by Samuel Orona
Final version of story I started in 2006.
|Chapter 4: Hot on Amnesio's Trail!
When Mike was in temporal stasis, the producer and the director both alerted the authorities. The local police were called, and they, in turn notified the FBI. The FBI agents combed the area for clues, but Amnesio had been wearing gloves when he had activated the controls to the strange temporal manipulation equipment, so there were no fingerprints.
Moxie didn't cry. She still held onto the hope that Mike could and would be revived. The southern California branch of the Federal Bureau of Investigation took the hibernation capsule Mike was contained in, and made sure it was constantly hooked up to a power supply. Their best engineers tried to access the software inside. When they succeeded, they were baffled to find out the technical schematics and diagrams specific to the resuscitation process seemed to be based on solid scientific ground. One of the engineers notified the director.
"So it seems," the engineer began, "that his heart is still beating, his metabolism has been slowed down almost completely. The software built into this equipment states that Mike Roman will return to normal 60 days from the day he was put into stasis.”
The director was puzzled. "So you're telling me this Mike Roman guy might survive?"
"I'm telling you that he will definitely survive!" the engineer informed him.
"Why would somebody force someone into hibernation then bother to restore them afterwards? Why not just kill him?” the director asked.
"I don't know," the engineer answered, "but phase two, the resuscitation process will begin automatically in less than two months. All we have to do is keep that hibernation capsule hooked up to a power supply!"
While this was going on, Moxie secured a house for herself in the Hollywood Hills. With her vast wealth, it was no problem coming up with the money, and because Mike had gotten her legally emancipated when she turned fifteen, she didn't need her parents' permission. She made it her mission to track down Amnesio. She took a course through the mail that taught her how to be a private investigator, and bought a home computer and got it hooked up to the Internet.
She spent twelve hours a day on the Internet, tracking down leads that led to dead-ends.
"I found a front company owned by Amnesio!" said Moxie to herself. Moxie took a bus to the neighborhood where the company was located, and snuck in through a back door. She hid in a closet next to the main office, and listened to a conversation through an air vent.
"All we need to do is get my mind control device on that satellite today," said Amnesio, "and we'll be able to control the minds of millions of people simultaneously!"
"You're a genius, Uncle Amnesio!" said April. “It gives me goosebumps being involved in this master plan!"
"Yeah," said May, "you're gonna go down in history!"
"Help me load the mind control device in the van," said Amnesio.
Moxie waited until the coast was clear, then she got out and climbed into the van and hid in a storage compartment. June drove the van to the company that was manufacturing the satellite. Two vans were driven, and all three of Amnesio's nieces were onboard. When they unloaded the equipment and went inside, Moxie climbed out of the storage compartment and followed them inside.
When she peaked around the corner of the open door, she saw that Amnesio had taken aim with one of his mind control devices, and the workers at the factory were under mind control.
"You will install this device in your satellite!" said Amnesio.
Moxie could only watch helplessly as the workers did as Amnesio instructed. The mind control device was installed, and hooked up to the satellite's power source. Moxie was tapped on the shoulder. When she turned to look, it was April, one of Amnesio's assistants.
"Uncle Amnesio!" shouted April. "I've captured Vector-Girl!”
Amnesio turned to look, and walked over toward Moxie. “Render her unconscious!”
"Sure thing, Unc!” said April, and she reached into a backpack and pulled out a bottle of strange chemicals. She dumped some in a rag, and tried to hold the rag over Moxie’s mouth. Moxie struggled, so April shouted for May to help her, and the two of them were able to successfully hold Moxie down long enough to hold the rag over her mouth, causing Moxie to lose consciousness.
When Moxie woke up, she was in a motel room. There was a note on a DVD player that said 'play.' Moxie pushed the button, and Amnesio appeared on the TV screen.
"Vector-Girl, you were injected with a powerful sedative that knocked you out for several days. By the time you watch this, you will have been asleep long enough so that the satellite is already on its way to Vandenberg Air Force Base to be launched aboard an Ariane Titan rocket! There is absolutely nothing you can do to change things! With my mind control device in space, I will be able to control the minds of millions! This August during the Teen Preference awards I will activate the mind control device and control people through a TV broadcast! This message will self-destruct, so don't bother trying to turn over this DVD to the authorities!"
The recording ended with Amnesio's maniacal laughter, then the DVD player exploded, frightening Moxie momentarily. Moxie sprayed fire suppressant from her gauntlet put out the fire, then she got out her cell phone and dialed a number.
"I need a taxi!" said Moxie.
Moxie waited outside for the taxi. When it arrived, she instructed the driver that she wanted to go to Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc.
"That's over a hundred miles from here!" said the driver. Moxie pulled out twenty one-hundred dollar bills.
"I've got it covered!"
Moxie jumped into the back seat of the taxi and closed the door. "Is it still Monday?" Moxie asked.
"It's Thursday!" said the driver.
"Amnesio was right about that sedative!" said Moxie.
"Who?” the driver asked.
"Nothing, just drive to Vandenberg!"
Two hours later, the taxi dropped Moxie off in front of the Air Force Base. She approached the guard in the control room in front of the base just as a rocket was being launched. She could see the vertical exhaust trail in the sky.
"You've got to warn them!" said Moxie. “They can't launch that Ariane Titan rocket! It has renegade technology attached to it!"
"They've already launched it!” the man said. "It's too late!"
Moxie looked toward the ocean and saw the Ariane Titan rocket hurtling toward space.
"Darn!" said Moxie.
Days turned into weeks, and eventually a month and a half passed. Moxie celebrated her sixteenth birthday alone. The Micromage & Vector-Girl movie opened in theaters, but Mike was still a popsicle. It had almost the same kind of success as any blockbuster of recent years aimed at kids and teenagers. Kids were lined up around the block with their parents, and teenagers went and saw the movie again and again. Moxie paid little attention to this, however. She finally found a clue that she felt might lead her to Amnesio.
There were Micromage & Vector-Girl comic books. Mike had hired a small comic publishing company to create fictional adventures for Mike and Moxie. Because of the success of the film, issue one of the first Micromage & Vector-Girl comic book was hard to find. Ironically, there was a company that was offering mint condition copies of the first issue at half of what they were now worth, which normally sold for about $300. It made sense to Moxie that this company was counterfeiting the comic books.
Moxie looked up at her Micromage & Vector-Girl calendar and sighed. "The Teen Preference awards are in a week" she said to herself, "me and Mike have been nominated, but he's still in hibernation!”
She pulled out her cell phone and used speed dial to call the director of the FBI, as she had been doing several times a week for nearly the past two months, ever since Mike had been frozen. Someone answered.
"Hello?" Moxie said.
"Moxie,” the director said, "I think you'd better get down here! Mike Roman is set to come out of hibernation today!”
Moxie hung up the phone and caught a taxi-cab. In less than an hour, she was at the FBI headquarters, and she was let in by a receptionist who recognized her. When she got there, Mike was still unconscious. He began stirring soon after she arrived, and woke up.
“Scene two!” said Mike, finishing the sentence he had began on the day he had gone into hibernation.
Moxie giggled. “You just finished a sentence you started two months ago!”
Somebody handed Mike a glass of water, and he greedily guzzled it down like a man who hadn't drank water for several days.
"Mike!" Moxie said. "I've got a place in the Hollywood Hills now. We can stay there!"
"Doc," Mike said, "when am I clear to go home?"
"From our test results, it seems that you can go home today. Physiologically, you haven’t aged in the past two months.”
About an hour later, Moxie and Mike were sitting in the back of a taxi-cab heading for Moxie’s new house.
"So you're sixteen now, huh?" Mike said. "It was just a month and and a half before your sixteenth birthday when I got put into temporal stasis."
"We’ve got more important things to worry about,” said Moxie. “I tracked down a comic book publishing company that I think is counterfeiting copies of the first issue of the Micromage & Vector-Girl comic book! That comic is worth three-hundred dollars, but he's only charging a hundred and fifty dollars. I think Amnesio's behind it!"
Mike tilted his head back with his hands on his gut and let out a loud laugh. “Moxie, Amnesio is a big-time hood! What would he be doing messing around with comic books?"
"I know it sounds weird, but I've checked out almost a dozen companies he was behind. Amnesio was always one step ahead of me, and terminated the company and destroyed the records if I snooped too close. This time, I didn't make the mistake of pushing too hard... he doesn't know I'm onto him!"
"I'll tell you what," Mike said, "I'll drive us over there if you write down the address and punch it into the gps! I'll prove it to you that Amnesio isn't behind this!"
Soon, they were on the road in the Micromobile. After driving past the business they were looking for, Mike parked a couple of blocks away, and they walked to the side of the building of the business in question. Mike was wearing his Micromage costume, because Moxie had demanded it. There was an air vent with a grill that had square holes about two inches in diameter, both vertically and horizontally. Mike activated the neutrino dissimilator on his wristband, and keyed the sizing scope to shrink down to one inch tall.
Moxie picked Mike up in her hand, and said: "Good luck, Micromage!" before placing him on the air vent. They still had their two-way radios to communicate with. Mike's was built into his wristband and Moxie, who was also wearing her space-age Vector-Girl costume, had one built into the gauntlet of her left wrist, also.
Mike made his way through the vent. There was a circular fan blade, but it wasn't moving.
"So far, so good!" Mike said to Moxie through his two-way. When he got to the other side of the vent, Mike was surprised to see that although machinery was active, there were no workers hustling around. Upon closer inspection, Mike saw that robots were doing all the work, much like an automobile manufacturing plant in Detroit. Mike jumped down from his perch and investigated further.
There was a light on in an office down the hall. The best way to look through the office of the window would be to climb on top of one of the robots. This would kill two birds with one stone, because Mike could survey what the robots were working on, as well as seeing who was in the office.
Mike climbed a power cord and found himself on top of one of the printers. Sure enough, hundreds of copies of issue one of the Micromage & Vector-Girl comic book were being printed!
"Vector-Girl!” Mike said into his two-way radio. "Everything is just as you said it was! They're printing counterfeit copies of our comic book in here!"
"Okay Mike," Moxie replied, "you've done your job, now come back to me! I don't want you getting hurt!"
"I'm going to see who's in the office!" Mike replied. "I want to see if it's really Amnesio!"
"Mike!" Moxie said angrily. "Our work here is done! We need to contact the police!”
Mike turned off his radio. Moxie’s wrath he could endure; it was his insatiable curiosity he couldn't avoid. Looking into the office, he saw a girl in her mid teens; it was obviously one of Amnesio’s nieces. As he struggled to get a better view, to see who she was talking to, Mike fell downward, toward the printer.
He landed on top of a comic book cover that was on it's way to the saddle stitching device. Mike tried to roll out of the way, but before he could, a laser scanner picked up his image, and the printer stopped immediately, and an alarm began to sound.
Two teenage girls with domino masks ran out of the office. They were wearing tee-shirts and ultra-short mini-skirts. They knew a foreign object had landed in the printer, but at the moment, they didn't know it was Mike.
"Amnesio is going to to flip out if we don't meet his daily quota!" one girl said to the other.
Mike quickly scurried down into the equipment as the two girls tried to assess what was wrong. When he hit the tile floor, he saw where their shoes were pointing, and ran in another direction. A curtain hung over the air vent he had entered through, and a power cord to a fan touched the floor before coiling up to where the curtain began. Mike climbed the cord, then grabbed onto the curtain and made his way toward the vent. Once there, he grabbed onto what to him was a metal bar (it was really one of the wires composing the air vent), and he climbed into the vent and ran to the outside.
Moxie was waiting for him, and she cupped her left palm and Mike jumped in. "They're working for Amnesio!" Mike told her.
"I told you so!" Moxie said. "You doubted me, but I knew what I was doing!”
Moxie cupped Mike in her hand and stood up, and walked back to the Micromobile. Mike re-enlarged. After returning to normal size, Mike drove them back to Moxie’s house in the Hollywood Hills.
Moxie went to her personal computer and checked her e-mail. Suddenly, she saw something she had never seen before on her computer. An e-mail from Amnesio! Was this a trick? Was someone posing as Amnesio? She opened the e-mail and read it.
"Mike! You're never going to believe this!"
"What is it?” Mike asked.
"Amnesio sent me an e-mail!"
"What does it say?" Mike asked.
"He says he has a plan for attacking the Teen Preference awards show! Mike, you and I have been nominated! He's targeting that awards show because we're both going to be there! He's challenging us!"
"Then we'll be ready for him!" Mike replied.
To Be Continued!