1964-02-16 - A Message From The Ants
Summary: Betty meets with Dr. Pym, and begins a casual interview.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
ant-man elizabeth 


Down, down, further and further into the blackness. But although he can't see anything, Hank knows instinctively that he's not alone in the pitch dark.

There are noises. High-pitched chirps. The rustling of chitin scraping against chitin. The grinding of mandibles.

Hank lights a match, desperate to see, but dreading the sight all the same.

As the match illuminates the area in front of him, he can make out the enormous head of a Tetramorium caespitum. He's too terrified and bewildered to scream, let alone wonder how exactly he knows the genus and phylum of this particular ant.

The ant stares back at him for what seems like forever, before moving its mandibles and saying…

"Doctor Pym?"

"Doctor Pym, wake up."

With a start, Doctor Hank Pym wakes up. He's fallen asleep at his desk again. No surprise there, since that's where he does most of he sleeping these days. But it's a bit surprising that his right hand is covered in Tetramorium caespitum, who are crawling up his arm. He must have forgotten to close the lid on their terrarium properly.

Hank looks around, slightly bewildered, and wipes the drool from his stubbly chin. "I'll have it finished by Friday!" he yells to nobody in particular, before figuring out where he is.

"Oh. Right. Mister Cross. What can I do for you?"

The younger man fiddles idly with the lapel of his lab coat, as if he feels slightly awkward for having to wake Dr. Pym up. He'd probably rather be somewhere else. He pretends not to notice the state that Hank is in, and simply delivers his message.

"Sorry to wake you, Doctor, but the reporter from the Daily Bugle is waiting in the lobby. It's… a lady reporter."

He reveals this detail as if it's both strange and significant.


To be fair, Mister Cross was half right. It was true that Betty was a lady, but a reporter? Well, not officially at least. She was patient, and kind, and striding idly in the lobby of the office building, her heels clicking across the polished flooring with each step. Still dressed in her winter long coat, gloves, and hat, she shivers now and then, still trying to reject the cold after having stepped into a warmer area of the city.

Each detail of the lobby is taken into a count, from color schemes to the receptionist behind the front desk. Interesting. Pausing by some framed information, she looks at herself in the glass, giving a brush up at her brunette waves and pressing her lips together. After giving them a smooth drag, she crimson that decorates her mouth spreads more evenly. First impressions and all that.


Betty is by far the most visually-interesting thing in the lobby of Pym Technologies, and her lips are possibly the only splash of strong color in the place. The security guard is a middle-aged man with a pot belly. The receptionist is a middle-aged woman with a hunched back. There is practically no ornamentation on the walls, and only a fairly Spartan waiting area with a pot of coffee that has been there since this morning.

It's the intern's job to change it.

The intern has been missing for hours.

Overall, it seems more like the lobby of a discount shoe wholesaler than one of the world's leading research firms. If the door didn't say 'Pym Technologies' in small white block letters, it's not likely that anyone would be able to identify it.

The elevator opens, and a man who's only slightly more remarkable than his building steps out. Hank Pym is tall and lanky, with a lazy, haphazard appearance and a certain amount of nervous energy crackling behind eyes that have pronounced bags under them. He doesn't even bother trying to straighten his tie as he steps out. Nor does he try to hide the coffee stain on his wrinkled white shirt. All in all, he gives off the vibe of someone who just woke up from a long overdue nap, and who really doesn't think the intrusion into his schedule is really worth his time.

Like if Einstein was blond, basically.


Elizabeth turns, spotting Pym and offering him a slow, warm smile. Her eyes roll over his form, and after a blink or two, she moves with steady steps, hand out and held toward him. "Doctor Pym? It's a pleasure to meet you. My name's Elizabeth Brant, from the Daily Bugle? I had an appointment to meet with you today." She pauses, however, looking back over those bags and the gruff exterior the tired man displays. "You look like you need two years of vacation." She comments aloud, her impish smile pressing a dimple into her cheek. "I can always come back at another time. I don't want to be a bother on your day or schedule."


"Miss Brant. It's a pleasure." His tone is sort of business-like, but not completely unfriendly. If anything, he seems a bit taken aback by the woman, but in a good way. She's polite, well put together, and younger than he expected.

"Honestly, it's no trouble at all. I'm delighted to get a break from the lab for a few minutes." It's entirely probable that Hank has never told a bigger lie in his entire life. Of course, he really 'could' use a break from his ripe-smelling lab, or perhaps even a vacation. But he'll never admit it.

He takes her hand firmly and gives it a completely professional shake. It's only then that he notices that one of his ants is crawling up his sleeve. Here's hoping that she doesn't notice it.

"I hope you're okay with doing the interview down here. My office is… complicated."


"Please, call me Betty." She insists conversationally, her own grip firm enough, but delicate in a way. Once pulling away, she smiles and rests her hand casually on its mate, one arm bent at the elbow, keeping the straps of her handbag secure. The 'movement' catches her eye, before she looks at the bug and reaches over to brush it away. It's just a bug, right?

"Interview? Oh, I'm here to set up a better date for the interview. I'm just an executive assitant, Doctor Pym, but I'm flattered you think I could be a reporter."

Beaming, she winks, but then looks around the lobby. "Shoot, maybe I'll ask a couple questions while I'm here. Do you have a break room in your building? I don't think you'd go wrong with a strong cup of coffee in your system." Then, she smiles more so. "Complicated? Now /that/ sounds interesting."


"Oh. Er… right."

Hank isn't the first person to make that mistake, right? It isn't like he paid much attention to the details when his assistant told him he had to do an interview.

"If we're not doing the interview then I should probably…. eh… I guess it wouldn't hurt to ask a few practice questions. I don't really talk to people very often. If I can help it, anyway."

It might sound sort of like a brushoff, but Hank's tone is fairly bemused and self-deprecating. He's a weird hermit, but at least he knows it.

He leads the way to the sparse break room, and pours two cups of coffee from the pot that's been there all day. Taking a sip, he doesn't seem to notice how horrible it is, and hands Betty one of the cups.


"Wonderful." Following along, she looks around the room and gives a 'sniff'. Accepting the coffee, she looks at its pitch darkness and lifts it to her lips. One sip later, and she shudders fully. "God, no…Doctor Pym, don't drink that, please. It's offensive to my secretarial nature." Setting her handbag down, she reaches out and reclaims the own man's cup, seeming rather determined to not have him ingest the brew. "Please, have a seat. I'll make you a fresh pot."

Dumping both cups down the sink, she removes her coat and gloves, resting them on her chair by her purse and then heading back to the coffee maker. The whole pot is gone, down the drain, rinsed, and is rinsed again. If there is any dish soap there, it'll also get a cleaning. Perhaps she's a very proud woman, who makes it a point to be the best at her job that she can be. "It won't take me long." She promises, smiling over to him from across her shoulder.

Her dress was fitting, but cut in the best style that it can be for the day, and its hue is explosively vibrant; lilac with accent lines of violet. Her nails are the same pale tint, and her soft tan stockings feed down into violet pumps. "I'll be obvious at first I think," she comments, digging through drawers and cabinet space to find their coffee fixing supplies. "What are you working on, Doctor Pym, and what is its importance to you, personally?"


He can recite Pi out to several hundred digits. He can invent technology that shouldn't exist for another hundred years. But he can't make a pot of coffee to save his own life. Or… maybe he just doesn't want to? Either way, he really ought to fire his intern.

"Oh no… that's not… I mean, thank you. I thought we had an intern for that… I really ought to fire him."

Technically, the intern works for free. Dr. Pym is his idol.

"I'm afraid that all of my most interesting research is highly classified, Betty. But… the nice thing about running my own company is the freedom to pursue whatever whims occur to me. So today I've been working on a new type of preservative for breakfast cereals. I uh… have a problem leaving the flaps on the box open."


"Don't fire anyone on my account. Coffee is just…hmm. Best if not left to become drinkable coal. It burns. Liquids burn." She explains, but he probably knew that anyway. Soon enough, fresh coffee is set to brewing and the brunette smiles a bit. Turning, she looks over Pym and moves to the table with her things. Digging into her bag, she pulls out a notepad and claims a seat. Her legs cross in a smooth motion, and once finding a fresh sheet of paper, she begins to scribble, quickly and fluidly.

"Ugh, I do, too. My flakes always become so stale. It's a horrible feeling, but sometimes, you just have to eat, right? By all means, keep your secrets, but can you be…obtuse about them? A hint without giving away the answer?"



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