A/N: I do not own Harry Potter. Nor any of the Marvel Comics Characters mentioned herein. But you knew that.
An Invincible Technomage side story
My allusions to 'the Pinewood Derby' seemed to catch the attention of quite a few people, so here it is.
"With Liberty and Justice for All." Nine year old Harry Potter intoned in unison with the rest of his friends, the index and middle fingers of his right hand touching the bill of his cap in the Cub Scout salute. A first year Webelo Scout he took all the trappings of the meetings very seriously.
As the Cub master called "Two!" Harry dropped his salute and instantly began searching the crowd for the little first grade Tiger Cub who was his responsibility during the meetings. The Pack had learned the hard way that many parents of kids of that age group seemed to think that the BS of BSA stood for 'Baby Sitting' and took to assigning the older boys to ride herd on the youngsters until they developed a bit of restraint and a sense of responsibility. As soon as the Cub master released the pack from formation, Harry nudged Franklin and the two of them made their way to their charges, a pair of twins in Orange Tee shirts.
"Hey guys," Franklin said as they slid into seats on either side of the boys, "Excited about the race?"
The two boys seemed to become very interested in their shoes.
"What's wrong?" Harry asked.
Harry's charge Steven refused to meet his eyes. "Our cars aren't very good."
"What do you mean?" Franklin asked bumping shoulders with James, the Tiger Cub he was assigned to mentor.
"We've seen the cars all you guys made," James said "Ours look like trash."
"We don't have a dad," Steven said, still hanging his head. "Mom tried, but she didn't know anything about cutting wood…"
"Don't worry about that," Harry said with a laugh.
"You'll probably win a prize for that all by itself." Franklin agreed. "They started a category our Tiger year that is intended for cars that were obviously made by the scouts."
"Yeah," Harry continued. "Some of the Dads in the Pack get a bit competitive. I know, my dad took over my car. I wish that I could have done my own."
"Really?" James asked.
"Yeah, really. If 'my' car wins, no one really believes it mine. I envy you guys. You know that your car is yours."
"Hey, grab your cars while the leaders are getting organized," Franklin said excitedly reaching for his small plastic tool box. "Harry and I can show you guys some tricks."
After an hour and a half of racing, Section A of Den 8 was called to bring their cars to the starting line.
"Ok Harry," Tony said. "Take the car very carefully to the starting line. No sudden moves, ok?"
Harry looked at the precision device that was masquerading as a pinewood derby car with a jaundiced eye. "Why do I need to be so careful?"
"I made a few… adjustments last night."
"I heard about a few of the things Reed was trying."
"I'm going to get kicked out of Scouts aren't I?"
"Harry," the billionaire said with a smile. "Everything on that car is legal. Legal length, legal materials, legal weight."
"Right," Harry muttered as he turned away from his father to head to the starting gate. The turn caused the bright red car to almost jump from his hands. He peered at the car closely. What had his Dad done to this silly thing?
Harry carefully placed the car on lane four of the six lane track, rocking it forward and back to ensure that it was on the track and that all four of the plastic wheels were in good contact. Stepping away from the starting gate Harry ran toward the midway point on the track, the better to watch 'his' car and those of his friends. On the far side Franklin was standing between his uncles, waiting his turn which would be in the next race. Frank offered Harry a sympathetic shrug which Harry returned. Having hypercompetitive parents was never easy.
There was a short countdown by the pack and the Cub master dropped the lever that would release the cars down the slope onto the 48 foot track.
That's when it happened. The red car in land four moved. Leaving the other cars in its dust, it accelerated down the slope, moving too fast for the eye to track, before Harry could register that it was getting close to where he stood, an ungodly BOOM filled the air and the shock wave knocked every spectator backwards followed by the sound of shattering glass. Harry lay on his back staring at the roof of the gymnasium wondering why it had to be his car that did this… Why couldn't Franklin have gone first? Slowly his hearing returned, allowing him to hear the wail of car alarms through the broken windows.
Harry climbed to his feet and discovered that not every spectator had fallen, for there across the room stood Franklin's uncle Ben, laughing like the race was the funniest thing he had ever seen, while his uncle Johnny was helping one of the prettier moms up with that big smile of his. Franklin looked like he wanted to hide.
"I may have overdone it a bit." Tony admitted from the floor where he sat surveying the damage.
"A bit? Dad, you made my car explode!"
"What?" the elder Stark asked climbing to his feet. "Explode? Nonsense. It didn't explode; it broke the sound barrier, which is pretty cool all by itself if you think about it. Come on, let's find it, I want to get a download off the sensor package."
A sensor package? Harry didn't even want to think about how his demented father had managed to integrate a 'sensor package' into the wooden car. Looking toward the end of the track he saw that the foam rubber pads used to stop the cars had been shredded. Thinking that that couldn't possibly be a good sign, Harry ran to the far end of the track doing his best to avoid the various scouts and other spectators who were only then starting to pick themselves up.
Looking about told him a lot about what had happened. None of the other five cars had made it to the end of the track, having been thrown from the track by the shockwave that had knocked everyone down. He sifted through the shredded foam rubber and couldn't find his car.
"Harry?" Stephen, Harry's Tiger cub charge for the meeting was pointing at the wall beyond the padding. "I think that's your car."
Harry looked to where the younger boy was pointing. It was his car, buried three inches deep into the concrete wall. Harry reached down to pull it out. The front wheels were sheared off and the entire front half of the car was… pulped for lack of a better word.
"Now, that's just brilliant," Harry heard Franklin's dad Reed say behind him. "I never would have thought about isolating the car from planetary motion. How did you get it to stay on the track?"
"It was harder than you might think," Tony answered, reaching around Harry to take the shattered wooden car from his hands. Stark laid the remains of the car on top of what appeared to be a calculator. "HA! Top speed was achieved over the last meter of the track. Three hundred seventy two point three five nine meters per second! Beat that!"
"Tony," Richards said, patting his friend on the shoulder, "your problem is, you've always thought small."
Following a brief discussion in which Tony was chastised by the other fathers for his dangerous, though admittedly very fast and extremely cool car, it was decided that both Harry and Franklin were disqualified and that the race would be run over after allowing the five cars some time for repairs.
After several moments of silence is was suggested that Reed run his car during the repair time, mostly because most of the men present badly wanted to see what the famous 'Mr. Fantastic' had come up with.
Harry and Franklin sat on the far side of the gym wondering if they would ever be able to show their faces at a pack meeting again when the lever was dropped to release the Richards car down the track.
It was Franklin that saw it first. "Oh, no."
Harry looked up in time to see the car accelerating down the track while the air in front of it seemed to… ripple, then almost before he could think about what he saw, the track suddenly … bowed up in front of the moving car, seeming to stretch and bend. Harry felt a sudden pull toward the car and the sudden sound of rushing air echoed throughout the gym.
Smaller kids were being dragged toward the rapidly vanishing track when suddenly everything seemed to stop with a loud pop.
"Well," Reed Richards said shaking his head and pocketing the remote control that had killed the generator for the pinhole singularity, his voice almost echoing in the suddenly silent gym. "That wasn't very good was it?"
"I think," Tony replied, "that we owe these good folks a new track."
A second meeting of the Pack elders quickly resulted in a life time ban from Pinewood Derby racing for the Richards and Stark families. While several of the fathers came forward to pronounce their cars as 'seriously cool' it was agreed that they were just too dangerous to be allowed around 'normal kids'
From the passenger seat of Tony's Porsche, Harry waved to Franklin as he slid into the backseat of the modified van with the Fantastic Four logo on it. Johnny and Ben were already in the van laughing their heads off, as they had been doing for most of half an hour.
"The Repair crews will be here in an hour," Tony told the business manager for the Gym as he hung up his phone, "and the ten year lease will be in your hands by tomorrow afternoon"
"If you forward the spec for your dream track to me, I should have it ready for you by next weekend." Reed told the Cub master. "Dream. Dream big. What ever you want…"
"We'll get it for you." Tony concluded.
The two men left shaking their heads. Richards and Stark turned to each other.
"That could have gone better." Reed noted.
"Yeah," Tony agreed. He glanced at Harry and then at Franklin. "We should apologize to the boys."
"You're right," Reed nodded. "I'm afraid that we didn't come off very well today."
"Yeah." Tony shook his head. "Still, one good thing came out of today."
"What's that?" Mr. Fantastic asked.
Tony grinned. "My car kicked your butt."