Monday, December 24, 2012
Earth-349: The Atom
by Anton Psychopoulos, Ph.D. Disclaimer #1: This story is set on a hypothetical parallel world within the pre-Crisis DC Universe, based on a story in Superman #349, but is not limited by that story or any other. Disclaimer #2: Some characters appearing in this story are based on copyrighted characters owned by DC Comics, Inc., Marvel Comics and others. Their use here is not intended to infringe or disparage those copyrights. Disclaimer #3: This story is not recommended for persons under 18 or the easily offended. The last time Martha Palmer had awakened naked, on a cold floor, with no idea where she was or how she'd gotten there, had been several years earlier, well before she had become the Atom. The experience had not improved with age. Resisting the urge to stretch her stiff and aching limbs, Martha opened her eyes to cautious slits, blinking repeatedly to make them focus, trying not to give away to any watcher that she was conscious. A sudden draft, tickling between her legs, confirmed Martha's suspicion that she had already given away plenty to any watcher. Her eyes focussed reluctantly on some pattern of vertical lines. Wallpaper? Fence pickets? Oh, God, jail bars? No. These bars were metal, but gold-colored. And the floor under her wasn't concrete, but more metal. Martha rolled her eyes slowly upward, trying to get a glimpse of the ceiling. There didn't seem to be any. The bars just continued up and up, curving overhead to form a rounded framework from which hung . . . A swing. "Son of a bitch!" She sat up suddenly. In spite of her shock and outrage, her mind noted the way her body moved, the floating, "weightless" feeling of being reduced to a size where inertia doesn't work quite the way it does on the human scale. Her scream brought an enormous shape moving towards the cage from the misty distance. "How nice. my little birdie is awake," thundered the immense black and yellow mass. It leaned closer, and Martha made out an immense masked face. "Welcome to your new home, little birdie. You are now the property of . . . Yellowjacket." Martha looked up at the black cowl, brow furrowed, head cocked. "Henry?" Yellowjacket recoiled from the cage, hands to his cowl as though checking that it was in place. The Atom jumped to her feet, shaking her sliver-sized index finger at the immense figure. Yes, she was about six inches tall, a common size for the Atom to assume. At ant size, she'd have had difficulty in standing on two feet. "Henry Pym, you son of a bitch! Stealing my research wasn't enough, you had to kidnap me and steal my costume?" Pym cringed behind his mask, actually seeming to grow smaller. A little. "That's not fair, Martha. We were both building on Dane's research --" "You didn't even know what a micropion was until I pointed them out on Darrell's CERN printouts! If it weren't for me, you'd still be fiddling around with hallucinogenic gases." Henry's hand lashed out, flashing past the cage like an express train. Knives lanced through the Atom's feet. She fell to the floor, and the electric current stabbed at every place her flesh touched metal. Fighting panic, Martha got to her feet, dancing in agony, and lunged for the wood-and-plastic swing. Seated precariously on the swing, the Atom caught her breath, forcing herself to become calm. She saw Henry's black-gloved finger pressing a button on a golden column she guessed was the cage's stand. He grinned at her, releasing the button. "That was your first lesson, little birdie. Yellowjacket did not go to the trouble of catching his little pet in order to hear her screech at him like a crow. Your function in this house is to sit on your little perch and sing sweetly." Martha started to get down from the swing, but Henry's finger flicked towards the button. "Stay on your perch, birdie. I like seeing you there. "Swing, birdie." Like a child at a playground, the Atom began pumping her bare legs back and forth, driving the swing into a small oscillation. "Faster, birdie." Higher and higher went the swing, until Martha saw the floor and the cage roof on each pass, her brown hair flying into her face, her breasts slapping against her chest. "Sing for me, birdie." "Henry," Martha gasped, breathless, the swing slowing, "Henry, that's enough. You've got to stop now." She saw the black glove coming but could do nothing to brace for the impact. The metal cage screamed as the Atom was flung against its walls, crashing back and forth as the world lurched around her. "Stop calling me that!" Yellowjacket screamed, shaking the cage in both hands so Martha rattled inside it. "Henry Pym is dead! I fed him to a spider! Ant Man is dead, too! I squashed him under my shiny new black PVC boot! Giant Man is dead! I, uh, I shot him!" The Atom had just enough presence of mind left not to say You left out Goliath, schizo boy. "Now, who am I?" "Yellowjacket. You're Yellowjacket." "Good. And what are you?" "I'm your little birdie." "You are learning fast. Not bad for a little bird-brain." He dropped the cage, letting it swing freely. "Back on your perch, birdie." Favoring her bruised left leg and her aching right wrist, Martha climbed back onto the swing. "Sing for me, birdie." Trembling with fear and humiliation, Martha was unable to think of any song but "Workin' on the Railroad", but that seemed to please Henry just fine. When she was done, she continued with "Barbara Allen" and was halfway through "Lord Randall" when Henry suddenly interrupted. "Would you like some clothes to wear, birdie?" Martha was surprised by his sudden question and his softened tone of voice, but quickly chirped "Oh, yes, please, Yellowjacket, sir!" Taking the Atom's servile twittering at face value, Henry opened the cage (nearly knocking Martha from her perch as he fumbled with the latch). He'd spent enough time interacting with relatively gigantic people that he knew better than to reach into the cage and try to grab her; he held out his hand, palm up. slightly cupped, and allowed her to climb onto his fingers. Holding her near his body, he carried her to a department-store sized desk and set her down on its worktop. He flicked on a reading lamp and seated himself, smiling down at her. On the desktop, Martha could now see the wall of Henry's study. Numerous degrees and awards hung in neat uniform frames. Uniform frames indeed: pride of place went to the red and blue outfit of the Atom, pinned to a sheet of white cardboard like a butterfly. Martha winced; that was no way to treat a suit woven from irreplacable fibers of spatially distorted dwarf star matter. She wondered if the pins had damaged the wafer-thin control circuits in her gloves. Henry pulled open a drawer in the desk. It made the desktop under Martha's feet shake as though a subway train were pulling in. He laid a shoebox on the green paper blotter and lifted from it a poisonous-green nightgown. Martha saw at once that it was a piece of doll clothing, made from some light, thin fabric, but to Martha, at doll size, it was as coarse and stiff as burlap. Gritting her teeth, Martha pulled it on, trying to ignore the scraping of the cheap petroleum-based fibers, cooing as she smoothed it over her limbs. The Atom turned for her captor, trying not to stumble over the too-long hem (it was a very short nightgown, but made for a doll nearly twice Martha's size). "Oh, Yellowjacket, it's lovely!" "Heh. And you look lovely in it." Henry shifted in his chair, recrossing his legs. The Atom hoped he wouldn't be able to see her tiny smirk. Henry pulled a tiny plastic envelope from the box, opened it and shook out the contents onto the desktop. Martha untangled them and found a black garter belt and a pair of stockings. "These aren't doll stuff, they're reduced." "Something that dumb bitch Janet left behind." Martha looked up warily as she pulled on the stockings. "You aren't, uh, seeing Jan anymore?" "No. Stupid cunt. I gave her everything. I gave her shrinking powers. I gave her a costume. I was going to give her wings. Even I didn't have wings." "Er, really?" The stockings were laddered, but they probably looked all right from Henry's perspective. Martha stretched a leg out experimentally, lifting the stiff curtain of the nightgown to show off her minute thigh. "Lovely transparent wasp's wings that would sprout from her back whenever she shrank down. She would have loved them if she'd tried them. Dumb bitch said I was crazy." Gee, the Atom thought, he wanted to make her into some kind of half-animal freak, he makes me into a caged pet, who would think a guy like that was crazy? Henry stroked Martha's extended leg with the tip of his index finger. "How about you, my little pet? Would you like some pretty wings, birdie? Some nice birdie wings with yellow feathers?" Martha reached back between her shoulder blades as though she were imagining wings growing there. "Oh, Yellowjacket . . . my goodness!" Henry squirmed in his seat. "Dance for me, birdie," he suddenly demanded. Martha began swaying from side to side, then peeled slowly out of the nightgown. Pressing its rough fabric against the front of her body, she teased him with it through a few steps, then tossed it aside and began stroking her body as she skipped and pirouetted across the blotter. The Atom stopped, facing her captor, and began squeezing and pulling at her breasts. "Yellowjacket," she rasped, "won't you let me . . . touch you?" Henry swallowed hard. "I won't shrink down," he warned her. "Oh, no, I like you all . . . big," she cooed. Casting aside caution, Henry Pym unbuckled his tights and pulled them down, then reached out a hand to convey Martha to his crotch. The heat and the heavy smell made Martha want to make a very unromantic face, but she leaned against Henry's penis as though it were a column in a Greek temple, tracing over a vein with her fingertips. "You're so big," she stage-whispered, hoping she wasn't laying it on too thick. She glanced up, and saw that Henry was mesmerized by her performance. Martha leaned forward and licked at the irregular, salty surface. She looked up at Henry pleadingly. "If you'd just come down a little, so I could get this lovely monster into my mouth . . . ." She whined the word "mouth" as though she were a child begging for a taste of a favorite treat. Henry glared down at her suspiciously, but Martha threw her arms around his cock and hugged it, rubbing her tiny mound against the shaft in one of the strangest dry-humps in history. He shuddered and plucked her from his lap, no longer taking care not to hurt her, and twisted a knob at his belt. He climbed onto the desk as he shrank, stopping while he was still well over a foot tall. "You won't try anything," he insisted, "not when I'm still twice your size and eight times your weight." Martha stepped cautiously forward, her eyes exactly at his crotch level, and nuzzled his member cautiously. "I don't want to try anything, sir," she insisted in a good-little-girl voice, "except that wonderful cock." She fitted the act to the deed and her lips to his glans. It wasn't all that good a fit, since relative to her his penis was a foot long and as big around as a soda can. She was barely able to get the monster's head in her mouth, and while Henry enjoyed the sight of her struggling with his penis, he knew he needed to be smaller to enjoy her fully. Stepping back, he twisted the same control knob and reduced himself to nine inches. He still towered over Martha, but now she could fit his penis into her mouth, and did. It was still the biggest penis she'd ever had in her mouth, and in spite of herself the Atom had to admit she was enjoying it. If only Henry weren't such a screwed-up creep, they could have had a very good relationship as superheroic colleagues. But then, they could have had that as graduate students, too, but Henry had been messed up even then. She pushed up his yellow shirt, stroking his chest with her tiny hands, trying to give him pleasure with the touch o fher skin against his. He took the hint and pulled the shirt off over his head. The black cowl came with it. Martha tugged Henry's pants down to his knees. He didn't object. She pulled at his boot top, and he lifted his foot to help her undress him. When Henry was naked, his costume piled on the desktop, Martha cupped her hand by her mouth, as though to whisper something to him. He bent down from his nine inches of height to her six, until his ear was level with her mouth. He didn't expect her to be able to lift her foot that high, or for it to connect with his chin with so much power. "Eight years of ballet," Martha snarled as she lunged for his Yellowjacket costume. Henry staggered towards the Atom, trying to get the belt away from her before she could enlarge herself. He wasn't expecting her to suddenly wrap it around his neck and twist the shrinking knob. Between the blow to the jaw and the shock of involuntary reduction, Henry barely perceived Martha tying his hands with his own tights, then climbing the wall to knock down the frame holding her costume. The next thing he perceived clearly was Martha, in the red and blue of the Atom, knocking his desk telephone off the hook and painfully dialling a long series of digits with a pencil held in her arms. And then she grabbed him and things were very confusing again. Henry had a concussion, that had to be it. Otherwise, why would he still have the feeling that he was at reduced size when all the people around him were normal sized, or only a little above average? He shook his head, trying to make sense out of the babel of voices around him. They were speaking some soft, fluid language he didn't recognize, though it sounded vaguely Asian. Their clothes were strange, too, sort-of Asian, sort-of European 18th Century, but really like nothing he'd ever seen before. The occasional American T-shirt or baseball cap only heightened the oddness of the rest of their dress. Martha was there, too, but her clothing was too weird to credit: she seemed to be wearing her Atom costume, but it always vanished when she was at full size. And she seemed to be taller than he was, which wasn't right. Thinking of clothing made him notice that he was still naked himself. Somebody handed him what he thought was a towel, and when he just stared at it, somebody else took it and wrapped it around his waist, tying it into a loincloth. They were in a huge chamber like an airplane hangar, near a large object that might have been a shed erected within the huge room. Henry stared at it for nearly a minute before identifying it as a speaker phone, as seen from a very small size. She'd reduced the two of them to electron size and carried him along a telephone connection. Darrell had theorized such a thing, but Henry'd had no idea the Atom could actually do it. So apparently he really was small, less than six inches in height. But then these people . . . ? He could make out occasional loanwords in their speech: "telephona", "criminalu". And they seemed to be calling Martha "Nardac Martaa" and "Quinbuta Flestrin", but the rest of their speech was just so much jabber to him. But they seemed to be taking him into custody, respectfully listening to Martha, who was speaking to them in their language. Finally, Martha turned to Henry and spoke to him in English. "As a Nardac, I'm entitled to give two people per year a summary sentence of up to thirteen moons. I'm only sentencing you to six, and I think you'll find it rewarding work, if not exactly cutting edge." She gestured at the people around them. "They want you for their rural electrification program; they don't have nearly enough qualified engineers. "Personally, I envy you. This is a beautiful country and the people make good neighbors. My duties as Martha Palmer and as the Atom prevent me from spending as much time here as I'd like. "I'll be back in a couple of moons to check on you. You should be settled in by then, probably fluent in the language. In the meantime, co-operate with the Lawfuls and try to enjoy your stay in Lilliput."