Warnings: None-ish. Pre-show by a few years.
Disclaimer: Joss Whedon's awesome sandbox, my silly little shovel.
Summary: Every story has a beginning... Even the story of a chair.
A/N: Totally not what I intended to write today. Anyway. This is set an indeterminate while before the events in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, probably a few years. Written because I needed to get a better grip on Moist (har har har) and because a chair that large requires a backstory.
Doctor Horrible and the Embiggening Ray
"Embiggening ray," repeated Moist. "Is that what you're calling it?"
"Yeah!" Billy examined the round-muzzled gun. "What's wrong with 'Embiggening Ray'?"
"Nothing, if you're going to call yourself Professor Frink."
"Frink. Simpsons?" Billy stared blankly back at Moist. "On TV?"
Billy shook his head. "Don't have much chance to watch TV. Anyway, I'm thinking more 'Doctor' something than 'Professor' something, because I found this great lab coat with a medical symbol-thing on it and because there's already Professor Normal."
"Yeah, you really don't want to piss him off."
"I was thinking more in terms of originality, but I guess not annoying one of the evilest men in the world would be a nice bonus." He grinned over at Moist. "I've got my name picked out, actually."
"Oh yeah? Let's hear it!"
"If this Embig-" He shook the gun. "-ray thing works I will be..." Billy paused dramatically and struck a pose. "Doctor Colossus!"
"Uh..." said Moist. "That's the Simpsons again. You're sure you don't watch TV?"
"Not much," Billy mumbled and squinted. "What about Doctor Evil?"
"Horror films from the thirties."
"Hm. Doctor Nasty?"
"Well kind of. Or maybe some kind of a porn thing."
"Oh. Yeah no, don't want that. Wrong connotations."
"Nasty doesn't really... you know... pop? Doesn't suit you."
"What about just 'The Doctor'?"
"Doctor something anyway. I'll think about it later. Need a name for this thing first." He put the gun back down on the worktable. "How about 'Enlargement Device'?"
Moist winced. "Sounds kinda like something from e-mail spam."
"Ah. Right. That's no good." Billy picked up a wrench.
"What does it do?" Moist asked, although he could guess from the name options, it was always safer to ask where Billy's inventions were concerned.
"Makes things bigger. It should anyway."
"I haven't tested it yet. All the figures are correct though!"
"I'm going to make myself fifty feet tall." Billy grinned. "That'll show them!"
"Uh... You're using it on yourself before you test it?"
Billy glanced over from tweaking some part of the gun on the worktable. "Well, no, I'm gonna test it first."
"Okay... Um." Moist looked nervously between the bulbous gun and the door. "Is, uh, is that why you invited me over today? Because I'm kind of okay with being five foot nine and a quarter."
"What?" Billy looked up. "No! I figured you'd want to see! I wouldn't-"
Moist held his damp hands up, "No, okay, I'm sorry. I just misunderstood. Got a little paranoid for a second."
"Of course I wouldn't test this on you," Billy hoisted the weapon. "Not without asking. That'd be rude."
Moist was vastly unreassured, but let it slide. Sometimes translating earth to Billy and back again was a full-time occupation.
Billy continued. "It's best to start with simple things first. Inanimate objects. Then plants and so on."
Moist nodded. "That sounds reasonable."
"So," Billy said, picking a bolt up from the workbench. "I'll start with this. Plain metal, but has groves and patterns so we can see if there's any distortion." He spun the jaws of the work table vise open with one hand.
"You're testing it indoors?"
"Can't exactly test it in public."
"But what if the bolt gets too big?"
Billy spun the handle of the bench-mounted vise to tighten it onto the bolt. "This should only enlarge it by a factor of eight, maybe eight and a third. It'll end up about seven inches long."
"What if you miss and hit the vise?"
Billy frowned and looked at the gun. "I'll get right up close then." Billy placed the tip of the gun's muzzle against the bolt and lowered his goggles with a grin. "Ready?"
Moist's eyes widened. "Uh..."
"Fire in the hole!"
"Oh god." Moist ducked behind a workbench as Billy fired at the bolt in the vice. There was a flash, a kzort! and silence. Moist peered out from behind the workbench to see Billy set the gun aside and peer at the bolt.
"H-" Moist swallowed. "How's it working?"
Billy removed the bolt from the vice, frowning. "I can't see it growing. Growth should be relatively instantaneous."
"Probably better if it isn't."
"Yeah, I guess. Too fast would be like an explosion."
"Explosions in your apartment are generally not good."
There was a soft shifting creaking sound behind Moist. He swallowed and slowly turned to look.
Behind him, the armchair loomed.
Billy looked up.
The armchair, continuing to grow nudged a tall lamp, tipping it over with a crash.
"Um. Crap! It's gonna knock over the chemistry bench!" Billy ran to one side and started grabbing beakers.
Moist's mind ran quickly through the likely consequences of all the chemicals on the work bench intermingling on the floor. Toxic gas, fire, explosions, god only knew what. "I can't pick up glass stuff! I can't keep a grip!"
Billy's eyes darted between the work bench and the encroaching easy chair. "Um." He blinked. "Uh, help me move the bench! Like with the-" He waved his hands in the air.
"On it!" Moist got underneath the table and quickly rubbed his hands over the linoleum in front of the bench legs, making slippery patches. Billy pushed and the workbench full of chemical-laden glassware moved smoothly across the room and up against the far wall.
Moist climbed out from under the workbench, watching the chair's continued expansion. "It does stop growing, right?"
"According to my calculations, yes..."
"When it gets to be..." Billy looked at the whiteboard and mumbled a little as he did a quick calculation. "Oh. Thirty feet tall."
The chair continued to swell with a prolonged creaking of wood and springs complaining of abuse beyond their design. Moist and Billy watched, backing away as the chair grew slowly, slowly towards the ceiling... and then stopped about half a foot from it with a slight 'sproing!' noise.
"Wow," said Moist. "That's... it worked!"
"Not quite as expected." Billy frowned past the giant chair towards the numbers on his whiteboard where a stick-figure version of himself was stomping cars flat. "Targeting is way off and it doesn't have nearly the enlargement factor I was anticipating."
"Probably a good thing, or the chair would have been bigger than your apartment."
"It's only a factor of three. I'd only be eighteen feet tall. That's not menacing, that's just really freakish."
Moist blinked at his friend. "You aren't still going to use that thing on yourself?"
"No, there's obviously something off in the equations. I'm gonna have to back-burner it for now. Damn."
"That's probably a good idea."
"The plan needs work."
"A little, yeah."
Billy grinned. "You called me 'Doc'."
Moist blinked. "What? When?"
"When you were trying to get my attention, when the chair was growing."
Moist thought back. "Hey, yeah, I did."
"Think it works, the whole 'Doctor something' thing?"
Moist shrugged. "Seemed... right, I guess."
"Great! Now I just need to come up with something sufficiently horrible to go with it."
They stood and stared at the enormous armchair a while longer before Moist cleared his throat. "Uh... you didn't happen to invent a shrink ray too, did you?"
Billy stood staring at the huge chair for a second. Then he sighed, walked over to the whiteboard in the corner and wrote 'To Do: Invent shrink ray.'
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