Ant-Man Goes to Hell(fire Club)

May 27, 2017:

Scott takes a wrong turn on his way in the NYC sewer system and winds up in the kitchen of the Hellfire Club. His antennaed friends are along for the ride, which creates problems.

Hellfire Club

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Hank Pym

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Scott had found the sewer system a pretty handy way of getting around the city when running odd jobs for a certain odd Pym. It was way less risky than overland travel, you weren't suspect to the ridiculous winds trying to fly an ant through traffic, and it could be pretty quick when you knew where you were going!

Unfortunately, Scott hadn't known where he was going for the better part of 45 minutes now. He'd take a wrong turn down a wrong tube and gotten all sorts of twisted around himself. The ants weren't being particularly helpful either-something about the piping down here was having a weird effect on the..pym-signal, and his commands were getting all kinds of backwards. "Come on guys, if we just pull together and make on of those horrible floating balls of death like I saw on the internet once, i'm sure we'll get out of this!" He moaned, turning down another junction and unexpectedly spilling from darkness into light.

"Holy!!!" The Ant-Man yelped, taking what was a /relatively/ long drop from a faucet into the basin of a kitchen sink somewhere, though this one was fortunate to be unoccupied by any dirty dishes, at least. He'll take a moment to dust himself off and toast his good luck-or was about to, until the rest of his antennae'd friends start spilling out of the faucet en masse.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!!" Scott tried to get a hand out the a chitinous leg or feeler or something, "Slow down guys, I didn't say the coast was clear yet! Guys?! Anyone listening to me?!"

You know what kitchen staffs don't like to see? Well, there's a long list of things, actually.

But ants is definitely on that list.

Especially when one happens to be in one of the small kitchens of the Hellfire Club. And double especially when it happens to be one of the busier nights that the place has seen this week.

"I'll be right there!" calls a muffled voice, down the back corridor where such things are acceptable. It's someone right outside the kitchen. And then there's a 'whump' as the swinging door collides with a hip and a twenty-something in a short black skirt, tight white collared shirt, and fishnets comes swinging into the room. The poor dear, she doesn't notice right away that something is Horribly Wrong. She instead yawns as she goes to set down a tray of empty glasses of all shapes and sizes.

And then there's a pause as the brunette looks at the sink. A long pause, for she stares at it for a very long time. And then? Then there is a single, shrill scream as she races to turn on the hot water and flail her hands frantically."Oh, my GAWD! DIE DIE DIE."

It's okay. Sure the ants are all spilling out and the water or something has shorted Scott's transceiver and his communications are garbled at best. It turns out no one was here, so it it was gin!

*WHUMP*

Okay, someone was here now. But that was okay, maybe she…wouldn't see them? Everything was going to be fine.

Oh crap, now she's screaming. Okay, she definitely saw them, but maybe-oh god no the water!

"Crap!" Scott cries, as the unfortunate hostess's action does two thing: first, it forces out the rest of the ants in the pipeline in big, black /gout/ of pure hell before the water starts coming, and oh yeah then they instinctively start forming that horrible murder ball from the internet. Great.

"Guys! Guys!" Scott wriggles around, somewhere in the center of the horrible writhing mass. The ants are panicking a bit and also can't listen to him very well, so they're not being as careful as they might normally be. It was getting uncomfortable.

"C'mon guys…you're crushing me…!" Scott said, quietly hissing his breath and giving up. No helping it.

There was another *WHUMP* the ball of ants kind of, well, /exploded/ and sent its constituent member flying in all directions. Suddenly there was a full-grown man in a red jumpsuit and weird helmet with his butt stuck in the sink, staring awkwardly at girl through the chromium red visor slits of his helm.

"Uh, hi." Scott waved awkwardly, "Th…those ants aren't the biting kind. I wouldn't worry."

Ball of ants explode. Ants and their coordinator go flying. Several hit the hapless waitress and go down her shirt, prompting a fresh dance of panic as the woman starts untucking her shirt to shake them out. Except. Now there's a man where there was previously only air. Her hazel eyes open wide.

3… 2… 1…

Should anyone think the girl can't get any louder, they'd be very wrong. She suddenly takes to hitting Scott frantically with open hands and a renewed chorus. "OHMYGAWDOHMYGAWD."

Upside for our terror-stricken gal? A pair of masked Hellfire Club security men are on their way, thudding down the hall, to investigate the commotion. Downside for Scott? A pair of masked Hellfire Club security men are on their way, thudding down the hall, to investigate the commotion.

Yeah, that was about the reaction Scott expected.

"Hey!-"

WHAP!

"Hold on-"

WHAP!

"Just give me a-"

WHAP!

Okay, he probably wasn't going to be able to talk his way out of the situation and he can hear what sounds like big, angry steps coming this way. The Ant-Man does what only the Ant-Man can and shrinks back down to his previous size, simply /vanishing/ to the panicking girl before her next slap can bounce off his helmet.

In actuality, an ant-sized Scott leaps from the edge of the sink, catching on the edge of the young woman's now-exposed shirt tail and using to swing himself to another counter. From there, he hoofs it. His objective? Find an outlet or A/C duct or /something/ he can conveniently vanish into.

And now all syllables give way to shrieking as he disappears again. When the two heavily armed men arrive, she frantically just tries to explain. "He was here! I swear, he was here just a second ago. And then he was gone! AND AHHHH ANTS." A quick brush of her hand flicks one off of her clavicle, and she just can't seem to move her stiletto-clad feed fast enough to stomp.

The guards look at each other, but neither one communicates anything by expression alone. They simply exhale and then begin to search the room. Opening cabinets and toeing boxes aside.

The Ant-Man will find, however, that the are several outlets that aren't of the covered variety a small distance up from the floor and along the countertop. There's also a floor drain cut into the tile, and a brass, Victorian-styled air register set in one wall by the door.

So many options, so little time to choose! While Scott is an electrical engineer familiar with a variety of home wiring setups he is /slightly/ worried about the risk of being vaporized by an errant current which the suit offer zero protection from, so he elects to hurls himself into the air register and scurry his way through the home's vent system, just as the hired goons being to search the room.

"That could have gone better." Scott quietly ruminated to himself. Mostly he felt bad about the ants, but hopefully some of them would get away and be able to regroup on him once he got his helmet dried. Speaking of…hm, what was the best way to do that?

"There's gotta be a bathroom around here somewhere…" He reasoned. And where there's a bathroom, there's a blowdrier!

Unfortunately Scott has no way of knowing where the heck one is without a blueprint for the home he's in, so he's got little choice but to run along the ducting and drop out of the first vent that looks a little promising. He goes nothing!

Except that he's not precisely in a home. The twists and turns are of an old church repurposed. But, all the same, he will find the ductwork very easy to maneuver through and, all considered, pretty clean.

The next major register will deposit the minuscule man in a small and private salon, where one Emma Frost has retreated at some point to take a phone call. She's perched on a large and tufted red velvet ottoman, the white of her lingerie and mantle standing out against it, as she considers the ends of a strong of golden hair.

"No, I'm sure security has it handled," she reassures whoever is on the other line. Thee's a sigh, and a pause. "Haha. Very funny," she offers caustically. "Now, as I was saying, your intel was wrong. Your unicorn was a hobbled goat with delusions of grandeur. And I don't like it when people waste my time."

Well, Scott seems to have deposited himself into a room with a half-dressed lady who seems none too please about something (fortunately that something isn't him-yet). Now, Scott may be a single man these days but he is a Dad and a proper role model first so he's definitely going to blithely ignore said half-dressed lady and her goat-related woes (livestock deal gone wrong? Who knows..) and quietly creep along the baseboard.

This does seem to be /some/ sort of salon, there must be a little area or something where he can stow himself until Madame Haughtypants takes her leave and he can get what he needs.

At least, this is the plan that seems to be working so well in Scott's mind until more ants start spilling out of the outlets in the wall-it seems some of the more loyal ones honed in on his pheromones and followed him, risking life and limb to do it.

"Oohhh, guys." Scott shakes his head, trying to wave off the scurry of excited arthopods swarming about him, "This is /really/ not a good time."

As Scott works to settle his co-workers, Emma continues on, oblivious. "Yes, of course, I went in person. Thirty-two hours of my life that I'm never going to get back, by the way, so thank you for your concern. I wasn't about to leave the investment tethered to your good wishes al— What the…?"

It's her feeling, first. That she's not alone. But, more importantly, when she pivots her head, she sees tiny specks starting to drop onto the hardwood and rug. Drop, and then move.

She rises to her feet, and slowly moves to investigate, head starting to dip low.

Well, crap. Scott didn't have a whole lot of time to run and hide when it's clear Emma is set on walking over the investigate. The amount of ants on the floor now is concerning, but not apocalyptic (though mileage may very on that).

Since Scott doesn't know he's in the room with a psychic, he puts his full effort into trying to /not/ be seeing, ducking under the small crowd of ant-friends and clutch beneath their sensitive abdomens.

Honestly, clutching to an ant's bottom side was hardly the most embarrassing thing he'd done this year. 'I really, really hope she doesn't see me.' He thinks to himself.

"I'm going to have to call you back." Emma's look of disgust is entirely unfiltered, even as she offers some half-committed murmur of agreement to whatever arrangements are proposed on the other line. And then she pulls the phone away just long enough to end the call.

Once that's done, she slips it on a side table (because heaven only knows she doesn't have anywhere to store it on her person).

And then her attention and disdain are returned to the crawling black specks. Her eyes narrow suspiciously as she looks around the room, through empty air, and tries to figure out the inconsistency between what her eyes and her genetic blessing are telling her.

Emma can spend several minutes looking at the crawling pile of ants and not notice anything particular out of order aside from the fact they were /ants/ in her crib and how totally unacceptable that was. And yet, to those gifted sensibilities, these ants did not /feel/ like ants at all, or at least one of them didn't. It was almost as if there was a sort of intellect guiding them, but it was hazy and inconsistent, like lamp with a fading bulb that constantly flicked on and off. That sensation was only further confused by what were most certainly human thoughts that ranged from a fear of discovery to a casual note that she was wearing the kind of heels he'd always wanted his ex-wife to get. Ants didn't seem the sort to fashion critique.

Scott, of course, was wholly unaware this sort of psychic interplay was going on, but began to sense some distinct ominous feeling that sitting around here wasn't going to do him any favors. "Okay guys, I'm just gonna hope my helmet has just enough juice in it to give your the message on this one." Scott says, thinking his command in the same breath in which speaks it, "Scatter!!"

The ants immediately peel away from one another in all directions, as if someone had just turned the lights on from them. There's no distinguishing them from the other, really, but that paradoxical sense of /intellect/ among them definitely seem to be going in a specific direction: towards a door.

It's enough of a discrepancy about what she's tripped across here and the normal range of human intellect that its doesn't immediately dawn on Emma what she's found. She could sit, likely, for a long time and internally debate the matter with herself.

In the end, it doesn't really mater. Because now she, too, is on her way to the door. To the guard on the other side of it, her tone is clipped and sharp. "I need maintenance and can of RAID. Something's attracted a bunch of ants and…" There's a dramatic shudder as Frost points behind her. "I need those things dead.""

So, at this point Scott has two choices: Flee, get out of there, and leave his little ant buddies to the mercy's of Emma's canned death, or….not do that. It really should be a simple choice for most people. After all, they're just /ants/, right? They had no sense of individuality, no real emotions comparable to a human, they couldn't offer you comfort and joy like a regular pet could.

Heck, it was pretty common to lose any number of them out there on missions and it didn't typically bother Scott…but something about /abandoning/ them just didn't stick with him.

Ahhh, damn it, this was a stupid idea. He knew it was a stupid idea, and Hank would tell him it was a stupid idea when and if he had to bail him out of jail again or something, assuming he wouldn't just lose patience with the 'reformed' thief permanently. Still, Scott grimly prepared himself and pressed the trigger on his suit.

"Wait a second!" His voice filled the room just a little bit before Scott did, long enough to be unnerving…though no less unnerving than a guy in his get-up suddenly appearing between Emma and her guard. For what it's worth, his hands are up?

"Look, look. I'm real sorry about the trouble I've caused, but this is all a little accident. No one needs to get out the R-word, huh?"

"What the—?!" rWhen the disembodied voice makes itself heard, both Emma and the guard turn sharply to look back into the room. The guard immediately side-steps her and brings up a pistol to train it inside the room. It's a mark of hired gallantry that she permits, allowing him to look like the more dangerous of the pair.

When a man suddenly materializes in the middle of the room, that pistol easily slides in Scott's direction. "Miss Frost?"

The guard's inquiry, deferring to her opinion, draws renewed attention to the woman as she glares daggers in Scott's direction. "How much did you hear, you insignificant toad?" Without any sort of warning, the woman is stretching her mind out towards him, using the inquiry to pinpoint memories associated with the evening.

"Uh, Ant, actually." Scott corrects what was clearly a taxonomical faux pas on Emma's part, "Ant-/man/, that is." He'd wave in greeting or something, but he doesn't give tweedledum over there any further reason to accidental pull too hard on trigger of his gun. "And I uh, I'm not really the sort to eavesdrop. You problems with animal husbandry are your own, and totally safe with me, by the way."

A scan of his brain will prove more or less the story he tells, as it's completely unguarded against the sort inquiry the White Queen is making. Visual splatterings of a night spent eating pizza and watching B horror films interrupted by a call from a man of authority (Scott's mind registered the owner only as 'Hank) followed by a scurrilous ride in the NYC sewer system before several bad turns brought him here. Scott knows only a weird, wooby kind of feeling that throws him somewhat off-kilter, "Whoa, is it just me or is the room feeling a little funny?" He sways, but does not fall.

Whatever connection he has with the ants, however, seems to respond deeply and instinctively to Emma's probing. The ants that remain in the kitchen suddenly act one, scurrying for the same path their absent leader had taken the ducts, while the ants that already followed him now race for Emma, crawling up and at 'em. "Whoa guys, be cool!" Scott exclaims, shaking his head, "I didn't tell them to do that!"

"Uh, Ant, actually." Scott corrects what was clearly a taxonomical faux pas on Emma's part, "Ant-/man/, that is." He'd wave in greeting or something, but he doesn't give tweedledum over there any further reason to accidental pull too hard on trigger of his gun. "And I uh, I'm not really the sort to eavesdrop. You problems with animal husbandry are your own, and totally safe with me, by the way."

A scan of his brain will prove more or less the story he tells, as it's completely unguarded against the sort inquiry the White Queen is making. Visual splatterings of a night spent eating pizza and watching B horror films interrupted by a call from a man of authority (Scott's mind registered the owner only as 'Hank) followed by a scurrilous ride in the NYC sewer system before several bad turns brought him here. Scott knows only a weird, wooby kind of feeling that throws him somewhat off-kilter, "Whoa, is it just me or is the room feeling a little funny?" He sways, but does not fall.

Whatever connection he has with the ants, however, seems to respond deeply and instinctively to Emma's probing. The ants that remain in the kitchen suddenly act one, scurrying for the same path their absent leader had taken the ducts, while the ants that already followed him now race for Emma, crawling up and at 'em. "Whoa guys, be cool!" Scott exclaims, shaking his head, "I didn't tell them to do that!"

Down the corridors where the ants first appeared, the kitchen has since been cleaned out so that the waitress can see to her job duties elsewhere and without further direction. What few survivors there are, they are left in peace to join the ant horde not too far away.

Back in the room with Scott, the half-dressed woman's intense focus on Scott passes in a moment as she breaks off the unnoticed psychic interrogation. His lack of shielding from her efforts is comforting, and may be what ultimately spares him. The bizzaro connection with the pests presently invading the club is momentarily set aside, as she at least can take comfort in the fact that he's unable to hide the intentions.

Emma is about to say something, her slender hand stretching out to rest on her guards shoulder to bid him put away the firearm pointed at his target, but that something dies on her lips as the ants defensively charge her. On one hand, they're only black ants. On the other hand, there sure are a lot of them.

She instinctively takes a step back, and then looks up to glare at Scott. Call them off. It's not a telepathic command, but it might as well be for the fury barely contained in her eyes and frown.

"Okay, okay, i'll try! They've been acting weird all day, I think it's because the circuitry in my helmet is a little damaged." Scott sings Pym secrets like a canary, but his first and most pressing interest is not pissing off the lady with her hand on the guy with the gun. Maybe later it would help that none of it mattered when she probably just read all off his mind. "Just…hold on a second, I really need to focus."

And focus the Ant-Man does, putting both hands to his helmet, closing his eyes, and possibly even making a mildly annoying 'mmmmm' sound as he tried his best to tune out some sort of calming, gentle command for the ant to know it was all clear.

It takes a moment or two, but it works! The ants calm down, reverse their course, and obediently huddle off to the side somewhere while their remaining comrades rejoin them.

"Okay, like I said, sorry about that." Scott phews, hands back down at his side, "Ants go away, guns go away, no one calls the cops, right? Are we good?"

If the White Queen's silent seething is any indication, Scott is several principalities south of that fair country known as 'Good.' But he also seems to be on a road to avoid perforation. "Get him out of here," Emma tells the masked man between herself and the uninvited guest, but now that she speaks at last her soft voice is very nearly a growl.

The guard moves to collect Scott by his arm to drag him out… Although there is a momentary hesitation to do so. He hasn't forgotten that popping into existence thing just a few minutes ago.

The blonde continues as Ant-man is, ideally, pulled towards the door for formal ejection from a side exit. "If I catch you anywhere near this building again, trust me when I tell you that the police will be the very least of your concerns."

Scott certainly /could/ shrink his way out of this mess, but there really was very little point to doing so if this…uh…nice woman and her bodyguard were going to do no more than politely show him the exit, which is what he'd really been looking for anyways. "Yes Ma'am, shouldn't be too much of a problem since I problem since I don't even know what building this is. Though maybe I /should/ know, so that I can avoid in the future? Talking too much? Yeah? Okay, shutting up."

Scott rambles on in this fashion as he is led/walked, perhaps reacting in tandem to whatever cues the blonde provides. The ants obediently trail in his wake.

"But hey, you know, I suppose I owe you a favor all this, so if you ever need something: Just look up the Ant-Man!"

It would probably be good for Scott to know who he was dealing with before he made these kinds of promises.

"You can read the building number just like everyone else," the bodyguard tells Scott as he's marched past Emma, who presently has her hand planted upon her hip. She doesn't move to follow, but rather scoffs as Lang is led towards the hall and, ultimately, down the corridor nearly unused by anyone save the staff.

The talk of a favor doesn't soften her irritated expression one iota or tempt any further speech from her, but she does narrow her eyes and tilt her head in consideration. Probably not a good thing.

The guard takes Scott down several more turns, past another guard checkpoint, and then scans a badge to open up a small door that leads to a small set of narrow steps and a back alley.

"Okay, well…thanks!" Scott managed to say, just before the backalley door shuts behind him with neither mirth and celebration.

"Hm." Scott scratched at his chin, indeed noting the building number, "Well, I suppose that could've gone better. But it also could've gone worse. What do you guys think?"

The ants, still skittering obediently in circles, offered no answers anyone could here.

"Yeah, I guess you're right." Scott sighed, "Think we could hail a cab like this…?"

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