FF: The Future is Now

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Mir
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FF: The Future is Now

Post by Mir »

An explosion rocked the Cascade Building.

It didn’t rock the building exactly, not outside of the science levels. They were reinforced and packed with some of the most advanced technology in the world, and outside of it. Special precautions had been taken to ensure that nothing that happened in the science levels of the Cascade Building would affect any of the tenants that occupied the first seventy five floors of the building. Warning lights came on throughout the Fantastic Research Inc. portion of the building, and a soft buzzing sound was heard throughout, alerting everyone that Paul Matthews might have just made a boo boo and doomed them all.

Emma sighed, looking up from her coffee at the breakfast table. She looked at the cupboards in front of her and then looked up at the ceiling. Then her eyes went down to the newspaper that was displayed on her tablet computer. There was a blur and her younger sister, Carly Stevens, appeared. “Are we going to die?” She asked. “I’m an engineer, not a physicist or chemist or anything. Are we going to die?” She asked again, looking at her sister with her big, brown eyes.

“No, we are not going to die, Carly.” Emma said, not bothering to look up from the tablet. Her sister was right, she was a mechanical engineer and a good one, but Carly didn’t understand a lot of the theoretical work that Paul did. She helped him build the machines that did all of the interesting things that her dork of a boyfriend did. “I’ll go check on him.” She said, rising. As she walked out of the kitchen, her eyes locked onto one of the digital clock displays that were spread throughout the Fantastic Five’s section of the Cascade Building. Seven thirty three in the morning.

All things considered, Stretch was at it pretty early today. Granted there were nights where she slept alone in their bedroom because he worked through the night, but recently, he’d been rising earlier and earlier and starting his work earlier. It didn’t make much sense, but then again, this was Paul Matthews that she was thinking about. Stopping, she turned back and poured herself more coffee, adding cream and sugar, and poured another cup for Paul. Then she headed out of the state of the art kitchen.

Walking down a hallway, she entered the main foyer of the Fantastic’s apartment. Helena, their Artificial Intelligence, was standing on her projection plate. Another copy of her was in the next room, the entrance way, to greet those who came to visit. The AI turned and looked at her as Emma headed towards one of the elevators.

“Good Morning, Dr. Stevens.”

“Good Morning, Helena.” She said.

“Dr. Matthews seems to be enjoying himself.”

Emma smiled as she turned in the elevator, locking eyes with the AI. “When doesn’t he?” She asked, as the doors closed. “Main Laboratory.” She said, out loud, and the elevator, started moving. All the elevators had preset commands that were keyed with a voice recognition software that she and Jimmy had designed. That brought a wave of sadness.

She missed her younger brother. Only two months ago now, he’d left the team and the group. It hadn’t been due to any misunderstanding or any internal problems, but rather because he’d wanted to see the rest of the world and discover more about himself. Jimmy Stevens, also known as Flare, had been an integral part of the team, both on the research side, and on the super hero side. But after a run in with a nasty guy named Ignatius, he had started to have doubts about himself, something that the normally over confident Jimmy wasn’t used to. Ignatius’ powers delved into the abilities to pull up memories and make people relive them, often from the perspective of others within the memories Utilizing this, Ignatius could make the person’s memories take on different meanings and change. He’d done this to Jimmy.

So Jimmy had finally opted to find himself, and had decided that in order to do that, he needed to be away from friends and family. She understood it, and she supported her younger brother. He’d always have a home at the Cascade Building in New Troy, Metropolis. That went without question.

The elevator opened and she stepped into the main laboratory, eyes wide.

Chaos was everywhere.

“It’s controlled. He promised that it was controlled.” A voice said, and she looked up. Sitting on top of shelving, was Knubblechen Prime, eating, what looked to be like a slice of cold pizza. “Good morning, to you, Emma Stevens of the Fantastic Five, and future wife of Paul Matthews.”

“Right. Morning, Knubbly, and thanks for reminding me that I’m still not married yet.”

“All in a day’s work.” The little pink creature said. “I convinced Paul Matthews to ‘spring for’, as they say, some pizza.”

“I see.” She said with a smile, knowing that Paul had probably gotten the being’s favorite food just to shut him up. Knubbly loved pizza for some reason. Knubblechen Prime was the last surviving member of a species known as the Knubblechen. A cute, lovable creature, he was actually incredibly powerful. His species shared their powers, and as a member of the species died, their power went back into the collective and was equally distributed among the remaining members. Since Knubbly was the last of his kind, he had the entire power of a race of super powered beings locked inside of him.

And his weakness was pizza.

She walked over to the main console and set the two mugs of coffee down. Adjusting the white silk robe that she was wearing, Emma looked at the main holographic computer screen. A frown came over her face. What the hell was he trying to do? Looking over at a whiteboard that was covered with dry erase marker, her eyes scanned it and she followed the various equations that were written there.

“I know what I’m doing.”

Emma felt that inner thrill every time she heard his voice for the first time, each day. Turning, she saw him walking towards her, wearing the same uniform as Reed Richards. He hadn’t shaved in two days, and the stubble was growing. His eyes looked tired, but he hadn’t gotten bags under them just yet. “You better know what you’re doing, Stretch. I see that you’re working with Higgs Boson.” She said.

“Yeah.” He said, coming up to her and kissing her. “Sorry about the boom.” He said, but the look on his face showed that he was rather proud of the boom and that he was looking at it more as like a little kid experiencing fireworks for the first time.

“It was a big boom.” She said, widening her eyes and nodding slowly.


“I know.” He said and grinned.

She narrowed her eyes and he winced slightly in response.

“I said sorry.” He reminded her, running a hand through her long, blonde hair. “If I kiss you again, will it make it better?”


“Maybe, though you should just kiss me again because you want to.”

They kissed again.

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Mir
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Re: FF: The Future is Now

Post by Mir »

Paul Matthews was a busy man. He and his group were the Fantastic Five, though down a few members, and in addition, they ran one the most successful technology and science research and development company in the world. In addition, he was a consultant to S.H.I.E.L.D. and he conducted various talks and seminars throughout the country and the world, speaking at various universities and symposiums. Suffice to say, his time was in demand and very much scheduled.

But every week, usually on Saturday night, he dropped everything. Nothing was more important to him, on either Saturday or Sunday night, than taking his fiance out on a date. Sometimes it was just to the movies, other times it was much more complicated than that. Other times, they just ordered chinese, banished her siblings and Knubbly from the quiet room of the rec area and just enjoyed some time with each other. Whatever it was that they did, it was time just for the two of them. No one else could interrupt it, no matter who it was. Emma put her own schedule to the side, her own talks on biology and bioethics and what not, and they put time into their relationship. Emma had found one of the most warming feelings in her heart when Paul had turned down a call from Nick Fury one Saturday. She knew, deep down inside, that despite his reservations about being a “superhero” that the inner geek and nerd in him loved it. He loved doing it and it was almost as fun for him as science was. So for him to put all of that to the side, just for her, it meant something.

Tonight, they had gone out for dinner. By far, the Fantastics were some of the most popular people in all of Metropolis. The relationship between Paul Matthews and Emma Stevens wasn’t a tabloid feature, but every weekend, the paparazzi knew that they could potentially get easy pictures of the two. They didn’t try to hide it when they went out. They weren’t a tabloid staple because they didn’t have a torrid and tumultuous relationship like other “celebrities”. The novelty of pictures of them had somewhat waned, once the media had discovered that they weren’t going to break up or that neither one of them was going to have some kind of mental break down.

He shrugged into the black peacoat as he and Emma stepped out of the Italian restaurant. Recently opened, he had gotten them reservations and had promised to write an honest review on Yelp. They were going to get four stars. Holding Emma’s tan trenchcoat open, he helped her into it and then they stepped out into the chilly early winter air of Metropolis. She adjusted the black knit hat that was on her head and they started walking. It was early in the evening, only a little after nine, and they had about eight or nine blocks to walk before they’d get back to the Cascade Building. Convenient that the restaurant had been so close to home. Not a bad way to end the evening, a nice walk through the city.

“Did Jimmy send you an email?” He asked.

“Actually yes, he did.” Emma said. “He’s in Belize, helping in a clinic. Says it’s hard work, and it breaks his heart to see the poor there, but it’s doing him good.”

“I’m kind of glad that he took this self imposed vacation.” Paul said. “Jimmy and I always got along, but he always needed that extra time to get his level of maturity on the same page as everyone else’s.”

“That’s true. He had a tendency to be a bit juvenile when it came to...well, life.” Emma replied. “Maybe this is what he needed, to grow up a bit. You’re just hoping that when he comes back he doesn’t try to spike your food with Tabasco anymore.”

Paul considered. “Yes, yes I am. Though he trained Knubbly in how to do that before he left.” He said with a slight wince.

“My poor baby.” She said, reaching over and patting Matthew’s stomach affectionately. Their arms were linked together as they walked. “I think Carly’s taken him leaving the hardest. I mean, I’m the big sister so it’s been weird not to have to look after him and I worry that he’s doing okay, but I think for Carly it’s different, since she was the middle child.”

“I can’t really comment on what a normal sibling relationship is, but I think we both know that.” Paul said with a wry grin. “All things considered, I think I’d rather raise my kids the way you were raised then how James and I were raised.”

That made her stop, and she turned towards him a twinkle in her eye. “You know, that reminds me of something. Can’t really talk about kids until we’re actually, you know, married, Stretch.” She said. She bit her lower lip, turning it into a smile. “We should talk about that.”

“Right. Wedding. Plans and stuff.” He said, nodding, and doing his best to look away from her. Slowly, painstakingly, his eyes wandered down to her eyes and he saw the expectancy there. “I’ll see what I can do with the schedule.” The eyebrows on the blonde moved slightly. “I’ll work on it, I promise.”

“Uh huh.” Emma said, and turned starting to walk again. “I know you will. Cause you better. I know where you sleep. And where your geek collection is.”

He shuddered.

“You should know better than to threaten that.” He said, as they rounded a corner and the Cascade Building came into view.

“I love your geek collection.” She said with a smirk. “That one thing from the Lord of the Rings, how much did you pay for it?” She asked.

He grimaced, remembering that it had been a particularly sticky issue, all things considered. She’d even done the one hand on the hip thing, and that was always a clear indication that Emma Stevens was highly annoyed. “It was a steal, I’m telling you. Totally worth the two thousand dollars.”

“Two thousand dollars that could have gone into the wedding.” She said, giving him an amused smile.

“I hate you.” Paul said as they continued to walk.

“Oh, I don’t know, I don’t believe that.” Emma replied.

“It’s not like we’re hurting for money. We clear, what, like around four and a half million per month, net?”

She was somewhat proud in that moment of her effect on him. A few, short, years ago, he would have detailed that in fact, they made exactly four million five hundred and thirty three thousand, six hundred and seventy two dollars and twenty five cents, per month. He probably would have pulled out his phone and pulled up the spreadsheet that proved it, as well. Matthews was always exact. She was glad to see that he was slowly becoming less and less of the professional scientist and more of a regular person in a way. Though, when she thought about it, a few years ago, he would have stuttered as well, because James would have been here and Paul had always had a tendency to stutter around his older brother.

Her ex-fiance, with a heavy emphasis on the “ex-”.

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Re: FF: The Future is Now

Post by Mir »

“We have a serious problem.” Carly said.

It was Tuesday, around noon. She had just gotten back from a series of press interviews concerning something that the group had done that had helped stabilize a long thought dormant volcano in the Pacific. This volcano had threatened a small island population and the Fantastics had been called in to see if they could lend any expertise. On the list of important things for Paul Matthews, it hadn’t been that high, and they had managed to solve the problem and be back in the span of less than forty eight hours. A job well done, all things considered. He looked up from the couch in the main family room, trying to figure out how he had gotten suckered into watching Knubbly show off his dance moves at Dance Central 4.

He was the smartest man in the world. Surely there could have been other...better pursuits of his time. But no, somehow he had been coerced into sitting here and watching the little alien creature do his thing. As if Knubbly could read his mind, the creature’s little stubby tail switched in the air.

“What’s the problem now?” He asked.

“The press.” Carly said, coming around and flouncing down on the couch next to him. “I mean, I’m the group’s publicist and I haven’t been having a problem there, but we’ve been getting serious questions in regards to overall group cohesion.”

“What does that mean?” Emma asked, walking into the room. She was looking down at her tablet, which was showing her the current progress of an experiment that she was running remotely from the biological lab that was her playground so to speak. “We’re fine.”

“Well, yes, we are. But you have to look at it from the public’s perspective.”

“Why?” Paul asked, plaintively, looking between fiance and future sister in law. “I hate people.”

“We know this, dear heart.” Emma said, ruffling his hair slightly, as she gave him a bemused smile. Then she gave a head nod in Carly's direction. “Let her finish.”

“First people saw G-Force leave. Now they’ve seen Jimmy leave.” Carly said, and then paused, shaking her head slightly. She had always been the middle child. Now she was the youngest. No, that wasn’t right. Jimmy wasn’t dead, he was just out and about and doing what he needed to do to get his mind right. There was nothing wrong with that and she needed to support him, even if she did worry about him a lot. “I mean, there’s three of us. We’re not really the Fantastic Five, are we?” She asked.

“Valid point.” Paul said, with a head nod as Knubbly got a new high score. “What’s the prognosis?”

“It’s not impacting overall popularity metrics. I know you don’t really care about those, but I keep track of them.” She said. “But people are starting to wonder if there are any internal problems within the group.” Carly added.

“It would be nice to recruit another member.” Emma said, with an offhand shake of her head as she considered the different possibilities of what having another member of the team would mean.

“What, are we going to have tryouts or something?”

Carly shrugged at Paul’s suggestion. “That would be kind of weird, when you think about it. I don’t know, I just think that there’s three of us now, we’re like...the Terrific Three. And that’s just no bueno.” She paused after a moment. “What about Ben Storm?” She asked.

“What about him?” Emma asked, adjusting the shrug that she was wearing and looking up from the tablet that she held in her hands. “You want to ask Ben Storm to join the team?” She asked. “We haven’t been able to properly stabilize him. It’s a work in progress, I don’t think that we can have him outside of the containment field.” She said and looked at Paul.

“Progress on it has been sluggish, yes, but at this point, he should be able to move around and be ok, to use a basic word. We could ask him, but the question is, do we feel as though we need another member on the team?”

Carly kind of sighed there and she looked away for a moment. “I’m not usually the emotional type.” She said and Paul rolled his eyes. She punched him in the arm. “But no offense, I feel like a third wheel now. I would like it if there was another member on the team. You and Emma are building your life together and it’s great, I’m happy for you, but you do spend a lot of time with each other.” She said. Carly turned and looked at Emma. “I’m happy for you, big sister, I am, I just...I need some me time, I guess.”

Emma nodded. “You, me, shopping, it’s going to happen.”


Carly beamed. She turned to Paul. “And you’ll talk to Ben?”

“Yes, I’ll talk to Ben.”

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Re: FF: The Future is Now

Post by Nichalus »

Ben Storm sat at the table that was mounted with several machines that Matthews tried to explain to him their purpose, but Ben got lost after the word 'This machine does....'. All he knew was that they were meant to monitor his various body functions, and more importantly his brain waves during the excerises that Matthews wanted him to do.

Ben was very apprehensive about purposefully using his abilities, especially after the fiasco at the Chase Foundation event. If Superman had no been there, he shuttered at the thought of what 'could' have happened. Since that time, with the grateful help of Paul Matthews and his team, Ben had actually begun to feel a 'bit' more comfortable using his abilities, but he was far from having any confidence in actually controlling them. He grimaced slightly when he recalled the test a few days ago when he nearly melted the top two floors of the building off.

Wearing the specialized suit made from the advanced unstable molecules of Matthews design, attached at various places on his body were electrodes, wires and recording devices. Ben sat at the table that had a small platform that held a small piece of Adamantium no bigger than the size of a thumbnail held by a small anti-grav unit underneath holding it up. Ben began concentrating on the small sliver of unique metal, using the method that Matthews had told him about starting 'small', concentrate on the object, thinking about it's center. Feeling the object within his mind, and slowing...with purpose...spreading the energy from there.

Ben's eyes slowly began to darken, a red tint taking over his normally clear blue ones, as tiny wisps of steam crawled from the corners of his eyes. Tendrils of smoke began to rise from the sliver of adamantium, and then Ben's eyes literally sparked into flame as he concentrated harder on the metal. His fists tightened as the middle of the adamantium began glowing brightly and then spread out to be completely engulfed in flames.

Ben smiled broadly, holding on to the control level within his mind on the object. The readings on the various monitors flashed numbers and scales, lights began flashing at they received their data from the probes, and the temperature probe's numbers were scaling nearly to the melting point of the rare mineral.

"Good Morning Ben." Paul Matthews stated as he entered into the room.

Ben startled at the sound of Paul's greeting, and then suddenly the alarms in the room sounded, as Ben's concentration was broken and his energy levels soared off the charts of the machines and his body suddenly bursts into flames. Immediately several wand looking devices pop out from their holders by Ben and begin to emit a amplified electrical field around Ben's body, the electric field interacts with the charged particles in the flame — the electrons, ions and soot particles — and this collective motion of the charges in the electric field lead to the movement of the gas within the flame. The suppression is that his flames gets detached from the fuel source, and Ben slumps back into his chair, a dejected look on his face.
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Re: FF: The Future is Now

Post by Mir »

"Good morning, Paul." Ben said as he sat there, looking rather saddened.

"I see you were making progress. That's good. You're on par with everything that I've projected." Matthews said, pressing a few buttons. A holographic display popped up that showed the charts with all of the details of what he was referring to. He turned and gave the younger man a reassuring smile. This didn't go over too well. "What's wrong?"

"I was trying to beat those expectations." Ben said, looking at Matthews.

"I understand that, but you have to remember that science can do a lot, but what it can't do is properly explain how your body is able to do the things that it can do. Which means that while the projections will never be one hundred percent accurate, neither will your ability to match, exceed, or fail them. We do the best we can, which is all that I can ask of you. All that I will ask of you." He said, changing the verb as he walked around the setup, checking the various pieces of equipment that were currently in use.

All of the power levels were good, and everything was functioning just fine. It looked good and it looked as though everything was running smoothly. Paul Matthews liked it when things worked the way that he'd built them to. Otherwise he had to fine tune things and he didn't have a long track record of needing to fine tune things in the first place. He looked around the section of the laboratory that they were in. "I mean, it's going to be a while before you can just say 'flame on' and the fire-y stuff, to put it simply, just happens, but you'll get there. But there's something that I wanted to talk to you about."

"I'm all ears." Ben said, with a shrug.

"I want to take you out of the containment field." Paul said and held up his hands to forestall the words that had been on the tip of Ben's tongue. The other man's body language had changed and it had been obvious what his thoughts were going to be on the subject. But Matthews needed to finish the thought before he could let Ben speak on it. "I think that it's a bit of a crutch. You know it's there, so you know you have that safety net. I want to see what happens without the safety net. What do you think?" Matthews asked.

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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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Apprehension flowed over Ben's face like a tidal surge, as he listened to Dr. Matthews. On the brighter side of his thoughts, being able to actually leave his cozy little room with all the gadgets and do-dads that instantly cut off his flames the moment he sneezed...which did happen on a couple of earlier occasions. On the dimmer side of his thoughts, it was the very fact that if he did sneeze, he ran the risk of losing control and hurting someone.

Still, he had to admit, that after several months here, Matthews and his soon to be wife, had helped him greatly and the incidents with the accidental flare up where few and far between. Plus, the special bodysuit that he wore was having a dramatic impact on his control levels.

Lastly, Paul had been working 'very' hard with him, talking, teaching, and not to mention building these devices that were doing things that others had never done for him before. Thoughts, strange memories slipped into his thoughts when he thought about the others, strange images, places...like still photographs, only it was as if he was looking at someone elses photo album...

"Ben?" He heard Paul say, and then shook the phantom images from his head. "Are you ok?" Paul asked with a slight frown of concern.

That frown helped Ben make his decision more than anything else, because after all he had done for Ben, disappointing Matthews was one thing he did not want to do.

"You know what Doc?" Ben looked up at Paul and smiled broadly. "I think that is the best idea that you have come up with in a long time. But I guess that's why you are a genius and all that."
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Re: FF: The Future is Now

Post by Mir »

Matthews smiled. "Good, that's great."

He stepped over to one of the computer consoles and keyed in a password that unlocked it. Then his fingers moved more quickly over the buttons. One by one the different protections that surrounded Ben were disabled and went away. Finally, almost two minutes later, the last one was gone. Ben was totally unprotected. "Just remember, I spent more money than I want to try to think of on this lab, try not to break anything." He said with another smile.

There was a crash in the distance.

"Knubbly has already cornered the market on that, I don't think he'd appreciate challengers." Paul added with a small sigh. "So, you have the world at your fingertips, what would you like to do first?" He asked.

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Re: FF: The Future is Now

Post by Nichalus »

"Honestly Doc..." Ben looked at him with a sheepish smile. "A walk in the Metropolis Park would be good enough for me, it was one of the places that I liked the most. Kinda kept me peaceful and calm...and...not a whole lot of people around. Or at least not alot 'around' me. Maybe Knubbly can come with us...we kinda share a common bond in that we tend to have 'accidents'.
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Re: FF: The Future is Now

Post by Mir »

Matthew grimaced. “You want to take Knubbly for a walk?” He asked. “You’re sure? Have you ever been on a walk, with Knubbly, before?” He asked.

“Doesn’t matter, he said the magic words.” A voice said.


They both looked.

Peeking around a corner, they saw Knubbly’s face. He was perched high up on set of cabinets. One of his ears twitched as he sat there. “I would absolutely enjoy going on a walk in the park with you, Ben Storm Son of the late, great Johnny Storm, Godson to Benjamin Grimm. It would be a pleasure.”

“For him, of course.” Paul said. “Not for you.”

Knubbly nodded, sagely. “Shall we depart?! The park is waiting.”

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Re: FF: The Future is Now

Post by Nichalus »

Ben smiled broadly, perhaps the first honest smile he had allowed himself in some time, as Knubbly waddled up to him, looking up into Ben's eyes with his own impish child-like, but wisened, eyes. Knubbly's lips smiled back at Ben, the excitement in his face obvious.

"Listen Knubs." Ben knelt down. "Here's the deal. I promise to keep you out of trouble, if you promise to keep me out of trouble. We'll watch out for each other....'kay?" Ben held his hand out to Knubbly, which Knubbly promptly toddled up Ben's arm and unceremoniously plopped down on Ben's shoulder.

"You have deal, Ben Storm, son of the great Johnn...."

"Ok, Knubs." Ben cut him off. "Just Ben...ok? You can just call me Ben." Ben smiled a bit weakly.

Knubbly looked at him for a moment, his smile fading slightly, but then returning as he understood the young human's emotional turmoil at the sound of his father's name. "Knubbly apologizes ...Ben." His smile broadens. "Can Knubbly and his new best friend Ben stop and get some pizza on the way to park?"

"Knubs, my friend....you read my mind!" Ben laughs as they head to the elevators.
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Re: FF: The Future is Now

Post by Mir »

Knubbly attacked his pizza with relish. Ben watched, possibly a little horrified, as the creature indeed, added relish, normally reserved for hot dogs, to his extra large pizza. There was a small mom and pop pizza place right outside of the Cascade Building that Knubbly probably kept in business. The owner knew whenever Knubbly came in, that he needed to make three extra large cheese pies and that Knubbly could down them all.

As he finished the last slice of the last pie, the Knubblechen creature paused.

“Ayo, Tommy!” He called out, his voice perfectly mimicking a Robert De Niro from any of the famous gangster movies. That New York accent was unmistakable.

“Yo Knubbly!” Tommy, the owner and head ‘chef’ replied.

“Lemme get another pizza pie.” Knubbly said, his little tail wiggling with excitement. He turned and looked at Ben Storm. “Don’t...uh...don’t tell Emma Stevens.” He said. “Our secret.” He said, and extended his hand, his littlest finger up. “She’ll say it’ll ruin my appetite. If you tell, I’ll totally make your punishment that you have to be the one to give me a bath for the next month. I know where Carly and Emma keep the garlic.” He said. “Besides, we have more time to discuss your powers, why you think you can’t control them, and how your father and family’s heroics are negatively impacting your worldview and your view of yourself.” Knubbly said, before draining the rest of his soda and following that with a burp.

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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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Ben waved his hand in front of his face to ward off the noxious fumes from Knubbly's belch, with a half smile on his face. "Jesus Knubs, for a little furball, your breath is packing the punch of the Hulk."

"I am most apologetic Son of...I mean...Ben." Knubbly said apologetically.

"I tell you what Knubs, I promise not to tell Emma, if you promise to start practicing some Earth-'like' manners." Ben smiled humorously. "That...or start carrying a 'big' pack of Tic Tacs."

Ben took Knubbly's tiny hand between his thumb and forefinger and they shook on it, then Knubbly began devouring another pizza. Without even thinking about it, Ben concentrated on the metal pan holding the pizza and was keeping it perfectly warm, as he took a slice, careful to not reach in while Knubby was eating, so as to not lose a finger.

"As for you questions Knubs. I really don't know the 'why' I'm uncomfortable with my powers. Given from the heritage that I come from, most would assume that I'm born and bred for it. Part of me is proud of the things that my father and the original Fantastic Four accomplished, I mean...shit...they saved the planet, if not the entire universe several times over."

"But Knubs, I don't even know 'who' my mother was." Ben looks out the window of the shop, towards the few people milling around the park. "I really don't have any memory prior to the Chrell Invasion, I was just a couple years old then. Then everything is a blur afterwards. I really can only see blurring images, or memories of the time between. But it seems like....some'thing' or some'one'...is there in my images. It's blurry, some days I can almost make it out, I can almost make 'him' out....." He looks back at Knubbly, who is looking at him with a frown on his tiny furry lips, his little paws firmly on his hips in aggravation. His large blue eyes looking from Ben's face to the pizza on the table.

Ben looks down and the cheese is literally boiling, and the crust is blackened. "Oh shit!" Ben pulls back his energy. "Dammit, I'm sorry Knubs."
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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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Knubbly frowned and waved his hands. The pizza lifted into the air and landed on the counter to be dealt with by the operators of the establishment. “Think nothing of it.” He said. “Now, I would like to inquire something of you.” He said, taking the special metal cup that Tommy had gotten just for him. It was difficult, after all, to hold one hundred and twenty eight ounces, or one gallon, of soda in a container. He took an appreciative gulp. 


“Uh, sure.”

“Why does it matter?” He asked.

“Why does what matter?”

“Why does it matter that you don’t know who your mother was? Why does it matter that you are the son of Ben Storm?” He asked. “Your memories are holding you back, but only because you’re letting them. Why does it matter? You could have been Carl Terry or Michael Smith. Any random person who happened to be born with powers. Don’t let a past that you can’t remember affect your present and jeopardize your future. Yes, you are the son of Ben Storm, but what does that really mean?”

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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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Ben looked at Knubbly with a quizative tilt of his head. "Well, It's....."

"I mean, it's just that..."

"Well...come on! Who wouldn't..." Ben looks at Knubbly with a confused expression. As if the little creature should be finishing his sentences.

A slow smile creeps across Ben's lips, as he realizes that the diminuitive little creature looking expectantly as him, has posed the question, the simpliest of ones that should have been the first one in his own head.

"You know Knubs, I guess...." His smile broadens. "..I guess it really doesn't mean anything, unless you give it more meaning than it rightfully should."

"I mean, don't get me wrong..what my father and the rest of the Fantastic Four did in their time was all heroic and self-sacrificing and all, and I am very proud of what they did. I guess....I guess I was just afraid that I wouldn't be able to live up to what they stood for."
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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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"In that regard, you do have reason to worry, but not more than anyone with a famous parent or famous family should. You're not alone. Think about it. Paul Matthews has inherited the name of Reed Richards. Awesome. Powerful. It's something that is daunting and he isn't even related to Reed Richards in the first place." Knubbly said. "You do the best that you can, and that's the best that you can do." He added and then cocked his head. "That seemed odd and redundant."

"You're odd and redundant."

"I find that hurtful and quite potentially true. Come, we'll go to the park. I'll chase squirrels. Feel free to use me to pick up women as Jimmy tried to."

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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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"And you are a strange, but fun little guy to be around Knubs." He reaches across and musses up Knubbly's hair. Reaching into his back pocket he produces enough cash to lay on the table to cover their meal. Then extends his arm, which Knubbly waddles up Ben's arm and sits down on Ben's shoulder, still slurping on the 44oz soda cup.

"Cya Sal..." Ben waves to the owner as they step out onto the sidewalk, then crosses the street to the park. "So, is the Doc going to be meeting us here, or was this all just a ruse to get me out of the building for a while and mingle with the public?"
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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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“I do not presume to know the intentions of our fellow friend, the good doctor.” Knubbly said, his voice changing into that of Sean Connery. “The chap’s mind is complex, lad, to say the least. He is a conundrum, wrapped in a mystery and-”

“That’s from a movie, I swear.”

“Or a Starbursts ad. I haven’t decided.” Knubbly replied. He reached up and placed his little paw in Ben’s hand.

“So what’s your deal?” Ben asked, looking down, his eyebrow raising as Knubbly’s tail wiggled slightly.

“I don’t follow your line of questioning.”

“What...who...Tell me about yourself.”

“Oh, so this is that kind of walk in the park. Benjamin Storm, my dashing hero.” Knubbly said. “My name is Knubblechen Prime. I am a Knubblechen, a race of aliens from an incredibly distant planet. That planet was attacked and destroyed by a race of aliens. A race that you call the Chrell. I was one of the few that escaped. I was born around what you call five thousand years B.C.E.” Knubbly said. “The ship that carried the last of my people was not well equipped to handle the ill and the dying. Eventually, I was all that was left.” He said. “Simply put, I have extensive powers. I utilized these powers to attach myself, in molecular form, to Jimmy Stevens and then presented myself to Paul Matthews to have him aid me in finding a suitable planet with which to restart my civilization and people. He agreed, in part because I’m awesome, and in part because Emma Stevens totally fell in love with my cute cheeks. Look.”

He puffed his cheeks.

“I’ve been downloading and learning earth culture and language. For example, I now understand how to do the dougie. But the harlem shake still escapes me. I be practicing, yo, but the man be getting me down. Haters gon’ hate.”

“Right.”

“Word. Anyway. That’s enough about me. Your turn, boy-o.”

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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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"Well, my story can't hold a match to yours Knubs. It's really kinda ...boring by comparison." Ben states as he tries to comprehend all that Knubs had just told him. He is almost embarrassed that all this time he believed that 'his' life was in shambles.

"You know who my dad was. Dad was, well, a great father, probably the type of father that most kids would like to have. Free-Spirited, Adventurous, and when he wasn't off saving the Universe, we were here camping, riding our motocross bikes."

Ben smiles with the memories. "Hell, one time he took me into the Negative Zone, where we camped in a great forest on Baluur. Reed was sooo pissed off when he found out." Ben chuckles slightly. "Even got to meet Franklin Richards, who was of course Galactus. He really was probably one of the most misunderstood beings I ever had the pleasure to meet. He even gave me a dose of his Cosmic Power and I got to blast asteroids for hours."

"And your mom just allowed all this?" Knubs tilts his head quizzically.

Ben's smile fades. "Well Knubs, my mother died when I was very young, and I really only have fading memories of her, and the pictures we have around the house."

"I think that is one of the reasons Dad was always keeping me busy, taking me places where I wouldn't have time to dwell on her." He looks at Knubs and the saddening look on his face. "Don't get me wrong Knubby, I had no wants or desires growing up. Reed and Sue helped Dad set up a lot of capital ventures, stocks and stuff for Dad...otherwise he would have blown it. Dad was notorious for frivolous spending back in the day."

"But with all their help Dad founded Adventure Inc, which now has stores all over the world that sells the best and most advanced Adventure, Hiking, Rescue and Exploration gear in the world. Shit, Reed even designed some of the more advanced vehicles, based off the old Fantasticar designs, for Mountain Rescue services."

"So now, here I am. Financially I have no worries. Personally..." He sighs heavily. "Growing up, everyone was watching me closely, to see if I would inherit Dad's powers, and even Reed was surprised when they didn't manifest when I hit puberty. And now the powers have come out, Dad's gone to help me learn to use them. Thank God Paul is though."
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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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“He’s a good sport, that chap.” Knubbly said. He and Ben were in the park now and they were walking through it. It was a large park and there were people all over, enjoying the sun and the beautiful day. “That is an interesting upbringing, I must say. I think that it’s something that not everyone was afforded and it gives you a unique perspective on the world. You’ve seen a lot and done a lot, so what is next for you?”

“Next? Figuring out these powers I guess. I wonder what the next test is going to be.” Ben said.

Knubbly only shrugged as they continued walking.

They continued through the park and Knubbly saw a bench occupied by a rather attractive brunette and her dog. He angled his head towards them. “Shall we...see how good your ‘game’ is?” He asked.

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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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Ben smiled down at Knubbs. "Go do your thing furball, and I'll show you my 'game'."

With that Knubbs ran, in his waddle-like trot, towards the brunette and her dog. Almost immediately the dog stood up on it's haunches and began growling loudly at the odd furry creature that appeared to be some cross between a groundhog and a plump otter.

The brunette lifted her legs up on the bench and gave out a slight scream, but held onto the dog's leash as it began to bark in earnest at Knubbs. Knubbs stopped just short of the brunette and the fiercely growling dog and stood up on his hind legs and put on his cutest expression of curiosity, and tilted his head back and forth in a insanely cute inquisitive manner.

"Knubbs, get back here!" Ben came trotting up behind Knubbs. "Oh man, I'm so sorry ma'am. He gets a little excited when I take him to the park, and likes to wander off."

"Oh my god, what is he?" The brunette asked, the fright on her face beginning to wear off, as Knubbs kept up the 'cute' look towards her. It was an almost hypnotic expression on the creature that even Ben has almost fallen for. Even the woman's dog stopped barking and was moving his head back and forth in sync with Knubbs.

"Well, my understanding is that he is an exotic breed of otter from Australia. I'm taking care of him while my friends over at the Cascade Building do their business and stuff."

"The Cascade Building?" The woman looked at him quizzically. "Isn't that where the Fantastic..."

"Yes, Dr. Matthews and crew are close friends of mine." Ben blushed slightly, and then held out his hand. "I'm sorry, I forgot my manners. My name is Ben Storm."
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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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“My name is Rebecca. Rebecca Nolan.” She said. “I just moved here from Gotham City.” She said. “This is a...serious change of pace.” She said. “Things seem to be a lot slower here, than back home.” She said. “But that’s pretty cool, an otter from Australia?” Rebecca asked and Ben nodded.

Knubbly seemed affronted by this, but he didn’t let it get to him. 

The dog, deciding that it was high time that he got to know Knubbly better came around, and shoved his nose in Knubbly’s backside, sniffing.

“I do say, I’m not a savage.” Knubbly said, yelping. He turned and batted the dog on the nose. The dog moved around and continued to sniff, causing Knubbly to turn and yelp again, batting the dog again. This happened two more times, and then he froze and turned and looked at Ben, who was giving him a look. “He. Sniffed. My. Butt. You savage.” He said. He looked back at the dog. "Mongrel. You must learn etiquette. But not from him." He said, pointing at Storm. "He leaves socks on the floor. I've seen it." Then he looked at Rebecca and smiled.

“What in the-” She said. “Are you sure he’s a regular otter?” She asked.

”Knubble. Knubble Knubble.” Knubbly said, making his eyes larger.



“Oh, but he is cute.”

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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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Ben put his face in the palm of his hand and shook his head in frustration as Knubbs put on the charm.

"Oh my god, he is the absolutely adorable!" She said, as she placed steepled hands in front of her mouth in excitement.

"Yeah, he's a real peach.." Ben's muffled voice came from the palm of his hand.

"He's not really from Australia, is he?" She asked as Knubbs climbed into the woman's lap and curled up in a ball, as she stroked the fur on his back.

Ben could only look between his fingers at the almost nauseating display of cuteness being performed before his eyes. "Well, now that the cat..."

"Cat!" Knubbs jumped up from his curled position and then hopped to the left and then to the right, his eyes narrowed. "Where?! Cursed creatures from hell!!" He growled before then immediately changing from suspicious to a contemplative nature. "But they do taste good if you season them with the right ingredients."

Ben sighed. "Knubbs, its a form of expression. 'The cat is out of the bag', meaning that, now that you have revealed your 'uniqueness' or secret, we don't have to be so careful about who and what your are."
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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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"Indeed, Benjamin Storm, Son of the late Johnny Storm, resident of the Cascade Building and current experiment of interest of Paul Matthews." Knubbly said. He turned and looked at Rebecca. "I am a Knubblechen. Knubblechen Prime, the last of my species. I call earth my home after having laid conquest to its great stores of pizza."

"A what?"

"Woman you must liiiisten to the Knubbly." He said. "Once again, I am a Knubblechen. Knubblechen Prime, the last of my species. And your dog should be better trained." He said and then smiled. "Now are you free this Wednesday?" He asked

"I suppose." She said, confusion on her face. "Why?"

"Assuming you find someone to look after that social deviant of a savage mongrel that you call a dog, Benjamin Storm of the Cascade Building would like to take you to dinner." Knubbly said and turned to Benjamin. "Yes?"

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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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"You will have to excuse my friend ma'am." Ben blushed slightly. "His social skills, not to mention he has impulsive tendencies, need some work."

"Does that mean you don't want to have dinner with me?" Rebecca asks, and playful mock hurt expression on her face.

"Well..no, of course not. I would love to take you out to dinner, it's just that...well...what I mean to say...is...um..." Ben stumbles over his words, scratching the back of his head as he tries to gather his thoughts.

"Your kinda new at this aren't you." Rebecca teases.

"My friend Ben Storm, son of the late..." Knubbs begins.

"KNUBBS!" Ben cuts off the little alien.

"Wait!" Rebecca makes a startled realization. "Your the Ben Storm, as in the son of Johnny Storm the Human Torch?!"

Ben sighs heavily and nods. "Yes, but I hate really talking about it, or introducing myself as. It seems like ...like..."

"A pick up line?" Rebecca says

"Exactly."

"But, Ben Storm, son of..." Knubbs cuts himself off. "Sorry, Ben Storm. Being the offspring of such a heroic, brave and renowned public figure such as your father should be something to be proud to tell people."

"Knubbs, remind me to have a chat with you about Earth customs about dating and meetings between the opposite sexes."
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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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"I watch Oxygen! I also watch the View sometimes. But Emma doesn't like it. Carly is a ravenous consumer of daytime soap operas. Verily, I speak the truth." Knubbly said. "Now, shall we set a time and a place?" He asked. "Shall we say, Wednesday, at seven? That leaves plenty of time to ensure suitable parking at the Flower of Italy Ristorante on Grand and 17th. They have excellent pizza."

"Knubbly, I don't think you understand how this works."

"Of course I do. We woo her with pizza."

"Woo me?" Rebecca asked, as her dog settled down under the bench. "I'm going to be 'wooed'? " She asked, looking between the two.

"But of course." Knubbly said. "Provided that Benjamin here possesses an ounce of wooing."

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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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"Knubbs, your killing me. You can't just....wait....did you just use 'verily' in a sentence?" Ben shakes his head, and then steps over to Rebecca and keeping his back to Knubb, he whispers to her. "I'm sorry miss, but my friend is learning the way of the world.."

Rebecca leans forward, a barely contained smiled on her lips and whispers. "..and failing I might add."

"Yes, but if you would humor him a bit and accompany me to Flower of Italy, I would be appreciative. This way he'll feel like he's accomplished something. He really does mean well, and thinks he is..."

Ben looks at Rebecca's face, her hand is over her mouth trying to muffle the laugh that is trying to come out while looking at Ben's shoulder.

"He's on my shoulder listening to everything I'm saying...isn't he?"

Knubbs sits resting on Ben's shoulder, trying to look nonchalantly and then notices something in Ben's hair and picks it out, sniffs it and then puts it in his mouth. Ben turns his head and looks at Knubbs furry face only a mere inch or two away, while Rebecca falls back on the park bench laughing heartily.

"I'm quite light on my feet when I want to be." Knubbs states

"Your the devil, a furry, demented, devil." Ben replies exasperated.
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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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A monocle appeared over Knubbly's right eye, and he took on the appearance of the funny little bald man in that board game that the Fantastic Research Team played from time to time. "Your statement is nothing but baseless slander and accusation. Filled with deception and untruths. Your comeuppance shall come up shortly, my good fellow. In the meantime, however, I am interested in the fact that the young lady here has not consented to meeting with you for a period of time that we shall henceforth refer to as, 'the date'. I, for one, would be more than pleased to know-"

Knubbly was interrupted by the dog, who started barking and rose, to look at a squirrel in the distance.

"Silence, peasant!" He said, and then looked back at Rebecca. "Now, where was I?"

"You wanted to be more than pleased to know something."

"Ah yes, quite right. Sharpest tool I have found, present company included." He said, indicating Ben. "Is it a yes?" He asked. "Is it? Or do I have to wait until next week, the season finale? Because that's just not fair. Or right." Knubbly said.

"I...I...I guess I could go out on a date with you, Benjamin."

"Victory!" Knubbly said. "Now, I go chase the dog chasing the squirrel."

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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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Ben proffered his arm to Rebecca with a gentlemanly smile, which she returned the smile and slid her arm into his and they began to walk down the sidewalk. Rebecca suddenly stopped and looked over her shoulder, which brought a fresh round of chuckles, as Knubbly was still chasing her dog, who was chasing the squirrel which suddenly jumped and then climbed up a tree. Her dog then stood up, placing it's front paws on the trunk. Knubbly was not prepared for the sudden stop, bounced off the rear end of the dog and rolled onto his back looking up at the sky.

Rebecca composed herself long enough. "But what about your friend?"

"He'll be fine, I actually think he may like your dog, you usually only talks like that to people he likes. But don't tell him that the dog doesn't understand a word he says."

Rebecca laughed again, a sweet and honest laugh that made Ben smile, and then she leaned her head onto his shoulder and squeezed his arm tightly as they continued to walk. The smell of her freshly scented hair wafted in the air, the pressure of her touch, all made Ben feel a warmth within himself, a peacefulness he hadn't known in sometime, and he basked in the feeling, enjoying it, savoring it.

"Ben?!" Rebecca's voice was tinged with worry, and then he realized why. Tendrils of smoke were wafting up from his light coat as the material began to smolder.
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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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Knubbly smacked the dog and then turned, seeing that Ben was starting to smolder. "Well, I don't suppose that was part of the plan." He said, trundling over to where Ben was. "Excuse me, miss. Coming through." He said, and wedged himself in between the two, pushing her away. He turned and looked at Ben. "Benjamin Storm of-"

"Yeah, yeah I know. Help." Benjamin said.

The alien looked at the man and considered. "AH, yes. We need water."

"No, not water. I can't....I can't..."

"Breathe." Knubbly said. "Look into my eyes." He said. "Breathe, deeply and focus." He stopped. "You're not looking. This isn't going to work if you're not looking." Knubbly said and started to pace. "I go through all this trouble and-"

"I'm looking, I'm looking."

"Right. Breathe." Knubbly said, looking into Ben's eyes. "Just focus on my eyes. They're cute like buttons. At least that's what Emma said." He added. "Now, focus on them, and imagine yourself swimming in a pool full of Doritos." He said.

"Doritos?" Rebecca asked, incredulous.

"They're like mini pizzas if you think about it." Knubbly mumbled. "Pool full of Doritos. And you're safe."

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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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Ben couldn't help but look into the furry creatures eyes. Frightened as he was about unleashing his powers, he was more embarrassed of losing control in front of Rebecca. She was actually the first girl that he allowed himself to loosen up a bit, and just the mere emotion of happiness causes him to lose it.

"Knubbs...I...I'm trying, honestly I am." Ben stated as he looked at Knubbs, but his eyes kept shifting back and forth between him and Rebecca, who was looking on with an expression of concern. Not fear, not loathing or horror....but concern. Ben had fully expected her to run from him in terror, but instead, she stood there, an expression of concern, and even a look of frustration that there wasn't something she could do to help.

This confusion of her actions, caused his energies to subside. She 'was' concerned about him, as if she almost cared for him...and this made him smile slightly. His sense of belonging, that not everyone feared him for what he could do.

While his jacket was still smoldering, he could feel his energy subsiding. Both Knubby and Rebecca both felt the heat that he was radiating diminish from around him as he drew the heat back into himself.

"Oh my god, I'm so sorry Knubbs." Turning to Rebecca. "I'm sorry, I had hope...well, Paul had hope this would be a good experience for me to get out into the world."
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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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“It has been.” Rebecca said with a smile. “You got a date, with me.” She said. She reached out and lightly brushed a little bit of ash from his shoulder. “Things like this will happen if you’re learning, but I’m sure that you’ll get better at it. On the plus side, sometimes it gets cold in Metropolis, so if we’re walking, you can can definitely keep me warm.”

Knubbly floated by, on a cloud that looked like it was made of cotton candy. “I like her. We keep her. Ben, woo.” He said, and then floated away. “Wooooo.” His voice said, seemingly floating towards them from where he was a good forty yards away.

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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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Matthews and her sister were gone for the day, going to some kind of meeting. Which meant that Carly had her run of the place. Apparently Ben and Knubbly were out at one of the many parks in the city. She was reading the Daily Planet, looking at some of the interesting articles, when she figured that with everyone gone, this was definitely a time where she could spend some quality time in the lab without anyone bothering her. Rising from her seated position on the couch, she tossed the newspaper onto the table. Paul read from his tablet, so did Emma, but there was something about touching the newspaper that appealed to Carly. Maybe she was a bit old school with the way that she did things. But then again, that was just her. Walking through the Fantastic’s apartment, she headed over to one of the many elevators, to head down to the laboratory levels. Well, the special levels, that were hers.

Carly was a mechanic. That was putting it simply. Applied Physics was her specialty, with a number of degrees in engineering. The way the Fantastic Research team had worked was that James, Paul, and Emma would dream it up. Carly would get the grease on her building it, and Jimmy would help build, drive, and test it. Now they’d just cut out James. Good riddance too. That was someone that Carly would never miss ever. Not after the way he used to treat her older sister. The woman that Knubbly called his Green Kangaroo stepped out of the elevator onto her particular level of the Fantastic Research Inc.’s laboratories. This was her garage.

A number of cars were in the opening room, and she walked by them. She had been restoring them over the years. It was what she used her share of the profits from FRI on. There was a vintage Dodge Viper that she’d upgraded the engine on, to one of her own models. There was also a Wayne Motors Constellation Hybrid Coupe. That was actually a personal triumph. She’d helped design the car and had built part of the transmission that was in the car. The sleek, dark purple car was one of the first that had rolled off the assembly line, a gift from the owner, John Isaiah Muir.

Stark Industries Iron Glass panels slid away on picking up movement and she walked into the garage proper. Her eyes took everything in, and then Carly walked over to one of her stations. Changing into a version of her Fantastic Five uniform, replete with purple finishings, she turned the music on. A shuffle playlist, but it was hot and heavy with rock. The first song on the randomized list was The Heavy’s How You Like Me Now.

Her head started to bob in time with the music as she set to work. The main computer, one of Paul’s design, connected with a number of holographic displays set up throughout the garage and the machine shop. Purple holographs, her favorite color, shot up through out the place, displaying a number of different projects that she was working on. Organized chaos was Carly’s modus operandi, and she loved it. She wouldn’t have it any other way. She had to work on something that Paul had dumped into her inbox a few days ago. Also, she had a job for Emma’s plant containment units, for her biology experiments.

Highlighting another job, she saw that it was from the Royal British Navy. They were asking her to take a look at a turbine that they were looking to use in a next generation plane, and they wanted her as an independent contractor to give a second opinion. Acknowledging the request, Carly sent instructions for them to had the part shipped to her. Exiting the message, she pushed all the jobs away on the virtual screen that hung in the air. There’d be time for all of that later. For now, it was time to have fun.

She was building something for the team.

Carly knew that Paul was working on some kind of space ship. He’d had her machine up some parts in the past for him, and she’d done so, while commenting that weddings needed to be planned and that if he tried to escape his wedding on this rocket ship, she’d beat him to a pulp. Stretch had just given her one of his boyish grins and had said that he wanted to have the wedding in space. She’d just made sure that the artificial gravity generators were up to par.

What she was working on was more along the lines of terrestrial Earth though. It was a vehicle that would enable the team to move quickly where they needed to get to. So far, they used conventional means of transportation. They had a helicopter, and they had a jet. Other times, depending on what was going on, they utilized S.H.I.E.L.D. or Vanguard transportation. What was lacking though, was an actual Fantastic Five method of transportation. There was nothing homegrown, and that was what she wanted to rectify. This was to be a tactical vehicle, that they could use in a number of different circumstances. With that in mind, she had brought up the old blueprints to Reed Richard’s Fantasticar design.

Slash’s opening riff of Sweet Child O’Mine hit the speakers as the blueprints for her Fantasticar opened up. She walked through the lines of the car, letting them blur slightly as she did. Highlighting the engine section, she pressed a hard light button that hovered in the air. In the distance, she could hear gears whirring and a conveyor belt start up. All of her projects were stored in a large depository and she could summon anything she wanted at will

The engine came into view and she smiled.

Time to get to work.

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Mir
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Re: FF: The Future is Now

Post by Mir »

OOC: Co-written with the Popsicles.

IC:

Several months had past since Ben and Rebecca's, as Knubbly had put it 'Woooooing' began, and their relationship had grown into something more than the casual date here and there, and the two were spending more and more time together to the point where they had almost become inseparable.  Rebecca was offered, and accepted, a position as a receptionist at the Fantastic's HQ and was surprisingly very good at her position. 

Ben continued to grow more accustomed to his powers, gaining valuable control in key areas of keeping his fiery energies under tight buffers that he had placed within his mind after reading that Superman used the same methods to keep his strength in check.  While Ben did not possess the vast strength of Superman, Paul had stated that Ben did have the potential of destroying a sizable chunk of the eastern seaboard if he lost control and Supernova'ed.  The possibility also existed that he could superheat the very air of the Earth, depending on the Jet Stream and prevailing winds, and literally set the world on fire.  These two examples alone, while scary to Ben, it did put his abilities into perspective for him, thus making him very cautious to keep his abilities in check.

But on the bright side of his abilities, Ben had learned how to use his energies to fly.  Using his thermal energy to propel him through the air much like the thrust of a jet engine, allowed him to ride the natural thermal winds in the air, where he also learned that he could control these naturally occurring elements that aided him in flight.  Plus he could now control his heat emissions and keep from burning persons that were near him with his radiant heat.  He had become so good at it, he could even put Knubbly on his back, removing the fire and heat from around the spot where he sat, and the two would streak around town having a good time of it.  Knubbly enjoyed immensely when they would chase flocks of the black birds in the area, deeming them to be "Flying Rats".

Meanwhile, plans were progressing with the upcoming Matthews and Stevens nuptials. Carly had gone into full planner mode, and Paul had started to toss around the term bridezilla. But only under his breath. And only when Emma wasn’t in the room. And only when no one else was in the room. Because then he got punched. Lovingly, of course.

Carly’s project with the Royal British Navy had turned out to be quite a success. She’d finished the project and had been invited to work on something for a far more different organization, still British. MI-13 had come calling and they wanted her to do an overhaul on different vehicles that they used. Though they weren’t as widespread as S.H.I.E.L.D. or even Vanguard, they were still a prestigious organization and Carly was excited to work with them. The work that she had was keeping her busy, but as a team, they were still working themselves.

That meant that she was often times called away from her work to stop some kind of crime or something that was going on in Metropolis. They had been there before the new Superman, so they often times were looked to as a first line of defense against crimes. But even though all of them had been on board with forming a team and using their powers for something good, she was pretty sure that all of them were also pleased that the new Superman was indeed, faster than a speeding bullet. Solved a lot of problems all things considered.

Carly walked into the main living room of the residential living area. An eyebrow was raised as she saw Knubbly running around with a Viking helmet on, yelling something or other about needing his axe and shield. As he knocked over a vase with flowers in it, causing it to fall on a sofa, she saw that this had been enough. Using her powers, Carly ran to him and caught him up in the air.

“Green Kangaroooooo.” Knubbly said.

“Knubbly.” She said. “What are you doing?” She asked.

“I’m a viking.” He said, as if that should be plainly obvious.

“Uh huh.” She said, shaking her head slightly. Whereas before Paul Matthews had been Knubbly’s partner in crime, nowadays it had shifted to someone else. Someone who had to be very, very close. “Ben-jamin!”

He peeked around the corner. “She’s mad, isn’t she?” He asked.

“Maybe.” Knubbly said. He scrunched up his face. “But I’m cute, and I’ll tell her where I’ve hidden all the sprinkle cookies.” He said.

“We don’t have any sprinkle cookies.” Carly said.

“We don’t.” Knubbly replied with a sage nod of understanding and admission. Both Carly and Paul loved sprinkle cookies and they never had enough in the Cascade Building for both members of Fantastic Research Inc. But I do.” Knubbly said. “Taken from the stash in the Green Kangaroo’s bedroom.” He said.

“You....little....” Carly said, eyes widening as Paul and Emma came around the corner.

“And here’s Paul with the weather update.” Knubbly said, and with a twist of his tail disappeared, teleporting away.

“He stole my sprinkle cookies.” Carly said.

“He stole my rubber duck.” Paul replied with a shrug.

“He stole my....no wait...” Emma said. “He’s never stolen anything of mine.” She said. “Anyway, we’ve got news.” She said.

“Oooh news. Then we get the little bastard.” Carly said with no heat behind it. Despite his antics, she loved the little furball.

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Re: FF: The Future is Now

Post by Nichalus »

"Ooo, News!" Knubbly stated as he reappeared between Ben and Rebecca, who were now sitting on the couch. A bowl of popcorn sitting on his stubby little furry legs. "Has my application to join the Justice League been approved? Or did my membership to the Booster Gold Fan Club finally arrive? Which I would be more satisfied with that latter! Please tell me it is so Firewalker Ben Storm!"

"Firewalker?" Carly asked quizzically.

Ben merely sighed.

"Oh sweet Green Kangaroo, do you not know of the most greatest actor to grace your Earth theaters, not to mention the greatest contribution to movies, Chuck Norris?"

Carly, Rebecca and Ben all put their face in their hands simultaneously and shook their heads slowly.

"I name the great Ben Storm in this, the greatest of all time actors, honor and have deemed him the Firewalker. Does this not please you Ben Storm?"

"No, not really." Ben's muffled voice came from his hand covered face.

"Blasphemy!" Knubbly muttered. "We must culture you more Ben Storm, of obviously you have been kept from the single most important icon of your Earth!"

Rebecca and Carly both were covering their mouths in a vain attempt to muffle their chuckles.
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Mir
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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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“Who wants to go to space?” Paul asked.

“There’s no pizza in space.” Knubbly said. “But I shall accompany you, Paul Matthews of the Fantasti-”

“Awesome, that’s one.” Paul said, knowing that Knubbly could become a broken record with what he was going to say. “I’ve built a rocket ship that’s pretty cool. I figured we could do some exploring and see the stars.” He said. “It’s treated to be able to handle all of our powers, especially Ben’s, since we’re going to be in an oxygen rich environment onboard.” He said. “So, who’s with me?” He asked.

Ben nodded. “I’m definitely game.” He said with a smile.

“You know I’m in.” Carly said. “Besides, I helped you build the damn thing, I’d like to see how everything works.”

Paul nodded. He already knew that Emma was in for taking the trip. “I figured we’d leave tomorrow, so everyone make sure you get a good night’s sleep tonight.”

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Re: FF: The Future is Now

Post by Mir »

“We’ve got a rocket ship.”

“You said that already.” Emma said, reading from a magazine on wedding dresses. She was sitting in bed, under the covers, and turning the pages of the magazine, as she got herself ready for bed. Finally she looked up at her fiancé, who was standing at the foot of the California King sleigh bed and was wearing his Space Explorer Corps pajamas. She frowned. “The Space Explorer Corps is a kids organization. How did you get those?” Emma asked.

“I made them.” Paul said. He pointed at his head. “I’m smart, remember.”

“Oh God.” Emma replied, and looked back at her magazine, shaking her head. “I’m engaged to a mutant five year old.” She said.

“Did you know, I built a model rocket when I was five, and I got it into low level atmosphere.” He said.

“I know. You said that already, at dinner.” Emma said.

“Maybe we’ll get some space dust.” He said, pacing around the room. “Maybe we’ll get a meteorite.” He said. “Maybe-“

“Maybe we should go to sleep.” Emma said, throwing her magazine at him.

He caught it and flipped it over, looking at it. “Maybe we’ll get a meteorite that we can turn into space dust and use it as embellishment on your wedding dress.” He said, and grinned.

She narrowed her eyes. “For the last time, I am not wearing a dress that will make me look like a Dalek.”

“But my name is Mr. Fantastic.” Paul said. “That’s totally a Ninth Doctor line!”

“Paul, if you don’t shut up, you’re going to need a doctor.”

“That’s totally an Emma line.” He said, with a smirk.

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Re: FF: The Future is Now

Post by Mir »

The team was assembled. All of them were in the suits that they wore as a team. Ben stood there, looking down at the clothing that he wore. “Are you sure about this?” He asked, picking at the suit. “I don’t know if I should be wearing this.” He said.

“Of course.” Paul said, clapping the younger man on the back. “After all, you’re the son of Johnny Storm. You’re named after Ben Grimm. We’ve been working on your powers for months now and you’ve gotten the hang of it.”

“You have proven excellent at warming up my pizza.” Knubbly said.

“See? Knubbly’s happy.” Emma said, with a smile. “We’ve got faith in you, kid.” She said.

The ship that Paul had built was long, following a classical pulp fiction from the 1960s kind of feel to it. Undoubtedly the inside would not be that cramped or borrowing from the décor of the 60s or 70s.

“If anyone says ‘to infinity and beyond’, I’m punching them.” Emma said, reaching down and grabbing her back pack. She started walking up the ramp of the ship, followed by her sister, who chuckled at her older sister’s remarks.

The three men waited until the two sisters were out of view.

“To infinity….and beyond!” They said as a group.

“I still heard that.” Emma said, her voice coming from inside of the ship. “Get a move on, guys. I still have a wedding to plan.”

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Re: FF: The Future is Now

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Getting clearance from the FAA hadn’t been too difficult. Matthews had explained that no one would be affected by any of the back blast of the launch, and that realistically, if they were okay with a Kryptonian who flew around but was hard to pick up on radar, then they had to be okay with the fact that he was telling them in advance of the launch, and the vehicle he was operating was large enough to pick up on radar. His arguments convincing enough, the FAA officials had given them the go ahead.

But if there had been any issues with getting the clearance, it would have been brought up some time ago, as opposed to now, when they had escaped the earth’s gravitational pull.

“Artificial gravity is holding.” Ben said, looking at the computer monitor.

“It worked,” Paul said, leaning back in his chair. He pushed his glasses back up on his face, and looked out into space, with a smile on his face. It was more than a smile though; it was a look of a boy who had dreamed of going into space finally accomplishing that dream. “It really did work.”

“Of course it worked, Stretch.” Emma said, giving him a smile as she unbuckled herself and walked towards him. She patted him on the chest as she walked by him. “We still need to work on that confidence thing, sometimes.”

“Its…space. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to go to space.” He said.

“Its just space.” Carly said and Emma shot her a look. Carly rolled her eyes, though the smile on her face showed that there was no harm behind it. “I’m kidding, Stretchie.”

“I know.” Paul said. “Alright, let’s figure out where we want to go, step one is done.”

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Re: FF: The Future is Now

Post by Mir »

Paul had built a holographic display that could show them a wide variety of information. Currently, it was displaying star charts and advanced mapping of the cosmos, data that they had from the explorations of people before the Chrell Invasion and whatever the various space programs of the world had accomplished after that, which wasn't that much when you factored in how much had been spent on rebuilding the ground that people walked on. Looking to the stars hadn't been one of the priorities back then. But now, it was one of them, especially for Fantastic Research Inc. They were dedicated to learning more about the cosmos and more about what all of the cosmos had to offer.

"So where do we want to go?" Carly asked, sitting in one of the chairs around the display. She was moving through various star systems, pulling up different data points.

"Depends on how good your hyperdrive is." Paul said with a smirk. He knew how good her work was when it came to engines and reactors. She was the group's mechanic and engineer for a reason.

"Oh, please. We know how good Carly's hyperdrive is." Emma said, throwing an arm around her younger sister's neck. "I mean, just the other day, she made a reactor for Knubbly so he could cook pizzas in under five minutes."

"Yeah, bro. You do better." Carly said, with a smug smile. "I mean, Emma used her bio smarts stuff to make him better pizza ingredients that are safe. We're the cool kids."

"They...they have a point." Ben said to Paul, with a chagrined smile.

"So...about those stars, huh?" Paul asked with a big, sheepish smile.

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Re: FF: The Future is Now

Post by Mir »

They had their heading. Giving the decision to Carly, she had picked a series of coordinates at random and now, they were moving through space at speeds that were fantastical, no pun intended. Emma couldn’t believe that that joke had occurred to her. She was spending far too much time around her fiancé, that was for sure. Turning towards him, Emma smiled when she saw that his head was buried in his tablet, getting up to the second updates on different components of the ship, data that would be cataloged and filed away back at the Cascade Building, to be analyzed at a later date.

No doubt Paul had dedicated an entire server for this job.

Rising, she walked over to one of the computer terminals and looked at the coordinates that Carly had chosen. They were going to be far from earth, very far. She didn’t doubt that Carly’s hyperdrive could get them there and back, but if anything went wrong, Emma was going to be quite cross with her younger sister. Almost as if on cue, something went wrong.

The ship shuddered and started slowing down, but they were not near their destination at all. Emma’s eyes flitted over to another one of the terminals, as the rest of the team came towards the main console almost at the same time. She wasn’t just thinking that they were slowing down, they actually were slowing doing.

“What’s going on?” Ben asked.

“We’re slowing down.” Paul said, brow furrowing.

“Astute observation.” Carly said, pulling up a diagnostic on the hyperdrive and the reactor. “We’ve got no issues with the equipment. I don’t know why we’re slowing down, but the shields should protect us from any kind of damage, right?” She asked, and then turned to Paul. “Right?”

“In theory, yes.” He said, slowly.

“It would appear that we’ve arrived at a different destination.” Knubbly said, and hopped up onto the console.

All of the human occupants had been looking down, and had not realized that though they were still hurtling through space, they were no longer doing it at speeds that were faster than light. They were looking now into the blackness, the void of space, and at a system that had quite a few planets in it. Dominated by different colors, the planets looked so alien and foreign to them, that for a moment or two, Emma completely forgot about the fact that something was clearly wrong with their ship. It was a sight to behold, to marvel at.

“Do I at least get points for building a space ship that took us into hyperspace?” Paul asked.

“I’m not pretending to be Princess Leia for you.” Emma said, her eyes still on the scene in front of her, one of her hands reaching up to cup his chin.

“You’re already kind of a princess.” Carly said with a shrug.

“We’re being hailed.” Ben said, as the communications console lit up and started making noises. “I’m putting it on the main screen.”

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