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FF: The Future is Negative

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:44 pm
by Mir
Fantastic Five: The Future Is Negative

Carly closed the leather covered notebook, and looked out over the rest of the people in the room with her. She stood in a board room, and was dressed quite differently than she normally was. Pulling at an invisible loose thread in the sleeve of her gray jacket, Carly wished she had her sister’s comfortability in clothes such as these. In places such as these, really. The woman knew she had stuttered through parts of the presentation and she hated that. Strongly, she tried not to frown as she continued to look out over the rest of the people in the board room.

She thought to power down the holographic projector she’d brought with her to display the presentation, but decided against it, thinking that the Fantastic Research, Inc. logo hovering behind her added a nice final tough.

“Ms. Stevens, I want to thank you for your presentation.” The CEO of the company said. The woman steepled her fingers together, regarding Carly over the bridge of her glasses. “What Fantastic Research, Inc. is offering is very valuable and the synergy it would bring to our individual divisions would be incredible. We need a step back period to evaluate the changes to the paradigms this would bring, which I’m sure you can understand.” The woman said. “I think, and I don’t think I speak for myself when I say this, that Fantastic Research, Inc.’s proposal is one of the best ones we’ve seen.”

Carly nodded, thinking that this was good. She took a breath before she realized what was going on. “Wait a second.” She said. “I’m not good with business people’s double speak, but you’re just trying to flatter me, aren’t you?” She asked. “That’s rhetorical, don’t bother. You’re not going to go with our proposal.”

“To be fair, Ms. Stevens, we approached your company some six months ago.” The CEO said. “We expected a better proposal from one of the world’s leading R&D think tanks. You’re known for your technology inventions, but also your business solutions. The ability to streamline.” The CEO added.

“Have we not done that, here?” Carly asked, gesturing at the holographic projector she’d brought with her that was still running.

“You have, but obviously, we’d feel more comfortable, if this presentation had been attended by only you, don’t you think?”

Well, that was a valid point.

It was her sister who handled most of the business presentations, and her brother in law who everyone wanted to talk to. Carly was usually the odd one out in the team, and there was a reason why she disliked business clothes, since she had to rarely wear them.

But they were not due back from their honeymoon for a few more days. Carly had been forced to pick up the slack, going to the meetings that they normally went to. To say that she was counting down the days for their return was easy to say. She also had no idea where Ben had gone to, as he’d decided to leave for a bit, citing some need to work on finding himself. This had thrown the House of Fantastic into a bit of a lurch there too, as Knubbly had been almost inconsolable at this loss, and was still rather upset about it.

“So you’re going to turn us down because my sister and brother in law weren’t here?” She asked. “That’s not exactly fair.”

“That’s business.”


“They didn’t deserve our brilliance.” Carly said. She knew that the person she was talking to was not paying attention to her.

Pacing back and forth in the living room of the Fantastics’ living quarters, she walked back and forth over the rug, her feet sinking into the fabric. On one side of her there was a television blaring, with bad reality television. On the other side was Knubbly, calmly sitting on the couch. To be more precise, he was sitting inside of a plastic container of cheese balls, and he was slowly eating them, one by one.

“They didn’t deserve our brilliance.” She repeated, stopping and turning to look at him, but his attention was solely focused on the television and decidedly not on her. “Knubbly.” She said, waving her hand and trying to get his attention. Finally, he tore his eyes away from the screen and towards her, the look on his face somber and morose.

“Where’s Benjamin?” He asked, ignoring what she was talking about.

“Ben left.” She said, knowing where this was going to go.

“But why?” He asked, the small little Knubblechen looking like he was going to burst into tears at a moment’s notice. “We were friends, we were like a team.”

Emma was far better than Carly at managing Knubbly’s outbursts sometimes. She really was. “I know.” She said, and before he could respond, there was a loud beeping noise. “What is that?” She asked.

“I think it’s the warning that there’s something approaching the building.” He said, as a dull roar picked up. The building started to shake lightly, and the container, with Knubbly in it, fell to the ground, covering him in cheese dust.

There was only one thing that could be causing that level of shake up.

“They’re back a day early.” Carly said with a smile.

Re: FF: The Future is Negative

Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:13 pm
by Mir
Carly used her hands to shield her eyes from the sun. One of the perks of the Cascade Building was the higher up floors the Fantastics had turned into hangars for their fleet of planes. This saved them so much time in the airports. She watched as the FRI, Inc. modified Quinjet touched down and the engines cut off. Knubbly was all over the place, bouncing off the walls because he was so happy to see Emma and Paul again. The landing ramp descended as the doors to the hangar shut entirely. Emma started walking down, followed by Paul. They were both carrying suitcases, but Emma was clearly carrying the bulk of them, which made sense because of the disparity in strength. Emma dropped the suitcases and looked over at her baby sister, who stepped forward herself.

The two sisters embraced as Knubbly weaved a tight infinity loop around Emma’s feet, having conjured up a party hat, a single maraca, and a t-shirt gun like thing that fire streamers. Emma was fairly tan, which made sense considering where she and Paul had gone on their honeymoon. She looked down at Knubbly, who stopped running and gave her a grin, one of his ears twitching as he did.

“I missed you so much, Knubbly.” Emma said, picking him up and giving him a kiss on the top of his head as he made it into her arms.

“Not as much as I have missed you, Emma Matthews of the Cascade Building, finally married to Paul Matthews of the Cascade Building.” He said.

She moved him up to her shoulder and he settled his head down on her shoulder. Knubbly was about to close his eyes, when he saw Paul Matthews coming down the ramp now, and he squirmed out of Emma’s grasp to go for Paul. “How is everything?” Emma asked.

“It’s great. Can’t be better.” Carly said, hoping it sounded convincing. “How was Bali?” Carly asked, to switch topics.

“It was amazing.” Emma said. “We had a blast.” She added. “He found some school and started teaching middle schoolers about thermodynamic nuclear fusion and the increase of entropy when melting something.” She said, pointing with her thumb over her shoulder at Paul who waved.

“Sounds like something Stretch would do.” Carly replied. “Well, I’m glad you’re back. Running the entire company for an entire month while you two were sipping on drinks with umbrellas and teaching a mini-semester in chemistry has been fun, let me tell you, but it’s not something I’d want to do permanently.”

“So I shouldn’t tell you that Emma and I have decided to move to Bali?” Paul said, coming up on the two of them, Knubbly sitting atop his head and chewing on some of his hair.

Carly shrugged in response. “Sure, but only if you want your wife to become a widow.” Carly replied.

“That escalated quickly.” Paul said, slowly nodding his head. “Yeah, I was kidding, but that…that’s a little scary. I’m going to put our suitcases away. Emma, do something.”


Emma’s eyes scanned the documents on the tablet as she sat at the kitchen table. Knubbly sat next to the tablet, on the table, and he was fiddling with his party hat. He couldn’t get it to sit properly on his head the way he wanted it to, which, considering he had made it himself and could modify it exactly how he wanted it, was quite amusing. Emma reached out, her eyes still on the tablet, and took the hat, putting it on the table. He shrugged and dropped backwards, sitting on the table. “So, what kind of mischief can we get into?” He asked.

“Not sure what you mean, little man.” She replied. She was reviewing a number of different proposals that had been sent to her inbox from different companies looking to work with Fantastic Research, Inc. There were a lot for her to review, and she had started on the plane ride back. “We didn’t get the account?” She asked, as Carly walked into the kitchen area.

“Well, it was pretty complicated.” Carly replied to her sister as she dropped onto a stool across from her sister. “Long story short, they were not convinced that we would be able to deliver on time with you and Stretch out of town. I guess it was time sensitive.” She said.

“They knew we were coming back though, right?” Emma queried, looking up from the tablet.

Her sister smirked at her, running a hand through her hair. “You know, I did explain that to them.”

“Weird.” Emma said, looking down at the tablet. “I mean, it’s not an issue, it’s not like we’re hurting for business, but it would have been nice.” She added. She looked up at Carly. “How was the presentation itself?”

Carly shrugged, and Emma could tell that her sister was trying to keep something from her. “It was fine.” She said and when Emma shrugged, she continued. “Look, you know I’m not that great at these business meetings. I like working on my projects and this kind of stuff just doesn’t interest me.”

“I know.” Emma said. “Well, luckily for you, I’m back to handle that kind of stuff.” She said with a smile.

“Thank God, big sis.” Carly said. She braced her elbows on the table and held her head in her hands. “You ever miss the days we were only a think tank?” She asked.

Knubbly distracted Emma from replying at first, by leaning down, on his back and staring straight up at the ceiling, while he pulled a small miniature paddle ball out of nowhere, beginning to play.

“You weren’t working on the business side then either.” Emma said, furrowing her eyebrows. “But I guess I kind of do.” She added.

Carly waved a hand, still looking down at the table. “We weren’t being inundated with all of these requests for help or people looking to be associated with us in a business sense because we’re famous for being…people who help others.”

Emma reached out and tapped her little sister on the top of the head. “If I recall correctly, it was you who suggested we use the abilities the Energy Recapture Experiment gave us to help people.” She said.

“Truth. I was there.” Knubbly nodded sagely.

“No, you weren’t.”

“In spirit.” He replied, continuing to play with his paddle ball. “In spirit, my dears.”

Re: FF: The Future is Negative

Posted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:57 pm
by Mir
Emma scrunched up her face as she looked at the results from the experiment she’d recently completed. She’d started the experiment back before they’d left for the honeymoon. After their recent trip in space, she had found a number of particles that were foreign to planet earth. Isolating the particles had been easy, trying to find a way to replicate them had been a bit difficult. Her field of expertise was biology and chemistry. This was a bit more in the realm of physics. Still, she had been able to pull it off, though it had required some assistance from her now husband. It took a lot of energy, but Emma had been able to multiply them. Her experiment had been rather simple really.

Delayed exposure of the particles to plant matter with the results being observed and tabulated by computer. So far, there wasn’t much to write home about, but then again, that was kind of the way that science often worked. Tapping a pencil against her chin, she reached out, typing away on one of her computer keyboards.

She idly reached down with her other hand into a bag of chips held by Knubbly, who was fast asleep in her lap. He was making little cooing noises as he breathed in and out.

It was adorable.

But her focus was on her work, and she ate a few chips as she studied the data, looking to see where she could fine tune her work. It was more than possible that there was nothing here and she was gallivanting down a black hole. This was precisely why the business side of Fantastic Research, Inc. was so important. It gave the group the autonomy to work on projects that they were passionate about. It didn’t matter if they were throwing away millions of dollars because they could afford to do so. Their patents, collectively, were easily worth billions of dollars, and the contracts that Mayers, Ingram, and Rogers negotiated on their behalf could attest to that.

The door to her lab slid away and her husband walked in, holding a can of soda as he walked. He took a sip as he came up next to her.

“Anything?” Paul asked, and she shook her head.

“I don't think there’s much of anything here to begin with.” Emma said. “It was a bit of a wild goose chase.”

“Better to have tried and failed.” He replied, leaving the rest of the well-known phrase unsaid. “It was mankind’s first foray into intersystem space travel since the Chrell Invasion. It’d be irresponsible not to test anything and everything that came back because of it.” He added.

“I know.” She said, her eyes still on the computer screens. “Weren’t you going to cut back on soda?” Emma asked.

“I can quit anytime.” Paul replied evenly.

“I’ve heard that before.” She said.

“Back to your research.” He said, wanting to move her to a different topic. “How much more material do you have to work with?” He asked.

Emma sighed, shaking her head as she looked over at him. “Not much, to be honest. This has been a wild goose chase. A fun one, but a useless one.”

“You want to see what I’ve been working on?” He asked.

Re: FF: The Future is Negative

Posted: Tue May 01, 2018 7:40 pm
by Mir
Emma and Paul walked into his lab, with Knubbly racing ahead. He was now wearing some kind of cowboy costume, brandishing two silver revolvers as he scoured the lab for villains. Moving at blinding speed, he weaved his way through the entire lab before settling himself back down, standing in front of them. Emma just shrugged and took a step forward, but Knubbly coughed. She looked down at him and he had his little hands folded across his chest.

“Well?” She asked, expectantly. It was best to humor him, that was something she’d learned over the time they’d known Knubbly. He knew when it was time to tone it down. This was not yet that time.

“It is safe for you to proceed.” He said. “There are no villains here.”

“Thank you Knubbly, I feel safe now.” She replied. She went to take a step but he held up a hand. “Yes?”

“Were there to villains, I would have dispatched them with great gusto, Lady Matthews.” He said and she nodded. “This should be remembered during dinner time when I am served with my repast.”

“Undoubtedly, it will be.” Paul said, reaching down and patting Knubbly on the head. The little creature nodded in response, tipping his hat slightly. “So I was working on a bunch of things before we left for our honeymoon, mainly particle based stuff geared towards computing faster transit times for physical properties.” He said.

“Wormhole based?” She asked.

He nodded. “Sort of.”

“Any luck?” She asked.

There was a sad look on his face as he shook his head. “No, not really. The computations have been a bit much, and it’s taking me longer than usual.” He said. “Guess we’re both in the same boat.” He added with a smile.

Emma leaned in, looking at the computer monitors. The displays were going pretty steadily and there were swaths of data being displayed. Numbers scrolling throughout the screen as she tucked loose strands of hair behind her ear. She went to work, navigating through the feed, until she reached what she was looking for. Paul grabbed a chair, wheeling it over to where she was so she could sit down and look at the screens properly.

“What is it?” He asked.

It’s nothing.” She said, shaking her head. “Well, it might be nothing. This is using some of the math from the Keshol?” Emma queried and he nodded. “You could be making a mistake with the conversion.” She paused and looked at him. “Remember, they’re on a different number system than we are.”

Looking down, she spied Knubbly and reached down, picking him up. “Knubbly, look at the numbers. Did Paul convert to a decimal system properly?” She asked.

The small Knubblechen reviewed the data, a monocle appearing over his eye. “It would appear that you made a boo boo, Paul Matthews of the Cascade Building.” He said. His little paws tapped over the keyboard.

Numbers shifted on the screen, and there was a flicker. Suddenly, everything aligned into it’s proper place. He turned and beamed up at Paul. “You made a boo boo.” He said.

“Sonuvabitch.” Paul replied as Knubbly covered his ears and widened his eyes.

Re: FF: The Future is Negative

Posted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:02 am
by Mir
“What are we looking at?” Emma said, her eyes scanning the screens. “The wormhole algorithm looks like it’s working, and that it’s stable.” She said. “I’ve seen something like this before, once.” She added, rising from the chair. “I wonder…”

“What is it?” Paul asked.

She shook her head, looking around the room. There was something she had seen that reminded her of this, but she couldn’t remember quite what it was. Something in the past, some kind of presentation or meeting. Maybe Paul would remember. “Do you remember it, maybe? It was some kind of talk or presentation we went to, back in college. We were in New York for a competition. The anti-gravity boots one, we came in second to Sebastian.” She said.

He nodded, starting to pace around the lab. “I think I know what you’re talking about.” He said and then he snapped his fingers. “That’s it. Reed Richards was giving a presentation on the Negative Zone and the explorations that the Fantastic Four had done there. James didn’t want to attend but I did and you chose to go with me instead of seeing the sights. I thought you were just being polite.”

She rolled her eyes. “Right, of course.” She dryly replied, holding her left hand with her wedding rings on it. “I was being polite.” Emma added, wiggling her ring finger.

Paul offered up a sheepish smile “At the time, it made sense to think that way. We were in New York, after all.” He said. “It’s the capital of…everything.”

Anyway, you’re right.” She said. “It was a presentation by Reed Richards. We got to meet him and Susan Richards after it.” Emma looked back over at the screens. “Do you think this could be connected to that?”

Paul reached up and stroked his beard. “I don’t see why not. The algorithm is similar. It could very well be a wormhole that could transport us to the Negative Zone.”

They turned when the doors to the laboratory opened and Carly walked in. She was covered in some kind of engine grease or oil and was smiling, ear to ear. Neither of the Matthews thought anything about it. It was common for Carly, with her work on vehicles and machines to look like this. If she didn’t end a day covered in some kind of grease, apparently she didn’t consider it an accomplished day. She walked over, warding off Knubbly who looked like he was coming in for a big hug. The last thing anyone wanted was to get engine grease on Knubbly, with how easily he could transfer it to something else. He pouted in response and went and hid behind Emma’s legs.

“What’s the word, kids?” She asked.

Paul pointed at the screens.

“I think we have a way into the Negative Zone.”

“Yeah? Wait until you see what I built.”

Re: FF: The Future is Negative

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:53 am
by Mir
The group had moved over to Carly’s engine shop. Paul and Emma watched as part of the roof slid away and from the storage unit built into the ceiling, a small husk of an engine descended into view. It didn’t look complete, but it was dripping oil and other lubricants. Probably the oil that was also on Carly’s hands. “What do you think?” She asked.

“It looks interesting.” Emma said. “But what is it?” She asked.

“It’s a Quantum Shield generator.” Carly said. “I took the shield generator from the exploratory vehicle that Paul built and copied the designs. We were able to support faster than light travel, but it was a bumpy ride. I also added in design information that we have on file from Bruce Banner’s old research thanks to Lucas.” She said, referring to Lucas Gates. When they had given him an artificial intelligence to run his computer systems for him, Evee, he had given them a copy of some of Banner’s old research that he had had on file. “This thing can generate shielding that can protect us from a lot.” She said.

“Incredible.” Paul said, reaching up and touching the engine. “I wonder if it could shield us in the Negative Zone.” He said. He was already starting to think of the possibilities. There were so many applications for what Carly had designed and if they could ensure that it worked, he could finally do something he had always wanted to do for years. Visit the Negative Zone. He’d read everything that Dr. Richards had ever written down about the Negative Zone and he considered it one of the Fantastic Four’s crowning achievements. “We’d have to be able to reverse our polarity and it’s possible that we could do that,” He said and tapped the engine, “with this.”

Emma turned to him. “Wait, you’re saying you want us to go into the Negative Zone?” She asked. “That’s not exactly the safest of places.” She said.

He smiled. “We’re not exactly pushovers.” He said. “We can take care of ourselves. Besides, Reed Richards and the Fantastic Four did it. Why can’t we?” He asked.

Emma looked over at her sister who shrugged. “Stretch has a point.” She said.

Knubbly cleared his throat and the three humans looked down at him. He was arranging a bow tie that he was suddenly wearing, while also wearing roller skates. “The Negative Zone is a very dangerous place. Knubbly knows a great deal about it. My people used to explore it and journey through it before the Chrell attacked us.” He said. “I can show you all around there, if you want to go there.”

Paul turned to Emma. “Imagine it. All the possibilities. No one has been there since the Chrell Invasion. Imagine all the things that have changed over the years.”

“It’s very much possible that the Negative Zone doesn’t even exist anymore, Paul.” Emma said. “It’s constantly contracting, in opposition to our universe’s expansion. They might have had their Big Crunch already.”

He nodded, excitedly. “How would we know if we don’t go?” He asked, gesturing to the engine. “This is our way of finding out.”

In response, Emma rolled her eyes. “You’re such a dolt. If it’s had a crunch, and we show up, we’d be crunched too. It’d be almost instantaneous.” She said. She looked over at Carly. “Sis, I like the design, it is pretty incredible.” She turned back to Paul. “I’m sorry, honey, but my vote is no.” Emma added and walked out of the room, leaving the three of them behind.

Re: FF: The Future is Negative

Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:23 pm
by Mir
Things were quite tense in the Fantastics’ household. Ever since Emma had put her foot down, refusing to green light any trip to the Negative Zone, Paul had been staying, for the most part, in his lab. Emma had been working in her lab, as well, but she was still in good spirits, it appeared. She, at least, was speaking to Carly, Knubbly, and whoever came to visit. Which, as a matter of fact, had been quite a few people. The mayor of Metropolis had come to see if the Fantastics would be part of a charity event. Emma had accepted on behalf of the group. Additionally, a few members of the City Council had visited as well, all to speak about the said charity event, after they’d accepted.

Carly sat on a couch in one of the living rooms, the displays showing her parts of another design she was working on. Nick Fury had been in touch, to see if the group could update parts of the ARC Armor. SARD-Berlin had been working up a few prototypes and he’d wanted her to look over them. Since Paul was a prototype guy and Carly the more practical when it came to mechanical design, it made sense for her to look over the plans.

It helped her to take her mind off the fact that her sister and brother-in-law were apparently not speaking to each other.

If there was one thing that she’d always known about Paul it was that for him the thrill of the research, of the discovery was so very important. She knew her sister knew that as well. But Emma was being level headed about the whole thing, and Carly could appreciate that. Emma had been right. The risks were there. For Paul, on the other hand, the risks were part of the game at being able to do something very few people had ever been able to do.

In the distance, Carly heard a wailing noise. She listened as the wailing noise got louder and closer. All she could do was roll her eyes. She knew what was coming.

Knubbly walked into the room, bumping into various articles of furniture as he did. He ended up in a corner, the wailing staying at the same pitch and volume.

“Knubbly, what is it?” She asked, also knowing what was coming.

“Mommy and Daddy are fighting.” He said.

“They’re not fighting.” Carly replied. “They have a misunderstanding, that’s all.”

He came away from the corner and collapsed onto one of the couches.

“Fix it.” He said, his voice muffled.

“Everything is going to be okay.”

Fix it.

“Oh my God, fine.”

“Thanks!” Knubbly said, popping up and scrambling out of the room. He popped back in for a moment. “Post haste!”