On Dogs and Monsters

November 28, 2015:

Reed meets up with Caitlin Fairchild and Melody and Bruce show up. They talk science.

Some hot dog stand.

Some hot dog stand in New York.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The suckiest part about superheroing? Going back to your day-job. Sure, every junior vigilante dreams of joining the JL:A— Wonder Woman herself descends from heaven, hands you a decoder ring, teaches you the secret handshake…

"Hey. Red. You gonna buy a hotdog, or what?"

Caitlin's jarred from her reverie by the street vendor, addressing both her and the muttering complainants behind her. The stocky fellow gives her a gimlet eye. A typical New Yorker, he's unphased by the fact she's possibly too tall to ride the plume at Disneyland.

"Oh, yeah- sorry," she mutters, digging for a worn-out old men's leather wallet in her jumpsuit pocket. "I'll take four brats, please, with everything," she tells the man. "Oh, and two sodas." She pulls out some crumpled bills, then roots around in her pocket for loose change, and manages to come up twenty cents short. She scowls at the money crumpled up in her oversized hand, trying to will a quarter into replicating itself. "Dangit. Hang on, I've got another quarter here, somewhere," she assures the vendor, digging in her lab coat.

The lab coat's not a fashion statement— NYU- Northern Branch happens to be hosting an afternoon conference on STEM on their sprawling campus in Westchester. THINK's there in force, with Howard Stark's teams demoing their latest fantastic invention and other nationally-acclaimed researchers giving talks and lectures.

As a lowly intern, Caitlin's so far down on the totem pole that it's a wonder she got invited at all. But, being a Human Forklift comes in handy when moving large exhibits around, and she /is/ still wearing a labcoat— althought it's a cheap $15 Amazon special and not a real 'Welcome aboard, Doctor' coat.

"Hey. Lady. C'mon, hurry up, I gots plenny of people behind what want food!" the vendor gravels, waggling a spatula at the growing line behind Caitlin.

"I've got it, hold on," says Reed Richards from behind Caitlyn. He hands over a dollar, and gives the young redhead a weak smile and a nod. He hates the part of New York where people are impatient with othersbeing from California he prefers a cool, laid back sort of interaction. Besides, he himself has to so often be so patient with everyonehe's not sure why others cannot be.

"Been there," he says as he smiles at her.

"I really don't have to like doing this. But I guess it's a necessary thing, right? I mean, being the daughter of the illustrious and possibly hardly known scientist of Arthur Kenway warrants me the ever loving pleasure of going to conferences in which I have no clue what's going on but yet forced to record it for—.."

'That's enough Melody.'

"Sorry dad." It's not every day when someone is talking into her head; but at this point she allowed herself the pleasure of inviting her father along for the ride, seeing things with her eyes, hearing things with her ears. Nanotechnology, as Dr. Kenway would say, has it's perks.

But.. not to her.

'I just wished you wore something more professional instead of a pair of jeans and t-shirt. This is a business I'm trying to establish Melody, and your future is on the line..'

As her father babbles, Melody tucks her fingers within her pocket to offer up an ear piece for Bruce to hear the rattling and nagging of her parental unit. She shakes her head, then lifts her hand to mimic the scientific mouthpiece, bobbing her head left and right until his voice clears.

'I can see your hand moving.'

"Sorry Dad."
'Doctor Kenway.'
"Sorry Dr. Kenway."

Bruce Banner takes the ear piece but rolls his eyes a bit as he goes along behind Melody. Given his own history of parental relations, a nagging, verbally-caustic father isn't exactly something in which he's like to have fond feeling. He's dressed pretty casually himself - jeans, sneakers, a Talking Heads t-shirt. He hasn't shaved in a couple of days, so he's stubbly, his hair tousled as he meanders along with her.

Frankly, he was feeling a little prickly in general. He still wasn't entirely sure Richards and his associates wouldn't try to take him into custody and things could get really messy, really fast if anything got confrontational. He'd taken preventative measures to mellow his mood, but, nonetheless, he knew he was, to some degree, putting his head in the lion's mouth. Only, in his case, he was mostly concerned for the health of the lion if it tried to bite off more than it could chew.

"Oh hey, thanks mister, I just forgoaaaholyshnikesyou'reReedRichards," Caitlin says, giving Reed a slack-jawed look. It takes a beat (and a 'Hey!' from the vendor) for her to remember to pay for the /rest/ of her food, and she clumsily steps out of the line of the queue after having passed over the cash. The swarthy vendor shakes his head and snorts something about 'stupid eggheads' while he goes about fixing Caitlin's order.

"Wow. I — wow. Thanks, Dr. Richards," Caitlin says, fumbling a bit. For being on par with Ben Grimm in terms of size, she sure looks like a gawking nerd at a convention. "Sorry, I forgot the sales tax is higher here, and I thought I had it all counted out, and /man/ I was hungry, so…" she trails off, realizing she's stammering. "So, uh, wow, nice to meet you. I'm Caitlin, er, uh, Caitlin Fairchild," she says, sticking a meaty hand at Reed in a handshake. "I'm a /huge/ fan of your work, I did a paper in grad school on the Richards neutron induction collider, I thought that was /so cool/," she babbles.

Reed smiles as he shakes her hand. "It's always nice to meet a fan and you're certainly welcome." Back when he was in college with no money and no time to eat, he often frequented these sort of stands, so they've become a bit of a mainstay. At least while Sue's out of town.

"Well I think it's pretty cool you'd want to do a paper on induction colliders. I hope it was something you enjoyed and that you were able to take something. The main focus of that work was for progress in radiation therapy, but it seems like people have begun to use it for all sorts of things."

"Do you work here in the city?" Reed motions towards her lab coat.

"Hey, it's going to be okay." Melody reaches out to lightly pat Bruce upon the back. "Besides, you need to get your science on and what better way to do that while riding along my father's ticket, yeah? Plus, Peabody set you up with a fake name and ID just in case they're asked, not sure how long that'll last but when it's time I'll put the scramblers in place to keep our faces off of the video feeds."

Melody Kenway, Babysitter to the Big Green Guy hiding in a meatsuit of Bruce Banner.

Standard rates apply.

She steps into the line, turning her head just enough to fish through her pockets, retrieving a few dollar bills, her ears gone out to the conversation held by Fairchild and Dr. Richards.

'Mel-bear. Do me a favor and turn your eyes towards the people talking?'
"Hang on, I'm looking for my money."

Not two seconds later, she finds a twenty, drawing it out and giving a clear and lingering glance towards the two.

"Why?"
'Because that's Dr. Reed Richards.'
"Oh.. didn't they make a movie about this guy?"
'Yes, but we're not here to get autographs. Just let me take control of your facilities and do the talking, what I need to speak to him and his colleague about is way out of your depth.'
"No. And really, thanks for the vote of confidence. I'm putting you on mute."

Bruce Banner nods to Melody, taking a deep breath and moving along with her. He's glad that she's finally decided to mute her father - whatever business they have here, he's not particularly helpful. Plus, the idea of having to deal with her father puppeting her from a distance like some freaky-ass Geppetto is just weird and creepy and, frankly, borderline perverse. No, Dr. Dude. Just no.

He's going to let Melody do most of the talking, though, at least at first, keeping himself in reserve for when his actual expertise is necessary. He's not exactly a people person anyway, so it's best to leave that stuff to her anyway.

Caitlin looks down at her lab coat, which is clearly too small for her— the lone XXL coat in the back of the closet, and she's still got to wear the sleeves rolled up to make it fit. It fits closer to a light jacket than a full protective ensemble.

"Oh, yeah, totally," she says, nodding vigorously. "I mean— not /here/, like, Westchester. I work for Howard Stark at THINK, I'm one of the lowly interns," she says in a tone of forced cheer. "They wouldn't normally have brought me along but the crate for our robotics display was, like, super heavy, and I'm the token muscle, I guess?" she tells him.

"So, like, I hate to ask, but can I get a selfie?" she asks Reed, digging for her phone and giving him her best fangirl puppy-dog eyes. "I've got a kickass album on Facebook going, and it'd blow my friends' minds if I got a pic with Mr. Fantastic, you know?" she asks him. She glances sidelong at Bruce, who schlepps along in Melody's shadow, and a faint frown crosses her face, recognition stirring in the back of her mind but not quite coming to the surface.

"Oh!" Reed says with raised eyebrows. "THINK. Howard Stark. Right. They do some wonderful stuff over there. Be sure to give us your resume when you graduate—we're always looking to invest in great young minds."

A pang of self doubt enters into Reed's thoughts. He'd just been told about how he may need to lay off as many as half of his scientists if the income to the Baxter Building doesn't start improving. They're okay for now, but it could be a rocky 2016.

"A selfie? Sure!" Reed poses for the picture and even makes a powered grin, making himself look extra cheesy for the effect of her friends. As he looks down from the phone, he too recognizes Banner.

"Bruce?"

Drawing her fingers along the bill that she pulled out, she steps up to pretty much gesture towards her order. "Six hotdogs, two with everything on it, four plain with nothing on it." Melody was a freak, it was clear who'd be getting the two everythings.

There was a slight lift of her brow given as she looks towards Reed and Caitlin's selfie, her head bobbing and shaking until she heard Bruce's name. That's when all of the alarm bells go off; part of her cheek lighting up as those nanites work to infect the intricate systems of the traffic cams and video feeds in the area. It was slow deal, but it all works to keep their faces a digitized mess. I mean, if they made a movie about Reed the paparazzi would come soon, right?

Bruce Banner had wondered if Reed might recognize him or not. It had been quite a few years since the Cal Tech Applied Physics Conference (aka Nerdcon 2009) when they'd last crossed paths. Bruce had tended to be either a wallflower at such conferences or getting into heated arguments that resulted in him getting in people's faces in a confrontational fashion. Even then, he had a volatile reputation.

He nods simply, "Reed. Good to see you. I hope you're not going to set off any alarms or call in the cavalry. I'm just here to put my two cents in, scientifically speaking. No harm, no foul," he says, reaching up and putting a hand on Melody's shoulder to reassure her. He's calm, he's fine.

Caitlin angles the phone so it catches them both, leaning back at less of an awkward angle than usual to get them in the photo. She plasters a big shocked/happy grin on her face and snaps a photo. Despite her lumbering diffidence, she's incredibly photogenic, and she promptly uploads it to Facebook.

"Wow, that's /so cool/," she tells Reed. "Thanks so much," she says, grin dimpling a cheek. "Better than an autograph, right?"

She's fiddling with the phone, too, when she hears 'Bruce?' and it takes her a moment to process the words.

Then her head snaps up and she focuses on Bruce, first going through processing, then recognition dawning on her features. Her eyes go big as saucer plates. "Ohmygodnowaaaaaay," she breathes, her hands giving little micropumps of excitement. She glances from Reed to Melody to Bruce, then to Reed, then as carefully as she can she darts a half-pace to Bruce doing everything in her power to not look like she's about to bull him over.

"Psst. Psst!" she says, trying to bit discreet. She leans forward, cupping a hand to her mouth and whispering loudly. "I know you're like, on the lam, or whatever?" she tells Bruce, glancing once at his 'handler'. "But you are /so/. /Cool/." She gives him two tiny thumbs-up and goes 'eeeee!', albeit very, very softly, a huge grin on her heart-shaped face.

Which is about as discreet at the Jolly Green Giant trying to tiptoe through gravel, but bless her at least she's trying.

"Yeah, sure, I mean," Reed begins to respond to Caitlyn, but then the gal goes full on bubbly towards Banner.

Reed shakes his head at Bruce, sympathy written all over his face. "Bruce, you know I couldn't stop you if I tried. I just hope you're alrightand that you'll be getting some assistance for"

His voice trails. Reed's right. He couldn't stop Banner if he tried. And if he did try, the thousands of people in the square mile might be put at risk. Despite Bruce's volatile attitude, even before the accident, he was always a good guy it seemed. Passionate, yes. Explosive, sure. but Reed wants the best for the man, clearly.

"Two cents? I don't understand," he finally picks his voice back up.

Her eyes unleash a dull glow as she looks up towards the traffic cams, each of them slowly beginning to turn and route a new direction to face as she drops her eyes back towards Reed and Caitlin. Even though Bruce had a hand upon her shoulder to note that he was calm, she wasn't.. and in fact, Caitlin's subtle fan-girling had her taking that necessary step to intercept and stand in front of.. Bruce.. wait.. a .. minute they are all so taller than her what in the world?!

'Stop dealing with your miniature comp-..' ##muted

"At..ta-ta-ta-ta-ta.. too close lady.." Melody mumbles, her hand reaching behind her back beneath her jacket to pretend to grasp at something that's not really there. Okay, her phones there, but really. She's unarmed. But Caitlin seemed like the type who'd want to watch a video fo babies going through tunnels.

Though.. it seemed as the two were friends and Caitlin thought Bruce was mundo-cool.. she relents, Melody totally going off the rails of what her father wanted them there for and.. well, possibly speaking out of turn. "Well, I know there's some conference that's going on right now about .. some.. doodad research my dad wanted me to consult in on in his place but quite frankly.." She glances up towards Bruce, apologetic. "We need cures." She looks towards him and Caitlin. "I know Bruce was working on attempting to cure himself before I interrupted him with my issues and.. really I owe it to him to help him continue in any way possible."

Melody cared! See! She was a total dick but she cared! "That and I kinda think I've gotten him fired at S.T.A.R Labs.." The gift of being a junkie never stops.

Bruce Banner raises an eyebrow at Caitlin's response to him, almost stumbling back a little bit in surprise, "I…that's very…I mean…" he stumbles, more confused by it than anything. He was cooll? He's never been cool, not for a day in his life. It makes him think she might be in some way unbalanced. He refocuses, answering Reed first, "I…appreciate that. I am doing as well as can be expected," he says.

To Melody, though, he turns to look at her, "I thought I was here because your father wanted you to talk to Reed about something and I was just coming to be an extra scientific perspective. I didn't know…" he shakes his head, "I don't want to drag anyone else into my problems. And yes, I'd rather given up on STAR - they were paying me off the books anyway, mosty just providing me lab space." He doesn't talk about the Authority or their place within it, given that he isn't sure what level of secrecy it was supposed to have. Stupid government.

"Uh. Yeah, duh?" Caitlin tells Bruce, blinking. "Father of modern gamma research? World's expert in radiological biology? You're /awesome/."

Caitlin looks from Reed to Bruce o Melody, realization dawning on her features. "I… uh, wow, did I just like stumble into some covert meeting?" she asks, one ham-handed grip twisting her lab coat's lapel anxiously. "Jeeze, I'm sorry, I just wanted to get something to eat," she promises Bruce and Reed, earnest apology in her tones. "I'm not a bioscience major or nothin', I promise," she hurridly adds. "I just do robotics and stuff— I'm an engineer, not a biologist," she assures them.

Her face falls. "Oh god. Do I already know too much? Are there agents nearby?" She starts rubbernecking a bit, looking for suspicious shadows in the shrubs nearby. "

"If you ever need a place to go, or any resources, Bruce, you know where to find me. I'm sure you want to be the own arbiter for finding any cures, but any help I can provide I am open and willing."

The thought of solving one of the great scientific riddles of the age may be too much for Reed Richards to turn down. The mere thought of itof how whatever Bruce has becomecame to be and how to undo such a thing could become an obsession.

The little 'angel/devil' on his shoulder of Jaina Feeta, the Chief Financial Officer, and her voice of warning about the Baxter Building bills gets farther and farther away in his mind.

Reed chuckles at Caitlyn, "I'm sure it's fine, Miss Fairchild."

"Yeah well.." Melody says to Bruce, offering up a wry smile. "I think your shelf life is more dire than mine. Whatever Dr. Kenway wanted to ask Dr. Richards probably falls in the same lane of what I need help with but you get first dibs." Cause, big mean and green can destroy entire cities. Melody just has too many cancers.

Thanks, dad!

Though, Caitlin's little freakout probably takes prescendence in her explanations towards Bruce and Reed; she takes a step forward to reach out to try to lightly, and awkwardly pat Caitlin's arm in a there-there.. there-there fashion. "No no no no no no hey hey.."

"It's all good! We're all good! Just calm down a little. No agents or anything or.. spooks and whosa-whuts-its around. We're totally good. Right?"

Bruce Banner considers that, technically, he and Melody -are- agents, so Caitlin was kind of right, but obviously not in the context in which she was intending. He mostly regards her with a mingling of wariness and confusion, although he's certainly flattered by the praise. He nods again to Reed's offer, "I…appreciate it. Perhaps I can send you some of my research and you can review it - in truth, I suspect there, quite simply, might not be a cure. Much like your friend, Mr. Grimm, sometimes things simply are what they are and you have to make…peace with it," he says.

He'll never be at peace, not really, but, recently, he's begun to understand that, just maybe, the Hulk doesn't have to be his enemy. That perhaps there was some way they could learn to coexist. He watches Melody with some amusement as she tries to calm down Caitlin. "Essentially, I've mutated my genome to the point that it…well, put simply, it's a mess and an unstable one at that. It isnt so simple to unravel it and put it together again, much less do so on the scale of the full organism."

Caitlin fidgets awkwardly. This is Really Personal stuff, between two world-class geniuses, and she can't help but feel a bit voyeuristic. She reaches up to brush at her hair self-consciously, forgetting she's mananged to pull it back into a semblance of a bun.

She looks down at Melody and smiles fretfully, but the soothing touch and words seems to have settled her anxiety a bit. "I'm, uh… I kinda know what you went through," she tells Bruce, with an awkwardly shy tone. "I didn't exactly hit a growth spurt," she says, gesturing vaguely at herself. "I got mugged at school one day and boom, I tripled in weight and now I buy my shoes at the same store the Juggernaut does," she confesses. "I saw like ten doctors and they didn't know how or why it happened— some of them were trying to compare me with what happened to you, 'cause there's some correlation with radiologies an' massive cell production— I mean not that, like, I /get/ what you went through," she hastens to add, "just, you know, I kinda… um…. y'know, can sympathize?" she says, struggling.

There's a brief exhale at the mention of Ben. He hasn't given up the hope that he can reverse his friend's condition, and Reed's not sure he ever will. Every attempt has ended in failure, thus far. "I think that's a great idea, Bruce." If there were a way to allow him to have better mental functioning when he got big and green, it may even be better than curing. But that's up to Banner to decide, of course.

"You said cures—plural. Was there something else you two came to discuss, Miss?" He turns his attention now to Melody, the young woman accompanying the scientist.

Reed nods to Caitlyn knowingly. Between Melody's support of Bruce, Bruce himself, Caitlyn's condition, and his friend Ben, it seems all of them have some experience in this sort of thing.

They all must look rather weird, gathered around the cart. The food she initially wanted was forgotten until the man clears his throat to offer her bag and change. "Oh, thanks dude!" She turns now, holding out the bag towards Bruce as she looks over each of them, her brows raising just a touch as a bit of static comes in.

'We had an..' ##muted!

Melody reaches up to lightly knock upon her head, nodding towards Caitlin and then glances towards Reed with a little hint of surprise. "Oh.. well. My case is different from a medical standpoint. I guess you could say that when I was a kid my dad added too many cooks to the kitchen and now I'm stuck with probably an infinite number of nanites that partially are keeping me alive, though the effects of that are now starting to show."

She shrugs a little. "Also, I think my dad wanted to proposition you to see if you could make said nanites presentable for military applications. You know, money money.. science science.. blah blah."

Bruce Banner nods to Caitlin, "Yes, I can see the similarities. It seems we must all live in an age of…transformation," he says. His own transformations are, of course, quite a thing in and of themselves and he feels acutely aware that everyone here knows exactly who he is and what his other self is capable of doing. It's both a bit freeing and a bit terrifying, that sense of awareness, the attention on him making him cast his eyes down a little bit.

When the subjecct turns to Melody instead, he feels a bit of relief, glancing upwards, "I don't think we need to concern ourselves too much with Dr. Kenway's interests. Keeping Melody alive and without suffering is the primary goal. I've worked with her nanites a bit - I had to help reprogram them after she was dosed with an unfortunate substance that attached itself to her system," he says. He wasn't going to discuss her descent into the Smooth and its addictive properties in depth - that seems a bit personal to him.

Caitlin gathers her food up, too, right after Mel, and expertly juggles her meal around. "Um, anyone else want one?" the broke intern says, offering dogs up. Everyone else did order one, of course, but there's that Midwestern politeness about not eating until everyone's got food in their hands.

She unwrapes the first dog, piled with Everything, and takes a bit fueled by an impressive appetite. Being that tall must burn some serious calories.

"Man, that sounds /awful/," Caitlin tells Melody sympathetically, though ignorant of the whole truth as she is. Still, she sounds like she means it. "Still it's kind of awesome that Bru- … that Dr. B. is helping you?" she asks the other woman. "Talk about lucky. I had to go to student health services my first two years of college, and the only guy they had was this dude studying to be a podiatrist."

Military applications.

It's always the military. For years Reed has been apprehensive to create anything that might be used in an offensive manner for the government. He'd learned the lessons of others, namely the Starks, that that sort of thing might lead to some sleepless nights.

"We'd be happy to have a look at you and the nanites, Miss. Here, let me—" Reed reaches into his coat and pulls out a pair of business cards for Melody and Caitlyn. "Bruce knows how to get a hold of me, I presume. But, yes, please do come by. I hope I might be able to help out with your condition."

Reed waves Caitlin's offer of the hot dog up, all this talk about science is making him forget about food entirely.

"Oh no no I got mine but.." Screw it. She was going to settle for the plain ones but why not be a little daring and ruin the diet. The offered hotdog was taken, a few napkins reached back and snagged as she bites down and spills some of the toppings upon said napkin that was held beneath her dog. In which she deposits right back on top. Ain' no birds gonna get her food, and those lazy squirrels should have gathered their junk months ago.

Melody bobs her head towards Caitlin, completely agreeing with her. "On paper it's a scientific breakthrough." She dabs away at her mouth. "Still didn't cure the cancer but the trick that is mostly glorified is that they're self replicating. So, who knows really how many are in there right now." Too many.

She does laugh a little, biting in a little of the hotdog, neverminding Bruce's lightness of her condition. She dabs her mouth again, reaching out to take the card to look over it briefly. "I figure Bruce will go first. And he's trying to be private and kind but to put it plainly I was a glorified Smooth addict. He's managed to turn off the addictive centre in my brain but you know.. once an addict always an addict." So casual. "But, I'm sure I'll be dragging Bruce to see you soon if you're okay with that." She lifts the card, then smiles. "You should bring your intern too, she's pretty cool." She shoves the rest of her hotdog within her mouth, then curls her hand into a fist to give Caitlin a right fist-bump if she follows through.

Melody Kenway also adds, "Having Bruce as your kinda-sorta doctor is not cool. He doesn't laugh or know how to have friends. Total bore unless you get him high."

Caitlin fistbumps Mel back, carefully. Girl's got a fist like a golf club. "Oh wow, that's scary," she murmurs sympathetically. "And… um, sorry about the, um… drugs," she says, voice lowering a bit sympathetically. "I had a buncha friends who are engineers and stuff in shchool, they hid Ritalin in their Mentos rolls."

She takes the business card and juggles her food around so she can get her phone out, and— naturally— records a photo of it, before tucking it into her pocket carefully. "Oh, I'm not … I'm an intern, but I work at THINK," she tells Melody, hastily. "I mean, like… hah, that's awesome, but yeah, the Baxter Institute hires from like… MIT and CalPoly. I'm just a grad student from Columbia, so that's a little out of my league."

"Unfortunately she's not my intern," Reed says with a hopeless grin. "Howard Stark got to her first, I'm afraid. But if she's interested, she could do some learning on the side. I'm definitely alright with that."

As Melody mentions she's a Smooth addict, Reed nods sadly. "Unfortunately it seems many of us in the city have become addicted to that evil drug. Perhaps I can use your condition to help try and develop something to help people get off it.

"Like I said, Miss Fairchild, once you finish your internship, please do give me a call."

"I've actually done that before.." Melody remarks to Caitlin. "It actually helps during finals week.." It really did, though.. Melody probably mainlined X when she thought it was cool.

Hint: It wasn't.

"Oh. Stark. I was going to rob that guy once." She glances towards Bruce, thankful to leave his name out of it. "I'm pretty sure that I still could, that would be -hilarious-." Though, of course she isn't, she just probably said she would in front of a bunch of heroes.

She does offers a tight smile towards the good Doctor, allowing that smile to fade. "Perhaps." And it was sad that she could probably find someone to get it for her again if she needs. "Up to you. I don't care about too much now a days in my regard." She keeps the self loathing to a minimum, then reaches out to grasp Bruce's arm, her eyes alighting just a touch as she looks towards the cameras. "We have to go. We'll be in touch you guys.."

"Haaajaaaa… m'kay…." Caitlin says weakly, as the import of Reed's invitation hits home. "Th-thanks, Dr. Richards," she tells him, trying not to gush. "I'll, umm… email you, I guess?"

She looks to Melody and Bruce and waves once. "It was super nice meeting you," she tells them. "Both of you. Dr. B, I … well, you really are pretty awesome," she tells him, flashing a quick, dazzling grin at him. "I wish I could tell everyone I got to meet you." She gathers her food up in one big hand. "So, see you all later, I guess," she offers, before turning to head back to the convention area.

"It was nice to meet all of you," Reed says, resigning himself to the fact that he needs to get back to the Baxter Building and figure out how he's going to solve his money problems.

"Bruce."

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