A Small Disturbance At Pym Industries

September 30, 2018:

While exploring the supposedly evacuated Pym Industries building Caitlin Fairchild runs into an unexpected .

Pym Industries Building (Sound Stage A)

Sound Stage A - A sleek, white box of a room, with shiny floor and polished ceiling, ultra-smooth walls, and bright omnidirectional lighting that evokes the feel of a futuristic clean-room… or an Apple Store.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Pym Industries was, at least in theory, evacuated very soon after the demonic incursion. With the amount of unusual research that happens on site it had contingency plans for just about everything the brightest minds in the world could imagine and while New York becoming a literal hell dimension wasn't originally on the list it wasn't a lot of work to adapt the contingency plans for a full scale alien invasion.

The building itself has been sealed up, research moved to secure back-up sites and anything else that might be of value was removed via an extremely secure convoy or is lab equipment so bulky that it may as well be built into the structure.

And yet despite all this for a period of five minutes earlier today the building registered a non-demonic intruder. The alert was then cancelled from the inside using an all clear code only the evacuated security team should know, all of whom are currently safely accounted for at an out of state Pym Industries facility.


A League-marked Javelin swoops through the air. The pilot doesn't even land, keeping it in a hover mode. A long rappelling line unrolls thirty feet to the ground, and Caitlin Fairchild rappels down the line with no special tools other than letting it slide through her grip.

She lands heavily, steps out from under the rotor backwash, and waves at the pilot. "Looks good to me, but I want to get inside," she remarks, speaking into a headset. "Go on to the next station, I'll holler at ya if I need a quick exit or something."

She waves farewell to the pilot and heads to the front door. Clad in a matte grey bodysuit, she adjusts a little black slingpack and busies herself with tying her long red braid up into a tight bun at the base of her neck.

She stops at the front door and digs for a little plastic card. She breaks it open, extracts a sheet of paper, and starts typing in the emergency override code. The door slides open and Caitlin heads inside, eyes open and on the alert for any possible threat. "Okay SIRIN, give me a wiremap of the facility to where the override was issued." Light glimmers against her eye, and Caitlin nods and heads deep inside the facility.


The building itself seems fine from the outside. All the shutters are still sealed, blast doors are in place and no-one has blown a hole in the side (at least not yet anyway). Inside everything seems normal at first, except the buildings power supply seems to be operating at full capacity.

The visit might get put down as a false alarm if not for two small hints something is up. Firstly although the building is clear of demons the air still seems to be faintly humming. And secondly someone has very clearly taken the time to clear out the candy machine.

And as Caitlin will discover as she heads down to what is marked on the building plans as the old AI research lab the final clue something might be up becomes apparent. Someone is playing an upbeat pop cd from a few years ago on repeat, loud enough it's audible from half way up the buildings stairwell.


Caitlin eyes the candy machine. It's rare to see one of those empty. Sure, low on good, maybe. But completely empty? No company would do that. Also, it means she can't grab a Snickers on her way into the facility.

Following the sound of music, she creeps up a stairwell, dimming her flashlight but keeping it handy just in case. Caitlin's not terribly stealthy; thankfully, the pop music does a fair job muffling her footsteps until she's close enough to the research labs. She peeks through a door that very certainly should have been left shut and securely locked.


The air down on what was, up until very recently, an abandoned floor of the building is a little dusty. Partly from the week or two the place has been without cleaners, but also because just before demons invaded the floor underwent some remodeling. A big sign proudly proclaims that this floor is where G.I.R.L is located. There's also a couple of candy wrappers out on the stairwell.

Inside the lab is Nadia herself. Wearing an oversized sweater that may as well be a dress on her and some slippers with panda faces she is not exactly the picture of a master criminal intent on causing chaos. She does however certainly know all the words to the music on the cd and is clearly comfortable enough in whatever nefarious purpose she's engaged in to sing along loudly.

And beside her on the desk are all that remains of the stolen candy bars.


Caitlin eyes the scene of the crime! So many candy bars…

Her eyes flicker as she has a silent dialogue with her heads-up unit, and she tries to get an assessment of the lay of the land before she enters. It doesn't -look- like a break in. Nothing's been smashed by frustrated junkies and none of the storage racks look like they were brute-force hacked open. Still… there's an unknown element here, so Caitlin steps into the room.

When she does, it's with her flashlight in hand set on 'high'. She at least aims the focus at Nadia's feet so the woman only catches the softer albedo, but it's still a shockingly bright light. "Hey!" Caitlin says, trying to put some stentorian authority in her alto voice. "This area is off limits! What're you doing here?" she demands of Nadia.


"That is very silly. Of course I am allowed to be here, this is /my/ lab! And I shall be with you in a moment but first…" Nadia assures distractedly, not looking up from her increasingly frantic workings out on a large whiteboard that has an almost fifty / fifty split between cat doodles and complex mathematics. "I need to solve this and input the findings into the… I still have not come up with a name yet but if I do not calibrate it correctly it will not need one because it will… maybe explode. Just a little."

She doodles a few more figures without looking back. "Who did you say you are again? Building security? Do you know why the landline phone is broken?"


Caitlin blinks at the rebuff. It seems she's resigned to the fact that a stern tone is just perpetually a failing tactic. "I didn't give my name," Caitlin tells Nadia. She glances at the whiteboard— stares at it a bit, in fact, forgetting that she should be keeping an eye on the strange woman. But it's fascinating stuff.

"Er, the landline's broken because of the *invasion*," Caitlin tells Nadia. "The city's tearing itself apart right now. Demons keep dropping out of portals all over the city. Almost everyone's evacuated. Why are -you- still here?"


"Invasion?" Nadia repeats, slowing down in her work but not actually stopping yet. "/Demons/? You mean the intra-dimensional entities were not just coming into my lab? Oh no! That is terrible but… I guess it is a small relief because it is unlikely to be my fault if they are /everywhere/. But unfortunately it means this modification I made to the buildings particle accelerator will not be sufficient." She spins around and waves. "We can keep talking but you will have to follow along while I make the final adjustments. If I am right I should be able to prevent any further incursions within my workspace."

"Oh! Wait a minute I /do/ recognize you," Nadia adds almost as an afterthought. "You are the Caitlin Fairchild. I have read a little of your work on Fabricator technology… I had been hoping you to invite you to join us but.. well it seems everyone else was evacuated while I was working. Perhaps now is not the best time for a tour… By the way which date is it today?"


Caitlin blinks as she's recognized. "Er, yeah, that's me," she acknowledges. Realizing she's still holding that big flashlight, she turns it off and tucks it into a pocket of her backpack. "It's the, uh, 30th," Caitlin says, eyes going out of focus for a moment.

She steps into Nadia's line of sight when the girl twirls, waving a hand to get her attention. "Woah, okay, slow down a second, please?" Caitlin requests, urgency in her tone. "Did you say 'particle accelerator'?" she inquires, eyes widening. "Look we've got all kinds of wormholes opening up across the city, the /last/ thing we should be doing is firing up an accelerator. It could make the rifts substantially larger if you start creating more shearing forces."


"Fire it up? Oh no do not worry, you see it is already running and I made all the necessary configurations before hand. It is perfectly safe," Nadia promises earnestly. "Providing I make the modifications I need to make right now… But I need a moment to grab my pants before we head into the basement levels." She springs off and skips towards a row of what seem to be bedrooms, decorated like any science mad teenage girl might have at home, right there in the middle of the lab, heading into one that has the name 'Nadia' above the door.

"You are welcome to double check my calculations! I am simply going to use the accelerator in such a way that it folds space around my lab and stops any more creatures getting in to attack me." She closes the door, rummages around and then returns a few moments later wearing some jeans and holding a toolkit. "It's already that late in the month? Oops. Time passes strangely when you are close to sub-atomic size. I must have lost track of time. Oh gosh I forgot to introduce myself. I am Nadia Van Dyne, it is a pleasure to meet you."


Caitlin busies herself with the math for all of five minutes. It's a lot of very high level calculus and quantum physics, and pretty soon even the ginger egghead is lost in the sauce of cat doodles, scribblings, and half-completed equations.

But what she -can- do is access maintenance controls, so she does. She jacks into the console and starts trying to get a handle on the damage done and any security issues. The Pym firewall only lets her get so far before her portable computer is blocked, but she at least ensures that nothing's leaking, exploding, or on fire.


When Nadia returns, Caitlin flashes a friendly smile and a gentle handshake at the introduction. "The math's a bit over my head," she admits, "but from an engineering standpoint I think you're solid. I'm a little concerned about your magnetic controllers," she admits, tapping on the whiteboard. "You've got the math right, but I don't think you can generate that many Teslas of repulsion unless you've got like… a solid kilometer of track, at least," she says, fretting her lip.


"Oh yes I could see why you'd think that," Nadia replies cheerfully as she bustles around grabbing tools and throwing them into the toolkit. "But this isn't the lab I am folding space around. My private lab is smaller than your thumb, so I should be able to generate the extra track I need by shrinking the output of the accelerator. While everything is shrunken in size the subjective distance it moves is vastly increased and then it reverts at the required levels."

"If you like you can help yourself to snacks," The teenage scientist offers as she sets off towards the stairwell. "They did not send you because I went inside the candy machine did they? Because technically it's not really stealing because my father created the company…"


Caitlin snakes a candy bar and unwraps it while trailing behind Nadia. She frowns at the comment about the size of the lab, chalking it up to a hearing problem. It's not until Nadia casually mentions her father that Caitlin puts 2 + 2 together.

"You're -that- Nadia? Dr. Pym's daughter?" she inquires, looking a little shocked. "Wow, okay, that… that puts some stuff in context," she admits. "Dr. Pym wrote the book when it comes to folding spacetime. That's… that's incredible," she says, shaking her head. "So you've got a mini-lab around here? Did I step on it?" she asks, suddenly looking horrified and checking her boot sole.


"Do not worry. My personal lab is… You /are/ in the Justice League and thus very trustworthy, yes?" Nadia asks, pausing to glance back at Caitlin and frown. The keycard she presents seems fully authorised to open every door they encounter on the trip. "I have encased it in synethic diamond and made that into a necklace. It isn't /indestructable/ but you could run it over with a tank and I do not think I would notice."

"I am a little worried though… Because if near sub-atomic 'demons' are leaking into reality then we could be inhaling them right now. Unless they are more actively drawn to our energy signatures somehow and apperated at that size because /I/ was that size."

"You were on my list of possible new recruits for my non-profit work. I was working on a new holographic presentation but I suppose there is no need now you have seen the workspace. My friends and I are… were working on an instant transporation device. It still has a few quirks to iron out. Occasionally it teleports the test payloads into low orbit. We couldn't decide if that needed fixing or making more common to act as a cheaper alternative to rockets."


"I am in the League, and I am very trustworthy," Caitlin agrees, nodding. She accepts the access card, examining it briefly, and tucks it into her slingpack.

The taller ginger lets Nadia set the pace, keeping up easily and focusing momentarily on the topic at hand. "Non-profit sounds interesting, but priority is the demons," Caitlin tells Nadia. "We've got to get this infestation under control." She adjusts a bracelet and brings up a holo-display of a portal breaching into reality, and a few dozen demons pouring out of it. "They vary a lot in size but I haven't seen anything smaller than, say, a dog," she says, wrinkling her nose. "So if they were present in your, uh, mini-lab, then it seems like whatever they're doing adheres to localized spacetime curvature. That's… actually, that's super helpful," Caitlin remarks, thoughtful. She stumbles on a step, catching a rail before she goes down, and mutters at herself for getting nerd sniped.


"Unfortunately I do not really know for certain if the things I encountered are the same sort of entity," Nadia points out with a shrug. "It could be a distinct breed that you have not encountered because they are so small you would not ordinarily notice them. They would certainly not have been visible without a microscope. Alternatively one of the portals they use to reach Earth may have simply intersected with the space which part of my micro-lab occupies."

She practically skips with excitement as she leads the way to the particle accelerator. "I would love to send some equipment through one of those portals. Have you got any data on where they are coming from? Or the process by which they are appearing?"


Caitlin falls quiet, thinking pensively. "Okay, for the moment let's go with the simplest theory: that they're intersecting the spacetime curvature of your lab. I can't think of any reason a demon would be that microscopic and we wouldn't see a wider range of size variances. Spacetime intersection fits established data patterns; concur?"

"I did send some equipment in. Telemetry was awful. Something about those portals really screws with equipment at the singularity point. I mean—" she rolls her eyes. "I'm making this up as I go. There isn't a textbook on 'the physics of magical forces'. Who am I gonna even /talk/ to about that. The Asgardians? Dr. Doom?" she says, a bit rhetorically. "I've been trying to adjust some Asgardian theory to our current models but it's just hit-and-miss." She exhales, pulling her braided bun loose so her hair can hang down her back a little more freely.


"I can think of at least /one/ reason," Nadia points out, turning and pointing at herself with a grin. "If they are really /demons/ and not simply extra-dimensional entities which look the same as we imagine demons to look, then they are very likely attracted to human souls."

"I do not really have the data sets to prove you right or wrong, so hypothetically we can assume you are right until we have a better theory. Although my lab does not really exist outside of space or time. It is still physically present within this universe and, as a location within New York, would still be bound by the same rules as a localised mystical incursion. Providing of course that they are subject to the same sort of pacts and restrictions demons are commonly described as having."

Nadia shrugs and adds "There are not /many/ books on the scientific study of the occult. But I know they exist. Unfortunately the only copies were in Siberia and have probably been relocated." She swipes her keycard and opens up the basement particle accelerator door. "I would love to meet Doctor Doom, despite him being a super villain his work in general is fascinating. He must have an amazing mind, don't you agree?"


"Right, and just like bears are giant adorable piles of fluffers until they decide to bite you," Caitlin tells Nadia. But she laughs, taking the sting out of her sarcasm. "He's… I mean, he's right up there with Dr. Richards, or Mr. Stark." He face falls a little at the mention of Tony. "But I don't know how he does so much in so many discipliens. I mean, yeah, Mr. Stark is dark good engineer, and I -get- that, but Doom runs a country, he's a genius innovator, and he's got that whole dark magic thing going for him. From what I've heard, he's one of the heaviest hitters on Earth."

"Still, who knows? Maybe the Four will capture him someday and I can interview him in an interrogation cell. ….From a distance," she amends.

"Uh, anyway! Focusing. Sorry," she says, shaking her head. "Okay, so now we have more data, none of which narrows down our current models. Still— let's at least get you to somewhere safe?" she asks of Nadia. "If you get attacked in force, you'll have no backup and these things are *tough*."


"I am /sure/ he's not such a bad person deep down. If he was truly evil he would have probably just blown up the sun by now," Nadia points out brightly. "What are you talking about? I am perfectly safe right here. I am more than able to look after myself you know. Besides if I do not make these final adjustments there is a very tiny but not zero chance the accelerator will implode in a way which is currently only theoretical. So at the very least any discussions about going anywhere should wait until I have fixed everything."


Caitlin's eye flickers to her HUD, checking the time. She exhales, deflating a bit, and nods. "Okay. But listen, if you get into serious trouble, I can't come to /you/ if you're miniaturized," she points out. "So you need to rabbit and get to high ground. Here—" she digs in her backpack and hands Nadia something about the size of a small pebble. "It's an emergency transponder. If you get backed into a corner, hit it and we'll get someone to you as fast as possible. Just…" she looks at a wall, as if seeing the hellscape outside. "Everyone's got their back to the wall at the moment," she sighs.


Nadia Van Dyne shrugs, then accepts the device and studies it with an intensity that probably means it'll be dismantled and rebuilt before Caitlin has been gone an hour. "I am as sure as it's possible to be that my experiment will keep these entities away from my lab. But if it doesn't I shall relocate myself immediately. You should not worry though, because I am really quite able to look after myself. I do not know if SHIELD made some sort of report about where I was educated or not, but well… it would not be a lie to say I have some very thorough self defense training."


"I believe you," Caitlin tells Nadia sincerely, and gives her arm a soft and apologetic squeeze. "I've seen some pretty tough customers get raked over by these demons. They hit hard and they're getting smarter and more aggressive. I just don't want to find out that you got stuck with no escape route because you underestimated them, y'know?"

"Anyway, I won't mother-hen you anymore. Just know that if you need a place to hide out, the Hall of Justice is currently one of the better-defended safe spots in the city. And honestly, we could really use your help with these demons," she admits. "We're trying to find a way to shut them down but so far, we're coming up empty for clever solutions."


"Well, I /would/ like to look around the Hall of Justice…" Nadia muses, tucking the communications gadget in her pocket. She starts bustling around the lab space, opening panels and ripping out wiring. "Anyway it's a shame I can't use the solution I am using for my lab for the whole city. But we would need a particle accelerator that was big enough to wrap around the planet…"

"But I do not like the idea of hiding somewhere safe while the city needs saving. I would /much/ rather dig out my costume and do my part. Perhaps encountering more of the creatures will inspire a better solution."


"If there was ever a time to suit up, now is it," Caitlin agrees. "And we can use more data. Allllways need more data." She eyes the machine that Nadia's gutting, and reaches down and with no visible effort rips the entire shell housing open so Nadia can more easily salvage whatever she's pulling from within. "I sure hope you killed the circuit breakers, some of this stuff is kinda high wattage even by my standards." She frowns. "And I once got thrown into a transformer substation. Can you say 'ow'?"


Nadia Van Dyne reaches up after the remains of the console as it gets lifted up out of the floor. "I think that was probably very expensive," she points out. "Oh well, I can fix it later. I just hope they don't remove the cost from the budget for G.I.R.L." She sighs. "Everything is still fully live, so no more tearing anything from the wall please? It is much easier to jury rig this machinery if we still have all of the control panels in place."

She frowns with concentration, hooking up wires and making fine adjustments using the tool kit. "I can say ow, yes. Why do you… Oh. Thrown into a transformer, I see yes. That sounds very unpleasant. I should hope you don't intend on doing it again…" She waves a pad of paper in the air. "Can you input the figures from this notepad into the computer console over there. I have already bypassed the security checks and all safety systems have now been disabled.. Then we just need to calibrate the values and then it'll release the pym particles correctly and not implode the city."


"Sure, I don't- WHAT." Caitlin stops, eying Nadia, and slashes a hand through the air. "Full stop. You're going to *implode the city*?!" she demands, incredulously. "That that is just a terrible, terrible operational paradigm!"

"And this is coming from someone who's worked for Reed Richards, /and/ Tony Stark!" Caitlin points out. "If there's a remote chance of a catastrophic explosion, that should, like, figure pretty heavily into the math to activaet the system!" She grabs at her ponytail, pulling hard on it with one hand in a gesture of agitation. "Wh- what kind of odds are we talking here? On in fifty thousand? One in a million?"


"I'm not going to implode the city," Nadia assures, still half buried in the inner workings of the caseless machinery. "I did explain while we walked. Admittedly I skipped a few steps but… Look as I told you earlier the machine is /already running/ and the implosion risk is significantly higher if we do nothing. I activated it under the unfortunately mistaken assumption my lab was the primary dimensional breach point. I was aiming to isolate and seal it before anyone else was put in danger, so I had to act quickly!"

"And really the risk of implosion is only theoretical. I just wanted you to be aware it was not zero so you would not tear apart any more pieces of the room. Statistically speaking we are more likely to be killed by a direct asteroid strike on the building and… well the most likely negative outcome is that my lab will slowly grow to full size and we'll have to run for it."


"Hey, you were gutting wires! I was trying to help!" Caitlin objects. "And it was just the housing casing, I don't know why you're so outta sorts," she mutters, grumbling.

She moves to the computer and starts double checking numbers, and entering in the data Nadia passes her. "Okay, you're looking good," she says, absently examining the readouts. "Green… green… red, override… green… hey, you've got a 1.5k shift in coil #21," she tells Nadia. "But you're good otherwise across the board from this end. Ready when you are!"


Nadia Van Dyne pokes her head out from inside the guts of the machine and sticks her tongue out. "I am not sure what outta sorts means," she calls out. "But I am sure I have plenty of sorts to spare? I would just very much like my first words when I meet my father to not be 'I am sorry but my new friend broke part of your billion dollar particle accelerator.'" She winks at Caitlin. "But do not worry, I am sure I can repair everything and it will all work out just.. ahah."

Something inside the console Nadia is rewiring sparks and crackles, but the values on the screen shift a little closer to those on the paper. Even if a dozen new safety subsystems mysteriously stop reporting in. "I think we can turn it on now. My lab is already in the appropriate chamber and I have primed a pym particle deployment system." She springs to her feet and runs around checking all the different screens, hitting keys and generally trying to be in three places at once.


Caitlin smacks her head and pulls a wire from her sleeve. "SIRIN, use the keycard override codes," she says, plugging into the console. Abruptly, the screens start flickering, then go steady as her AI assistant begins feeding instructions to the consoles.

"What? No, slow down," Caitlin snaps at no one in particular. "I— well how is that my fault?! I didn't design it!"

Another beat. "Oooh, yeah, take /that/ tone. Will you just stabilize the— yes, those! No, I don't care what the code comments are like!"

She huffs angrily. "Sorry," she tells Nadia. "SIRIN's getting a little, uh… personable. But we're up and running on my end. Are you set?" Caitlin inquires, flashing a thumbs-up.


Nadia Van Dyne seems to disappear for a moment. Shrinking in size, slipping on her winged backpack, and then zipping around inside the various components. A few moments pass and then she pops back out from further down the banks of consoles. "All set," she assures. "I shall grab the fire extinguisher. Oh and we should both be ready to run, just in case. I am very confident in my math but I do not want to underestimate the complications which city wide demonic portals could cause."


Caitlin whistles. "Okay, you need to show me that trick," she tells Nadia. "But honestly, I think a small fire is the least of our problems," she says, wryly. "If this goes badly, we're gonna spend eternity in the Quantum Realm."

"By the way, if we die, it was swell to meet you," she tells Nadia, laughing with a giddy sort of gallows humor. "I'm just bummed out we didn't hang out before this!" She flicks a few switches, hits an override switch, and nods at Nadia. "All stations are green, Captain," she says, mimicking a Scottish accent. "When you're ready!" she says, eyes flicking to the master 'power' button.


"Is that a scientific term you are using for Hell?" Nadia muses, already intent on the stream of data the machine is producing. "If the console sets on fire mid-way through the process if we stop it quickly enough I might be able to patch it back up as the experiment is running." She shrugs. "But that would not be ideal because I would only have a few seconds to repair everything…. Anyway if you would like I can shrink you to around a thirtieth of your regular size for a few minutes once we are done. Anything more would require a very specific cocktail of chemicals and genetic editing that took me years to balance for my own system."

"It has been nice meeting you. I'm sure we'll have a chance to do some proper science together at some point…. And I have no idea why you are making the silly voices now, but yes lets turn this on." And with that she engages everything at her end and the machinery in the room begins to thrumm with power.

A few moments of whirring, sparking and hissing components pass. The computer read-outs move closer and closer to red. Alarms blast out warnings in a dozen languages telling everyone to evacuate the building. Then, almost as an anticlimax, the readings begin to drop back to safe levels. "Perhaps it is a little early but… I do not think we shall be imploding anything today."

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