Reed was busily tinkering with the titanium frame and muttering to himself about unknown variables, and the inability to lock in on The Torch?s whereabouts.
?Sue will kill me if I let him get completely away and we?ve got no way to bring him back.?
Ben glanced at his friend before he turned his attention back to the task at hand, moving the base of the same contraption into place.
?Hey Stretch, this a good spot??
?Hmm? Oh, yes, that?s great. I?ve calibrated as closely as I can to the last known coordinates but it is an anomaly, Ben. The power that washes through that area is in a constant state of change and appears quite unstable.? His head swung around, and stretched from his body toward his best friend. ?If you don?t want to do this, I understand.?
?Stretch, you or I either one don?t want to listen to Susie if The Kid can?t get back here, or she can?t get there.? Ben laid the base down, and then nudged it into position with his foot. ?Besides, You know I am up for the challenge, and I know you?ll bring me back.?
Reed nodded his head in agreement. He was meticulous about his calculations, and the unknown was still troubling one of the greatest scientific minds on Earth.
?What if I can?t bring you back, Ben??
Ben didn?t think of that. He could be stuck, floating in space for the rest of his life, or worse, with Johnny for an eternity which would only be as long as it took Sue to make Reed get the invention right.
?You?ve got this, Stretch.? He walked over and put a big, orange hand on his oldest and best friend?s shoulder. ?I know you won?t let me down, you never have.?
Reed smiled and nodded his head. ?You aren?t joining up with this ?Avengers? group are you??
?They didn?t invite me to the party, besides I like ol? Glory and all, but Cap gets on my nerves the way he tries to talk down to people, and Stark?s in need of a clobberin?.?
Reed laughed then. ?The way Johnny explained it to us...? Ben?s hand came up to stop his friend.
?I know, different group.? Ben watched as Reed turned and pressed a few buttons on the computer near him. ?I?m just going for Susie?s sake, and to save your stretchy hide.?
?You are a good friend Ben,? Reed said as he lifted the dark glasses to shield his eyes while turning the knob with his free hand. ?These were the last known coordinates of Johnny.? He was speaking loudly to be sure he was heard over the roar of the portal as it came to life in a bright, shimmering green. ?This,? he held a device out, which Ben took and looked at while listening. ?will allow you to communicate with us, or it should if my calculations are correct.?
Ben held the device in his hand and studied it. Large buttons, for his large fingers as well as a small screen that he assumed was for viewing one another, or tracking the kid.
?Made it special for me, Stretch?? Ben face lifted with his smile. ?You shouldn?t have.?
?I have one, and I am working on another for Susan.? He held up a copy of the device he?d just given Ben, only smaller and lighter Ben had guessed.
?Well, lets get this show on the road,? Ben started for the portal after shaking the outstretched hand, literally, of Reed. ?One small step for me, one giant leap to God knows where.?
?Ben?? Susan said his name almost quietly as she appeared suddenly at his side, she had been watching them and listening nearly the whole time.
?Hey, Susie.? Ben offered her his best smile. ?Going to find your brother, I hope.?
Susan smiled then embraced Ben in a tight hug, wrapping her arms around him as far as she could.
?Tell him to be careful, and tell him I love him.?
?Aww Susie, write that on a Hallmark. I don?t want to give him that message. I?ll tell him you said be careful.? Ben knew that Johnny would have a field day should he mention the ?L word? even from his sister.
She smiled and nodded, ?I?ll tell him when I see him.?
Ben smiled at the pair and nodded his head once, and lifted his four-digit hand in a wave.
?Keep the home fires burnin?, I?ll be back soon.?
Their words were cut off as the green light swallowed him into what was best described as slipping into a warm bath. After a few minutes, he found himself dumped from the portal as it opened horizontally, dropping him from what felt to Ben like the top of a four story building. He hit the soft ground with a crunch and cloud of dust, spooking some people that happened to be walking by, and leaving a deep little impact spot where he landed. He opened his hand, to see the device given to him by Reed was the ?crunch.?
?Aw Hell,? Ben said as he pushed up to his feet. ?This better be the place, and if not, I hope there?s a way back home.?