The next few weeks were interesting to say the least. The counter on the security camera page was checked at least twice a day. Johnny would sneak in to check in the mornings when he thought nobody was looking and Crystal would check a night when she though everyone was asleep. Johnny’s counter continued to rise where Crystals never moved from zero. This game of ‘not looking’ made Reid, Susan and Ben laugh amongst themselves but they never let the younger adults know they knew.
Late one evening the fire alarm in the penthouse went off, waking everyone in the house up.
“What happened?” Johnny said yawning as he walked into the laboratory. Reid and Susan were anxiously checking the temperatures throughout the building to see where the fire was.
“There’s no fire it’s ok!” Crystal hurried into the laboratory still wearing the outfit she had gone out in that night. “I was trying to light a candle in my room and I guess the smoke set off the alarm”
Reid and Susan smiled in relief. Johnny on the other hand looked suspicious, “Setting a little mood lighting were we?”
“No Johnny, no mood lighting” Crystal replied haughtily. She spun on her heel and walked back to her room. Susan and Reid followed her through the living room and went back to their room. Johnny on the other hand, walked back to the security screens and rewound the tape. It took some time but he finally found what had actually set off the fire alarm. He stared at the screen in shock, rubbing his eyes.
‘I’m just seeing things,’ He thought to himself, ‘I’ll look at it again in the morning.’
The next morning Johnny’s attempt to watch the tapes was cut short by an explosion in the lab. He rushed into the area to see Reid and Susan hunched over the computer as Ben put out a small fire with a fire extinguisher.
“What the hell happened?!” Johnny exclaimed.
“A malfunction in the molecular genetic bifrany-“
Reid sighed and took off his glasses, “A computer glitch. My maps and navigation went haywire, like they were surged with an electrical current”
“Weird,” Crystal said walking into the laboratory. She leaned over the computer looking at the screen, “What do you think caused it?”
“We have no idea” Susan answered, “It’s like something on the outside triggered the malfunction”
Crystal’s face filled with worry and she sat down beside Reid and Susan and started to type furiously on the computer. Johnny watched the three of them for a few moments then sauntered over to the window to look outside. The city was lighting up with the morning sun, everything was calm, ready to start a busy day. Johnny looked at the river that flowed nearby and smiled when he saw some early morning joggers. He was about to look away when something caught his eyes.
“Guys!” He called the group over and they watched as the bridge that crossed the river suddenly tilted, the strands of wire holding it together snapping one at a time.
“Time to go!” Ben yelled, racing out of the room. Crystal watched as the group quickly went into action and ascended on the falling bridge. They quickly fixed the bridge and assessed the damage. Johnny’s quick spotting had saved many of the cars that were driving over the bridge; Ben and Reid caught them before they fell into the cold river below. Crystal saw that the bridge was safe then turned back to the computer to try and find out what caused the glitch. It wasn’t until the group returned that Crystal had found anything.
Reid entered the laboratory and put on his lab coat, “Alright Crystal, what have you found?”
She spun around in her chair to face him, her face chalk white, “We have a problem”
“So let me get this straight. You think we were hacked.” Reid said pacing the room.
“And not only that but hacked by someone with the talents of Dr. Doom but also originated from his abandoned office building?” Susan added. Crystal opened her mouth to reply but was cut off by Johnny.
“You know that’s not possible. We rusted his ass and locked him in a high security vault” He said.
“Unless someone else is using his base” Ben said.
“But who would be smart enough to hack us?!” Johnny asked.
“Quiet!” Crystal said holding up her hands for silence. She received four very surprised faces turn her way. “I don’t know who it was or even have any ideas but I traced the hack backwards and found it originated in Dr. Doom’s old office building. That’s all I know.”
Before anyone could speculate further, a massive explosion was heard from the kitchen. Everyone ran into the room to see the stove was on fire!
“Johnny do something!” Susan cried. Before Johnny could react, the flames grew higher and licked the ceiling threatening to spread. Crystal raised her hands and suddenly a great ball of water appeared in the air between them. The Fantastic Four watched as Crystal guided the water to surround the fire and contain it. Within seconds the fire and water had evaporated into the air, leaving nothing but the smell of charcoal behind.
“What, was that?!” Johnny exclaimed.
The Fantastic Four turned to Crystal. “You have some explaining to do” Reid said crossly.
“So you noticed you could create water when?” Crystal sighed; Reid had been interrogating her about her ‘power’ as Johnny called it, for half an hour now.
“When I was little, around five or six, I realized I could control it to some degree. You know when you used to watch the rain drops fall down the window and you would pick one to ‘win’ the ‘race’? Well the one I picked always won, even if it was physically impossible to have done so.”
“I see, and what are the extent to your abilities? Can you control all types of water?”
“I’m better at liquid water, alright with gas and ify on solid water.”
“Interesting, very interesting. And did you live by any radioactive material, get frostbite as a child-|
“Travel to space and get exposed to cosmic rays?” Johnny added sarcastically.
“No, no cosmic rays smartass. I did used to live in a town that had a lot of radioactive waste which is what I thought caused it. But wouldn’t the whole town have ‘powers’ too?” Crystal asked making quotation marks with her hands.
“Yes, I guess that’s true. I’ll have to run some tests...” Reid walked away deep in thought.
“Crystal, did you apply for this job wondering if you could discover more about your powers?” Susan asked.
Crystal looked at her feet, “It wasn’t the primary reason. In the back of my mind I was hoping to see some of Reid’s research to see if it would explain my powers but I wasn’t hoping on it”
“I see, well you should have told us but I understand why you didn’t” Susan said. Susan walked out of the room and Crystal breathed a sigh of relief; that had gone much better than she had thought.