Off The Grid

May 02, 2016:

Bruce manages to track down Melody; Lockdown is briefly discussed as well as Oliver's safety.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Oliver Queen

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Bruce didn't accept the idea that Melody was dead. It wasn't mere superstition or wistful thinking. He simply didn't find there to be sufficient evidence to justify such a conclusion. And, if someone were out to kill her - as their recent visit to her lawyer's office would seem to indicate - then she was in trouble. And he would try to help. Technically, it had been Joe with her at the lawyer's office, but Joe seemed like Melody and his memory was a bit more porous than Hulk's. Hulk's memories, when Bruce even touched them, were primal, animalistic, like drawings on the wall of a Neanderthal cave.

So, for the last few days, Bruce has been crisscrossing New York in Joe's crappy junker of a car. He has his laptop and a makeshift router of his design in the passenger seat. And he's pinging. Broadcasting a wifi signal attuned to the same frequency as Melody's nanites, his intimate knowledge of her biotechnological algorithms giving him just the key he needs. The signal, to Melody, will simply say "Bruce Goose". He isn't sure how much he likes that nickname, but she seems fond of it. If she likes, she can signal back and give him guidance. Or tell him to go away. But he's not giving up, not yet.


It's been a long night or two in the hole which is pretty much considered an Arrow Cave. Or an Arrow Basement. Whatever. It wasn't as boring as Oliver drilling over the plans and tossing them aside because he figured the enemy was clever, or picking up a bow and arrow and training along in a new different type of combat that makes Melody feel awkward. It was intense, sure. But nothing like what she's been put through during hell month. It seemed like cakewalk. But still, she was tired.

Then, there was discussions on what either of them could do and how to combine it. Getting used to one another so that they could move as one, whatever yin-yang bullshit Oliver Queen spout that made the zen master look like a baby. But there was downtime. Oliver had left to do whatever it was he needed to do, leaving Melody alone to her devices. That was until the quiet ping within her mind, like a blip on the happy people radar that has Bruce Goose lighting up in all colors to the point she jumps and claps in place. And giggles. Which was weird. Thankfully she was alone.

'Meet me here!'

Was the words that scrawled across the screen, pitting latitude and longitude against one another in a covert spot that was a practical deadzone with no cameras and practically no cell phone service if you didn't have a booster. One of Oliver's oversized sweaters were donned, as well as his pants (cause why not?), baseball cap slapped on the top of her head as well as hair tucked within, and she was out.


Bruce follows the instruction and soon they were in a quiet corner of a nearby park. Parks in New York weren't exactly teeming with people - sure, the playgrounds were busy during the day, but parents and nannies watched their kids like hawks. You never knew when some creep in a top hat or a weirdo in a clown mask would show up and try to lure your children away. It was amazing anyone lived there.

Bruce got there first, parking the junker a short distance away. He's gotten cups of coffee, the cups steaming a bit, and is swearing a light jacket and a baseball cap. He raises his eyebrows when he sees Melody approaching, "I knew you weren't dead," he says evenly, although he feels more relief than he'd likely admit.


"Well of course." Melody mutters out, taking those few shuffling steps forward to reach out to snag one of the coffees out of his hand, finally tilting the baseball cap back enough so that she could look towards her surroundings. Yeah, good choice.

"I mean, I'm not out there touching some cloak of grand dagobah or what have you like Shift, but.. I guess this is close enough?" She frowns a little. "They booby-trapped my home, Bruce-Goose. How'd these people know where I live?"


Bruce Banner considers, "Dagobah is a planet in Star Wars, Melody. I don't think Shift went into a fictional planet, unless he entered a virtual reality holographic construct or simply a realm of fantasy. Both of which do exist, so I will concede to the possibility, however unlikely," he says.

He considers for a moment, "You and I both know there are always ways to backtrack things. They could've followed your family money, perhaps, or had you under surveillance. Someone who has intel on you could have been compromised, like the Authority or some of your other, previous associates," he sighs. "Even my visiting you there could have resulted in you being exposed. I hope that is not the case."


"Yeah yeah yeah. It was a figure of speech, Bruce. Stop being so literal all the damn time." She crawls upon the beater of a car, hitching her borrowed pants up so that she finally takes a sip. She was quiet, then gives a slight shrug of her shoulders. "Nothing to back-track. Everythings gone. Even my favorite bed. Gone. Ka-blewie." She wriggles her fingers within the air, then glances towards him with a little frown. "All of those are likely.. but.. there's something else."

"The man that I was with assumed that they were there for him too. So maybe this is his deal. And we're connected so much that, if his name were to show up in a business journal mine would be right there with him. So -maybe- that's the case too? But.. I'm starting to think not so much. Usually we'd find some end to the thing and we'd have nothing more to do because the matter is settled. But we never really did figure out why we were shot at when SHIELD was around.." She rubs her nose briefly. "You ever hear of a group called Lockdown?"


Bruce Banner considers, "Things are just things. I'm sorry that you lost them, but they can be replaced. Better to lose your favorite bed than your favorite life," he says. Bruce had to give up on material things a long time ago - when a bad fit of pique can result in the destruction of every physical thing near you, you get a bit zen about such matters.

He shakes his head, "I haven't, but that doesn't mean much. I have new resources now, through the Avengers, so I can see what they have through those databanks. They're the ones behind the attack, you think?"


"Yeah.. but.. you've never slept in that bed. You always offered to take the couch. If you would have slept in that bed, you would have realized what type of awesome bed that was." She sips the coffee, glancing around. "Yes and no? Kathman and the girls turn up dead. A piece of -me-, that I gave to Kathman for safe keeping is gone. Shift is in the wind, probably dead again. Me, you, my mom and Ms. Jemma get shot at.. now this? It's all a bit much. Though this could be something to do with Oliver Queen running for Mayor." She pauses, then clarifies. "I was with Oliver Queen when it happened."

She finishes off the coffee in a few gulps, her right eye twitching from the amount of caffeine that suddenly hits her system. "I mean, what if it all tied together? Oliver running for Mayor of Gotham, me getting stolen, you being who you are and who you're with now.." She rubs the back of her neck. "You're the genius, lets figure this one out before I wind up getting the future of Gotham killed."


Bruce Banner nods at Melody. He presumes Oliver Queen is someone famous. Bruce doesn't tend to read the news or pay any attention to larger culture beyond his own narrow and specific interests. "Running for mayor of Gotham would certainly put a target on anyone's back. I would not discount that possibility," he says. "But, even if they weren't behind that specific attack, it's clear you're being targetted above and beyond your association with this Queen. And I'm more concerned with your health than I am his," he says.

"If they want you dead so badly, odds are, they'll take any chance they can. I understand the desire to keep your head down and sniff them out - but, if no leads are forthcoming, the best way to flush them may be letting them know you're alive and seeing them try to finish the job."


"I know Bruce.." Melody murmurs quietly, then tosses the cup aside. So much for her being the type who was all for the Green living.

"I just.. promised myself I would look after Oliver Queen and see him through this election, no matter what it took." She smiles a little. "And honestly? You really should come to the Red Maple once all of this crap blows over. There is this chef there, that just.." She fans herself at the thought of this mans gourmet burgers, they were to literally die for. "..great food. Really, really great food."

She slides from the car, landing upon her feet, her hands immediately grasping the pants to hike them up. "No can do. I kind of like staying dead. But I have a friend that I'm meeting up with who has a plan to at least try to get more information so we could end this for good. Do you think you can help? I mean, any information is good information. Maybe my mom saw something that we didn't see."


Bruce Banner nods, "I can help. You're even better than I am with the hacking, but different minds approach problems from different perspectives and can achieve differing results. This other friend, too, may bring insights I could not. And I understand the appeal of staying dead - I managed it for a few years and, while I had…other difficulties, that aspect I always found a bit relieving. I had been under a lot of pressure in my life beforehand. The freedom certainly rejuvenated my passion for my work," he says.


"Don't underestimate yourself, Bruce Goose." Melody was just about to walk away, when he said something that pretty much made everything click.

"Maybe when this is all over, when everything is over, we can just disappear and live off the fat of the land. Farming or whatever. Go fishing and just live in a place where the internet is shit and the only place we can connect is at the US Embassy." She shrugs her shoulders, then continues to wander off. "Thanks for the coffee, I'll be in touch!" She had to get back, it felt like she was away for way too long.

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