"Where do you think Nick is?" AJ asked as he slumped upon the sofa. "We're gonna miss this movie if he doesn't get his butt over here soon!"
The boys were currently on a day off from their tour in Brian's hometown and had opted to spend the day as a group chilling out. Tomorrow they would be back on the road and all of them were impatient to make the most of the one day they had.
"Relax," Brian replied, idly spinning a basketball upon his fingers. "He'll be here. He's probably just being mobbed by teenage girls!" he added with a grin.
"How come he gets all the girls!" AJ said.
"Er, perhaps because you're about to get married?" Howie pointed out. "The girls much prefer the single guys, like me!"
There was a sudden knock on the door that caused Brian's dog Tyke to immediately spring up out of his bed and begin rampaging about the room in a frenzy of barking.
"Geez! That thing is insane!" Kevin said, watching as Tyke excitedly scratched at the door growling viciously.
"He's not insane!" Brian replied looking hurt. "He's lovely, aren't you little Tykey?" He leant down to stroke Tyke, but only succeeded in getting his finger bitten. "Ow!"
"Are you gonna get the door or what, B - Rok?" AJ said, plucking Brian's abandoned basketball up from the floor and trying to spin it on his finger in vain.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm a going!" Brian said.
As soon as he stood up Tyke ran to the door yapping again and his claws frantically scratched to find a way through the door.
"Tyke, quit it!" Brian said.
He opened the door and Tyke immediately ran out into the front yard, bounding over the grass and yapping as loud as his small snout would allow him to.
Brian looked about him curiously, seeing nobody in sight.
"Who is it, Brian?" Kevin called.
"No one," Brian replied, his brow furrowing in confusion. "There's no one here."
"Probably kids," Howie suggested turning back to his magazine.
"Wait, there's a parcel on the pavement," Brian said, spying a brown package at the bottom of the path which Tyke was curiously circling.
AJ abandoned his attempts to spin the ball on his index finger and joined Brian by the door. "Well go and open it then!" he said. "Probably from a fan!"
"If it's gummi bears, I'll have them!" Howie said.
"D, you don't like gummi bears anymore! You said you were sick of them!" Kevin replied.
"Yeah, but because I said that nobody has sent me any in months!" Howie protested.
Brian jogged down the path to retrieve the parcel and shook it experimentally. Tyke suddenly gave a whine and dashed back into the house with his tail tucked between his legs.
Brian scrutinised the package but there was no label of even an address.
"Come on, what is it?" Howie asked.
Brian turned and found AJ, Kevin and Howie coming towards him. He shrugged. "I don't know, there isn't a note."
"Just open it? How bad can it be?" AJ said.
Brian carefully began to unravel the string about the parcel and then set about tearing the paper away until he was left with a big, white box. Slowly he lifted the lid and peered inside. "It's a basketball," he said, throwing the lid to the ground.
He frowned slightly. It was definitely unlike any basketball he had ever seen before. It seemed to be throbbing and glowing slightly and it was emitting an odd, humming noise.
"Um, that thing does not sound good," Kevin said.
Brian stared down at it and his eyes widened as he saw that it was beginning to shake and tremble as the hum grew louder. "It's gonna explode!" he cried.
Brian immediately dropped the box and the basketball to the ground before jumping with the others to escape the explosion. As he did, he automatically reached to touch the magical amulet around his neck to give him his superhero powers. Around him, he heard the others change into their own hero forms and then there was a tremendous explosion of green light as the basketball finally exploded with a high pitched whine, followed by the unmistakable sound of malevolent laughter.
"Ow…" AJ said as he slowly opened his eyes and found himself staring up at the bright sky above him. He groaned slightly and closed his eyes as he felt a splitting pain in the back of his head.
"You okay, AJ?" he heard Kevin's voice say.
"I'm alive… I think," AJ replied grimly. "What about Howie?"
"I'm here," Howie replied.
Above them, they heard a man's bellow of laughter. All three of them glanced up and gasped as they saw a bald headed man in a black uniform. They recognised him; it was one of Zator's goons.
"Hello, little Backstreet Boys!" he said, leering down at them.
"Hey, who are you calling little?" AJ said.
"Um…" Howie stared about them uncertainly. "Does that guy seem a little big to anybody else?"
AJ squinted up at the creep and gulped slightly as he realised how big he truly he was. He wasn't just big, he was positively huge or…
"Wait a minute - " Kevin said. "He's not bigger…"
"We're smaller!" Howie exclaimed.
"You've shrunk us!" AJ screeched, suddenly noticing the huge grassy jungle that reared up either side of the path.
The man laughed again. "Well done for noticing!" he said. "I can hardly believe that you actually fell for that parcel trick! Now you're in no condition to resist me! You can't stop me from taking the amulets to Zator and being rewarded!"
"But I can!" Brian's voice suddenly called. "I'm too quick for you!"
"Brian!" AJ called, staring up at the sky and seeing the huge shadow of their friend as he leapt towards Zator's goon, a glowing energy ball ready to throw in his hands. Somehow he had managed to dodge the exploding shrink ray!
Zator's man turned and gave a bellow of rage as he saw Brian came hurtling towards him. He sneered and suddenly seized a gun from his belt. "That's what you think, Backwards Boy!"
A thin stream of green light suddenly erupted from the gun and struck Brian in the chest causing him to cry out in pain.
"Brian!" Kevin yelled. He quickly turned to Howie. "Howie, use your illusionary powers to help him somehow!"
Howie immediately placed his hands to his head and concentrated hard, but nothing happened. He did not even feel the usual surge of energy that normally ran through his body when he used his powers. "It's not working!" he cried in frustration.
"Hang on, I'll do something!" AJ said, pulling his light beam blasters from his belt. He aimed them at Zator's ugly creep and squeezed the triggers, but only two, tiny weak beams emerged from the ends which only served to make the goon laugh.
"Brian!" Kevin called.
Brian seemed to be frozen inside of the green beam that still screeched from the bald man's gun. Brian cried out in pain and the other boys watched in horror as he began to shrink. He became smaller and smaller until he was no more than the size of a man's hand.
Zator's man laughed maniacally and ceased firing his weapon. The green light that had engulfed Brian a few moments ago suddenly disappeared. Brian screamed as he suddenly began to fall towards the ground. At his normal height, he would only have fallen a few feet which would have left him bruised at the most. However, now that he had been shrunk to only a few centimetres high the distance was now much larger and he would almost certainly be killed on impact with the ground.
"BRIAN!" Kevin yelled.
Howie desperately placed his hands to his head again, trying to force his powers to help Brian somehow.
"Give me the amulets now or watch your friend die!" Zator's man hissed.
"Guys, don't!" the tiny Brian squeaked as he tumbled through the air, ever closer to the ground.
"Give the amulets to me now!" the creep roared.
"Hang on! I'm coming!" a voice called.
A black cloaked figure was suddenly flying up the path. He knocked the goon to the ground with a single sweep of his swords and then leapt up to catch Brian in his hand.
"Nick!" Kevin cried, recognising their ninja friend.
"Wow! Thanks, Nick!" Brian said, hanging on tightly to his friend's hand.
"Woohoo! Go Nick!" Howie cheered.
"About time you showed up, Ninjaman!" AJ called.
"You're not going to get away!" Zator's creep roared, pulling himself to the his feet. "Those amulets will be mine!" He glared at Nick. "Give me your amulet or I will squish your comrades!"
Nick carefully placed Brian on his shoulder to free his second hand and reached for his second sword. "You go near them and I'll kill you!" Nick threatened, raising his swords ready to fight.
"How can you stop me?" Zator's man sneered. He raised his foot and positioned it above AJ, Kevin and Howie. "One step and they're gone. Give me your amulet and the others too, and I'll let you go."
"Guys, come on!" Kevin said, seizing AJ's and Howie's arms. "We've got to hide!"
"Hurry!" Howie cried, as they stumbled intot he grass just in time to avoid the creep's boot as he stamped down heavily onto the path.
"Wow, that was close!" AJ said as the three of them ducked into the jungle of grass stems and daisies.
"Aack! I've lost them!" the creep spat.
"Leave them alone!" Nick said, leaping forward with his swords. "Nobody tries to hurt my friends!"
The goon stumbled backwards along the path and Nick could see the glimmer of fear in his eyes as he raised his swords again. The goon suddenly pulled out his gun again and pointed it at Nick.
"Nick, watch out!" Brian called from his shoulder. "He's going to try and shrink you!"
Nick immediately dived out of the way and fell onto the grass of Brian's front yard, just as the green shrink ray sliced through the air where he had just been standing.
"Nick, watch out!" a tiny voice from below hissed.
Nick glanced down and spotted Howie, AJ and Kevin hiding in the grass. He had only just avoided squashing them.
"Uh, sorry!" he mumbled.
"Nick!" Brian said, clutching tightly to his ninja cloak on his shoulder. "You've got to stop him quick! If he shrinks you, we're finished!"
"Yeah, hurry up and do something!" AJ shouted in a high pitched squeaky voice.
"Get his gun!" Kevin said.
Nick nodded and rolled to his right to avoid another blast from the creep's shrink gun, careful to avoid his friends. He jumped to his feet and lashed out with his swords. He heard the startled cry of the goon as the gun slid from his hands.
Quickly Nick leant down and grabbed the shrink gun before the man could seize it again.
"It's over, buddy!" Nick said. "Just go!"
"Yeah, you heard him!" Brian squeaked bravely from his shoulder, waving his fist in the air.
"Ow!" Nick said, placing a hand to his ear. "Don't squeak in my ear like that, Brian!"
"Sorry!" Brian mumbled.
"I've got to get you back to normal! You sound too weird like that!" He turned back to Zator's man. "Now leave!"
"Not until I have the amulets for Zator!" the man hissed. He suddenly tapped a small button on his belt. "I need back up here!" he said.
Suddenly Nick felt the ground beginning to tremble beneath his feet. He heard the startled, high-pitched cries of his shrunken friends.
"What's that?" Howie shrieked.
"Uh oh," Brian said, ducking into a fold in Nick's cloak.
Nick turned around and gasped as he saw a huge droid standing at the bottom of the path. It was almost three times as tall as him and it's black armour glistened in the light. It's long , thin legs ended in great chunks of green metal and it's green arms were tipped with long, vicious claws.
"One of Zator's robots!" Kevin cried out. "Nick be careful!"
"Let's see you fight through this one!" the goon laughed. "Droid! Get the amulets and bring them to me! Then kill the boys!"
Nick felt his mouth drop open. He had fought a similar droid before, but that had taken the powers of all five of them to bring it down. How was he supposed to do it alone?
"Nick! Un -shrink us with the gun!" AJ yelled at him, dashing out onto the path, closely followed by Kevin and Howie.
"No you don't!" Zator's man suddenly snatched the gun from Nick's hands. "I'll take that! Droid, kill him!"
"Nick, get out of the way!" Brian said.
Nick turned and saw the droid about to bring one of it's long arms down upon him. He gulped and jumped out of the way just in time. There was a huge crack as the paving stone cracked beneath the blow of the droid.
AJ and the others squeaked slightly and then scurried back into the grass away from the droid. Zator's man merely laughed as he prepared to watch the defeat of Nick and the others.
"Come on! We've got to help Nick!" Kevin said. "He can't fight that thing alone!" He quickly began to push his way through the grass towards the path again.
"Yeah, but we can't do a lot when we're like this!" Howie pointed out.
"I've got an idea!" Kevin replied. "Quick, we have to get to that droid!"
"Preferably without getting squashed!" AJ added.
Nick gulped slightly and backed away as the droid prepared to bring it's arm down a second time. Nick held his swords tightly in his hands and brought them down upon the huge metal arm of the droid. There was the screeching of tortured metal and the droid buzzed angrily and withdrew it's arm, which now had a huge, deep gash within it which crackling wires protruded from.
"Go on, Nick!" Brian cheered.
"I told you to quit squeaking like that!" Nick hissed, jumping out of the way as the droid brought it's arm crashing down again.
Zator's man chuckled evilly from behind them. "You'll never defeat it alone boy! You're nothing without your friends! Nothing!"
Nick grimaced slightly as he felt the path tremble beneath his feet under the footsteps of the droid as it thumped closer towards him. It raised it's hand and reached down to pluck Nick from the ground.
"Aargh!" Nick madly tried to use his hands to stop the hand from seizing him like a toy, but no matter how hard he brought his swords down upon the droid's fingers, it did not stop.
He felt the metallic fingers tighten about his waist and he screamed in agony as it crushed his waist. From below he could hear the bellows of laughter from Zator's man as he witnessed Nick's pain.
"Brian, it hurts!" he gasped, as the fingers proceeded to crush him more. " I - I can't… aargh!" he screamed in agony.
Brian covered his ears as the loud scream reached his tiny, sensitive ears. He patted his friend on the neck. "I'll help you!" he promised. "Just hang on in there!"
He jumped down from Nick's shoulder, crying out slightly as he felt his tiny body smack into the metal fingers. Quickly he scrambled to his feet and used his top speed powers, now noticeably reduced, to move as fast as he could towards the mouth of the droid.
It spotted him out of the corner of one of it's red eyes and opened his mouth to give a robotic laugh. Brian covered his ears again as the terrible cry echoed about his skull before leaping into the monster's mouth.
"Brian!" Nick screamed, as he saw the droid firmly close it's mouth, sealing his friend away inside. He gasped again as he felt the fingers grow even tighter. Tears of pain were beginning to form in his eyes, He could feel the bones inside of him ready to break and splinter and he could barely breathe…
"Do you give up?" Zator's creep sneered from below.
Nick desperately wriggled in the vice grip of the droid to try and free his arms so that he could attack again with his swords. Suddenly the droid's fingers loosened and Nick felt himself slipping out of the robotic hand and falling heavily to the floor. He groaned slightly as he felt his head connect with a paving stone.
"Kill him!" Zator's man screamed. "And take his amulet!"
"What are we doing?!" AJ said as Kevin led them closer to the gigantic droid. "One wrong step and we'll be flatter than a pizza!"
"We have to find a way inside! Maybe we can stop it!" Kevin replied. He suddenly leapt up from the side of the path and straight onto the foot of the droid. Being so small, it did not even notice him there. "Come on, we've got to help Nick!"
"And quickly!" Howie added. "He's not doing so well up there!" He gulped as he watched the droid bring it's arm down again to try and crush Nick beneath the weight of it's metal fist.
AJ followed Kevin's lead and clambered up onto the huge, metal foot before extending a hand to help Howie up.
"Gargh!" AJ yelled as the droid suddenly took a step forward. "Hold on, boys!" Grimly he held on tightly to a small metal bar that protruded from the top of the foot. Beside him he could see Howie's knuckles turning white with the effort.
Finally the droid ceased it's movement and they heard a bellowing cry from above.
"That's Nick!" Howie exclaimed.
"In here," Kevin said gesturing to a small hole beside a screw. "We can squeeze inside!"
The three of them swiftly wriggled through the tiny opening.
AJ looked about him curiously and saw a maze of wires, springs, circuit boards and huge bolts looming above him. "Woah! This is awesome!"
Suddenly the entire body of the droid seemed to shake as if it were moving again. AJ swore as he felt himself fall onto Howie.
"Ouch!" Howie complained. "Watch it!"
"Sorry!" AJ said, getting up off of his friend. The droid shook again and this time he held onto a blue wire that dangled from ahead like a jungle creeper. "What now?"
"Now we trash it and hope we can do enough damage in time to save Nick!" Kevin said, seizing a wire and pulling tightly until he had wrenched it free. Immediately it began to crackle and spit sparks at them angrily.
AJ and Howie quickly copied him, each of them reaching up to grasp the creeping wires that wrapped about each other like snakes.
"Do you really think this is gonna help?" Howie said. "There's thousands of wires up here and we can't reach all of them!"
"I've got an idea. My guns were no use against Zator's geek, but they might do some damage to these thin wires!" AJ's hands went to his belt to pull his guns out and he aimed into the wiry forest above them and fired.
Howie and Kevin watched as the bright beams of light blasted up into the darkness, searing through the wires and even scoring across chunks of metal machinery. Each time the light beams connected with anything important, a huge explosion of fiery red sparks flew up into the air and there would be an ominous screech from various pieces of machinery.
"That'll do it!" Kevin said with a grin.
"Hey! Stop trying to kill me!!" a familiar voice from above screamed.
"Brian?" Howie said. "What are you doing up there?"
"Just stop damn well firing before I lose my head!" Brian shouted back.
AJ immediately ceased the barrage of light beams and replaced his guns in his belt. He raised his head to stare up above them. "Brian, where are you?"
Brian's head suddenly peeked out from behind a huge screw high above them. "Here," he replied.
"How did you get in here?" Kevin asked.
"Through the mouth. What are you guys doing in here? This was my idea!" Brian said.
"Great minds think alike," AJ quoted.
"AJ, there's nothing great about your mind!" Brian pointed out.
"Guys, we've got to help Nick!" Howie said, pulling another wire free from it's socket. "And quick!"
"Right o," Brian said. He extended his hand and a ball of orange energy began to form. Slowly it shrank until it formed a small fireball and then he threw it above him and into the machinery of the droid. Above them came the scream of crumpling metal before a small shower of debris rained down upon them.
"I think that should do it!" Brian said, dodging a small chunk of red metal. "Let's get out of here quick!" He grabbed a remaining wire with his hands and pulled it away from one of the sockets so that it dangled like a rope down to the others. He scrambled down the green wire and dropped down below them.
"How do we get out?" he asked as he ducked to avoid a splatter of green sparks from a wire hissing angrily overhead.
"Yeah, this thing doesn't sound good!" Howie said as everything about them buzzed and began to shake. "Or feel good!"
"The hole, quick!" Kevin said, dashing towards the opening they had crawled through earlier.
There was a sudden explosion from above them and the whole droid shook crazily, throwing all four boys to their feet.
"Hurry!" AJ said, pushing himself to his feet and helping Brian to pull himself up.
The droid began to tremble and shake madly like some crazy fairground ride and they could hear the thumps of it's heavy feet pummelling the ground beneath them.
Quickly, all four wriggled out of the opening and back onto the giant droid's foot. Sure enough, the droid was madly stampeding about the yard, throwing up clumps of grass and soil as it did. Suddenly it stopped and they heard an unnatural screeching noise coming from the droid's mouth.
"What now?" Howie said.
AJ glanced about them and then at the shaking droid and the sparks that were beginning to fly from every crack and crevice. "We jump!" he shouted.
Nick's could feel the sweat dribbling down his face. He gulped slightly and spat a small globule of blood onto the path in front of him.
"You may take my amulet, but you'll never find the others! Your shrink ray shrunk the amulets as well as them! They can hide from you and you'll never get the amulets!" Nick said.
"We'll see about that. Zator will find them and kill - "
Zator's man froze as the screeching noise reached his ears. Nick winced slightly as he felt the sound cut right through his mind. Even Brian's squeaky voice had not been as painful as this! He looked up and saw that the droid's mouth was open again and that a huge cloud of black smoke was beginning to billow out from it, followed by a small shower of sparks.
"GGGGGRZZZZZZZZZZZZ! FLLLLLLLLLLKKKKKKKKKK!" Another strange sound came from the droid and was rapidly followed by a cough of purple smoke.
It suddenly began to stamp about the grass emitting more odd sounds and Nick was certain that he could hear explosions inside of it.
It froze and opened its mouth again to emit a high pitched squeal that forced both Nick and the goon to cover their ears. Nick stared at the droid and saw that smoke was now beginning to creep from between each individual sheet of metal that made up its armoured body. It gave another screech and then it exploded in a huge fiery mess of yellow and purpled light that almost blinded Nick.
Nick instinctively covered himself with his black ninja's cloak and covered his head as he heard the chunks of the droid landing about the yard.
’I hope the guys are okay,’ he prayed silently. What if Brian had still been in there?
Eventually he raised his head and coughed in the dust and smoke that now filled the air. He glanced to his right and saw the bald headed man lying upon the path groaning. Nick stammered to his feet and limped over to him before snatching the shrink ray from his opponent.
"I'll take that!" he said. He raised it and pointed it at the goon upon the floor.
"W - what are you doing?" the creep stammered suddenly looking up and seeing Nick with his gun.
"This is for messing with me and my friends! See how you like it!" Nick smiled a farewell before firing the electric green beam at the man.
"NO!" Zator's man shrieked. "No!" But his protests became more higher pitched as he slowly shrunk until he was only a few inches tall. "Zator will kill me!" he squeaked.
"That's your problem not mine," Nick replied, pocketing the gun.
He stared about the yard anxiously at the chunks of droid that now filled it. Where were the others?
"Brian!" he called. "Guys! Where are you?" He could feel his heart rapidly beating in his chest. If anything had happened to them…
"Down here!" a squeaky voice called that sounded a little like Howie's.
Nick smiled in relief and stepped forward, peering into the grass below him.
"Watch where you're going you big lunk!" another voice squealed.
"Uh, sorry!" Nick apologised, stepping back again. He carefully crouched down until he spotted all four of them sheltering beneath a bent and torn piece of metal debris. "You guys okay?" he asked.
"Yeah!" AJ said. "We got out just before it exploded! Better than the fourth of July, huh?"
Nick grinned at them. "You're not hurt?"
"Hurt? You can't get hurt when you're like this!" Brian said. "You can only get splatted or squashed!"
"How did you stop the droid?" he asked.
"We snuck inside!" Howie said. "And then we pulled out the wires and trashed it!"
"And then it exploded!" Brian concluded proudly.
"Uh huh, I think I saw that part!" Nick replied. "Thanks guys, you saved my life1 I thought I was going to get crushed!"
"You thought you were gonna get crushed?" AJ said. "You're not the one who's like six inches tall! How the hell do you think we felt?!"
"Can you please change us back now?" Kevin said.
Nick tilted his head at them. "I dunno, you guys look kinda sweet all tiny like that!" He grinned slightly.
"Sweet? I'll give you sweet!" AJ suddenly pulled his miniature guns from his belt and fired a small beam of light at Nick's finger.
"Ow!" Nick said, sucking his finger as he felt the tiny stab of pain, more like an insect bite then anything else.
"Back to normal now or I start shooting in other places, mister!" AJ fumed.
"All right, all right!" Nick slowly stood back up and examined the shrink gun. He pressed a few buttons and turned a green dial. "I think this'll work," he said.
"You think? I don't wanna get any smaller!" Howie said.
"Howie, I don't think we can get any smaller!" Kevin replied.
"Okay, here goes!" Nick aimed the gun at his friends and fired. The green beam engulfed all four of them in it's light and then slowly they began to grow bigger and bigger, until finally they were back to their original size.
Nick smiled and placed the gun back in his pocket. He could definitely have some fun with it on tour when the guys next picked on him… but they didn't have to know about it…
"Woah! We're back to normal!" Brian cheered, his voice now back to it's usual volume. "I thought I was gonna have to stay a shrimp forever!"
"Brian, you are a shrimp!" Nick said good - naturedly leaning upon his best friend's shoulder.
"Brian, look what's happened to your yard!" Kevin said, gesturing about the lawn which was now covered with junk from the droid.
"Oh well, I've been meaning to do some gardening for ages, I guess now I don't have an excuse," Brian sighed staring about the ground. "What happened to Zator's creep?"
"I shrank him, " Nick said simply. "He'll be around somewhere."
"I wonder if I can get him with weed killer," Brian said evilly.
"Who cares? He can't do anything," AJ said. "Come on guys, let's go inside and clean up. It's gonna take me years to clean this coat." He glanced down at his brown coat which was now torn in most places and covered in black patches of soot.
"Yeah, then we can catch our movie!" Howie said.
Slowly the guys turned and returned to Brian's house. Now their job as super heroes was done, they could go back to being ordinary people, or at least as ordinary as they could get with being Backstreet Boys.
Zator's creep meanwhile, sat beneath a daisy, his head in his hands. "I hope Zator splats you one day, Backstreet Boys," he said.
Suddenly he heard a deep growl from above him. He looked up and found himself face to face with a brown, baldish brown dog snout. "What are you looking at, Buster?" he snapped, throwing a small lump of soil at the dog.
Tyke growled again and tilted his head, anxious to get a better look at the strange bug that had invaded his master's garden.
"Push off!" the man squeaked again.
Tyke growled again and then lowered his head eagerly.
"Uh oh," Zator's man said as he suddenly realised what the dog was going to do. "Nononononono! Niiiiiiiiiice doggy! Niiiiice - ! Aargh!"
Tyke happily swallowed the bug and then wagged his tail before dashing off back to the house to join his master and his friends. He could explore the weird lumps in the garden later.
If you want to send me feedback on any of my stories, or if you want to use this story on your own website or adapt it to another fandom then drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll talk about it.