Chapter Two

Location: Somewhere in the forests of Washington

This marvellous universe: an endless stage containing countless dramas, comedies, and tragedies. One such drama began with a seemingly humanoid-looking life-form donned in a thick blue metallic suit, rushing on his way through a dense forest. Looking and searching all about for any form of life in this particular area, he spotted what seemed to be a flash of greenish-blue light up ahead above the treetops within the horizon and followed that direction.

Just then, something or someone landed on his feet with a thud into view and in the way. A large muscular bare-chested humanoid with dark-grey skin, pure-black eyes, and thick spiky black hair grew out along down the man's spine, staring down with a stern sneer and a low huffed growl.

"Who may you be?" The armoured figure asked.

"Call me Lash," the muscle-bound humanoid answered before asking back. "And you?"

"I'm Trull, agent of the Inhumans of Attilan," The armoured stranger introduced himself.

"Inhumans?" Lash recognised the word. "So you're one as well then, as am I".

"Indeed," Trull confirmed for sure. "I've been ordered by King Black Bolt and Queen Medusa to find and protect any and all NuHumans as they referred to such".

"Protect?" Lash questioned. "I am to be the judge, to choose and determine whether such individuals are worthy of living with their gifts and birthright".

"Upon whose orders?" Trull questioned further.

"It's not an order, it's my destiny," Lash spoke back as his eyes began to glow a deep red.

An orb of bright lightning blue manifested in Lash's right hand as Trull stood his ground and prepared for potential attack. Absorbing any hint of force and energy from all around him, Lash threw his blast of fire with a swift swing at the brief rival, who managed to dash out of line attack before charging forth at the stranger with a few punches and kicks to the bare chest. To Lash, the feeling of irritation and pain was there, but he chose not to let it deter or agitate him.

He grabbed Trull's arms with both hands and clutched tightly to the point of crushing the protective armour and the flesh within as well. Trull attempted to kick and stub at Lash's legs and feet, to futile effort. Lash then threw forth the fellow Inhuman who landed onto his back upon lower ground. But just as Trull groaned and barely started to ease up and crawl back, Lash then leapt forth and landed on the downed foe with both feet, denting the armour and by extent, Trull's very chest and torso.

Looking down at the enemy grunting and struggling beneath his feet, Lash crouched down and with hesitation, landed his fist right on the man's helmet-clad head with a crushing slam, a certain fatality. Hearing and feeling the very bone crack and shatter, Lash let out a low grainy sigh before standing back up, stepping aside from the corpse, and sweeping a bit of dirt and dust off his hands and shoulders as his face and expression still remained stiff and unfazed. With that brief and once-living obstacle taken care of and out of the way, Lash moved on and kept heading towards to the greenish fog up ahead near a particular city.

However life would often be strange and complex, as a whispery vapour of white and yellow leaked from the twisted and wrecked body with a low and quiet hiss. Trull's inhuman power was that he was able to separate his life-essence, his very personality, from the confines of his original body. And so, his spirit and conscience managed to float away, carrying in his shapeless mass his knowledge, memories, and intentions. He still remembered quite so vividly when he chose to take on the stage of Terrigenesis back on Attilan, the sense of rebirth, the reawakening and the unlocking of his power.

Trull soon went and followed in Lash's direction as well, not too close nor too far behind. As he went, he knew he would need to seek out a new abode along the way as his host and vessel. One that at least would be strong and powerful enough to take a better chance against a foe like Lash should they find themselves meeting again for another fight to certain death. And very soon, he would find one indeed.

Location: Seattle, Washington

Meanwhile, at the current Pym residence, the Ant team were still at work, as they felt a strange rumble not too long ago. Deep in the vast basement just underneath, a few various large monitors bathed almost all of the room in a vaguely colourful glow, showing raw footage of a seemingly greenish cloudy explosion that enveloped a good patch of a particular city as a muffled voice reported the news through speakers.

Still in his red, grey, and cyan suit, while having his helmet placed aside on the desk, Hank watched carefully and silently at what the monitors had to display. His eyes focused sharply and intently at each and every screen at a time, taking in the ongoing visual information. Sitting next to him while in her own yellow and black suit as well, Janet observed just as closely as Hank, her lips slightly parted open and her eyes almost widened from such a revelation.

Scott Lang, the Ant-Boy, stood closely behind the two, squinted at the sights with brows furrowed of bemusement and confusion. Scott wore his red and dark-grey suit, simpler than Hank's but just as advanced. The Stature, Cassie Lang, and the Stinger, Nadia "Hope" van Dyne, watched with still bodies and even wider eyes. The long-blonde-haired Cassie wore her black and purple Stature suit with wings folded down, and the short-ebony-haired Nadia wore her own black and crimson Stinger suit, with similar design to that of Cassie and even Janet as well, wing wings pointed down as well.

As the five continued watching together, the newscaster went on mention the name of the city being affected, Olympia, the capital of the state of Washington.

"Olympia?" Scott recognised. "That's miles down and south, it's not too far away from here. I knew something must've caused that quake I felt".

"But why go and attack that of all places?" Cassie asked, much to Nadia's quick shrug.

"Not an attack... Per se necessarily," Hank spoke and corrected. "While we may be hearing of similar cases across the U.S., if not the rest of the globe. This is no normal ordinary terrorist attack, even if the likes of Hydra or A.I.M. or O.R.U. were proven and confirmed to be the ones responsible". He slowly leant forth, closer to the main screen. "No, this might be... a catalyst".

"A catalyst? What for?" Janet questioned.

"I might have a few theories," Hank tapped his own chin. "And once we fly over there, we might be able to get some answers". He soon got up swiftly from his chair. "You lot with me?" To which, Janet, Scott, Cassie, and Nadia all nodded without any hint of hesitation. A team through and through.

"Now then let's get this family road trip going," Hank grinned enthusiastically before taking the lead once more as this valiant five took and put on their helmets, sealed on tight.

Once Hank had switched off all the screens, monitors, and other machinery, the team walked on and exited the room, going up the stairs and into the back room of the house before heading through the main hall.

"Just a reminder, kids," Hank addressed. "Remember to always keep your helmets and suits on if and whenever you've shrunken or enlarged. While the oxygen particles in your air tanks may shrink and grow with you, the air outside, not so much. And I'm not just talking about that weird green cloudy gas in the city, the gas particles would either be too large or too small for you to breathe in and sustain, and will no doubt pass out or worse".

"We figured, boss," Nadia snarked with a cute smile behind her visor. "As if we would've know about that on our own".

"Just making sure," Hank spoke like a good parent.

With that, as the Ant family marched as one team out of the main doorway of the residence and into the outside, they shrank down into the sizes of a few inches each and took off in flight together. As Janet carried Hank, and Cassie and Nadia carried Scott.

"So who do you think is really behind this one, pa?" Nadia, the Stinger, asked Hank, the Ant-Man. "You really think it's Hydra or Ultron?"

"We'll know eventually," Ant-Man replied.

Location: Olympia, Washington

Deep in the streets of Olympia, where the strange alien mist had come and passed, the green human-sized chrysalis laid almost perfectly still upon the pavement of the alley, slightly pulsating with each and every faint heartbeat. Inside, the foetal figure continued to float within, not unlike an unborn child resting in the waters of its mother's womb. A hint of short hair could still be seen flowing inside in a waving stream.

However soon, something began to stir further, the chrysalis' pulse increased as did the beating heart. The figure inside jerked and flinch, as if being awakened and threatened by forces yet to be known. The solid crust of the cocoon began to crack as a leak of vapour and liquid pierced through and a hole slowly split and expanded open before the figure within finally burst through and emerged.

Gasping for some good long clear air, the copper-haired girl quickly broke from her once timid foetal position when encased in the chrysalis, with her chest arched out as she faced upward parallel to the sky. Her seemingly newly regenerated skin and body had been drenched and coated in bits of a crusty shell and watery liquid. As her vision finally became sharp and clear once more and her mind slowed its spinning for the time-being, she moved back down her eyes and head to take a deep look at herself, to see if something about her had actually physically changed.

Immediately, the woman realised from her own body and the overall surroundings that all her clothes were ripped away and apart, and reduced to mere shreds along with bits of her old moulted skin all scattered about and around her cocoon. Her now naked body was left exposed to the chilling mild air. But beyond that, she seemed mostly if not entirely the same as before the wave of alien mist got to her. Or at least she looked so on the outside.

She gradually brushed the bits of shell free off her face, body, and limbs, and tried to regain strength and control of her legs in order to step her way out of the softened shell, that itself had emerged from with her, with both arms concealing her bare chest. But even as she started to try so, she still felt something, something off, something different, something within herself, something that had happened something she mayn't even be able to explain. She felt her weak body slightly shake and intensely pulse, as if all her internal organs had been transported into her head at once. Like some dormant part of her, unbeknownst to anyone she knew closely or even herself, had been unlocked, unlocked by that otherworldly fog.

With both feet finally out of the shell and planted upon the bitumen ground, the bare-naked woman looked and darted about, expecting some other form of human life somewhere close or nearby. Then looking down to her side, just next to the disposed chrysalis shell, her small duffel bag laid by with its strap spread and loose. Having almost forgotten that, likely dropped the heavy load as soon as the fog reached her and her change began, she crouched down and picked it back, aware of the risk of letting herself be exposed, before hugging it close to her torso in order to keep some remote kind of modesty.

With her pale face flummoxed and her breath fractured, she hesitantly walked her way through the alleyway and hopefully back on her way back to her home, hopping in and out of the more shadowy and hidden parts of the streets so none of the public could catch her out in the nude. With sweat running and lip biting, she could feel her mind spinning at a somewhat consistent and never-changing pace. Even her body was almost tempted to spin about as well, as much as she tried desperately to resist such a bizarre thought and remember where to head home.

But even still, many questions spun around with her mind as well, what had just happened to her exactly? Why her in particular? What had she become? Was she a mutant? An alien? A metahuman? Was she even human at all? Or perhaps something more? Was she, in fact, an inhuman...?

To be continued...