by Samuel Orona
A video game designer and a young woman team up to fight crime!
|Chapter 1: The Origin of Micromage!
Mike Roman adjusted the control console on his gauntlet as Sally Stoner stood by his side. Sally, the 18-year-old model who was chosen to play the part of a character in his video game, was an equal partner on this project, and took in the same percentage as Mike per videogame unit sold. Sally was a brunette with brown eyes, and although she was Caucasian, she had a light brown skin tone. Her costume was equipped with an ultra-short mini-skirt that dramatically showed off her muscular legs. Mike was Hispanic, with black hair and brown eyes, and a physique that shouted to the world that he had been training as a bodybuilder for many years. As they waited for the curtain to rise here in the mall, Mike pondered the events of the past five years...
Computers were the only thing he excelled at, so five years in college had blown by as he got his degree in computer science, all the while training to get his pro card so he could one day place in the Mr. Olympia contest. After graduation he was hired by a software engineering corporation, which provided him with income to pay for his bodybuilding hobby.
Once he landed a job at the computer firm, he had to train at 3:00 a.m. and late at night. He knew there had to be a better way. He started designing the Micromage & Awesome-Girl videogame, with the hope of eventually selling it to Nintendo or Sony, allowing him to retire from work and focus on his bodybuilding. Once he sold the concept to a company, they wanted him to travel across the country and promote it at shopping malls, accompanied by a teenage sidekick who resembled Awesome-Girl, the other main protagonist in the videogame. A model named Sally Stoner was chosen, and she took on the identity of the Awesome-Girl character. Mike decided that since she would no longer be in school or living a normal life, she should be paid just as much as him, making them both multimillionaires overnight. Since Mike was the artist and creator of the project, the company agreed to his terms.
Now, as the curtain rose, Sally had her hands on her hips, decked out in a futuristic outfit. Mike was dressed in a spandex uniform that conformed to the massive muscles of his upper body, with a belt and a wristband that had a communication console that actually worked. Sally had a similar wristband, and the two of them could communicate from across the mall if they had to. There were also lights built into Mike's Micromage costume, to illuminate the dark fictional areas he would explore if he actually had the ability to shrink, like his character.
The announcer stood off to their side and in front of them and introduced them. A crowd of kids went wild, hands clutching pens and paper hoping for autographs.
"Can you really shrink?" a little boy asked.
"No," Mike answered, "that only happens in the video game!"
"What a rip-off!" said the boy.
A high school boy approached Sally and asked, "Are you doing anything tonight, Awesome-Girl?"
"I'm being tutored," Sally replied. "We're going out of state in a couple of days, and I need to get caught up with my schooling! Sorry!"
Mike and Sally answered their questions for about an hour, and Sally was propositioned two more times by high school boys who wanted to take her out. When it was over, the two of them left the mall and climbed into the Micromobile, and sped off.
"I only got hit on three times," Sally told Mike. "Do you think I'm losing my touch?"
"No," Mike answered as he drove the car, "there'll be others. But I think you should consider going out with one of those boys one of these days. You don't really have much of a social life like other girls your age."
"No," Sally answered, "we're traveling to malls all across the country. I'm not really in a position to have any kind of a real relationship."
They pulled into the parking lot of their hotel, and the two of them jumped out of the convertible and went to their room. Once inside, Mike was on the phone calling room service, and Sally used the remote control to turn on the television.
"Yes, I'd like a pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast, preferably baked," Mike said into the phone, "half an avocado and an order of brown rice. To drink? How about a quart of nonfat milk."
Mike had been very specific with the company about what kind of hotels he wanted to stay at. They had to provide room service that catered to his bodybuilding lifestyle. In fact, not only did the company agree to this, but Mike and Sally were only booked to appear in malls that had hotels like these in town.
As Mike ordered their food, Sally watched the local news. "-and a scientist who worked at the research facility said they have a neutrino dissimilator that could miniaturize things, and claims he was told to keep it a secret. Whether or not these claims are true remains a mystery, but a spokesman for the facility claims there is no neutrino dissimilation experiments being currently conducted at the facility."
"Mike," Sally said, "we need to go check that place out! It's in this area!"
Mike hung up the phone and said, "Why should we go there?"
"Because! If we could sneak in, we could get some pictures of you near actual miniaturization technology! It would give us authenticity!"
"If you go buy a map of this area, I'll drive us over there. This is your project, Sally. No map, no deal."
Sally raced out the door to the nearest store to buy a city map. When she got back, the food had arrived, and Mike was chowing down. Sally was too excited to eat. "I called information from my cellphone and got the address of that research facility. I found the street on this map... it's about three miles from here."
"Okay," Mike said, "we'll go there after we finish eating."
When they were done, they got into the Micromobile and headed off to the research facility Sally wanted to go to. She directed Mike by referring to the map she had bought, and within fifteen minutes, they had found the place. They drove past it, then parked around the corner and down the block a bit, and pondered their next move.
Mike and Sally decided to cut through the chain-link fence with wire-cutters and get into the back of the place, and hide behind a dumpster. Despite the nature of the research being conducted here, it didn't appear to be too heavily guarded.
"You stay here," Mike said, "I'm going to go take a look." Mike disappeared. Sally waited a few minutes, then followed after him. There were two guards smoking cigarettes, but the door they were guarding was open. Sally found a lugnut and threw it to the other side of the yard, and the guards went after the sound to find out what it was. Sally proceeded inside without being spotted, and went to a computer terminal. Within one minute, she had found the homepage that had a link to the page with a map of the complex. Finding her destination, she snuck off in that direction.
Mike, meanwhile, had found the neutrino dissimilation chamber. After studying the control panel for several minutes, he figured out how to work it. Sally showed up with her camera, and asked Mike to climb inside for a photo. Once Mike was inside, Sally pushed the button that sealed the chamber door, and Mike was trapped inside. He beat on the titanium door hatch, but to no avail.
Mike activated the communication device on his wristband to talk to Sally. "Why did you shut the door hatch, Sally?" he asked.
"Because I want to get a picture of you shrunk and I knew you wouldn't go for it. Sorry, Mike!"
Sally studied the control console and figured out how to work it quicker than Mike did. Within seconds, she activated the neutrino dissimilator cannon that was aimed downward at the heart of the chamber where Mike was now trapped. In an instant, Mike was shrunk down to about one inch tall. Sally jumped up and down in excitement and pushed the button that opened the door hatch. She scooped Mike up in her hand and said, "We did it, Mike! Now you're really Micromage! Lemme get a picture of you now!"
In the control room however, a guard wasn't as thrilled as Sally was. He picked up a phone and said: "Let me speak with the director. We have a power drain in the neutrino dissimilation chamber. We have intruders, I have them on camera now."
Five armed guards rushed into the room Sally was in. She was surrounded, and brought to the room of the director of the facility. Carrying Mike in her hand, she sat down as she was asked to by the director.
"I'm Duke Hollister, the director of this research facility. What you have done is inexcusable!" the director said. "The two of you broke in here and utilized our neutrino dissimilation technology without permission."
"Sorry!" Sally answered.
"There's no need to be sorry," the director said, "it's too late for that. Perhaps the three of us can work together for our mutual benefit."
"How?" Sally asked.
"I recognize you and your miniaturized partner as Micromage and Awesome-Girl. You are celebrities. If we allow you to use our miniaturization technology, all we ask in return is that you advertise our company. We are going public in a few weeks, and we need all the publicity we can get."
"I'm willing to do it," Mike said.
"Me too!" said Sally.
"I will have you re-enlarged immediately, Mr. Roman." said the director. Mike was carried to the chamber where he had been miniaturized, and the guards reversed the process.
When Mike emerged from the chamber at normal size, the director handed him a belt with sophisticated electronics equipment built into it. Mike put the belt on and fastened it.
"That has both a neutrino dissimilator and a neutrino transfer device," the director said. "It will allow you to shrink and return to normal size. You control it with this," the director handed Mike a device built into a strap.
The director continued: "You attach that control gauntlet to your wrist, and it will control the device built into the belt. You don't need to enter the neutrino dissimilation chamber to shrink. That was just a prototype we built before we developed this more sophisticated design. On your belt is a neutrino dissimilation device that will shrink you down to any target size you punch into the sizing scope built into your wristband."
As Mike put the wristband on, the director continued: "You will be stuck at miniature size for one hour, until the neutrino transfer device re-charges. Once at full size, it will again take another hour before you can shrink again. Understand?"
"Affirmative!" said Mike.
The director continued: "If you are ever in somebody's mouth or stomach, you will not be able to re-enlarge. This is for the protection of anyone who swallows you. I want our company to benefit from the publicity of your new shrinking ability, but I don't want anyone getting injured with our technology. I know that places you in potential danger, but I have no choice."
"I understand," said Mike.
"My men will show you to the front door," said the director.
Sally and Mike were escorted to the front door of the facility. They exited, and walked over to the Micromobile and got in, and drove back to the hotel.
Once in their hotel room, Mike said, "Don't ever try to talk me into doing anything that crazy again! I can't believe you sealed me inside that chamber!"
"I was just doing what's best for both of us, Mike... it's not like you were hurt or anything."
"That doesn't matter! You completely did whatever you wanted to and used that neutrino dissimilator on me! You had no way of even knowing if I'd survive or not!"
"Okay, I'm sorry! I don't know why you're making such a big deal out of it!"
"I'm going to the store," Mike said, as he walked out the door. When he came back, he started dropping bottles of beer into an ice chest.
"What do you think you're doing?" Sally asked. "You're a hero, and kids look up to you! You can't drink beer! I'm pouring this out!"
Sally took the beer to the sink, and opened each bottle with a bottle opener on her keychain, and dumped the beer from each bottle down the sink.
"Now I'm going to the store, to get us some soda!" Sally said, and disappeared out the door. While she was gone, Mike decided to test out his miniaturization technology. He activated the control gauntlet built into his wristband, and shrank down to an inch tall. When Sally got back, Mike was nowhere to be seen.
"Mike?" Sally asked. "Micromage, if you shrunk yourself, you know you have one whole hour before you can re-enlarge again! If you don't come out in five seconds, I'll swallow you when I find you!"
Mike remained hidden. "One, two, three, four, five!" She found him and picked him up, and said, "This is something you'd better get used to! It's tummy time!"
Then she stuck him in her mouth, and swallowed him!
"It looks like I need to score a bottle of syrup of ipecac!" Sally said. She walked out the door to the corner store, and went in.
"Do you have syrup of ipecac?" Sally asked.
"What's that?" the Asian storekeeper asked.
"Forget it," Sally answered, and walked out. She activated her wristband communication device. "Micromage? This is Awesome-Girl, do you copy? If you're receiving this transmission, please respond!"
There was a crackle of static, then Mike's voice could be heard: "Sally! What the hell is wrong with you? You know I can't re-enlarge as long as I'm in your gut! Now get me out!"
"I'm trying!" Sally answered, "But I need to find syrup of ipecac first, to make me puke! But don't worry, you'll only be in there for about fifteen or twenty minutes!"
"There might not even be fifteen minutes of air in here!" Mike replied.
Sally smiled and said, "Well, you should've thought about that before you tried to hide from me!"
Sally walked about five blocks to a drugstore, and found what she was looking for. She pulled every bottle of ipecac syrup they had off the shelf, and cradled it in her arms and went up to the counter. She paid, and took her purchase outside. She opened up a bottle and drank a mouthful, and waited.
"Micromage!" Sally said into her wristband communicator, "I drank some syrup of ipecac! It says it should take about fifteen or twenty minutes to take effect!"
Several minutes later, Sally threw up onto the pavement in front of the drugstore. Some people exiting the store watched her as she puked.
"What's the matter, you've never seen anyone puke before?" Sally told them. She found Micromage in the puddle of vomit, and picked him up. He was conscious.
"Cool! You're all right!" Sally kissed the tiny man, and they both waited for the time limit to pass so Mike could re-enlarge. Less than an hour later, the two of them were walking back into their hotel room, and Mike was normal-sized. Sally entered first, and Mike slammed the door behind him as he entered the room.
"I can't even begin to tell you how wrong that was!" Mike said. "After all I've done for you... I even demanded that they pay you just as much as I get, and this is how you repay me!"
"Well, don't worry," Sally said, "I've got plenty of ipecac syrup for when that happens again. Next time, you won't have to wait so long for me to puke you up!"
"Next time?" Mike said, "What the hell makes you so sure there's even going to be a next time?"
"I know there is!" Sally replied, "So I bought plenty of ipecac syrup for when that happens!"
Mike got up and took the boxes of ipecac syrup and took them to the kitchen sink. He unscrewed the cap on one of the bottles, and tilted it toward the sink...
"Are you sure you want to do that?" Sally asked. "I'm dead serious about swallowing you. It's fun! And I will do it again, if you do anything to piss me off! So if you dump that stuff out, it'll be your funeral if I can't find any more before the air runs out in my belly!"
Mike thought about what she said, and screwed the cap back on the bottle without pouring any out.
"Let's get something straight," Sally told Mike, "when you're shrunk, I'm Awesome-Girl, and you're my property! There's nothing you can do about it for a whole hour until you can return to normal size, so you need to be under my care! As such, you will be subject to my commands. As long as you're normal size, I'll be like a little sister to you, but as soon as you're shrunk, you become my personal slave-toy until you return to normal size! Is that understood?"
"Sally, don't you think that's a little barbaric? Why should our friendship be any different when I'm shrunk? I'm still the same person!"
"That's how it is in the video-game you designed! Whenever Micromage is shrunk, he's Awesome-Girl's toy! You programmed it that way, so you must've had a subconscious fascination with that concept!"
"That's true Sally, but this is real life. We're not in a video-game. Please reconsider!"
Sally crossed her arms and sat on the bed with her head against the backboard. "I'm not changing my mind. When you're shrunk, you're my personal pawn, just like in the video-game!"
"I give up!" Mike said, as he sat down on his bed and lied down to rest.
Sally pulled out her cell phone and said, "It's almost time for Gwen to get here to tutor me. I'm texting my friend Moxie and telling her what happened!"
"You text her a lot," said Mike. "Who is she?"
"Me and her grew up together, until her parents won the lottery and they moved to Japan."
Sally's tutor showed up while Mike rested, and knocked on the door.
"Hi, Gwen!" said Sally as she opened the door to let her in. Once the books were out, Gwen started teaching math to Sally.
"I'm surprised at how proficient you are at calculus!" said Gwen. "You're only fifteen, and you're already at college level!"
"Oh, that reminds me," said Sally. "If I give you some cash, can you pick up some electronics books for me?"
"Sure!" Gwen replied.
The next day, Mike and Sally were dressed up in their costumes as they pulled up in a parking space at another mall. Sally waited in the car as Mike got out and headed in the direction of the mall. He turned around when he realized Sally wasn't coming in with him.
"What are you waiting for?" he asked.
"I'm waiting for you to open my door for me," Sally replied. Mike walked over and opened her door for her. They walked together toward the mall.
"Are you going to shrink for the audience?" Sally asked. "This is the first time you actually have shrinking powers!"
"I haven't made my mind up yet," Mike answered, "I still think it might be a good idea to keep my shrinking ability a secret. What do you think?"
"I don't think it matters. You could always tell them it was special effects or something."
As they walked through the doors to the mall, an older man in a business suit approached them. "Hi, you must be Micromage and the lovely Awesome-Girl... I'm Randall Threntwurst, the manager of this mall. This is the first time we've had an appearance like this, and there's a huge crowd waiting! I was getting worried you wouldn't show up!"
"Sally just takes a while to get ready," Mike said. Sally frowned at Mike.
"Is there a reason you're meeting us here at the door, Mr. Threntwurst?" Mike asked.
"Yes, there is," Randall answered, "we've had a threatening phone-call this morning. I'm assuming it's just a harmless hoax. I didn't want to evacuate on this big day!"
"If you're concerned about our safety," Mike said, "maybe we should leave and come back in a couple of months. We'll be back in this state at the end of summer,"
"I won't hear of it!" Randall said, "My mall needs this kind of publicity! If you left, it would look like we can't deliver on our promises! Do you know how big Micromage & Awesome-Girl are around here? There are throngs of kids lined up to get your autographs! We haven't had business like this since Lady Gaga made an appearance here!"
"Mike," Sally said, "don't be a chicken. It was probably a hoax or a prank call!"
"Yeah, you're probably right!" Mike said as they walked toward the staging area.
Meanwhile, outside, three vans pulled up and a group of ski-masked men holding machine guns jumped out of the side doors and hustled toward the doors of the mall. An older man saw them, and said: "Hey! Is this part of some kind of a show you're putting on?"
One of the gunmen shoved the butt of his weapon into the guy's head, and he fell over.
"Move, move, move!" the leader of the men shouted to the others.
Inside the mall, Mike and Sally were in position and waiting for the curtain to rise when the bandits ran in with their machine guns. Nobody was shot, but there was a lot of noise and shouting, and some women screamed in terror.
Mike jumped down from his platform and tried to disarm one of the suspects, but was knocked across the side of the head with the butt of a rifle and hit the floor. Mike was out cold!
Sally nursed the wound on his head by applying pressure to it, and listened to the demands of the gunmen.
"Okay! We made a phone call earlier to the director of this place, and we made a few demands!"
Sally looked at the director she had talked to a few minutes earlier, and frowned at him, knowing it was all somehow his fault.
"There's a vault," the gunman continued, "that is one hundred feet below this mall! Inside are valuable artifacts! I want these artifacts delivered within two hours, or I'll handcuff all of you, and rig this bomb to go off after we leave!"
Mike woke up. "Sally?" he asked.
"Shhh!" Sally replied, putting her fingers to his lips. "Be quiet!"
Two of the gunmen went around with chains and handcuffs, and cuffed the people one by one to the furniture of this part of the mall. He handcuffed Sally and Mike to each other, then attached a chain that connected them to a metal clothes rack.
"You can shrink and go find the vault!" Sally whispered to Mike. He adjusted his gauntlet, and activated the shrinking mechanism. He shrank down to an inch tall, and the handcuff he had been attached to was still normal sized. He had slipped right through it!
Sally picked him up in the palm of her hand, and said, "Good luck!" and released him.
Mike ran to an air vent, and used a knife to cut open a section he could climb through. Once inside the vent, he turned on the lighting system that was part of his costume that had at first been designed as a prop.
Just then, one of the gunmen approached Sally and asked: "What happened to the guy who was handcuffed to you?"
He raised his machine gun and took aim at Sally as she tried to think of an answer...
Chapter 2: Enter Amnesio!
The gunman aimed the machine gun at Sally, 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!" Sally said defiantly.
"We handcuffed you two by two!" the man said. "Where's that friend of yours who tried to pick a beef with Vito?"
"How the hell should I know? I just look out for myself!"
The gunman flagged down the leader. "Biff! We've got a problem over here! One of the hostages escaped, and this little chick knows something about it!"
Biff, the leader, walked over to Sally. "Rusty, I ordered all of you not to use my real name in front of the hostages!"
Biff took Rusty's machine gun, pointed it at him, and fired. Rusty dropped to the floor. Biff pointed the weapon at Sally.
"As you can see, I had no problem shooting him, and you can safely assume that I'd have no problem shooting you! Now tell me how your friend escaped!"
Sally 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!"
Biff pulled out a walkie-talkie and said into it: "We've got a bogie in the ventilator shaft!"
Biff 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. Lighting built into his costume illuminated the metal chasm.
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 Sally's voice on his wrist-radio.
"Mike! They've got me!"
"Sally!" 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!" Biff 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 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.
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, Biff 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, Biff smiled as three of his gunmen got in, and patted Sally on the shoulder. He spoke into his walkie-talkie: "Great job, Micromage! You've kept your end of the bargain!"
Biff took a closer look at Sally, 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 Sally 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 Sally 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 Sally. She was still handcuffed to the timebomb.
"We only have 20 minutes left, Mike! Go get the cops!" Sally shouted to Mike.
When Mike ventured back outside, the police were afraid to enter the building, convinced there might be more gunmen inside.
"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 being addressed by an inch-tall man, the officer went inside and saw that it was just as Mike had said. The police brought bolt cutters, and freed Sally. With Mike in her hand, Sally 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.
When Mike's hour was up, he returned to normal size. 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 Sally 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 Sally Stoner?" the man asked.
"Yes!" Mike and Sally said simultaneously.
"Are you two going to be in southern California tomorrow night?"
"Yes," Mike answered, "in fact, we're on our way there right now!"
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."
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 El Centro, California, where Mike and Sally ate at a fancy restaurant. Then they were back on the highway again, driving through San Diego and 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 Sally had several books laid out on her bed, and she had a soldering iron and some electronics equipment out. She was tinkering with Mike's neutrino dissimilator wristband.
"What're you doing?" Mike asked.
"While you were asleep, I started reading the electronics books Gwen bought for me. I also bought some tools for working on electronics equipment! I'm re-wiring your belt so only I can control it with a remote control, see?"
Sally held out the remote control to Mike. He took it and looked it over.
"I'll keep the remote control on my belt," Sally continued, "and only I know the password, so don't even think about trying to use it yourself!"
"Why are you doing this?" Mike asked. "The shrinking belt was working just fine the way it was!"
"I know!" Sally answered, "but I wanted to be able to control how and when you return to normal size. You can shrink whenever you want, but in order to return to normal size, you'll need me to punch in the access code in my remote control device! Wanna try it out?"
Mike went into the bathroom and got out of his pajamas and changed into his Micromage costume. He shrunk down to an inch tall, and waited. The miniaturization process was instantaneous. Mike was on the carpet, looking up at Sally.
"We still have to wait an hour before you can re-enlarge!" Sally informed Mike. She picked him up and put him on his bed.
"Now for some rules. Whenever you're shrunk, I'm in charge!"
"I thought we already talked about this," Mike informed Sally.
"We talked about it," Sally replied, "but you never agreed to it. I want your cooperation!"
"Okay," Mike answered, "since you went through so much work re-wiring the shrinking belt device, I guess I can agree to your terms!"
"Fantastic!" Sally said triumphantly. "Now I'm going to swallow you again!"
As Sally reached down with her hand to grab Mike, he said, "Sally? What're you talking about? You already swallowed me once! Why do you want to do it again? I never agreed to this!"
"Oh, but you did!" Sally replied. "You agreed that I'm in charge. And since I want to swallow you, my word is law!"
"What will it accomplish if you swallow me again?" asked Mike.
"This time, I want you to keep in contact with me via radio, and tell me what it's like in there!" Sally's hand wrapped around Mike's body, and she lifted him up toward her face.
"Sally, please reconsider!" Mike pleaded. "It's disgusting in the depths of your belly!"
"Okay," Sally replied, setting him back down on his bed. "I'll ask you a series of questions. If you get one of them right, I won't swallow you! Do you agree?"
"Yes!" Mike answered, "I agree!"
"Calculate the last digit of the number pi!" Sally asked.
"Sally, 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!" Sally 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!" Sally 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!" Sally said.
"Ten seconds?" Mike asked, "You didn't say anything about a time limit, Sally!"
"You agreed to my terms, and those are my terms!" Sally replied. When ten seconds had elapsed, according to Sally's wristwatch, she picked Mike up and said: "It's tummy time!" and popped him into her mouth. Sally swallowed. When Mike was in her gut, she sat on her bed with her back against the backboard and keyed her wristband communicator.
"Micromage, this is Awesome-Girl. do you copy?" she asked.
"Yes!" Mike answered.
"What's it like in there?" Sally asked.
"It's wet and warm," Mike replied, "and very humid! I don't think it's safe for me to be in here for very long, Sally, I think your stomach acid is in the form of a vapor in here! It could fry my lungs!"
"Does the stomach acid hurt your skin?" Sally asked into her communicator.
"No, it hasn't eaten through my suit yet! I've got the lights of my suit on, so I can see in here. Did you eat macaroni and cheese recently?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact I did, just last night!" Sally giggled. "I'm drinking some syrup of ipecac right now!"
Sally uncapped the brown glass bottle, tilted it back, and slammed it down. Within a few minutes, she puked into the bathroom sink. She had been careful to stop the drain, so Mike wouldn't go down the pipe. She picked him up and rinsed him off.
"Did you have fun?" Sally asked.
"Not hardly!" Mike answered.
After Mike had been shrunk for an hour, Sally demonstrated the changes she had made to the circuitry of his re-enlarger device.
"Try to grow back to normal!" Sally commanded.
Mike keyed in the proper sequence on the control console of his belt, but it didn't work. It had always worked before. Sally held the remote control in her hand.
"This will keep you from returning to normal size when I want you to stay shrunk!" Sally let out a giggle. She punched in the access code, then pushed the button that activated the neutrino transfer device, and Mike instantly returned to normal size. Sally returned the remote control device to her waistband.
"Today's my day to work out," Mike said, "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 Sally 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 Sally finished her dessert (Mike didn't have dessert, just two orders of chicken breast and brown rice, and two glasses of milk), Sally 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?" Sally asked.
"The one that producer invited us to?" Mike asked.
"Yeah!" Sally 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 Sally approached the door. A man standing at the door looked at the guest list, and Mike and Sally 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 Sally threw a scene because she didn't want him to drink, then it would look like Sally wore the pants in their relationship.
"Why are there no stars hanging out here?' Sally asked. "I was hoping to bump into Dakota Ryan."
"Maybe it's just a party of producers and directors," said Mike.
Sally approached some of the kids, while Mike hung out by himself.
"Hi!" Sally said to one of the girls.
"Hey!" the girl replied, "you must be Sally, from the Micromage & Awesome-Girl videogame!"
"Yeah, that's me!" Sally 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?" Sally 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.
"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 design!"
Just then, a man with a beard and glasses walked in with 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!"
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 pulled a weapon from a holster on his hip and pointed it 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, he just stood there, as if he had forgotten why he had approached Amnesio in the first place.
Mike turned to Sally. "If this guy's for real, 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 walked over to Sally and said, "Amnesio commands you to swallow Micromage! Do it! At once!"
Sally picked Mike up, and directed him toward her mouth...
"Sally, don't do this!" Mike pleaded. "You're under the control of Amnesio's mind control device!"
Sally brought the one-inch tall Mike closer to her open lips...
Chapter 3: Mike and sally Go Hollywood!
Amnesio stood there, waiting for Sally to obey him. He had gray shoulder-length hair, a slight beard, and glasses. Mike stood on Sally's palm as she raised him higher into the air, toward her mouth.
When Sally paused, Amnesio fired at her with his mind control pistol. "When Amnesio gives a command, it is obeyed!"
Sally tossed Mike into her mouth, and a moment later, she swallowed him! Mike slid down her esophagus to the all too familiar stench of Sally's stomach.
"I need to design a gas mask for this costume!" Mike said to himself.
Meanwhile, in the living room of the mansion, Amnesio's female assistants were gathering the valuables from the wealthy party-goers and putting them in pillow cases. These women were all nearly identical: they had medium length light brown hair, green eyes, and skinny yet athletic figures.
Sally quickly forgot about Mike and noticed the assistants each wore green shirts, with nicknames stenciled on in colored marker. Summer was the name of one of them, another was Autumn. Another was named May, and another was named April. A fifth woman was named June, and the sixth and final woman was named Solstice. Why Amnesio had gathered women with these names or why he had given them these nicknames was a mystery.
There was a personal computer in the room, One of the kids had been using it to access a chatroom. Amnesio's assistants quickly exited that website and brought up a sight more to Amnesio's liking.
"You will notice a computer over here," Amnesio instructed, "I want each and every one of you to use your credit cards to contribute one million dollars into my bank account! Failure to do so will make Amnesio very angry!"
The producers and directors stepped up one by one, and whipped out their credit cards. Sally counted them, and figured that Amnesio would be a multi-millionaire, judging by how many celebrities were stepping up to the plate.
While Amnesio's attention was diverted to the computer screen, Sally tried to exit the mansion.
"Where do you think you're going, young lady?" It was Solstice. She stood there with a real gun in her hand, not one of the mind control pistols.
"Nowhere," Sally replied, and turned back around and went upstairs and locked herself in a bathroom. She pulled out a bottle of ipecac syrup and drank the contents.
In minutes, she was puking into the sink. Mike was tossed out along with the former contents of Sally's stomach.
"Could you try putting a little less spice in your food?" Mike told Sally.
"Mike," Sally said, "The mind control device doesn't work on teenagers! Me and the other kids are unaffected! But Amnesio has all the adults mesmerized, and he's getting them each to deposit a million dollars in his bank account!"
"It couldn't hurt some of these rich punks to cough up a million bucks!" Mike said.
"Mike, what Amnesio's doing is wrong! We have to stop him!"
"Sally, this is a job for the police! We don't even know what we're up against! He's using mind control technology that the government doesn't even know about!"
"But Mike," Sally pleaded, "we're heroes! We have to stop Amnesio!"
"I'm in this gig for the money!" Mike replied. "Nobody's paying me to risk my neck chasing down thugs!"
"When you were a kid, didn't you ever read comic books? Didn't you believe in heroes, Mike?" Sally asked.
"Yes, but then I grew up!"
"I'll tell you what," Sally said, "if you agree to help me defeat Amnesio, I won't swallow you for a whole week!"
"How about permanently?" Mike asked.
"Now let's be reasonable!" Sally replied. "Going one whole week without swallowing you is gonna take a lot of will-power on my part! All I ask in return is that you help me defeat Amnesio! I need your help for my plan to work!"
"What's your plan?" Mike asked.
Once the plan was explained, Sally put Mike in the empty pack on her belt, which served as a prop for her character. Because it was now empty, it was the best hiding place for Micromage.
Sally wandered downstairs, where she was met by June. "What were you doing up there?" she asked Sally.
"I was using the bathroom!" Sally replied. June was satisfied with this explanation, and went back to whatever she had been doing.
Sally walked up to the kids. "Do they still think you're affected by the mind control device?" Sally whispered. The kids nodded their heads in assent. "I have a plan!" Sally told them. Sally then walked up to the lady who owned the mansion.
"Is this the only computer in the house?" Sally asked.
"No, there's another one upstairs!" the woman replied.
"Does it have Internet access, like this one does?" Sally asked.
"Yes!" the woman replied, eager to deposit one million dollars in Amnesio's bank account.
Sally headed up the stairs, when she was sure Amnesio's assistants weren't watching her. She checked each bedroom, one after the other.
"There sure are a lot of bedrooms in this place!" Sally said to herself, "I guess that's why it's called a mansion!"
Finally, she found what she was looking for: a bedroom with a computer. She pulled Mike out, and did as he instructed.
"Are you going to have me program in Fortran?" Sally asked. "I might be bright, but I can't create a computer virus in like five minutes!"
"Yeah?" Mike asked. "Well, don't worry, just go to the website I tell you to, and there's a virus I already programmed that you can download, to infect Amnesio's bank computer with a virus that will wipe out his entire bank account! I majored in computer programming in college, remember?"
Once Sally found the website, she found a CD-ROM and downloaded the virus. When the program was ready, Sally burned it onto a CD-ROM and carried the disk downstairs, with Mike in her pouch that was attached to her belt.
When she got downstairs, Amnesio was instructing his assistants. Sally went to a window, opened it slightly, and tossed Mike into some bushes. As he climbed down and made his way to the Micromobile, Sally approached the computer.
"I have millions of dollars too, Amnesio!" Sally said. "But I need to use this CD-ROM to access my bank code. Is that cool?"
"Yes, but hurry!" Amnesio replied.
Meanwhile, Mike was at the Micromobile. He pulled out the cable from his costume and attached the grapnel hook, and threw it until the hook caught on the passenger side leather seat. Mike began climbing up. When he was inside, he found Sally's cell phone and flipped it open (it took all his strength), and dialed 911. When the operator came on, he told her of the situation, but was careful not to mention the mind control technology. He didn't want the lady to think this was a prank call!
Back in the mansion, Sally successfully uploaded the program from the CD-ROM. Soon, Amnesio's bank account computer was hit with a virus that wiped out all memory of Amnesio's account, but didn't harm the other accounts of innocent people who had money at that same bank.
"Amnesio, come here!" May said, as she walked down the stairs. "There's puke all over the sink of the upstairs bathroom! I think Awesome-Girl puked up Micromage! He's at large!"
"There's something else!" June said. "Awesome-Girl did something to your bank account, Amnesio! I think she uploaded a virus from that CD-ROM!"
"No!" Amnesio shouted.
"Amnesio," May said, "we've got to leave now! Micromage probably alerted the authorities! They're probably on their way over here right now!"
Amnesio turned to Sally on his way out the front door. "You may have defeated me this time little girl, but we'll meet again! And when we do, I'll have the last laugh!"
A moment later, Amnesio and his female assistants were gone. Sally looked around at the adults. The other kids started waving their hands in front of the faces of the previously mesmerized adults. They began to snap out of it. A few minutes later, the police arrived.
The police were there for over an hour, and when Mike's time expired, Sally used her remote control to allow him to return to normal size. Mike tried explaining his shrinking abilities to the police. When the police finally left, the party got rolling again as if nothing had happened.
A producer walked up to Mike and Sally. "Hi, I'm a producer and I'm interested in producing a movie about the two of you! I plan on calling it: Micromage & Awesome-Girl! What do you think?"
"That's a pretty unique title!" Sally said sarcastically.
"I want the two of you to portray yourselves on film! I'll give you each one million dollars up front, and a percentage of the movie's gross!"
"Yeah, I'll do it, but it has to be soon! Me and Sally will be on vacation for a few months, so we need to film it right away!"
"No problem!" the producer replied. "I'll hire the fastest writer in Hollywood to knock out a script in less than a week! I want to feature Amnesio as the villain! Of course, we're going to have to get an actor who looks like him, because the real Amnesio is still at large!"
The producer handed Mike a business card. "Here's how you can contact me if there's any questions. I want you and Sally in my office tomorrow, to sign the contracts."
"I'd like to speak with the writer, as soon as the script is ready!" Mike said.
"No problem!" the producer replied. "I'll call you when he has it ready. It shouldn't be more than a few days, because like I said, he's fast."
After Mike and Sally went back to their hotel, they decided to get accustomed to southern California, since they would be filming a movie in a couple of weeks. Mike and Sally went to Gold's gym in Santa Monica, or to World gym, depending on Mike's preference that day. They lived like royalty on the hotel room service, and enjoyed their vacation from touring the country.
Mike got a call from the producer, and wrote down the address of the hotshot writer who was working on the script. Mike and Sally drove over there. It was a modest house for the upscale neighborhood it was located in, but any real estate agent worth their mettle could've fetched $700,000 for it easily.
They walked to the front door and knocked. The door was answered by a guy who looked wired. He had a cup of coffee in his hand.
"I'm Mike Roman, and this is Sally Stoner. The producer said you'd talk about the script with us?"
"Oh, yeah!" the man said, opening the door wider. "I'm Wally Weinberg. They say I'm the best!"
"If you typed a screenplay in three days, then you are the best!" Mike replied.
Wally sat Mike and Sally down in his computer room, and brought them each a Pepsi. He pulled out a copy of the screenplay, and read some of it to Mike. At some points, he would describe the story in his own words; at other points, he would quote the screenplay word for word.
"At the end of act two, you get frozen by Amnesio in a cryogenic experiment!" Wally explained. "Now I know this guy is into mind control, but that's not dramatic enough! We had to get him involved with other kinds of technology to provide conflict!"
"I don't have a problem with that!" Mike said. "But what I'd like to know is, how do you do it? How did you write this screenplay in three days?"
"I get amped up!" Wally said.
"Excuse me?" Mike replied.
"Coffee!" Wally said. "I'm a caffeine-freak! I drank about sixteen pots of coffee over the past three days, and I've been up for over seventy-two hours!"
"You should look into getting into a twelve-step program!" Mike replied sarcastically.
"Oh, by the way," Wally added, "you and Sally are supposed to report to the studio at 5:30 Monday morning for the first day of shooting."
"5:30 in the morning?" Mike asked.
"Yeah," said Wally, "things get started early in Hollywood!"
Monday morning, Sally and Mike showed up at the gates of the studio just before 5:30 a.m. They were let in, and they were met by the producer, who took them to their trailer.
A gaffer walked up and handed a hot cup of coffee to Sally, and she took it eagerly. When he walked around to hand a second cup of coffee to Mike, he tripped over a power cord that was connected to one of the cameras, and spilled the hot coffee all over the front of Mike's costume.
"Oww!" Mike shouted.
The producer saw this and walked up to the gaffer. "You there, what's your name?"
"Toby!" the gaffer replied.
"Well, Toby! You're fired!" the producer said.
"No, that's not necessary!" Mike said. "It was an accident! I have another costume in the trunk of the Micromobile!"
The producer looked at the gaffer and said: "Okay, you're un-fired! But you should be grateful Mike Roman is such a nice guy!"
The producer and the director approached Mike and Sally. The producer introduced the director to Mike. "I hired this guy straight out of USC! They're cheaper that way, and they do just as good of a job as Steven Spielberg!"
"That's very cost-effective," said Mike as he shook hands with the director.
"We're going to film act three first," said the director.
"Why are we filming the ending first?" Sally asked.
"It's for insurance reasons. It's in case something happened to either of you before we finished filming."
Filming got underway, and twelve hours later, the day was over. Mike and Sally got up early on Tuesday, and repeated the process. Wednesday and Thursday were no different. When it came time to film a scene with Amnesio, Mike marveled at how realistic the actor who portrayed him looked just like the real Amnesio. It was hard to believe that latex and make-up could achieve such realistic results.
As the weeks passed, the ending of act two was finally being filmed. There was a set on a soundstage with a cryogenic lab, and Mike was supposed to be lowered into a freezing chamber as Sally watched from a wall where she was handcuffed, helpless to enlist her aid.
As the actor who was portraying Amnesio finished his lunch, he got up to walk to the bathroom. A hand reached from behind and covered his face with a rag soaked in chloroform, rendering him unconscious. The man who carried his sleeping body to another area of the set was none other than the real Amnesio!
Amnesio and his female assistants had gotten onto the grounds, in an effort to seek revenge against Micromage & Awesome-Girl for foiling his evil plans at that party in Bel-Air. His assistants wheeled away the cryogenic chamber, and replaced it with a sleeker, deadlier looking version. The new version didn't look like a just a prop. It looked functional, like it could really work!
When the time came to shoot the scene, Sally was handcuffed against the wall, according to the script, and Mike was chained to a gurney suspended upside-down as he was slowly lowered into the cryogenic freezing chamber.
"What do you hope to accomplish by doing this, Amnesio?" Mike said, following the script line for line.
"I got a copy of this script, and I was amazed at the coincidence!" Amnesio replied.
What? Mike thought to himself. This isn't in the script!
Amnesio continued: "I have scientists in Brazil working for me who happen to be conducting experiments in cryogenics, so I borrowed some of their equipment, and now you will be the first man to be frozen and revived, Micromage!"
"Cut!" the director shouted, but Amnesio's female assistants pointed machine guns at him, preventing him from approaching Amnesio.
"But don't worry!" Amnesio continued, "My nanobots will repair your damaged tissue and restore you to consciousness in 60 days!"
Amnesio's laugh filled the soundstage as Mike was lowered into the vat that would freeze him. Sally could only look on helplessly as Mike was lowered into the chamber. When he was inside, Amnesio keyed the control console and sealed him in, initiating the cryogenic process!
And as soon as it began, it was all over. By the time security arrived, Amnesio and his assistants were long gone. And Mike Roman was frozen solid. Sally was released from her handcuffs, and walked over and viewed what remained of Mike.
"Is he dead?" Sally asked the director.
"We can only assume that Amnesio was telling the truth, that there is a way to resuscitate him!"
Chapter 4: Hot on Amnesio's Trail!
When Mike was frozen, 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 cryogenic equipment, so there were no fingerprints.
Sally 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 unfreezing process seemed to be based on solid scientific ground. One of the engineers notified the director.
"So it seems," the engineer began, "that the nanobots are programmed to begin thawing him out 60 days from the day he was frozen!"
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 freeze someone, effectively killing him, then bother to figure out a way to resuscitate him afterwards?" the director asked.
"I don't know," the engineer answered, "but phase two, the unfreezing 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, Sally 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 Sally to herself. Sally 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, Amnesio!" said Solstice. "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.
Sally waited until the coast was clear, then she got out and climbed into the van and hid in a storage compartment. Solstice drove the van to the company that was manufacturing the satellite. Two vans were driven, and all five of Amnesio's female assistants were onboard. When they unloaded the equipment and went inside, Sally 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.
Sally 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. Sally was tapped on the shoulder. When she turned to look, it was April, one of Amnesio's assistants.
"Amnesio!" shouted April. "I've captured Awesome-Girl!"
Amnesio turned to look, and walked over toward Sally. "Chloroform her!"
"Yes sir!" said April, and she reached into a backpack and pulled out a bottle of chloroform. She dumped some in a rag, and tried to hold the rag over Sally's mouth. Sally struggled, so April shouted for May to help her, and the two of them were able to successfully hold Sally down long enough to hold the rag over her mouth, causing Sally to lose consciousness.
When Sally woke up, she was in a motel room. There was a note on a DVD player that said 'play.' Sally pushed the button, and Amnesio appeared on the TV screen.
"Awesome-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 Choice 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 Sally momentarily. Sally unhooked her small bottle of fire extinguisher from her utility belt and sprayed it on the fire, then she got out her cell phone and dialed a number.
"I need a taxi!" said Sally.
Sally 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. Sally pulled out twenty one-hundred dollar bills.
"I've got it covered!"
Sally jumped into the back seat of the taxi and closed the door. "Is it still Monday?" Sally asked.
"It's Thursday!" said the driver.
"Amnesio was right about that sedative!" said Sally.
"Who" the driver asked.
"Nothing, just drive to Vandenberg!"
Two hours later, the taxi dropped Sally off in front of the Air Force Base. She approached the guard in the control room in front of the base.
"You've got to warn them!" said Sally. "They can't launch that rocket! It has renegade technology attached to it!"
"They're about to launch the rocket right now!" the man said. "It's too late!"
Sally looked toward the ocean and saw the Ariane Titan rocket hurtling toward space.
"Darn!" said Sally.
Days turned into weeks, and eventually a month and a half passed. Sally celebrated her nineteenth birthday alone. The Micromage & Awesome-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. Sally paid little attention to this, however. She finally found a clue that she felt might lead her to Amnesio.
There was a Micromage & Awesome-Girl comic book. Mike had authorized the producer to hire a small comic publishing company to create fictional adventures for Mike and Sally. Because of the success of the film, issue one of the first Micromage & Awesome-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 was about $300. It made sense to Sally that this company was counterfeiting the comic books.
Sally looked up at her Micromage & Awesome-Girl calendar and sighed. "The Teen Choice awards are in a week" she said to herself, "me and Mike have been nominated, but he's still frozen!"
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 six months, ever since Mike had been frozen. Someone answered.
"Hello?" Sally said.
"Sally," the director said, "I think you'd better get down here! Something's happening with your friend!"
Sally 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. By the time she got to the chamber where they had been keeping Mike, he was already unfrozen and awake.
Somebody handed Mike a glass of water, and he greedily guzzled it down like a man who hadn't drank water for several days.
"Hi, Mike!" Sally said. "I've got a place 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. The nanobots that repaired the cellular damage will come out in your stool over the next week or so, after they've completed their work!"
About an hour later, Sally and Mike were sitting in the back of a taxi-cab heading for Sally's new house.
"So you're nineteen now, huh?" Mike said. "It was just a month before your nineteenth birthday when I got frozen."
After being dropped off by the cab, Sally and Mike headed into the house. There were boxes piled up all over the living room. Some of them were piled nearly to the ceiling.
"What's all this stuff?" Mike asked.
"It's a new compound called Gak. I found it on the Internet. It has the same properties as ipecac syrup, but it doesn't have the dangerous side effects!"
Mike opened a box and took out a plastic bottle of the stuff. The liquid inside was a translucent purple. "What's it taste like?" Mike asked.
"I don't know yet," Sally replied. "I was waiting for you to get unfrozen so we could try it out!"
"Just like old times, huh, Sally?" Mike said.
"We've got more important things to go over right now, "Sally said, as she took the bottle out of Mike's hand and set it back in the box it came from. Sally sauntered over to the computer and got on the Internet.
"I tracked down a comic book publishing company that I think is counterfeiting copies of the first issue of the Micromage & Awesome-Girl comic book! That comic is worth three-hundred dollars, but he's only charging one-fifty. I think Amnesio's behind it!"
Mike tilted his head back with his hands on his gut and let out a loud laugh that lasted a good ten seconds or so. "Sally, 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 find it on a map! I'll prove it to you that Amnesio isn't behind this!"
Soon, they were on the road. 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 Sally 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.
Sally 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 Sally, who was also wearing her space-age Awesome-Girl costume, had one built into the gauntlet of her right 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 Sally 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 & Awesome-Girl comic book were being printed!
"Sally!" 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," Sally 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!" Sally said angrily. "I command you to return to me at once! You've got almost a whole hour before you can re-enlarge, and as such, you now dwell under my dominion! So return to me at once!"
Mike turned off his radio. Sally's wrath he could endure; it was his insatiable curiosity he couldn't avoid. Looking into the office, he saw a woman in her early twenties. She appeared to have brown hair and large breasts. She was obviously Amnesio's type. 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 women with long light-brown hair cut in the same style 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 have our livers attached to a pole if we don't meet his daily quota!" one woman said to the other.
Mike quickly scurried down into the equipment as the two women 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.
Sally 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!" Sally said. "You kept trying to shine me on, but I knew what I was doing! But right now, we've got something else to deal with!"
"What?" Mike asked.
"You defied me and turned off your two-way!" Sally said. "For that, you have to be punished!"
"Sally, you can't swallow me now! We've got the Micromobile here, and how are you going to get home?"
"I can call a cab." Sally replied.
"But if Amnesio's assistants find the Micromobile, they'll know we're on to them!"
"Yeah," Sally replied, "I guess you're right, Mike! Well, you're off the hook for now, but the next time you shrink, you're heading straight down my gullet!"
Sally cupped Mike in her hand and stood up, and walked back to the Micromobile. The two of them waited for an hour to go by, so Mike could re-enlarge. After returning to normal size, Mike drove them home. Once inside, Sally started lining up jars of Gak on a shelf, and threw away some of the boxes they had been inside of.
"You really invested in that stuff, huh Sally?" Mike asked.
"Yeah! I could swallow you a thousand times, and puke you up a thousand times, and I'd never have to worry about damaging my esophagus! With ipecac, there's side effects like that, and it damages the internal organs. Do you want me to try it out?"
Mike knew he had brought up the wrong subject. "No, Sally, some other time!"
"I still have to punish you!"
Sally was still wearing her costume, and reached into a pouch attached to her belt and pulled out the remote control that she could use to control Mike's size changing.
"Now, Sally," Mike began, but it was too late! Sally keyed in the access code to the remote control and hit the button, and Mike was shrunk down to an inch tall instantly. Sally held a transparent plastic jar of the purple Gak, and knelt down to pick Mike up. He started to run toward a couch, but Sally bolted up and beat him to it.
"You're just making it harder on yourself, Mike! Now you know I have to punish you for disobeying me! Now surrender to my hand, immediately!"
Mike ran toward another piece of furniture, but he mis-gauged the distance of Sally's reach, so she reached out and snagged him in her fist. She lifted her fist to her open mouth, and released Mike from her grip, and he fell onto her pink tongue. Her jaw snapped shut, and Mike was locked in the darkness of her mouth. He struggled to the row of teeth in front of him, but they were clenched shut. Her tongue forced him back toward her throat, and he was too small and weak to resist. Try as he might, Mike fell back and surrendered to the force of Sally's throat muscles, and fell down her esophagus, toward her stomach.
Sally set the jar of Gak down on the desk her computer was on, and turned on the computer. She ignored Mike's plight as she 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. When she had read it, she keyed her wristband radio and called Mike.
"Mike! You're never going to believe this!"
"When are you going to puke me up?" Mike asked.
"Oh, shut up about that!" Sally answered. "You probably like being swallowed by me, and you just play it off like you don't because you don't want me to know you're turned on by it! Listen to this! Amnesio sent me an e-mail!"
"What does it say?" Mike asked from deep within Sally's belly.
"He says he has a plan for attacking the Teen Choice 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.
Chapter 5: Amnesio Strikes Again!
Sally grabbed a jar of Gak, and unscrewed the lid. "Well, now's as good a time as any to try this Gak, to see if it works as good as syrup of ipecac!"
Sally took a gulp from the jar, and swallowed some of the purple goo. Within thirty seconds, she was puking her guts out. Mike slid out of her mouth and dropped onto the carpet. When Mike spit out some of Sally's puke from his mouth, he looked up to see Sally's Micromage & Awesome-Girl calendar.
"Holy crap!" Mike said. "There's a bodybuilding contest less than a week away! I have to start training!"
The one hour time limit was expired, so Sally used her remote control device to re-enlarge Mike. He would've been trapped at one inch tall unless Sally had used the remote control on him; when he was shrunk, he was completely under her power, because she had re-wired his control gauntlet.
Once re-enlarged, Mike took off his Micromage uniform and stripped down to the swimming trunks he wore beneath his costume. "Sally, whaddaya think? Is my bodyfat down to contest levels?"
"Sure, Mike! I think you'll win your pro card this time, for sure! You were prepping for another contest before you got frozen, anyway, remember?"
Mike realized this was true. There had been another contest he was less than a month away from when he got frozen. Still, in spite of this, it would be a real challenge to get in shape in less than a week.
Mike's approach was to spend a lot of time in the gym. Sally coached him as he did bench presses, and used the weight machines to work on his chest and shoulders. Every day in the gym, Mike hit a different body part. One day he hit arms, the next he worked his legs. Mike engaged in workouts that would fell a horse!
Sally was also in charge of his nutrition, making sure he got a lot of protein with minimal carbohydrates. The day of the contest, Mike was in the best shape of his life. He was ripped and shredded, and he was down to less than five percent bodyfat.
"Being frozen must've given you some kind of advantage, Mike!" Sally said as they drove to the contest. "I've never seen you look this good!"
They pulled into the parking lot, and a valet took the Micromobile after Mike handed him the keys. Sally and Mike strolled across the parking lot. "I'm hungry!" Sally said. "I forgot to eat lunch. I guess I'll go get a protein bar while you're getting yourself psyched up for the contest."
Mike and Sally parted after they entered the building; Mike went to the locker room, and Sally went to the tables where products were being sold. She grabbed a strawberry Nutri-Tech protein bar and asked, "How much?"
The attendant said: "These are complimentary, young lady! Go ahead and take one!"
Sally took two. While walking around eating her first protein bar, she spotted a woman who might be one of Amnesio's assistants, here to case the contest. She had medium length light brown hair, and she appeared to be skinny, but it was difficult to tell, because she was wearing a trenchcoat. It was hard to tell if she had green eyes, because she was also wearing sunglasses.
Since Sally was wearing her costume, she had the built-in transceiver she could use to communicate with Mike. She raised her forearm to chin level discreetly, and with the index finger of her other hand, activated the two-way radio. "Micromage! This is Awesome-Girl, come in! Do you copy?"
Mike, meanwhile, was getting out of his Micromage costume, and when he saw the green light that indicated Sally was trying to communicate with him, he flicked the button and said: "This is Mike! What's up, Sally?"
"There's some creepy lady who looks like she might be one of Amnesio's assistants! I'm not sure, though!"
"Well," Mike replied, "keep an eye on her, and let me know if you find out for sure that she works for Amnesio! In the mean time, stay close to her, keep an eye on her, and whatever you do, if a mind control device is used, pretend like you're affected by it just like all the adults!"
"Got it, Mike!" Sally replied, "over and out!"
Mike put his Micromage costume in his locker. He was dressed in his posing trunks, and began to apply the oil bodybuilders use when they're on stage. Meanwhile, Sally was keeping an eye on the suspicious woman. When she took a seat, Sally sat down close to her. Not right next to her, but a couple of chairs down from her.
About fifteen minutes later, the show was ready to begin. The bodybuilders filed out onto the stage, and Sally waved to Mike. The suspicious woman pulled out a cell-phone, and started dialing a number. Sally leaned close so she could hear the conversation.
"Yes, Amnesio!" the woman said clearly. "The transponder is placed in the rafters, just as you ordered! You can begin the mind control session now, because the contest is underway!"
Sally lifted her eyes, and saw a strange device in the rafters above the stage. It was a transponder, capable of relaying Amnesio's mind controlling alpha waves. They would affect all of the adults in the room, but not Sally or any of the other children who had been brought here by their parents. Sally was counting on the fact that Amnesio was still unaware that his mind control technology didn't work on kids.
Soon, after the device warmed up, Amnesio's voice could be heard throughout the large room: "This is Amnesio, master of mind control! I am now in charge of your minds! You will do exactly as I command! First, those of you who have checkbooks with you, write out a check for half your savings, and make it out to me! My assistant, Solstice, will walk around with a large purse, and you can drop the check inside!"
Sally watched as the contest went on as if nothing unusual was going on, and saw Solstice walking around collecting checks from people. Solstice was wearing earmuffs to block out the mind controlling alpha waves. The announcer could be heard at a different volume than Amnesio's voice, and he pointed out the strong-points and flaws of each competitor.
Sally looked over at the judges. They were making notes as if this contest was going along as planned. Sally tried hard to look mesmerized, just like everyone else. As the contest progressed, Solstice's purse became so full she had to push down on the pile of checks inside. If she got the checks to Amnesio within the next couple of hours, he would still have time to deposit them before the banks closed for the day.
Amnesio's menacing voice went on: "This command is for the judges! Mike Roman must lose! Forget about him, just focus on the others, Mike Roman is in last place!"
Sally could understand this. Why would Amnesio want Mike to win? Mike and Sally had cost him millions of dollars by foiling his scheme to trick a room full of millionaires to deposit money into Amnesio's account. Still, Mike had won every amateur bodybuilding contest he had entered, because he didn't start competing until he was very well developed. There were at least one or two other guys at this contest who could give Mike a run for his money, but it had seemed like a sure win for Mike, before Amnesio's interference.
When Soltice was done collecting the money, she pulled out her cell-phone, and called Amnesio. "Amnesio! The device works just as you planned! The experiment is a success! Now we know it will work on during the Teen Choice awards in a few days!"
Sally waited for Solstice to leave, then for the contest to end. The first, second, and third place winners were announced, and Mike was given honorable mention for fourth place.
She went backstage to talk to Mike. "It looks like Amnesio didn't strike!" said Mike.
"What are you talking about?" Sally asked.
"He didn't do anything tonight!" said Mike. "It looks like we need to take you in to a repair shop to get your female intuition checked out!"
"Mike," Sally replied angrily, "he mesmerized all of the adults in the audience! Didn't you see Solstice walking around with a purse collecting checks from everyone? Her purse was so full of checks, she almost couldn't fit it all in there!"
Mike started laughing. "Sally, don't you think I would be aware if Amnesio used mind control on me?"
"That's just the point!" Sally countered, "the reason you can't remember is because Amnesio did use mind control on you! There's a transponder in the rafters if you want me to prove it to you! And listen to this!"
The voice of Solstice could be heard informing Amnesio about the Teen Choice awards. "I started recording her the second time she was on the phone! They're planning on using mind control during the Teen Choice awards!"
Mike took this seriously. Still in his posing trunks, Mike went back out to the stage and had Sally point out Amnesio's transponder. What he saw convinced him. "Sally, don't tell anyone about the transponder. I'm getting into my Micromage uniform so I can shrink!"
Mike greedily munched on a protein bar backstage as he put his Micromage uniform back on. He downed the last of the protein bar, took a swig of water, and activated the costume. Sally was standing there waiting for him to shrink. Once Mike was an inch tall, Sally picked him up and carried him out to the stage. "Okay, launch me toward the transponder, and don't miss!"
Sally pulled her right arm back, and swung it out and let go of Micromage. He went flying through the air, and landed perfectly on top of the transponder. He used his wrist transceiver to communicate with Sally. "Sally! Bull’s eye! I'm right on target!"
"What do you see?" Sally asked.
"I see the transponder, obviously, and a car battery hooked up to a full-wave rectifier! The transponder is plugged into the rectifier, that's what powered it!"
"Do you think it's booby-trapped?" Sally asked.
"I don't think so," Mike replied, "but something tells me this technology is way out of my league! I need to take this to a professor I know at Cal Tech University in Pasadena!"
"What kind of a professor is he?" Sally asked through her wrist-radio.
"He specializes in psionics!" Mike replied. "I'm going to unhook this transponder. Can you catch it?"
"I think so!" Sally replied, and stood directly underneath Mike. He found a strap that was attached to the rafter. A second strap wrapped around the transponder, car battery, and rectifier. By using the ratchet tool that was connected to the strap that was attached to the rafter, Mike could unhook all three devices.
He took hold of the ratchet tool, and swung it far to the right, then far to the left. Each time he pulled it in one direction, it made a sound that indicated it was loosening. Over and over Mike pulled on the ratchet lever, until the straps were loose. Mike keyed his wrist-radio, and asked, "Sally, are you ready?"
She said: "Yes!" and Mike dropped the transponder down to her. It didn't take much effort on Mike's part, because the transponder was wider than the rafter, and it was ready to fall by itself. Sally caught it, and set it on the ground. "Do you think we need that other stuff?" Sally asked.
"No," Mike replied over his wrist-radio, "the professor will be able to plug it into any A.C. outlet! Now, are you ready to catch me?"
Sally nodded her head. They didn't need to use their wrist-radios, because they were in visual contact with each other. Below him, Sally looked to Mike to be a teenage colossus, her hands open and waiting for him. Mike jumped down.
At the last possible second, Sally removed her hands and opened her mouth just after Mike jumped. All Mike was aware of was her mouth getting bigger and bigger, until it was directly beneath him. There was no escape. No matter how much he twisted and turned, Sally could easily counter his every move, and in a split second he was in Sally's mouth. Sally swallowed him before he could even react.
Sally crossed her arms and smiled. Sure enough, her wrist-radio began blinking on and off, indicating Mike was trying to communicate with her. Sally flicked the switch. "What's up, Mike? Or should I say, what's down?"
"That's not funny, young lady!" Mike snapped at her. "I trusted you! Sally, you've got to stop swallowing me when I least expect it!"
"Look," Sally replied into her wrist-mounted transceiver, "you're so small, you would've just gotten in the way! I have to carry the transponder to the car, and I can't carry you at the same time, so I thought I'd have a little fun! Besides, you've got to start practicing to see how long you can stay conscious in my belly before you pass out! I've got the timer on my wristwatch going right now!"
Sally turned off the wrist-radio, and picked up the transponder. She carried it to the Micromobile, and nobody hassled her, because she was a celebrity now that the Micromage & Awesome-Girl movie had come out and been nominated for a Teen Choice award. Sally drank some Gak and puked Mike up, then waited for Mike's hour to be up so she could re-enlarge him. Once he was normal-sized, they were going to pay a visit to the professor Mike knew who was an expert in psionics!
To Be Continued!