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Small Expectations













Scene opens to Agent Daisy Johnson and Director Mackenzie at the S.H.I.E.L.D. Lighthouse. "I am still not convinced we can trust these two..." Daisy says to Mack, "I mean, they were criminals on the street, then they were brought in for, what, a year and half before S.H.I.E.L.D. fell? And their recruiting officer turned out to be high-ranking Hydra and their supervising officer became the head of the Watchdogs? I'm just saying... these guys seem to be opportunists and I don't know what opportunity they'll take next."

"I know they've got a dodgy past, but Coulson's been trusting them ever since he rebuilt S.H.I.E.L.D. and every time they've pulled through. Being opportunists is a big reason why they've been able to pull so much intel and find our allies scattered all over the world, for us. Plus, being opportunists is exactly why we need to keep them employed and feeling valuable here."

The door to their office opens and Agent Melinda May comes in. "They've arrived."

Mack, "Send them in", and May nods and disappears through the door again

Beat

Agent May returns and finds a spot in the back corner of the room. Behind are Benjamin Pollack and Claire Wise.

"Agent Pollack, Agent Wise, welcome back" Mack greets them.

"Please, call me Benny!"

"Please, call me Agent Wise!"

"What do you have for us?"

"Well, we've been getting close to Mitchell Carson for the last little while. Ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. Head of Defense, ex-Hydra, when that was a thing - thanks guys - and ex-BFF with Darren Cross," Claire starts. "Carson's been in the wind for the past few years, since he crossed Cross and crossed off with the Cross Particles."

"Why's he been in the wind, with such valuable tech?" Daisy asks.

Benny, "The tech is too hot. Almost no one wants to touch it, and those that do have no idea how the damn stuff works. That's where we come in!"

"That's where you come in?" Daisy interrupts again, skeptically.

"I told him I do!"

"And do you?"

"Not a clue!! Well... no, well, sort of," Benny says with a proud smile. "We at nu-S.H.I.E.L.D. know a little bit more about Ant-Man and Pym then anyone did before... I've got a little something up my sleeve.

"I already know you've been working Carson, so what's new? Why are you here now?" Mack interjects.

"Carson's started getting active again. We're not sure if its because he thinks things will be picking up, since he added Benny Banner here, or if he's just getting restless. But he's expanding," Claire says as she tosses two intel files on the table. Daisy and Mack pick up the files and begin looking. "Jack Rollins. Ex-S.T.R.I.K.E. team member under Brock Romlow. Top marks in combat, and good with a gun. Taken in by Romanoff after the Battle at the Triskelion... And Marcus Scarlotti. Ex-Hydra, under Whitehall. Top marks in combat, and good with a... knife...whip-?"

"And brought in by me." May's interest piques and she moves closer, "And that knife-whip was a pain in the ass. But we gave him over to Talbot. How did Carson get to him?"

"With S.H.I.E.L.D. unofficial, the US Government was holding both Rollins and Scarlotti in special confinement. But you handed him over to Colonel Glenn Talbot. And Brigadier General Talbot handed the oversight over to someone else. We think Talbot's promotion and ultimate demise provided an in for Carson." Claire responded.

"Carson got an in, and now they're both out..." Daisy adds, frustrated.

"Carson's definitely getting bolder," Mack speaks up." I don't want you two getting involved with those two at all. I'm not looking for anything great or grandiose or heroic. You keep Carson on your good side and keep playing your roles. Let us know if he makes anymore moves and keep Carson hooked with those old Pym particle disks I got my hands on for you to tinker with, until we know more."

"Yes sir." "Yes sir." And Benny and Claire head out of the office.

Beat

Daisy, "Why don't we get particle disks!?"

Cut to

Benny and Claire walk into a large warehouse, and approach three men, standing behind a table. Carson is standing there smiling, flanked by Rollins and Scarlotti, not smiling. 

"Benny! Claire! How are my dynamic duo doing?" Carson greets them. Rollins stares them down hard. "Lots of progress I hope!" 

"Carson, these two are S.H.I.E.L.D. I've seen them both around the Triskelion, and I can smell it on them..." 

Benny and Claire become a little nervous and anxious. Sweat on Benny's brown, and Claire's fists tighten. 

Beat

"Mr. Rollins... relax." Carson replies calmly, "I am fully aware of these two's pasts. Ms. Wise developed quite the no-nonsense attitude under Agent Blake, while Mr. Pollack became a talented scientist under Agent Sitwell, and helped us develop many of our Hydra weapons...! And now they're going to help us develop something even greater now." Carson's smile grows. "Or should I say something even smaller?"

Relief comes over Benny and Claire (though guilt flashes in Benny's eyes too) and Rollins stands down. 

"Now, Benny, Claire," Carson continues, still calm and smiling. "I think you were about to say something?" 

"Yes... well, yes," Benny starts, still a little nervous, "I think I've made progress on something..." and he pulls out a red particle disk. Carson looks intrigued. 

"Well that looks just like one of Pym's..! Does it work just like one of Pym's?" 

"Well... no. I mean, I don't know... sir. It's just a prototype and I haven't been able to test it because I don't have the Pym particles." 

"Well fortunately for you..." Carson pulls out a small vial of his Cross particles serum, and wiggles it gingerly, almost tauntingly. 

"I really don't think we should... I really don't think its ready-" 

"Nonsense!" Carson interjects with a nefarious smile, and Scarlotti roughly grabs the disk from Benny's hand, and passes it to Carson. 

Carson puts the disk on the table in front of him and opens up a small compartment on the disk. He then opens up the vial and pours a minuscule drop of the Cross particle serum into the disk, and closes everything back up. He picks up the disk in one hand, the vial in his other, and closely examines the disk for a minute, before aggressively whipping it at the table. 

Instantly the table disappears! Claire takes a step back, Benny jumps, and even Rollins and Scarlotti flinch backwards. Only Carson remains unphased, but he is pleased. It takes a quick second for Benny and Claire to realize, but the table didn't actually disappear, but instead, on the floor, in the centre of where it used to be is a thumbtack-sized miniature table. 

Benny begins laughing and giggling in shock, relief, surprise, and pride. But that disappears as Carson gestures to Scarlotti, who pulls out a black hard plastic carrying case. 

"Perfect" Carson says, eyes glowing, "Now we can begin to move forward!" 

Benny and Claire watch uneasily as Scarlotti opens the case and pulls out what looks like a space helmet. 

"Hermetically sealed with it's own oxygen supply; thick metal to protect the skull; something about stopping the particles from messing with the brain chemicals... I don't know, Cross and Pym talked a lot! ...You didn't think you were the only scientists working for me did you??" Carson smiles nefariously again. "You're a no non-sense adventurer Claire, why don't you give it a try?" And he takes the helmet from Scarlotti and holds it out for Claire. 

"The suit! What about a suit?? That's just a helmet!" Benny jumps in. 

"A formality! Mostly used to keep Pym warm and protect him from road rash and bruises. The helmet will control your blood pressure and breathing Ms. Wise..." 

"What about the controls?? To get big again! Those are always in the suit too!" Benny tries again. 

"You are the scientist! That's why you are here! To figure out how to make her big again!" Carson holds the helmet out a little further, and Rollins reaches for his gun, "I don't think you realize, Mr. Pollack, this is not a request..." 

Claire tentatively reaches for the helmet, but as she does a small explosion goes off right next to the group and a gun shot rings out as smoke fills the area. 

Carson falls to the ground, shot and injured, but alive. The helmet drops, and the vial rolls out of his hand in the commotion. 

Through the smoke a figure emerges. Scarlotti grabs his knife-whip and Rollins raises his gun as Jackson Norriss steps forward. 

"I wouldn't do that if I were you" Norriss says with his gun already locked onto Carson's head. His raised arm revealing a Ten Rings tattoo on his forearm. 

Beat

"You made some very important people unhappy when you stole that vial, Mitchell. Some very, very important people, and now they want what you have." Norriss takes a step closer to Carson, who is bleeding out of a gunshot wound in his side. "I have got to say, you did a really good job hiding all this time, popping up like a groundhog here and there, and covering your tracks when your deals fell through; it took me a long time to find you." He steps forward again. "I should really thank these S.H.I.E.L.D. agents you unknowingly let in for leading me right to you! 

"Oh... you didn't actually trust them, did you? You thought... Oh, Mitchell! I thought you of all people would know what deceit looks like by now!" Norriss laughs and Carson scowls at Benny and Claire, who are frozen in place. 

Rollins retrains his gun on Benny and Claire. 

"Ah, ah, ah! I think I might be wanting them, myself!" Norriss redirecting his own gun at Rollins. 

Scarlotti sees this distraction as his chance to strike. Lashing out with his knife-whip at Norriss. Norriss turns, just too late, firing his gun at Carson, but hitting him in the shoulder, and getting the brunt of the blade across his bicep, sending the gun flying. Norriss charges in towards Scarlotti to close the gap, knowing the quick whip has the advantage with more distance between them. 

A mad scramble ensues as Norriss takes on both Rollins and Scarlotti in close-combat. 

In the chaos, the vial is still laying on the floor, a small distance away. Benny makes a play to go for it and picks it up. But as he does, Scarlotti's knife is knocked from his hand, and Norriss knocks him to the ground. From his prone position, Scarlotti eyes Benny picking up the vial. He disengages from the fight and charges after Benny, trying to stop him. 

Right as Scarlotti is on top of Benny, Claire surprises him with a sweeping kick that knocks Scarlotti to the ground, and hits him with a right-cross across his face. 

"Red disk!" She yells to Benny, as she ducks aside and grabs the helmet off the floor as well as Norriss' discarded gun. 

Benny quickly preps the red disk as she slides the helmet over Scarlotti's head, and without hesitation, Benny throws the disk at his limp body. Just as suddenly, he's gone and replaced with an ant-sized version of himself. 

Benny looks down at the miniature Scarlotti, "It's alright Pip! We'll save you from Mrs. Joe!" 

Claire scoops Scarlotti up, grabs Benny by the arm, and runs towards the exit, as Benny giggles excitedly at the little Scarlotti. 

Rollins, with an upperhand over Norriss just for the moment, finally clues into what's happened as he sees Benny and Claire halfway to the door. He clocks Norriss, and drops him to the floor, picks up a gun and chases after the two agents. 

Norriss grabs Scarlotti's nearby whip. "I said I wanted them!" Norriss yells angrily as he lashes out the whip, tripping up Rollins and making him face plant. Norriss now runs after the two agents, kicking away Rollins gun as he goes by. 

Benny and Claire make it through the exit, and into an adjacent hallway, but Norriss is close behind. They turn a corner and he's still close behind, closer even. They turn into another corridor and he's closer still. Claire shoots blindly behind her with two shots, hoping to hit him, but misses. He's now 15 feet behind them. 

She fires again, and catches him right in the side, dropping him. Gravely wounded, Norriss retreats, slinking off to lick his wounds and live to fight another day. But nearly immediately, almost like clockwork, Rollins appears again, charging down the corridor. 

"Quick! In here!" Claire yells to Benny, and pulls him through an open doorway into an adjacent lab. "Help me block the doorway with this" she says, gesturing to a large blue plastic barrel in the lab. 

"It's like 3 feet tall! That'll hardly stop him - he'll climb over it in like 2 seconds," but he helps her anyway. 

"Blue disk!" she shouts, with a quick eyeroll, and that all she needs to say for Benny to get to work. 

Rollins is nearly at the doorway now, and sees the easy prey just standing there, seemingly scared stiff, with their barrel as their only defense, and, as Claire predicted, he immediately begins to the climb the heavy barrel. 

"Now!" Claire shouts, and Benny throws his blue disk at the barrel. 

The barrel immediately grows in size, wedging itself in the doorway, and lifting Rollins off the ground and pinning him to the top of the door frame, immobilized. 

The two catch their breath, but Benny's childlike smile doesn't leave his face. 

"Try not to get too attached to those" Claire says, eyeing Benny and the disks, and pulling out a burner phone, and pressing a button. 

Beat 

"Director? Yeah, you told us to call you when we knew more... well... I think we know a little more" she says into the phone, while looking down at the miniature Scarlotti in her hand.  

Credits

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