15 Once More unto the Breach

Looking up at the Baxter Building, Devin couldn't shake the feeling of slight anxiety and moderate dread. After asking Alice again he only got the same answers he had gotten before. Taking a deep breath and steeling himself for what he might face, Devin stepped through the doors. Walking across the lobby and tapping the elevator button, Devin waited a minute for the doors to open. When they did he got an unexpected surprise in the form of Johnny escorting a beautiful blonde in a strapless cocktail dress that only reached her mid-thigh. Blushing and giggling at whatever Johnny had been whispering in her ear, the woman stepped off just as Johnny's face lite up in recognition of who was standing outside the elevator.

"Devin! Long time no see!" Johnny exclaimed as he clapped Devin in a bro-hug. Apparently their initial meeting had left quite the impression.

"Johnny! Sorry, work has been murder these last few weeks and I just got back. How have you been?" Devin said has he returned the greeting as he stepped into the cabin and the doors shut.

"I'm sorry to hear that. Hey! We should plan a dude's night out! I could introduce you to some girls I know and we could kick back and relax." Johnny said excitedly. Devin grinned as the energy that Johnny was giving off was contagious.

"I appreciate that Johnny, but at the moment I am still trying to get settled in still and I have some business with your sister to conclude so that I can get back to my obligations." Devin said tinting his voice with a regret that he didn't feel. Devin wanted some time off to figure out a way to practice his transformations without being discovered too early as well as do some more research into what else this world had in store. Apparently Johnny had taken what he said in the wrong way, because an evil grin split his face before he leaned in close.

"Devin! My sister is spoken for already, but I could find someone "suitable" to your tastes if you know what I mean." Johnny said in what can only be described as a sly persuasive voice. Devin shuddered at the thought of what Johnny was implying. Not that Sue wasn't attractive, but she was far from his type what with the constant grilling and snoopiness. Not to mention the whole Evil Reed thing that he remembered from his past life. The creators of Marvel had basically said that if Reed and Sue didn't end up together then Reed would go evil and threaten the world. Devin had enough to worry about with all the other bad guys that possibly inhabit this world and all the worlds.

"Johnny no offense, but Hell no! First off, your sister ain't my type and second I don't go near women who are spoken for. I'm just here because your sister asked if Reed could scan me for residual traces of that energy you were looking for." Devin said to Johnny as the smile left the young man's face.

"Oh man, sorry about that. I'm usually pretty spot on about these things. Well that explains why you're here. You're probably looking for sis and the mad scientist. They are probably up in the lab getting things ready. I'll show ya there." Johnny said as they rode the elevator up. Soon the ding of the elevator sounded and the doors opened to reveal a large open space with computers and other technological machines covering the walls. The only places without machinery were the windows covering one wall of the room that showed a really good view of New York. At one console was the ever persistent inquisitor Sue storm and on the other side of the room, looking at a tablet was the studious Reed Richards.

"Sis! Devin's here. He said you guys needed him for something. Try not to maim him, I really like this guy!" Johnny said as they walked in before he split off and stood off to the side to watch.

"Of course we won't Johnny, don't be absurd! Hello Mr. Price, thank you for coming in on such short notice and I apologize for my brother's antics." Sue said as she strode up and shook hands.

"It's fine and Johnny is great. So, you must be Reed Richard. I've heard a lot about you." Devin said as he turned from Sue to greet Reed who had wandered over. He looked just like most of the depictions of Devin had seen. Dark brown hair with silvery-white sides, clean shaven, wearing a lab coat over the Fantastic Four uniform.

"You must be Mr. Price that Sue told me about. Glad you could come." Reed said as he shook hands as well before motioning further into the room to a table with a body outline.

"So, what kind of scans are we talking about?" Devin asked as they all moved towards the table.

"We are gonna be doing three scans.The first is going to be looking for any ambient energy that might be hanging your body. The second will be scanning your body to see if it is producing any energy itself. The last will be a physiological scan that scans to see if there are any changes in your body due to exposure to that energy." Reed said as he tapped multiple times on his tablet. Sue was typing on a keyboard causing the table to glow. The mention of a physical scan set off alarms in Devin's head as Alice had mentioned that the Spirits could be seen on x-rays to some extent.

"Okay Mr. Price. Please take your shirt off and lay on the table and we'll get started." Sue said as she motioned over to the table. Devin stepped up and whipped off his shirt. Laying on the table, Devin jumped slightly from his skin contacting a cold surface. Next a bar emerged from somewhere above Devin's head and moved to his feet. After another few seconds a yellow light shown from the bottom, bathing Devin's feet in gold light.

"Okay Mr. Price. Please hold still and this will be over before you know it." Reed said as he tapped a couple more times. The bar began slowly moving up his body, soon reaching and passing his head.

"Clear of ambient radiation around his body." Sue called out to Reed. Another tap and the bar moved back to Devin's feet, this time with a blue light replacing the yellow. Once again the bar moved up and then stopped.

"His body is clean of any signs of energy." Sue said as Reed tapped for a third time. Back again at it's starting point, the bar glowed a toxic green and Devin began to get really nervous. The dread kept increasing as the bar crept higher. Just as the bar was reaching the lower portion of his chest and Devin was dreading how he was going to talk his way out of this, a tremor rocked the building. The scan stopped just as an alarm began to go off and Reed began speed typing.

'Whew saved by the bell.'

"What's going on?" Devin said as he sat up.

"I'm not sure, but several sensors have been set off." Sue said as she stood beside Reed. The ding of the elevators announced another arrival. A large, orange, golem looking creature stepped out. This had to be the 'Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed' Thing, Ben Grimm. He was just as craggy as the comics. He was wearing a pair of blue pants and had a four with a circle around it painted on his chest.

"Stretch, did you blow up the lab again?! What's going on?" Ben said before noticing the shirtless newcomer.

"Who are you?" Ben said before Johnny slung an arm around him.

"Ben, Devin. Devin, Ben." Johnny introduced before ducking a swat from Ben.

"So your the guy I've been hearing everyone mutter about?" Ben said as he walked over to see what was going on.

"Mutter? Didn't know my reputation proceeded me." Devin said as he cast a side-ways glance at Sue.

"Yeah Stretch and Suzie have been wanting to turn you into a lab rat for awhile now. So is that what happened?" Ben said as he glanced at the screen only to look back at Devin.

"Really? No, That's not what happened though that is rather interesting news." Devin said as Sue finally glared at Ben before turning back to the monitor.

"I'm picking up numerous seismic readings as well as some signs of a bizarre energy just under the surface." Reed finally said to the group.

"Is it the same energy as last time?" Sue asked as she glanced at Devin before looking at Reed.

"No, it's very different. This one isn't as dense as the other one." Reed said while rubbing his chin with one hand before typing once more.

"I'm starting a search of all recorded energy signatures." Reed said. Soon another massive tremor shook the building this one being even stronger than the last.

That's when it happened. A massive sink hole opened up a block away from the Baxter Building, right in the center of an intersection. At first it just was smoking with clouds of dust billowing from it. Then a roar ripped through the air and a creature that resembled a massive, gold fish man climbed out wearing burgundy shorts. He looked like a bipedal oriental carp with arms and legs. Each hand and foot having three webbed digits. On his back was a large fan like fin and next to that was what looked like a pair of massive rockets.

"Aunt Petunia's Girdle! What in the hell is that thing?!" Ben said as the creature stood up and was taller than the Baxter Building.

"I'm not sure, but thinking of where it came from it could be okay to assume this has something to do with The Mole Man." Reed said as he observed the creature.

"Yeah, but now what?" Johnny asked as he looked at the the creature nervously.

"Now? It's clobberin' time!" Ben said as he stomped towards the elevator with the others following. Devin had just put his shirt on when the others looked at him from the elevator.

"Mr. Price you may want to stay here till we take care of this." Sue said as the doors slowly closed. As Devin looked at the monitor that showed the massive beast, Devin considered whether to stay or help. He wasn't sure if he was ready to reveal his abilities yet or deal with all the headaches that would come with it, but he knew that he would feel like shit if he didn't do anything. Well, he could at least help to evacuate the civilians.

***

Sue Pov

***

Sue was evacuating as many people as possible as the boys tried to restrain that creature from generating too much destruction. People were running in every direction that was away from it and with the size of that thing, just it moving was destroying things and the debris is raining down on innocents. The part that has her confused is that when The Mole Man invaded the last couple of times it has usually been him leading swarms of his followers to attack. This time was different, just one monster and not a single sign of him or others. Soon all of the civilians were gone and the only ones left were the Four.

"Reed we need to drive it back into the hole if we can." Sue said as she flew up into the air in one of her psionic bubbles.

"We're trying Sue but we're having very little effect on it." Reed said as he wrapped around it's head. Johnny was blasting it with bolts of fire and Ben was pounding on it's hunched over back and shoulders. It was at this point that it stopped moving and it straightened up slightly.

"What's it doing now?" Johnny yelled as he circled overhead.

"I'm not sure, but it can't be good." Sue said. A rumble began emitting from the metal cylinders. It was then that Reed surmised what those were.

"Everyone, we need to stop those rockets from launching! We have no idea where they are headed or what kind of payload they might have!" Reed said urgently. Soon everyone was focusing on the quickly heating up rockets that were beginning to smoke. Soon smoke could be seen emitting from the body and after a few more strikes it exploded slightly staggering the monstrosity. The other rocket continued to power up as the creature straightened up again.

Unfortunately, they couldn't damage the other rocket enough to prevent it from launching. With a massive roar the rocket launched from its back and soared skyward trailing a cloud of black smoke. They did manage to damage it enough so that it exploded not long after launch, far over the city. The joy of success soon turned to horror as the blast turned into a black cloud of vapor that was descending onto the city.

"What is that stuff?!" Johnny shouted into his comms.

"I don't know, but don't touch it!" Reed said as the creature started to move again. It began to move towards the hole that it had crawled out of it was also at this point that Sue placed a psionic force field around her family members and the creatures head in an attempt to suffocate it. As it started to loose oxygen, the creature became agitated and managed to swat both Johnny and Ben away in it's struggles. With another flail Reed was launched into a gargoyle on the corner of an old building. It was then that it made a break for it's hole to escape and standing in it's way was Sue Storm.

Bolt after psionic bolt were launched but nothing scratched the monster as it accelerated forward. As it bared down on the blonde it was then that it struck her bubble causing it to burst and her to suffer a painful backlash as she fell through the air. What no one saw was that she was falling straight for the hole that the creature had made.

"Sue!"

"Sis!"

"Suzie!"

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The three men of the Fantastic Four could only shout in horror as they were too far to do anything. Then a shadow flashed near her and caught the unconscious woman. It was Devin! Landing on a car on the edge of the hole Devin held on as the creature jumped into the hole. The force of the jump caused the car to tremble and begin to slide off the edge and into the abyss. Devin ran as fast as he could and jumped just as he reached the end of the vehicle and extended a hand to grab the ledge, but was too far to make it. As the two started to descend into the dark abyss of the earth, Devin had time to utter one last phrase.

"FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-"

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