Disclaimer: Characters, not mine, don't own a thing, they're all Marvel's. This is me simply borrowing them.
Author's note: Hello all. So, this is my second Fantastic Four fic - it will be a multi-chapter action/adventure, Johnny angst story that I am very excited about. This story is set in the movie verse but I am also a comic book reader so I may be inserting a bit of stuff from the comics in, but nothing major that needs strenuous explanations. I hope you all enjoy and will tell me what you think. Now, on to …
If you ever visit New York city you probably won't have trouble finding amazing sites to visit - the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Central Park, Madison Square Garden, and any number of talk shows that need studio audience members. Compared to all these attractions, the modern, yet simple looking Baxter building located near the heart of the city may seem unimpressive but the family and team that lives on the inside, is nothing if not, fantastic.
"Come on, Flame On already! Hey, who designed this thing? This is totally unrealistic!"
"You're tellin' me matchstick. Two hits to crush a car, it's insulting!"
"Look, that lamppost is still standing on full heat! It would be a puddle of copper by now. And what's with the limited flight abilities? I can fly any time, for however long I want to."
"Ah man, we can't even fight each other, I was hoping to knock you around a little bit, relieve some stress, even if it is a virtual you."
"Like you could catch me Rocky."
"Don't matter, we gotta keep going after these stupid mole things. What are these anyway?"
"What are you two doing?"
Inside the Baxter Building is some of the most advanced technology on the planet, almost all of it designed by Mr. Fantastic himself, Reed Richards. Among these inventions was a Simulation Room, with walls that could create perfect 3-D simulations of any atmosphere. The room was meant to be used for such things as atmospheric training for astronauts, or combat training. Today however, Reed found that another one of his inventions was being put to ill use as he opened the door to the simulation room to see Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm had somehow found a way to hook up Johnny's gaming console to the projection walls and were now playing as themselves in Johnny's new Fantastic Four game.
"Hey Reed," Johnny greeted, not at all ashamed. "You want to try? The development team hasn't quite gotten all our powers right, but it's still pretty fun."
"It's fun until you get so enthralled that you forget it's a game and accidentally burn the simulation room down," Reed replied.
Ben chuckled beside Johnny as the Human Torch rolled his eyes, "Geez, one time. One time I get a little excited and cause a little fire and nobody will let me live it down."
"Maybe cause that 'little fire' nearly took the roof off this place. You're lucky Suzie was around with a forcefield to smother it for you," Ben reminded him as they quit the game and exited the simulation room.
"Yeah, yeah we all love my sister. What I don't love are some of the aspects of this new game. I'm not letting my name go on something that says I need thirty seconds of 'power up' before I can even Flame On. I'm gonna go call these PR guys right now," Johnny explained as he headed for the door.
"And make sure they know I can crush a car with one hit, and one hand tied behind my back!" Ben called after him, mildly insulted by how low his strength was represented in the game. Then he saw the look Reed gave him and would have blushed if he could. "Not that I care, you know, but these things should be accurate."
"Sure thing Pebbles," Johnny promised as he jogged for the nearest phone.
Reed rolled his eyes as he sat down at his computer, "You're as bad as him."
"That hurts Reed, it really does," Ben replied, half joking. "So, you've been spending an awful lot of time in here, what have you been working on?"
"Odds and ends. Doing calculations for all the rebuilding that has to be done after the Surfer's visit for several different cities, working out a shielding system for the Fantasticar, things like that," Reed said as he stretched his arm across the room to pick up his PAD on a faraway table.
"Shields huh? You ever think of putting in seatbelts or something? I was getting thrown around in that thing like a piece of luggage," Ben complained, which made Reed chuckle.
"I'll see what I can do."
Just then Sue walked in and smiled to see her husband and team member.
"Hey guys, how's the game the PR people sent Johnny?"
"You knew about that did you? You all know the Simulation Room is not a toy, right?" Reed asked.
"Come on Reed, everything you leave out is a toy. If you didn't want us using it you would have put a password on it or something," Ben pointed out.
"There is a password."
"Well, you should have picked something a little less obvious than 'Fantastic', I mean, really Reed, they say you're the smartest guy on the planet," Ben continued, smirking for having broken Reed's code.
"I was very tired, and it seemed too obvious for anyone to try," Reed defended himself, but chagrined he turned back to his computer screen.
"Anyway Suzie, the graphics are great, but Flame Boy and I found a few problems. We never played as you or Stretch, you want to give it a go?" Ben offered, more than willing to play again.
"Yeah," Sue smiled. She wasn't a media fanatic like Johnny, who seemed like he would now die without his adoring fans, but she did want to see and play the video game version of herself. "I'm curious to see how I match up to my virtual self."
"If you see anything needs changing, Johnny just went to phone the PR guys now so we better make it quick," Ben told her.
Beep, beep, beep, ...
Before Ben could start the game up again their attention was drawn to a console that had started buzzing and lighting up across the room. Ben and Sue didn't know what it meant, but upon seeing how quickly Reed rushed to look at the monitor they could guess that it wasn't good.
"Reed, what is that?" Sue asked as she and Ben peered over his shoulder.
"It's an alert system I set up after the incident with Galactus. It detects cosmic radiation anywhere near the planet," Reed explained as his stretched out fingers typed faster than the eye could see. "I'm trying to pinpoint the source."
Ben fought to follow along, "Wait, cosmic radiation, you mean like …"
Reed had found the cause of the radiation and connected the monitor to a satellite directed at that section of space.
"The Silver Surfer."
There was no doubt that the blurry, silver projectile they were watching hurtle through space was none other than Norrin Radd, the Silver Surfer that had visited them several months before.
"What do you know, the mook's alive," Ben exclaimed, surprised.
"Hey, that 'mook' saved the entire planet," Sue reminded him.
"He also put the planet in danger in the first place," Ben countered.
Reed ignored the squabble above him as he continued to punch keys, "Well he's not just passing by, he's heading straight for Earth's atmosphere."
"We're sure Galactus was destroyed right? I mean, he's not gonna be coming back for seconds or anything?" Ben asked, voicing the same fear that they all had caused by the fact that they simply did not know enough about Norrin or Galactus.
"I'm not sure, but we're going to have to find out. Immediately," Reed suggested.
"Johnny!!! Get in here!" Sue yelled, knowing they were going to need him. She looked back at the screen and shook her head. She really thought she had connected with Norrin, "If he's been alive this whole time I wonder why he didn't contact us."
"No offence Suzie, but we got bigger questions to answer than that, like why is he back?" Ben pointed out.
Sue nodded in agreement and they all turned when they heard Johnny nearing the doorway, obviously talking on his cell phone.
"No, I'm telling you for the last time I don't need to 'power up' or catch my breath, or recharge, I just Flame On, anytime, any place … just a second guys … and I also think I should be a little taller …"
"Johnny, get over here!" Sue ordered again, but Johnny put up his hand in a 'one minute' gesture.
"I don't know … how hot is the sun? Pretty much that ho … hey, they need to know these things Sue!" Johnny yelled as the cell phone was removed from his hands by a force field and snapped shut.
"You can call him back. Do you have your suit on?" Sue asked.
Seeing the serious expressions on everyone's face, Johnny forgot all about the video game and jogged over to the group.
"Yeah, we got trouble?" He answered his own question when he saw who was on the screen. "Well, hi ho Silver! I thought he was dead."
"So did we. You think you can catch him again?" Reed asked.
"I don't think I want to," Johnny snapped back. "What if that's not him? Not the Norrin we know and love?"
"What do you mean?" Sue questioned as she looked back at the screen.
"The dude said there was a whole planet of people like him, and this past month we've all been pretty sure he died. This could just be a lookalike with a worse attitude," Johnny theorized.
"What's wrong matchstick, ya scared of Mr. Shiny Pants?" Ben teased, causing Johnny's eyes to flare up with flames.
"I don't exactly feel like being hauled out of the atmosphere again and then getting chucked back to Earth right now, so excuse me if I also have the power of self preservation," Johnny responded forcefully.
"Johnny, you're right, it might not be Norrin, it could be dangerous. We'll all go, the Fantasticar is up and running, right Reed?" Sue asked, realizing it was wrong to send her brother off to catch the Surfer again when they could all go.
"It is, but I don't think we'll need it," Reed mumbled, his attention not having left the monitor since it started beeping.
"Well Johnny, the Surfer has just entered Earth's atmosphere, and as long as his trajectory doesn't change, it looks like he's heading straight to the Baxter Building," Reed replied as a chart popped up showing his quick calculations and map with a red line indicating the Surfer's path.
"He's comin' here?" Ben asked.
"At top speed."
They all looked at each other for a moment, then nodded, and Johnny was the first to run for the door, "Roof, now!"
Sue and Ben weren't far behind and Reed was only a few seconds behind them, striking a few more keys before racing to join them on the roof. After all, they had a visitor coming, and they couldn't leave him waiting.
When they got to the roof all eyes went to the sky desperately seeking the Herald of Galactus.
"What direction's he coming from?" Johnny asked.
Reed looked at his PAD quickly before replying, "Should be almost exactly north."
"There!" Sue pointed between two distant skyscrapers.
The rest of the team saw him as well and Johnny almost flamed on to intercept the Surfer, but he was moving so fast that it would be pointless.
"Uh, he's gonna slow down right?" Ben asked when it became obvious that the Surfer was approaching with above average speed.
"I hope so," Reed replied.
They got their answer when the silver blur slowed a few buildings away to reveal a clearer picture of the board's rider.
"It looks like Norrin," Sue commented.
"Let's see what he wants," Johnny suggested as they all moved together towards the edge of the roof to meet up with him.
The Surfer had returned in all his glory, as bright and noble as ever, his rigid posture emitting a deep sense of strength, as his ease on his board gave off a great feeling of power.
Sue had had the most interaction with Norrin and formed the closest bond, so stepped forward to greet him as he lowered onto the roof with him.
"Norrin?" She asked, to be certain.
"Greetings, Susan Storm," the rider replied with the same deep, serene voice they remembered.
"Hello. It's good to see you, alive. When you never came back we thought the worst," Susan told him.
"I did not intend that. I did not believe I would be welcome, having brought to your home the Destroyer," Norrin replied.
"That does put a damper on the relationship, I gotta say," Ben mumbled.
Sue shushed him and turned back to Norrin. "What are you doing here now? Why did you come back?"
The seemingly emotionless being hesitated and lowered his head in what could be construed as sadness before beginning, "I have come to warn you. All life on your planet is in danger of being destroyed, not by Galactus but by a different entity, known as the Gorgun, an entity I cannot destroy and has already ravaged many thousands of solar systems."
A moment of stunned silence.
Johnny sighed, "You never just stop by to say 'hi', do you?"
I do read the FF comics, but The Gorgun is something I made up and will explain more in the next chapter, trust me, it's different than anything you've read. This is just the prologue, so actual chapters will be about twice as long. Thanks for reading, tell me what you think, all reviews make the next chapter come faster.