Star in the Midnight Sky
EDIT 11/15/14: What. I didn't disappear for two years. What are you talking about? You're silly! Haha. Ha… Yes. Okay, I am a horrible person. That's why I've finished THIS WHOLE STORY! You heard it here folks. You will finally have this entire story! Feel free to ignore me and leave no reviews because I deserve none. But you can review saying how much I suck. I would understand.
I have also gone through and edited all of the old chapters. So most of the chapters are basically the same and others are a little different. Reread if you want or just read the new chapters. Your choice!
Ember is 23 years old.
Disclaimer: I do not own Fantastic Four or any of the dialogue from the movie that is in this story. I own Ember and any variations in the story line and dialogue not seen in the movie.
"Screw you buddy!" I screeched as the security guard pushed me roughly out the door. One of my heels flew off as I stumbled roughly on the cement sidewalk. I quickly grabbed it and shook it angrily at the guard who was still watching me through the entrance glass doors. "This is no way to treat a lady!"
Ben huffed in irritation and amusement, rolling his eyes, "Ember, you lost the right of being considered a lady when you started screeching at the CEO."
"Hey!" I twirled to hold my heel towards him threateningly. "I wouldn't have had to scold the idiot if he had just let Reed finish explaining our experiment."
Reed stood by, most likely thinking about how well our meeting had gone. Over the past few months, our money situation had slowly been getting worse and worse. I lived with Reed in the Baxter Building, effectively working as his live-in personal assistant and idea bouncer. I kept track of Reed's appointments and sometimes worked as his Public Representative since Reed wasn't always the best with other people. Our latest meeting had been with a big shot company well known for taking chances on those with little credential. I guess they consider having no credential and having very poor credential – like us – to be very different. They were the eighth company we had met, trying to get them to invest in Reed's latest project.
"Well," Reed interrupted quietly. "I guess this means we have no options left."
I paled in horror. No. Please no.
"Reed," I whined. Totally mature. "I don't want to go to Victor for help. Not only is he a jerk, but the guy hates your guts. A rich jerk. A rich jerk who I bet has been rolling in his money after reading about your, our, bankrupt situation."
He shot me an annoyed frown before waving his hands in exasperation, "What exactly do you want me to do? We need this experiment to happen. Without it, we're probably going to lose the Baxter Building. We'll be homeless!"
I nibbled my lip in thought as to how we could get out of this mess without Victor's help. I huffed as I realized that we were truly up a creek without a paddle. I ran a hand roughly threw my thick, red curls and pouted. "Fine! But I'm wearing my cute skirt, and I'm not happy about this."
Ben and Reed shared a look as I waved a cab down so that we could get back to the Baxter Building. I need a hot shower.
*A few days later*
I made a face as Ben, Reed, and I walked towards Victor's large company building. Victor's secretary had been rather snooty when I called to schedule a meeting with him as soon as possible. She had told me that he didn't have any availabilities for another two months. Two months. Well, let me tell you, I made it very clear that we would be having a meeting with Victor within the week with or without a scheduled appointment. After ranting for about ten minutes, she had relented and we had scheduled a meeting for Thursday, which is today.
"Typical of Von Doom to make a thirty foot statue of himself," Ben scoffed as we suddenly stopped in front of a huge statue of Victor. Really who makes a giant statue of themselves? It didn't even look like him!
"I think someone is trying to make up for something," I smiled in a hinting voice, elbowing my big brother playfully. He snickered as we shared our hatred of Victor.
"Well, it's obviously aimed at first time visitors to create feelings of smallness or inadequacy," Reed said seriously as he looked up at the enormous building and statue in front of us. I tilted my head, trying to understand where Reed was coming from. I only felt amusement.
"Good thing it ain't working," Ben smiled, clapping Reed's shoulder encouragingly. Reed only gave a small nervous smile in return.
"Nope, I'm not intimidated. I still think he's making up for something," I shrugged agreeing with Ben. Reed and Ben started walking towards the building again and I looked at the creepy statue once more before following behind them. I readjusted my knee length skirt and jacket. Reed said I needed to look professional which I think is totally unfair since I tend to represent Reed in press conferences in very unprofessional clothes, like my sweatpants. Besides Ben is wearing jeans! Whatever, I look adorable in this outfit so I win anyway.
"Reed, what are we doing here? This guy is fast food and strip mall science," Ben asked him slightly complaining. Ben didn't like Victor. Honestly, I don't think many people actually like Victor. It's not easy to like the guy when he is so snooty and screams of a rich, pampered lifestyle.
"This isn't our first stop in case you haven't forgotten," Reed said explaining again.
"How could we forget? The third business we met with that guy shoved us out after I slapped him, but he deserved it! I know I felt something pinch my butt," I defended myself.
"Besides Victor isn't so bad," Reed shrugged. "He's just a little hard."
"That's where I disagree with you. His personality sucks," I mumbled the last part but Ben heard and smiled at me. We walked up to front desk and I held out my ID to the woman talking on a Bluetooth. "We're here for Reed Richards' meeting with Mr. Von Doom."
Her eyes narrowed as she glanced between me and my ID, "Hey! You're that PA I spoke with on the phone."
I smiled sweetly at her, leaning on the desk, "Why, yes I am. And you don't want to see how loud I can scream if you don't let us up to see Victor."
She sneered and shoved three guest passes at me roughly. "These will allow you access to Mr. Von Doom's office. You can go up now."
I grabbed the passes and smirked at Ben's questioning raised eyebrow. I shrugged innocently and grabbed Reed's arm to hurry him along. Just in case the secretary changed her mind.
Ben and I stood patiently off to the side as Reed explained what he wanted to do with our experiment to Victor. I wouldn't help with explaining unless Reed gave me the signal that he wanted me to help convince him. He says that since I'm a girl that they'll listen to me more. I think he secretly means that they'll be so busy staring at my butt that they'll agree to anything Reed says. Sadly, I don't think this technique will work on Victor since this whole time he's been staring at Reed like a lion about to attack a gazelle. Yikes.
"My research suggests that an exposure to a high energy cosmic storm formed on solar winds might have triggered the evolution of planetary life," Reed explained as the holograph he had going above the large table showed an example of the storm. "In six weeks, another cloud with the same elemental profile will pass Earth's orbit. A study conducted in space could fundamentally advance our knowledge about the structure of the human gene, cure countless disease, extend life, give kids a chance to live longer, stronger, healthier-"
"Turn it off," Victor interrupted Reed. Crap, that's not a good sign.
"I don't think I've explained my proposal fully," Reed protested.
"Oh, I think you have," Victor simpered as a shark like smile spread across his face. "Same old Reed always stretching and reaching for the stars with the world on his back, but dreams don't pay the bills. DO they?"
Victor tossed a magazine on the table headlining that Reed had gone bankrupt with a picture of Reed and I walking into the Baxter Building. Unfortunately, the article was true and I flinched slightly. I could see Reed subtly give me the signal. I moved away from Ben so that I was standing next to Reed, on the opposite side of the table from Victor.
"Victor, haven't you always wanted to be responsible for finding a major discovery? Well, that's where this could go. Imagine being responsible for finding the cure to cancer, aging, ebola, or even the common cold!" I swayed my hips a bit to made sure I had his attention and sure enough Victor's attention was all mine. Hmm. Reed was right about this skirt. It screams professional and business but shows off my figure.
I took the remote out of Reed's hands for the hologram above the table. I pressed a button to change the picture to Victor's control space stations. "The storm is very deadly, but with the shields on your stations control room are designed to protect any of the people inside. We could be able to conduct the experiment with the allotted time Reed has been able to calculate and be safe inside the station without worries."
Victor continued to look at me for a moment before looking at Reed, "So it's not just my money that you want. It's my toys."
Reed looked sheepish but nodded slightly with a smile. Victor had an unfriendly smile on his face when he looked at Reed.
"Tell me. If NASA doesn't trust you, then why should I?" he looked between Reed and I. Reed looked at me desperately, unsure of what to say and begging me to help.
"Isn't that what you do?" I challenged him silently. Victor smirked and stood up from behind his desk. Which, may I point out, had a giant V behind his desk. Oh yeah, he's making up for something alright.
"Yes, that's my job. To stay ahead and know what other men don't," Victor came around and leaned on the front of his desk.
"I can't take this," Ben complained, interrupting before Reed or I could respond to Victor.
"You think I can?" I whispered to Ben, rolling my green eyes at him.
"Ben, this is business. Just work," Reed tried to soothe Ben, rather unsuccessfully.
"It ain't business how he's staring at my sister!" Ben said a little bit angry. I quickly covered my mouth to keep myself from laughing.
"Reed's right, Ben. It's just business," I heard a feminine voice say behind us. We turned around and I was shocked to see Susan. I haven't seen her in a while. We use to go shopping together a lot before Reed and Sue broke up and, if I'm being honest, we still go shopping together. I wasn't going to stop being her friend just because she broke up with him. Reed was being really stupid and I blamed him for the break up.
"I think you all know my Director of Genetic Research, Susan Storm," Victor said smugly. You know with how he acts you would think Victor is trying to one up Reed. Must be my imagination.
"One more thing he's got," Ben mumbled as Reed looked slightly in pain to see his ex-girlfriend with his… I don't know – his rival? I guess that's a good way to describe Victor. Reed gets worked up a lot when it comes to Victor's accomplishments. That's why this was our absolute last option.
"Sue!" I exclaimed happily as I gave her an affectionate hug.
"Hi, Ember," Sue said as she hugged me tightly in return. She pulled away.
"We need to make another shopping trip sometime. I'm in need of new shoes," I smiled widely at her.
"Don't worry we will," she chuckled as she smiled fondly at me.
"Hi, Susie," Ben interjected as he quickly swooped in to hug her.
"It's so nice to see you," Susan said sincerely as she looked Ben over. "How's Debbie?"
"She's great," Ben nodded, no doubt reliving past memories of us all hanging out. Reed was staring at me in utter confusion.
"Shopping?" he asked me quietly. I could tell he was a little bit hurt, but I have no idea why. He had no right to be upset at us still being friends.
"I'm not going to stop being her friend just because you broke up, Reed," I rolled my eyes at him as Susan turned from Ben to look at him.
"How've you been?" Reed asked nervously, holding his hand out towards her.
"Never better," Susan said seriously without a smile as she shook his hand. Ben and I gave each other a meaningful look. They both obviously still feel hurt, so Susan must still like Reed. Reed is a no a brainer. A blind hobo could probably tell that Reed was in love with her, albeit a talented, blind hobo.
"This isn't going to be a problem. Is it?" Victor asked interrupting their awkward moment. They both immediately started shaking their head.
"Oh, no," Susan said in denial.
"Not at all," Reed claimed loudly.
"Good then you are just in time to hear the great Reed Richards ask me for help," Victor stated smugly as he walked over to us and stood next to Susan. "You know you made a lot of people at MIT feel like they belonged at a junior high science fair, so you'll excuse me if I savor the moment."
Victor had a giant smile on his face that I really wanted to smack off. No one would mind really.
"You back up this mission and I'll sign over a fair percentage of any applications-" Reed started but Victor interrupted.
"The number is seventy-five," Victor said seriously.
"Umm, yeah, Reed said fair percentage," I couldn't stop myself from blurting.
"And it's applications and pendants," Victor added.
"What about his first born?" Ben said mock serious, anger clearly radiating off him.
"Oh no, he wouldn't want a baby that's smarter than him, Ben," I smirked as Ben and I discreetly gave each other a low five.
"Ben, Ember," Reed said warningly. Victor pretended to laugh, though he was clearly annoyed.
"Good one," Victor smiled fakely. He looked Reed seriously, "Twenty-five percent of a billion is enough to keep the lights on for a while isn't it? Maybe you can pay off your fourth mortgage on the Baxter Building. Deal?"
Victor held his hand out towards Reed.
"Jerk," I muttered under my breath. Everyone looked at Reed to see what he would say. It's mainly his experiment and this will basically be his only shot at actually doing it. But if he doesn't take it, then we'll be screwed. No money. No Baxter Building. I'll have to stay with Ben and Debbie until I can get a new job and save up enough to get my own place. Starting over at 23 years old wouldn't be the end of the world, but it wouldn't really be fun. Especially if I could simply keep my job and place at the Baxter Building.
Reed slowly reached out and shook Victor's hand. I felt myself release a sigh of both relief and irritation. I don't know how I feel about this.
"Well then to a new future," Victor smiled as he wrapped an arm around Susan, "together. It's funny how things turn out, isn't it?"
I looked disgusted at Victor's arm and looked questioningly at Sue, "Yeah, funny."
"Hilarious," Reed said sadly as he stared the couple in shock.
I helped Reed pack up the presentation stuff while Susan and Victor talked. Reed picked up his briefcase, glancing at them. I sighed and pulled him along with Ben and I towards the elevator.
"He knew about NASA. Maybe he made the call to shut us down," Ben said warningly, shooting an angry look at Victor as we waited for the elevator.
"Ben, think about all the people that we could help if this works," Reed replied, staring steadfast at the elevator doors.. "We got what we wanted and that's enough. By the way, thanks for helping me back there, Ember. I don't think he would have agreed if you hadn't cut in."
"It's my job to make sure you don't look like an idiot, Reed," I smiled teasingly, bumping him with my hip, "and you don't make it easy."
Reed laughed a little more earnestly, "Besides, Ben, a few days in space! It'll be great for all of us. What's the worst that could happen?"
We got into the elevator as the doors opened, and I was surprised to see Susan quickly slide in before they closed. Ben and I stood at the back of the elevator while Susan was next to Reed in front of us. It was awkward for two seconds before Susan tried to break the silence as usual.
"Reed, you should know that those clouds have been picking up speed," Susan warned helpfully.
"Oh, don't worry. I've factored that in already to my coordinates," Reed shrugged, trying to show off his intelligence. Stupid! How hard is it to say 'thank you, Susan'? Susan looked hurt.
"Right, of course you did," Susan said slightly snappish, "in theory, anyway. It's a little different when you're out there."
Uh oh, cat fight. Reed bristled at the implication that he didn't know what he was doing.
"I can assure you-" Reed started, tight posture signaling he was ready for an argument.
"When are we leaving?" Ben interrupted, trying to keep the peace. Sue looked back surprised as if she had forgotten we were here.
"I'll be scheduling the launch, so you can call me in the morning for resources and crew," Susan held up her card to Reed. "Or you can get my number from Ember."
"I think I remember," Reed said smugly.
Susan smirked confidently, still holding the card towards him, "It's been changed."
Reed's smirk dropped and he took the card from her. Ben and I looked at each other worriedly.
"Awkward," I muttered. Ben cleared his throat. Reed and I looked at him, and Ben tilted his head at Susan.
"As far as crew, I was hoping Ben to be the pilot and Ember to help me with resources and technology," Reed told Susan as she looked at Ben apologetically.
"That's fine for Ember, but we already have a pilot on payroll. You're welcome to ride shotgun, Ben. Do you remember my brother Johnny?" Susan asked. Ben and Reed both looked shocked. I was confused since I had never met him. I know that sounds really weird since I've been friends with Susan for so long, but it always has worked out so that I barely miss him.
*A few weeks later*
I brushed my hair out of my face as the window kept moving it around. Ben, Reed, and I are at the Von Doom launch site. We would be launching the rocket to go to the space station by tomorrow. Currently, I am being annoyed because Ben and Reed wanted to go outside to spy on Johnny who was on his way, according to Sue. So we're standing outside on one of the balconies as I try to keep myself from dying of boredom since I have nothing to do.
I adjusted my hardhat as Ben and Reed both looked through binoculars at Johnny Storm. The only thing I could see from this distance was a guy on a motorcycle driving next to a pink sports car.
"Let me see," I asked holding my hand out for the binoculars, but Ben refused to give them to me. I swiped Reed's and felt my jaw drop as I could now clearly see that the guy on the motorcycle was kissing the girl driving her fancy car. How the hell did they not crash? I'm so jealous right now.
"Can't do it. I cannot do it," Ben referred to Johnny as he walked away from the railing. Ben looked very frustrated.
"External SRBs, orbital system engines. It's just like the shuttle that you flew-" Reed said misunderstanding.
"No! I cannot take orders from the underwear model," Ben said getting ticked just thinking about it.
"Ooh, is he really an underwear model?" I wiggled my eyebrows. Ben pointed a finger at me warningly.
"Do NOT even think about ever being with him! That wingnut washed out of NASA for sneaking in two Victoria Secret wannabes into a flight simulator," Ben complained in astonishment.
"Youthful high spirits," Reed shrugged his shoulders, giving Johnny the benefit of the doubt. And trying to soothe Ben since there's nothing we can really do.
"They crashed it into a wall! A flight simulator!" Ben said appalled. Reed looked stunned while I nodded at his accomplishment.
"Wow, that's impressive," I smiled, trying to figure out how that could even be possible. Ben glared at me. Reed forced Ben's attention back to him.
"When have I ever asked you to do something that you absolutely said you could not do?" Reed implored as if he had never done so. Ben held one of his hands in front of Reed's face.
"Five times," Ben stated and started to walk away.
"I had it at four," Reed quickly counted silently, mouthing the numbers.
"This makes it five!" Ben called back at us. I laughed as Reed smiled guiltily.
"Well, at least he's doing it," I shrugged and tugged at my red hair again as it flew back into my face. Reed looked at me.
"Yeah, but if Johnny even looks at you the wrong way, Ben will kill him," Reed glanced at my figure, trying not to be obvious. "Not to be creepy, but I'm positive Johnny won't be able to look away."
"Aww, that's sweet of you to say," I smiled cheekily. "Let's just hope he doesn't make me want to kill him 'cause I feel no remorse."
"You know I don't think Ben would either," Reed laughed as we strolled back inside the launch center.