ysabetwordsmith: (Schrodinger's Heroes)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This story fills a square on my second card for the [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo fest. This fest encourages people to create and share material focused on what is variously called fluff, schmoop, gentle fiction, light reading, comfort reading, positive thinking, chicken soup for the soul, or anything else that offers a fun alternative to usual run of sex, violence, and angst of modern media. I'm hoping to attract some new readers for my writing.

The following story belongs to Schrodinger's Heroes, featuring an apocryphal television show supported by an imaginary fandom. It's science fiction about quantum physics and saving the world from alternate dimensions. It features a very mixed cast in terms of ethnicity and sexual orientation. This project developed with input from multiple people, and it's open for everyone to play in. You can read more about the background, the characters, and a bunch of assorted content on the menu page.

Begin with Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.  Skip to Part 7.  This is a crossover with the Hulk from The Avengers. So it doesn't match up exactly with the various Hulk movies, and Bruce Banner is played by Mark Ruffalo. The story goes into alternate-universe mode after the lab accident while Bruce is running from General Ross but before Bruce meets any of the Avengers.


Fandom: Hulk / The Avengers / Original (Schrodinger's Heroes)
Prompt: Safe
Medium: Story
Summary: Bruce Banner, on the run in America, seeks help from his college lab partner Alex. She is not happy that people have left him in such a shabby state, and decides to get more involved than Bruce intended.
Content Notes: Hurt/comfort. Angst. Advanced science. Bruce and Alex are science buddies. Fragile!Bruce. Protective!Alex. Cuddling. Teamwork. Ross!whump. Safe ending.


"Safe Keeping" Part 5


At the sound of his name, the black cat stood up briefly, rubbed his head under Bruce's chin, then curled up in his lap again. "He's very relaxing," Bruce said. "That's ... good. I need to stay relaxed, and not get angry."

"Being a cat is relaxing," Chris said.

"How would you know?" Bruce asked.

"Oh, we've all gotten turned into cats a few times," Chris said. "I'm a cream tabby, Alex is kind of a smooth champagne color, Bailey is a brown tabby, Morgan's a calico ..."

"Sometimes the Teferact imports traits from other dimensions and imposes them on the core team in this eigenspace," Alex explained. "It took me a while to work out the equations to change us all back."

"... while you were a cat," Bruce said.

"Well, nobody else was going to figure it out," Alex said.

"I really need to stop complaining about my lab accident," Bruce muttered.

"I wonder what kind of cat General Ross would turn into," Ash mused.

"Pole," Chris said instantly, and Ash burst out laughing.

"What?" Bruce said, frowning in confusion. Science he knew quite thoroughly, but his grasp of slang was more erratic.

"Polecat," Ash explained, "a skunk."

Bruce chuckled. "Yeah. That figures."

"So we'll deal with him, and he won't be able to bother you anymore," Ash said.

"You don't have to," Bruce said. "I just feel like I'm dumping a problem on you."

"That's what we're here for," Ash said.

"Bruce ... you survived a lab accident, escaped from a psychotic general, made your way to a trusted friend, and warned us about said psycho," said Alex. "Now you think you're being a Disney princess because you couldn't solve the whole mess all by yourself?"

"Well, when you put it like that, I guess I didn't do too badly," Bruce admitted.

"You wanna help, tell us his strengths and weaknesses," Chris said. "That Ross sounds about as dumb as a box of hammers, but that doesn't make him harmless."

"Okay," Bruce said. He pulled his glasses off and polished them on his shirttail, which Alex noted wasn't much cleaner. "He's suspicious and touchy. He doesn't trust people, which means he doesn't always listen to the help he gets. He loves heavy artillery and a frontal assault. He can set up a devious plan, but it'll be somebody else's plan made to his order. He really knows weaponry. He's very effective at destroying targets. He's tough -- you could back a truck over him, and he'd get up to tear off the bumper with his teeth. Sometimes he'll come in soft, though, if he thinks he can convince people to go along with him. He lies without hesitation, but he's easy to fool. I think he just doesn't have a good grip on the truth anymore, if he ever did." Bruce put his glasses back on. "And yes, General Ross is as dumb as a box of hammers. Plastic ones."

Chris roared with laughter. Alex just savored the small impish smile on her friend's face.

"What about other people besides General Ross?" Bailey prompted. "Does he keep the same troop or switch around? Are they devoted to him personally, or just following orders? How much official contact or backup does he usually have?"

"He has a core group of people who ... like what he lets them do," Bruce said. "Those have accrued over time, and you don't want them to catch you. They're dangerous people. He can get extra soldiers if wants them, but he prefers seasoned men who don't ask questions. He's still connected with the Army but ... he's very invested in plausible deniability, so he's kind of on the fringes. Sometimes his superiors try to hobble him with soldiers who will refuse illegal or unethical orders. General Ross doesn't hesitate to divert them so he can still do what he pleases and claim all the glory for himself."

Ash gave a frigid little laugh. "Let's hope he sends Reno and Benteen the long way around, then," she said. "We can get rid of him and his sadistic cavalry."

"I, um, don't recall those names from General Ross' personnel," Bruce said.

"Historical reference," Pat said. "Ash just compared Ross to the dumbest officer in American history."

"Can't argue with that one," Bruce said.

Alex viewed the conversation like a field of vortex trails in a cloud chamber, circles and spirals and veering tangents. Then she gathered the threads and said, "All right, we have direct and indirect plans for dealing with General Ross. Now let's discuss options for keeping Bruce safe. He asked for help getting to Mexico, which I'm willing to provide -- but I'm not sure that will suffice."

"It should be plenty, especially with General Ross out of the picture," Bruce said.

"You'll need papers, not just a plane ride," Quinn said. "We know someone who's good at forgery, but it would take a little time -- hours, maybe a day to get Midge here and make what you need."

"Yeah, that would help," Bruce said.

"Based on the records I cracked into, General Ross and his troop of thugs are not the only people who know about the results of your lab accident," Ash observed.

"Well, yeah ... the Other Guy is kinda hard to hide," Bruce said.

"I could, with some effort, wipe all the electronic records. Human minds are a different story. So there would probably still be people who could threaten you, even if Ross did get himself kicked off the planet," Ash said.

Bruce sighed. "I guess I didn't think about that part. We'll have to factor them into the equation."

"Or we could simply go around the whole problem," Morgan said quietly. "You could consider leaving this dimension altogether."


[To be continued in Part 6 ...]

(no subject)

Date: 2012-11-26 01:26 pm (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
Uhh... here's a bizarre thought experiment. Send Bruce to a dimension where The Other Guy manifests separately, in his own body.. then bring just Bruce back, leaving the Hulk behind...

Oh, and if another Catification event occurs, I vote for the Hulk being a Maine coon or Norwegian forest cat... although still green of course!

(no subject)

Date: 2012-11-30 05:28 am (UTC)
technoshaman: (foggy)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
*ROFL* POLEcat! dat Gen'rl Ross, he a low-down, shif'less SKONK! :) And as sharp as a sack of wet mice... hmmmmm....

Re: *laugh*

Date: 2012-11-30 02:42 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
*grins* that's when you know you've got good story, is when the characters start doing things you don't expect... :)

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