Pre-Reading Note: This story connects to the Labyrinth Comics universe which begins as comics soon after the release of these stories. The comics will be released onto Comixology.com.
Bank City, 2017, 6:30 AM. John Davison wakes up next to his beautiful wife, Kate Davison, in his beautiful penthouse apartment overlooking the city.
"It's 6:30 in the morning. It's time to get up, you two," announces J.E.S.T.E.R., John's AI assistant.
"Five more minutes, J.E.S.T.E.R.," groans Kate, burying her head in her pillow.
"You said that five minutes ago. And five minutes before that. And five minutes before that," says J.E.S.T.E.R.
"Kate, just get up. We have that board meeting today," John tells Kate. The two of them sit up in their bed and look into each other's eyes.
"John Davison, you major buzzkill." Kate smirks. The two of them kiss, then Kate gets out of bed.
"Where are you going?" John asks.
"To take a shower," Kate shouts back. "And if we shower together, we'll save time!" John's expression goes blank, and jumps out of bed to chase after Kate.
7:45 AM. John and Kate pull into the Davison Labs parking garage. The two of them step out of the car and walk inside the building.
"What's this meeting about again?" asks John.
"End of the quarter. Talking about everything that went on, and what's planned for this new quarter," replies Kate.
"Oh, that's easy," John boasted. The two of them step onto an elevator headed for the top floor. "We had a great quarter, right? I mean, we released some new products, new inventions to help the world, to help Bank City!"
"And some that have brought damage to the world. Let's not forget the shipment of power armor that was stolen from the US Military. Might I add that we manufacture the power armor for the military?" Kate states.
"The military got it all back!" John exclaims.
"After the North Koreans used it to invade South Korea! We only got those suits back after the military went in there with their power armor to take them down," responds Kate. The elevator door opens and the two of them step out. They begin walking towards the conference room.
"Kate, look. Besides the power armor, we have done nothing but help the world. There's been nothing that's happened here that has had any bad consequence on the city!" John explains.
"Just remember to use that fire in the conference." Kate grins. Kate opens the door and the two of them enter the conference room. Sitting in there are the board members Warwick Burnham, an old man with thick gray hair and a goatee, Shana Bartram, a middle-aged woman with long brown hair with gray streaks, and Loren Petrov, an old Russian man with thinning gray hair and a scar going down the side of his head. John and Kate sit at opposite ends of the table.
"Alright everyone, let's get this show on the road!" exclaims John as he sits down.
"It's hard to believe someone so young can be so smart, and run a multi-billion dollar company. What isn't so hard to believe is that you and your wife are late," sneers Petrov. John looks down and smiles.
"Well, Petrov, twenty five is the sixty five. In terms of intelligence, which I obviously lap you three times over in," chuckles John.
"Intelligence I cannot compete, but in wisdom I defeat," growls Petrov.
"Calm down, you two. Let's get on with this meeting." says Shana.
"Yes, please. This past quarter, Davison Labs has doubled its revenue from last quarter on account of the new prosthetic limbs and parts we released to the medical community. Then, of course, there is the power armor that we sold to the factories and military. Of course, the military has much higher scaled armor than the factories, but it's good to see some humans working in factories again," explains Warwick.
"R&D has officially started working on new turnovers for the fire departments all across the world, equipped with new telemetry scanners inside the suit that sync to a computer back at the firehouses corresponding to those ladders. We've also began working on new wearable technology, including the contact lenses that connect to your phone, and to your brains natural frequency," explains Shana.
"I have been working on a size manipulation catalyst that we can give to police to stake out criminals, enter enemy organizations, and whatever the police do," explains Kate.
"Yes, make something else the criminals can take. Perfect," groans Petrov. John shoots up out of his seat.
"Alright Petrov, you can't just say that!" John shouts. Petrov rises slowly out of his seat.
"Listen, Mr. Davison," begins Petrov.
"It's Professor Davison," corrects John.
"I don't care. Even if your wife has created a way to make sure the criminals don't take the catalysts, what makes you think the criminals won't take those too?" asks Petrov.
"The catalysts only work inside a special power armor that hasn't even been through the preplanning phase. Even then, it requires a specific power source that only we will supply. And once it's in the suit, it can't be taken out until it's out of power," explains Kate.
"How you like them apples?" asks John.
"I do not have to take this from a pair of... millennials," snarls Petrov. He pushes back his seat and exits the conference room. John and Kate sit back down.
"So... anything else?" asks John.
11:00 AM. John enters his lab. The lights turn on in the lab revealing a large glass sphere lined with metal on a platform. "J.E.S.T.E.R., prepare for project Fire and Ice, and prep the Decontamination Room," shouts John.
"Preparing project Fire and Ice. Decontamination Room prepped for use," replies J.E.S.T.E.R.
"Thank you, J.E.S.T.E.R.," said John as he walks into the Decontamination Room. The Decontamination Room is a small room off of the side of the lab. Inside the room is a small shower-like contraption and a wall of lockers. John takes off his clothes and puts them into a locker. He steps into the shower and presses a button. A mist sprays from the floor and ceiling of the shower, covering John. He steps out of the shower and opens one of the lockers. He pulls out a light gray one-piece suit and steps into it. He grabs a pair of gloves and a pair of boots and puts them on, then walks out of the Decontamination Room, back into the lab.
Now under the sphere are two tanks with nozzles poking into the glass. Two pipes dangle from the ceiling. John walks over and connects them to the sides of the sphere. He steps off of the platform and over to a console. He presses a blue button on the console, and the room darkens. John picks up a pair of goggles from the console, and puts them on. A pair of holographic screens pop up off of the console reading internal temperature of the sphere, and pressure of the pipes. "Alright, J.E.S.T.E.R., begin the insertion of the concentrating agent," commands John.
"Beginning flow of concentrating agent into sphere. Experiment ready to continue," announces J.E.S.T.E.R. John presses a button on the console and one of the tanks under the sphere begins spewing out fire. He presses another button and the other tank begins spewing out liquid nitrogen. "Experiment ready to continue."
"OK. Let's begin the merge. Send electric pulses through the concentrating agent three seconds apart," commands John.
"Setting off pulses three seconds apart starting now," J.E.S.T.E.R. replies. "Sir, the concentrating agent is becoming unstable. The fluctuating temperature of the sphere's interior are expanding and constricting the pipes, overloading and cutting off agent flow into the sphere. We need to abort the experiment and try again a different time."
"I can't. I'm close, I know it, J.E.S.T.E.R.!" shouts John. "I just need a little bit longer!"
"Sir, the electric pulses are going off faster than they were set to. The pulses mixed with the concentrating agent is messing with my..." begins J.E.S.T.E.R. The lights begin to flicker around the lab. The console shuts down.
"J.E.S.T.E.R.? J.E.S.T.E.R.!" shouts John. An alarm begins to blare. The sphere begins to crack. John begins to back up away from the sphere. "J.E.S.T.E.R., if you can hear me... tell Kate-"
Continued in Quick-Fire #1