Chapter 1: The Plight of Zack Dugan
A group of people stood on a hill on California’s central coast in the pre-dawn hours of a Friday in August. The comet was visible only during night time, and dominated a quarter of the sky. A woman held her husband’s hand.
“Within six months, our entire civilization will be wiped out,” the woman said to her husband. “All of our monuments and achievements will be wiped away. Do you think another race will find our planet some day, and colonize it?”
“Never give up hope,” her husband replied. “I have faith that mankind will survive.”
“But how?” the woman asked. “Every reputable scientist from every country has said all intelligent life on Earth will go extinct!”
“That I don’t know,” he replied. “But I have faith in my higher power that we will pull through all of this.”
Later that day, Zack Dugan was penniless as usual, walking down the sidewalk, hoping his fortune would change. Zack had gotten to the point of ignoring the news, and just accepted that humanity would be wiped out by the comet that was on a collision course with Earth. He spotted a hundred dollar bill floating in the breeze near a bank ATM, and snagged it. About a block further down the street, an unusual vehicle was parked that resembled a Ferrari or a Lhamborghini, but was neither. Zack couldn't recognize the make or model of the vehicle. A young man got out, and introduced himself to Zack.
"Hi, my name won't matter to you, but I'm about to tell you something that is beyond belief, so please hear me out."
"What kind of a car is this?" Zack asked.
"It's not a car as you know them," the strange man answered, "this is a time vehicle disguised to look like a car."
"Really?" Zack asked. "You're from the future?"
"I'm from about five-thousand years in the future. I can win a spot at Oxford University in my century if I win a scavenger hunt, so I can’t afford to lose this contest. Getting into a prestigious University is much more difficult in my time than it is in the 21st century."
“How will humanity survive the comet heading our way?” Zack asked.
“I can’t tell you that right now, I just need to cut a deal with you,” the man from the future explained.
"I'm taking a year off from school myself," said Zack. "I graduated high school a couple of months ago, and I plan on starting junior college in about a year. So what do you need from me?"
"I need a hundred dollar bill from this era, and I can't replicate it, or they'll know I cheated. I'm being monitored, and there are only specific ways I can acquire it. I can't steal it, someone has to give it to me willingly, but I'm allowed to trade for it."
"I have a hundred bucks I just found, but without it, I'd be broke as a joke trying to take a toke off a rope!” Zack replied.
"I think we can come to an agreement," said the time traveler. "In addition to making you immortal, so you'll never need food, water, or need to use the bathroom ever again, I can give you your dream. What is something you've always wanted?"
"How about a shrink ray gun?" Zack asked. "I could pick up on a hot college chick, and have her shrink me!"
The young man from the future pulled out a small device and handed it to Zack. It was in a baggie, with some paperwork and a flash drive inside, and a two chargers as well. "Here is a neutrino dissimilator! It's a more simplified version, so it can be easily reverse-engineered by scientists from your era. My counterpart from my near future traveled back in time to let me know exactly when and where to go, and what I would need to acquire the one hundred dollar bill from you, that's why I'm so well prepared."
Zack took the baggie with the device and other items inside.
The future man pulled out another device, and aimed it at Zack. "One pull from this trigger, and you're immortal. Do we have a deal?"
Zack pulled out his wallet, and handed over the hundred dollar bill. The man aimed and pulled the trigger. "You're immortal now. You're invulnerable to temperature extremes, you'll never need food or water again unless you choose to eat or drink, and you'll never need to use the bathroom unless you drink more water."
The man pulled out another device and handed it to Zack. "This is a neural stimulator, if some woman swallows you after you're miniaturized, she can use this to make herself vomit you up. The immortality I gave you also makes you invulnerable to stomach acid. It was a pleasure doing business with you! Oh, and by the way, whoever keys that shrink ray gun to recognize their unique chromosome pattern will be the only person able to operate the shrink ray, so don't let it fall into the wrong hands."
The man got back in his futuristic vehicle, and the gull-wing door slid shut, and the vehicle sped off into the distance and turned a corner, and was gone.
"I'm in Alyssa Archer's neighborhood," said Zack to himself, "her dad is an electrical engineer and her mom is CEO of an electronics research and development firm, so maybe I should show her the shrink ray gun."
Zack walked a few blocks and knocked on a door. A dark blonde-haired girl about 11 years old answered the door, wearing shorts and a tank top.
"Hi, Zack!" said Alyssa. "What brings you here?"
"You're not going to believe this!" said Zack. "I think I have a shrink ray gun!" Zack waved the baggie in front of her, and Alyssa could see what looked like a pistol inside.
"Come on in!" said Alyssa. "My parents aren't home right now."
"I met a guy from five-thousand years in the future, and he made me immortal and gave me a shrink ray pistol," said Zack. "I don't ever need to eat or drink water again, or use the bathroom."
Zack dumped out the baggie on the dining room table. There was a neutrino dissimilator pistol, a neural stimulator, two charging devices, a flash drive, and some paperwork. Alyssa took the paperwork and started reading.
Zack continued: "Since your Dad is an electrical engineer, I was hoping he could try to reverse engineer it, so we could find a way to shrink that comet! Your family might save humanity! Since your mom and my mom are friends, I knew I could trust you."
Alyssa replied: "It says here, that you shrink someone or something by keying one of the buttons on the sizing scope. Each button corresponds to a particular ratio, so one over seventy-two would reduce a six foot tall man down to an inch tall!"
"I'm just about six feet tall!" said Zack.
"Do you want to volunteer so I can test it out?" Alyssa asked.
"Sure, why not?" said Zack, and he stood up and walked to the center of the living room. Zack gave the thumbs up signal and said, “Rock and roll!"
As soon as Zack held his right thumb up, Alyssa pressed the 1/72 button and pressed the trigger, and Zack was instantly reduced down to an inch tall. Alyssa knelt down and looked at Zack. She lowered the palm of her hand in front of him.
"Step onto my hand, I command you!" said Alyssa.
"You command me?" Zack asked, as he stepped onto her palm. "Alyssa, don't get carried away!" Alyssa rose to a standing position, carefully cupping Zack with her right hand as he stood on her left palm.
"You don't get any say in the matter any more," said Alyssa, "You were stupid for trusting me. I'm keeping you this size, and I'm never showing the shrink ray to my parents, I'm keeping it a secret!"
Alyssa went to the kitchen and got a coffee mug that was too steep for Zack to climb out of, and dropped him in. She carried the mug to her bedroom. She set the mug on her desk, then retrieved the contents of the baggie the shrink ray pistol came in, as well as the neural stimulator. She had a home computer in her bedroom, so she plugged the flash drive into her computer, and began reading.
"It says here that I can key the shrink ray gun to my unique chromosome pattern, so no one else can use it. I think I'll do that!"
Alyssa went to a shelf and got some bubble gum, and opened a piece and began chewing. When it was moist, she followed the directions on the flash drive and hooked up the cable from the charger cord to the shrink ray pistol on one end, and into the USB port on her computer on the other end. She pressed the piece of bubble gum into a sensor on the pistol, and a green light came on.
"Done!" said Alyssa. "According to the instructions, I've successfully programmed the shrink ray to only respond to my DNA pattern!” Alyssa got the bubble gum and put it back in her mouth. "Zack, now that you're my prisoner, let's blow a bubble together!"
Alyssa dumped the inch tall Zack into her hand, and popped him into her mouth. She carefully maneuvered her tongue so she could manipulate the gum without hurting Zack, and tried to blow a bubble with Zack inside the bubble. Zack tried to stay still, but the bubble didn't stay whole for too long, and collapsed around him, so he felt himself being pulled back into Alyssa's mouth by her tongue.
She blew another bubble, and this time, Zack was successfully inside. Alyssa kept blowing the bubble until it popped, then laughed as she dragged Zack back into her mouth with her tongue.
"There's no escape from me!" said Alyssa. "So you're immortal now, right Zack? I wonder how long you can last in my stomach."
"Wait!" said Zack. "That other device is a neural stimulator, it will make you vomit if I'm in your stomach!"
Alyssa pulled Zack out of her mouth with one hand, then shoved Zack back into the coffee mug. She reached over and grabbed the neural stimulator.
"You mean this thingie?"
"Yes!" said Zack. "I don't want to be trapped in your stomach."
Zack tried to untangle himself from the bubble gum that surrounded his body. Alyssa reached in and grabbed him just as he untangled himself. She lifted him above her mouth, and licked her lips while gazing at him.
"How would it feel to end up in the belly of an eleven year old girl?" Alyssa asked.
Before Zack could respond, Alyssa let go of him, and Zack tumbled down onto her tongue. Alyssa closed her mouth around him, and swallowed him! Alyssa lifted her shirt slightly, revealing her belly button, and laughed. She soon directed her attention to the computer, and read up on the theory behind miniaturization. After about ten minutes, she felt she knew enough, and reached for the neural stimulator.
Meanwhile, in the depths of Alyssa's stomach, Zack swam around in her chyme. It was very warm, but the heat of her stomach didn't bother him, because of his immortality. The ten minutes swimming around went by quickly, so when Alyssa aimed the neural stimulator at her head and pulled the trigger, Zack was forced upwards through Alyssa's esophagus, and through her mouth and down and out into a bowl Alyssa had gotten from the kitchen. Alyssa fished Zack out of the vomit.
"So how was it in there?" Alyssa asked.
"Not too bad," said Zack.
"Well, you'd better get used to it!" said Alyssa. "It's going to happen a lot!"
To be Continued!