by Samuel Orona
Final version of story I started in 2006.
|Chapter 2: Enter Amnesio
The gunman aimed the machine gun at Moxie as she tried to think of an excuse for Mike's disappearance.
"Am I talkin' to a brick wall? I said where's your partner?"
"There was nobody else here!" Moxie said defiantly.
"We handcuffed you two by two!" the man said. "Where's that friend of yours who tried to pick a beef with Shank?”
"How the heck should I know? I just look out for myself!"
The gunman flagged down the leader. "Vertigo! We've got a problem over here! One of the hostages escaped, and this little chick knows something about it!"
Vertigo, the leader, approached Moxie. “These machine guns are real, so I strongly suggest you cooperate!”
Moxie answered: "He used a neutrino dissimilator device attached to his belt to shrink down to an inch tall! Right now, he's in the ventilator shaft, trying to find that underground vault!"
Vertigo pulled out a walkie-talkie and said into it: "We've got a bogie in the ventilator shaft!"
Vertigo put the walkie-talkie away and pulled out a set of keys. "Un-cuff yourself and come with me!"
Meanwhile, Mike was at the edge of a vertical ventilation shaft. He found a hole he could hook a carabiner to, and used the coil of cable built into the back of his costume to lower himself down. Lights built into his costume illuminated the metal chasm below.
When he got to the bottom, he found the screen that circulated air to the underground vault the leader had spoke of.
Just then, Mike heard a crackle of static and then he heard Moxie’s voice on his wrist-radio.
"Mike! They've got me!"
"Moxie!” Mike responded, but her voice was replaced by the voice of the gangleader.
"I've got your little girlfriend! Now I want you to find the access elevator that leads to the vault!"
"I'll do whatever you ask!" Mike said into his wrist-radio. "What's in the vault that's so valuable?"
"You let me worry about that!" Vertigo answered.
When Mike cut through the ventilation screen, the lights built into his costume illuminated the interior of the vault.
On two sides of a pathway were stacks of gold and silver bars stacked from floor to ceiling. Mike jumped from his perch to the nearest gold bar. The door to an elevator was built into the wall nearest him. Since Mike was an inch tall, he was able to maneuver to the elevator control panel. Mike pushed the button, and the door opened. There were lights built into the ceiling of the elevator, so he shut off the lights in his suit to conserve his batteries.
Now Mike had the problem of reaching the interior control panel now that he was inside the elevator. He accomplished this by finding a bolt on the ground, and threw it toward the UP button. On the third attempt, Mike hit his target. When the doors started to slide shut, Mike raced out into the vault.
Mike keyed his wrist-radio: "Okay! I did my part! I sent up the elevator!"
Back on ground level, Vertigo heard Mike's transmission. His men had used a blowtorch to cut through the metal gate that had concealed the ground floor elevator door, but they had been unable to get it to work.
When the door opened, Vertigo smiled as three of his gunmen got in, and patted Moxie on the shoulder. He spoke into his walkie-talkie: "Great job, Micromage! You've kept your end of the bargain!"
Vertigo took a closer look at Moxie, to admire his handiwork. She was bound in two pairs of handcuffs, one on her left wrist, and one on her right. The other loop of each pair of handcuffs was connected to a huge timebomb that Moxie was sitting on.
Meanwhile, Mike was climbing the cable back up the vertical ventilation shaft. Once he reached the top, he coiled the cable back up in case he needed it again, then he raced back to where he had first entered.
Climbing out, Mike saw that Moxie was no longer cuffed to the clothes rack where he had left her. After looking around, Mike spotted her handcuffed to the timebomb.
The criminals were carrying loads of gold bars out to their van. At one inch tall, Mike was able to follow them without being spotted.
Mike raced out the door and under the van. He uncoiled his cable, and flung it over the front suspension. He connected the carabiner to the cable, and climbed up.
Once he was on top of the suspension, it was easy for Mike to climb up into the engine and disconnect the wire that connected the coil to the distributor.
"These idiots aren't going anywhere!" Mike said to himself.
Mike ran under each of the three vans, and pulled the coil wires from them, too. Mike found a sewer grate, and tossed the three wires in. After the vans were loaded up with gold bars, the bandits piled in, shut the doors, and tried to drive away. Of course, the ignitions didn't work, and about that time, about a dozen police cars pulled up. The reason it took so long for them to get there was because the crooks had clipped the phone lines to the mall, and a bystander had to call them on a cell-phone.
As the police apprehended the crooks, Mike ran back into the mall to check on Moxie. She was still handcuffed to the timebomb.
"We only have 20 minutes left, Mike! Go get the cops!" Moxie shouted to Mike.
When Mike ventured back outside, the police were afraid to enter the building, convinced there might be more gunmen inside. Mike used the neutrino assimilator function of his suit to return to normal size.
"Hey, flatfoot!" Mike shouted to the nearest cop. "We've got a girl hand-cuffed to a timebomb inside! You've got to get the keys from the gangleader!"
After adjusting to Mike’s outlandish costume, the officer went inside and saw that it was just as Mike had said. The police brought bolt cutters, and freed Moxie. With Mike standing next to her, she was interviewed by the throngs of reporters that had gathered outside the mall. The bomb squad was brought in, and the timebomb was de-activated.
Mike shrank and returned to normal size while television cameras were aimed at him as he did this, so his shrinking ability was now public knowledge.
When the interviews were at last over, Mike and Moxie walked back to the Micromobile. A man in a business suit was leaning against Mike's car.
"Can I help you?" Mike asked.
"Are you Mike Roman and Moxie Miller?” the man asked.
"Yes!" Mike and Moxie said simultaneously.
"Are you two going to be in southern California tomorrow night?"
"Yes," Mike answered, "in fact, we're on our way there as soon as we leave here!"
The man handed Mike a business card. "I represent a well-known Hollywood producer, and I've been asked to invite the two of you to a party in Bel-Air tomorrow evening. Dakota Ryan will be there!”
“I’ve seen all of her movies!” said Moxie.
Mike looked at the address on the back of the card, thanked the man, and put the card in the glove compartment.
Soon they were on the highway. Mike drove from southern Arizona to San Diego, California, where Mike and Moxie ate at a fancy restaurant. Then they were back on the highway again, driving north to Bel-Air. It was night time when they arrived at their hotel.
After the long drive, Mike was tired, so he crashed out and slept for about twelve hours. When he finally woke up to eat breakfast, it was after 11:00 a.m. in the morning and Moxie was reading the electronic tablet given to them by the time travelers.
"What're you doing?" Mike asked.
"While you were asleep, I started reading about the features built into the equipment given to us by those people from the future.”
“Did you find anything interesting?” Mike asked.
“Yes, you have a neural stimulator that you can use to make someone vomit you back up if you get swallowed!”
“That sounds crucial, hopefully I’ll never need to use it.” Mike looked at his watch. “Today's my day to work out, if you want to come with me, let's go!"
The duo got into the Micromobile, and Mike drove them to a gym not far from their hotel. Mike worked his triceps and chest, and Moxie worked out, too. She was trying to enlarge the size of her arms by doing triceps exercises, and she also did squats to build up her thighs. After a couple of hours of working out, they hit the showers, then went to an exclusive restaurant in Bel-Air where the waiters knew Mike, because he always ate there when he was in the Los Angeles area.
As Moxie finished her dessert (Mike didn't have dessert, just two orders of chicken breast, brown rice and broccoli, as well as two glasses of milk), Moxie pondered the invitation they had received at the mall in Arizona where the bandits had held up the place.
"Are you going to that party?" Moxie asked.
"The one that producer invited us to?" Mike asked.
"Yeah!" Moxie replied.
"It's still kind of early in the afternoon... he didn't really give us a time, so I guess it's okay if we show up a little early!"
Mike left a hundred dollar bill as a tip, and the two of them got back into the Micromobile and headed toward the party.
When they arrived at the address, it was a mansion. Valets took the Micromobile, and Mike and Moxie approached the door. A man standing at the door looked at the guest list, and Mike and Moxie were on the list. He ushered the two of them inside.
When they got inside, there were no celebrities, just producers in business suits and their families. There was a bar where a bartender was serving drinks, but Mike didn't want to take any chances. If Moxie threw a scene because she didn't want him to drink, then it would look like Moxie wore the pants in their relationship.
"Why are there no stars hanging out here?' Moxie asked. "I was hoping to bump into Dakota Ryan."
"Maybe it's just a party of producers and directors," said Mike.
Moxie approached some of the kids, while Mike hung out by himself.
"Hi!" Moxie said to one of the girls.
"Hey!" the girl replied, "you must be Moxie, from the Micromage & Vector-Girl videogame!"
"Yeah, that's me!" Moxie replied.
"My little brother loves that game!" the girl added. "I've never played the game myself, but I've heard about it!"
"Is your dad a producer?" Moxie asked.
"Yep! All the kids at this party are the children of producers or directors! See that girl over there? Her father is a billionaire!"
More producers started to arrive. The teenage actress Dakota Ryan arrived, and introduced herself to Mike. She was about the same age as Moxie.
“I’ve played your video game!” said Dakota.
"Hi there!" Mike said to a producer. “I'm Mike Roman, also known as Micromage!"
The producer shook his hand. "I've heard about your videogame. Didn't you design it yourself?"
"Yeah, but I used software that did most of the work. Still, it took a couple of years to make!"
Just then, a man with a beard wearing a black domino mask walked in followed by three girls in their mid teens wearing Domino masks and black tee shirts with a white skull and crossbones on the front. They also wore ultra-short black mini-skirts with a purple cape that only goes halfway down their back, and a gold colored utility belt with futuristic devices, as well as black mid-calf boots. One girl wore a red domino mask, another wore an orange one, and the third girl wore a violet domino mask.
The man carried a strange looking device. He had earmuffs on, the kind a sound engineer would use in a recording studio.
"I am Amnesio, Master of Mind Control! Accompanying me are my three nieces, April, May and June! Soon, you will all heed the clarion call of my mind control technology!”
“Mike,” Moxie whispered, “That’s the guy Duke warned us about!”
Just then, one of the security guards walked up to him and said, "I'm sorry, but you don't have an invitation, and you're not on the guest list, so I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to lea-"
At that instant, Amnesio aimed the strange device at the burly young security guard.
"Amnesio answers to no one!"
The device was apparently mesmerizing the man, because as Amnesio pointed it at his face, the security guard just stood there, as if he had forgotten why he had approached Amnesio in the first place.
Mike turned to Moxie. “I think you’re right, that must be the guy we were warned about! I'd better shrink before he uses his mind control technology on me! At shrunken size, maybe it will have no effect on me because my brainwaves are different when I'm shrunk!"
Mike keyed in the sequence on the control console of his wristband, and instantly shrank to one inch tall. Amnesio saw this, and turned on his device. Soon, everyone in the room was under the influence of his mind control device!
Amnesio looked at one of his teenage companions and said, "June, your Uncle Amnesio commands you to swallow Micromage! Do it! At once!"
The girl in the red domino mask picked Mike up, and directed him toward her mouth...
"Please, don't do this!" Mike pleaded. "You're under the control of Amnesio's mind control device!"
The girl brought the one-inch tall Mike closer to her open mouth. “If you answer one of my questions correctly, I won’t swallow you!”
“What’s the question?” Mike asked
"Calculate the last digit of the number pi!" June asked with a sinister smile.
"That's crazy!" Mike argued. "Pi is an irrational number! It's infinite! There is no last digit!"
"That's your question, and you agreed to my terms!" June said defiantly.
"But that's not fair!" Mike argued. "You can't ask me questions that have no answer!"
"I can ask you any question I want! You agreed to it!" June said. "Here's question number two: how fast is the speed of light in kilometers per second?"
"I know that one!" Mike shouted, "If I get this one right, you can't swallow me! The speed of light is 186,282 miles per second!"
"I said in kilometers per second, Mike! Not miles per second! Anyone can answer that question in miles per second!"
"Wait a minute!" Mike said, there's a formula for converting miles into kilometers! I should remember that formula from college!"
"You have ten seconds!" June said.
To Be Continued!