something out of Close Encounters of the Third Kind — takes off, a scarcely-perceptible blur of motion.

Within, Fantomex comfortably settles back — and continues to pour through whatever relevant news and information EVA can find for him about people named 'Ant-Man' and their suit.

To be used for a good cause. Obviously.

Scott did tense for a second, but laughs when the hatch finally opens one more time, "Ha, got me for a second there! Alright, catch you later, Fanto." He'll wave backhandedly before dropping out of the ship.

Fantomex will no doubt find a bevy of information at his disposal when searching for 'Ant-Man' with EVA's information capabilities. Most of it, of course, will be grainy footage and pictures from the time when Hank wore the suit, all from sources unilaterally derided as mere conspiracy peddlers handing out obviously doctored, cold war era propaganda films. Of course, once one knows that that shrinking men are quite real, they might seem anything but fake.

Meanwhile, on the ground, Scott watches the strange ship take off to parts unknown, simultaneously comforted and disturbed by the pilot's promises…both for the aims of his stolen bullet and the nature of the deal they owe. He was in the midst of contemplating it all when he's commlink suddenly whined into his ear.

«Scott, where the hell have you been?!»

"Oh, hey Hank." Scott thought faster than he spoke, "Sorry about that, things got a little hairy for a second. I think Hammertech activated some sort of Faraday cage, but i'm outside now, no one saw me. No sign of any ant stuff in there anyways, so I think we can safely ignore them." He surprised himself with how easily he lied to his benefactor.

After a moment of silence, Hank's voice droned back in «Alright, good. I'd have never lived it down if Hammer of all people managed to copy the Ant-Man, anyways. Hurry up and get back here then. Hope made soup.»

"Oh….boy.." Scott spoke through a forced smile, knowing full well the tone of Hank's voice to mean 'If I have to suffer, so do you', "Yeah, i'll be back on the double for sure." Shrinking down and hopping up on a friendly ant, he took one last look at where Fantomex's ship had departed, figuring he'd had an active enough night, anyways.

Who knows, maybe this /would/ lead to a good story for Cassie one day.

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