A bearded man….a flash…and then…nothing.
That dream was getting common now. Too common for Doom’s liking. Normally he would not have believed in such things as important, but lately it has started to become troubling for Doom. Along with dreams of knights, magic and kings, Doom couldn’t remember the last time he slept easy. The seemingly realism of it all is what worried him the most. His thoughts were interrupted by a mechanical voice.
“Lord Doom, your next appointment is a meeting with Reed Richards and Sue Storm at 9am. Current time is 7:30am.”
Doom growled under his breath. Richards always got on his nerve. He always found Richards to be untrustworthy, ever since college. Nonetheless, he needed to work with him. The U.N already distrust him enough and on the plus side, it may stop their constant interference for a while. He equipped his family’s traditional armour, generations old and swung his cloak in an arc onto his shoulders. Of course, a man like Doom does not dwell on the past alone. The armour also doubles as one of the most powerful pieces of technology on the planet.
Richards tapped his fingers nervously on the table. Doom always took his time, it’s a good excuse for Doom to make out how busy he is at governmental matters. A dramatic entrance was to be expected.
“Reed, could I ask a favour, before the meeting begins? You know…outside of business?”
Reed suddenly got alert, he had completely forgotten about Sue Storm, the American ambassador in Latveria, was also waiting for Doom.
“Yes…yeah, sure, go ahead. Sorry, I must of blanked out.” Reed said dazedly, his hand signalling for her to continue.
“Okay, I know it’s a lot to ask, but you know my brother Johnny? He’s doing an engineering course in Doomstadt University and…he needs an apprenticeship. You can guess what I’m hinting at. I know you work on governmental projects but I didn't know who else to ask, maybe have him work on lesser work or…”
“No, no it’s okay. I’ll take him on. Need some company anyway” he smiled.
“What about Doom? Doesn't he work with…never mind” she remembered what kind of person she was talking about.
“Doom is… I don’t what to say, to be honest. Wait, isn't this the Johnny who…”
His sentence was cut short as the doors were slammed open by several Doombots.
“His lord, highness, the great and powerful Lord Victor Von Doom approaches!”
Doom himself marched in, cloak flowing and with a determined pace. He sat himself down and began the meeting.
“I apologise for my lateness but I had to solve a dispute with a neighbouring country. Beyond your expertise, of course. Now then, Sue, your government wishes to hear the progress of the project, I gather?”
“Yes, well as the first joint project between U.S and Latveria, you can imagine my superiors’ eagerness for information.” Sue replied clearly and concise, well trained in the diplomatic art.
“We're nearly finished you can assure them, Project…what did you Americans call it?” Doom questioned as he glanced at Sue and Reed.
Reed joined the conversation, quiet until now.
“Storm chaser. After the show on TV. As Doom said we should have a ship capable of observing and researching the cosmic storm in the correct fashion within a few weeks at most. Current spacecraft simply isn't equipped for such a specialized job and we need the extra time. We believe this cosmic storm contains energy, particles, rays and who knows what, previously unknown to science. This new information could progress physics, medicine and general science by a decade. It could even lead to new energy sources.”
“You can understand their concerns, Reed, you are already over budget and they want results…and soon.” Sue said, worried for Reed’s sake. She had become to become friendly with Reed in her short time in Latveria.
“Well money isn't one of my strong points, but the results should more than cover the cost.” Reed explained.
“The results…that brings me to my next point… I have been requested to ask will this project have military applications?” Sue questioned in a business-like manner, trying to indicate this wasn't her decision.
Reed paused for a minute or two.
“Yes….it may have weapon applications among other possible military uses.” Reed spoke as if the words had a bad taste.
The pause afterwards was interrupted by Doom.
“Richards seem well versed in reporting to his superiors. I don't need to explain myself and my time is valuable. I have a country to run and research to complete.”
Doom stormed out of the room with Doombots in tow, leaving Reed and Sue alone.
“The joy of being a diplomat to Doom…” Sue sarcastically broke the silence left by Doom.
“You're not the one who has to work with him.” Reed quipped.
They had a short chuckle.
“Don’t forget to Email some of the research to back home, should get the bureaucrats off your back for a while. One last point before you get back to work. I’ve been requested to go onboard during the storm to supervise.” Sue spoke as if quoting a to-do list.
“Wh..why?” Reed replied, obviously unsure of the bureaucrats’ reasoning.
“Simply put they don't trust you Reed. Your past record has shown you to be reckless with government resources. They don’t want their money to lost over, and I quote: ‘Reed’s constant quest for knowledge, no matter the cost’. “
Reed remained quiet and after a few minutes, Sue began to leave the room but stopped before the door.
“Oh and Johnny will begin tomorrow if that’s okay with you?” she asked, finding it awkward to break Reed’s brooding.
“…Sure…” Reed murmured, his concentration lost.
“Thanks Reed, it means a lot.” though she knew his mind was elsewhere, she still felt the need to vent off her gratefulness for Reed.
She left Reed alone with his thoughts. He asked himself about his life and decisions, but even he couldn't answer them all.
Meanwhile, a cosmic storm was brewing.