If they'd even suspected the device they'd been given in lieu of full payment would cause this much trouble, they never would have accepted it. But the promises of what that little bit of gear could do had blown their minds; they'd gotten wrapped up in the possibilities and missed the biggest problem having something like this could cause. Admittedly, having it meant they could avoid a lot of the trouble that came but some days it was harder than others to slip away from those hunting them for the technology they now possessed.
On the outside, their special piece of kit was a boring looking remote with five buttons. So far they'd only tested three buttons and the responses had been completely bizarre but at the same time, an absolute laugh. They were still careful with it, the last thing they needed was to bring rouge agents down on them and risk losing the gear they'd come to enjoy so much.
But these rogue agents were already onto them, tracking them relentlessly wherever they went. Using the device got them some breathing space but it never took long for their hunters to find them again and start trying to steal their device again. Each time the agents cornered them, bodies would be dropped and the pair would slip away once more and disappear into the wider population.
But after three years with the technology, they were running out of places to hide. Dozens of their safe houses across the globe had been raided and were now under surveillance so they couldn't go back to any of them. They still had a few options but what they really needed to do was find a place to hide the technology where no one would get their hands on it.
Their plan was risky but it was the only way they could think of to hide the technology and make sure it never fell into the wrong hands. They would be sad to let the technology out of their hands but it was impossible to continue with their usual duties while being chased for this bit of tech.
Scratching his head as he thought about the weird text message he'd just gotten, Captain Shane Schofield padded across his living room and opened up the front door, sticking his head out to see why he'd been told to open the door. With a roar of jet engines, a tiny black fighter raced past his shoulder, levelling its wings once it was inside and touching down lightly on the coffee table.
Eyebrows shooting up, Shane checked for anyone else in the corridor before closing the door and walking over to examine the toy that had just some into his home. He was just about to pick it up when the cockpit opened and two similarly scaled men climbed out and looked up at him.
'Take it easy, Captain. We need some help.' one called, handing a rope to the other and rappelling down from the table.
'We'll explain everything soon.' the other added, reaching into his pocket for something.
Stepping back, Shane could only stare in shock and disbelief as the tiny man on the floor suddenly shot up to reveal that he was in fact Aloysius Knight, infamous Bounty Hunter. Straightening his glasses, Aloysius lifted his shrunken companion off the table and set him on the floor lightly before turning his attention back to Shane.
'We don't have a lot of time here, Schofield. If previous encounters are anything to go by, we'll have about thirty minutes before we're tracked down once more.' Aloysius explained, flicking out his jacket and listening for anyone outside. 'We need a place to hide. We wouldn't normally ask you but most of our safe houses are already under surveillance and we're running out of options.'
'What the fuck did I just see?' Shane asked, still staring at the tiny fighter on the table.
'It's a secret piece of technology that we were given as payment for a job. We've had it for three years and we've been hunted for it for the last two years. Pretty sure most of our problems are coming from government agencies that want the tech.' Rufus shrugged, gently picking up the mini fighter and checking it over for damage.
'We're not asking for much, Scarecrow. We just need a place to hide for a little while.' Aloysius added, crossing the room to listen at the door.
'I don't have a lot of space here; it's only a one bedroom flat.' Shane sighed, glancing back towards his bedroom.
'We don't mind shrinking down again to make it easier to hide out. We're used to taking shelter in some pretty small places to avoid these assholes.' Rufus offered, setting the miniature Raven back on the coffee table.
They all jumped when someone knocked on the door, a deep voice calling that they were FBI. Eyes blowing wide, Rufus grabbed his shrunken fighter and bolted towards the back of the flat, looking for another escape.
'Shit! Don't answer it Scarecrow, they'll take you down as well. We need to go, now.' Aloysius hissed, bolting across the room and grabbing Shane by the arm. 'This might feel strange but it won't hurt you. You'll be okay. Grab your phone, a weapon or two and some clean clothes.'
'What are you going to do?' Shane asked, striding into his bedroom and grabbing out his duffle bag.
'We've got no choice, you're about to learn what we've learnt. It's a straight ratio, trading feet for inches.' Rufus uttered, prying off the screen on the window and setting it against the wall safely.
Throwing some of his clothes into his bag, Shane pulled open his bedside drawer and dug out the pistol he always kept there. Loading it quickly, he flicked the safety on and holstered it smoothly even as he pulled his boots on and laced them up.
'Now what?' he asked, slinging his bag over his shoulder.
'Try not to freak out.' Aloysius shrugged, suddenly shrinking down to just a few inches tall.
'Its okay, Captain. We'll be right with you.' Rufus grinned, pointing the small black remote in his hand at Shane.
It felt so wrong as he shrunk down, stomach twisting and heart pounding as he was suddenly dropped down to just five inches tall. Swallowing the bile rising in his throat, Shane followed Aloysius across the carpet and up into the tiny fighter as Rufus dropped down to size beside the sleek black fighter.
Scrambling up the ladder, Rufus buckled in and glanced back over his shoulder to make sure his companions were safe before firing up the engines and launching them skywards. Peering out the canopy, Shane was struck by how much bigger the world seemed as they flew out the window and raced skyward.
'Sorry about dragging you into this mess, Scarecrow. We didn't think they'd be onto us this fast.' Aloysius offered, resting one hand on the back of the second seat. 'We thought we'd have time to explain our situation at least a little before they found us.'
'I'd say we have time now.' Shane remarked, still mostly focused on what he was seeing outside the miniaturised fighter.
'Wait until we're out of danger. Now that you've gone missing under mysterious circumstances, other people are at risk. We have to get to Mother and Book before the authorities.' Rufus corrected, checking their location and turning towards Mother's house. 'Think you can convince him to meet us at her place?'
'I don't see why not.' Shane nodded, reaching for his phone and staring at it for a moment. 'This is so fucking weird.'
'It's only going to get fucking weirder as we continue.' Aloysius laughed, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a handful of toy cars. 'Any of these can become a potential escape route with that device we've got.'
Touching down lightly on Mother's front porch, Rufus popped the canopy and climbed down, waiting for the others to get down before zapping them all back to full height and picking up the Raven. Dusting it off gently, he tucked it inside his pocket and looked around as Shane opened the door and led them inside.
'Well this is a surprise.' Mother remarked, looking up from the weapons magazine she was reading.
'Why'd you tell me to pack a bag with clothes and a couple of weapons?' Buck asked, nudging the bag beside his feet.
'Don't ask me about any of this, I'm still not sure I understand it.' Shane shrugged, plopping down on the couch. 'All I know for certain is that these two have gotten their hands on some interesting tech and the government wants it. We just had to escape from the FBI.'
Keeping watch out the front window, Aloysius glanced at Rufus and nodded, comfortable enough for the moment to give a longer brief of the situation. Returning the nod, Rufus settled on the couch and pulled the Raven out from under his jacket.
'We're still not exactly sure about this bit of tech, it's certainly made some parts of our life easier but it also makes it near impossible to get anything done. Practically since we got this device, we've been hunted by those that also want to possess the technology. As far as we know, we're the only ones to have a working system.' Rufus explained, putting the Raven on the coffee table and reaching into one of his pockets again. 'Let me show you.'
From out of his pocket, he pulled a toy motorbike, holding it up for everyone to see. Moving away from the table, he carefully set it on the floor, making sure it would stand up on its own. Revealing the device, he pointed at the toy motorbike and clicked one of the buttons. Instantly, the toy was replaced with a full sized Harley, just waiting for someone to get on and ride away.
'So far we've figured out that any toy vehicle can become a real one and any real one can be shrunk down to carry in your pocket. We've also established that it works on people.' Rufus continued, walking over to sit on the bike.
Aiming the remote at his leg, man and machine dropped back to the floor and he rode around the coffee table so everyone could see him.
Returning to full size, Rufus shrunk the bike again and put it back in his pocket, dark eyes turning to the quietly waiting Raven on the table.
'We're having trouble with the government trying to kill us and steal this handy little bit of tech. we're not going to let them have it without a fight but it's getting tough to stay ahead of them. We've lost almost all of our safe house to raids and surveillance, our accounts are being monitored and somehow, the agents that want us are tracking our every move. Originally we had hoped to hide with Captain Schofield for a while but the FBI turned up before we could even explain fully. We took the chance on shrinking him and escaping together, hoping to have a chance to explain properly once we were safe. But taking him with us puts you both in danger; the FBI will come after you in the hope of getting a faster lead on us.' Rufus sighed, picking up his precious fighter again. 'You have two choices now. Stay and face the FBI or trust us and see a new world of possibilities. Whatever you decide, we understand.'
'And what about Ralph? I don't mind stepping into hell but he's a civilian.' Mother asked, turning her attention to the nuggetty man sitting beside her.
'I know this isn't an ideal situation, Mother but we've got no third option. The best I can offer is a promise to find a safe place far from FBI reach where Ralph will be okay until we figure out what to do with this thing.' Aloysius shrugged, still keeping a watch for any trouble outside. 'We don't have a lot of time to figure out what to do; those assholes are only ever half an hour behind us.'
'What sort of safe place?' Mother pushed, wanting to be sure that Ralph would be safe before she agreed to run.
'There's a place in Canada where we can drop him off. We've got some buddies up there, they'll keep him safe. It's getting close to their busy season, another trucker will be useful.' Rufus replied, thinking of two men in particular that would keep Ralph safe and make sure he earned a nice wad of cash. 'Unless you have another place you'd like to see and drive, Ralph?'
'Uh, no. Canada sounds fine.' Ralph blinked, stunned to be asked his thoughts.
'Come here Ralph. It's too risky for me to stick my head outside so you'll have to go grab your truck.' Aloysius nodded, catching the device without looking away from the window.
Opening the door, Ralph wandered out to stand beside his truck as Aloysius took aim and shrunk it down to size. Looking at the wheel marks left on the ground, Ralph picked it up and hustled inside, astounded by what he'd just seen. It was one thing to see a toy come out of someone's pocket and suddenly spring up to full size in his living room but it was a completely different thing to hold his truck, his very livelihood in his hands as if it was nothing but a toy.
'Pack your bags, we have to go now.' Aloysius called, spotting a black SUV coming towards the house as he shut the door.
'We'll launch from upstairs, height is good for this.' Rufus added, getting up and heading for the stairs quickly.