You Go When I Say

August 03, 2016:

Bruce Banner and Seikatsu Takeda are trapped in the Appalachan Mountains. Apparently Joe Fixit and Hulk are keeping them there…

Appalachan Mountains

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

After their encounter with the snake-spider demon, Hulk had cradled Reese in the crook of his arm as she rested and recovered. When she comes awake again, she'll be able to tell their location has changed. Hulk can travel great distances when he wishes, even if he can't fly.

In this case, it's a bit cooler than you might expect, due to the altitude. They are high in the Appalachians, a small lake nearby, dense forest surrounding the clearing that Hulk has made. The Earth might not be feeling its best here, as he uprooted quite a few trees to make room for the pair of them. But Hulk isn't here right now. He fell asleep, which means that the man with her at the moment is Bruce Banner.

Probably good that Reese is blind, because he didn't bring a change of clothes with him and his pants aren't holding up too well.

Even though she appeared to be only eightteen, Reese still clocked at least four hundred and two years old. She was older than dirt, and she slept like it too. So even if Hulk made those distances? Reese didn't feel a thing. You'd have to practically smack her on the ground or throw her to get her to wake up. Which meant that it was a good, safe and quiet sleep then. She didn't even need to slip sideways for that to happen.

Though as she slowly awoken, her eyes blink once or twice, her fingers pressed against her eyes as she rubs the itch away. Even though she can't see, she felt necessary to do. The air smelled different, it even felt a little bit colder which was welcome. But with a slight slide into another direction and her hands upon the ground to feel and suss out her location was met with a little frown. "Hello? Am.. am I alone?" God forbid. "Where am I?"

"Not alone," comes the calm, barely inflected voice of the scientist she first met among the ruins. "Do you remember me? You didn't seem to be injured, but I admit I did not inspect you closely. The Hulk seems to have wanted you protected, to have…nested around you," he says, peering around at the devastation.

"I don't have a precise location, but I'd hazard West Virginia? The Appalachians would be the nearest mountainous region to our previous location. He likes mountains. Deserts and flatland make him feel unsafe. Nowhere to hide," he says. "I retrieved some water from a nearby stream. Running water is safer than still - the lake is likely full of algae," he says.

There was a little jerk as she hears his voice, remaining upon the floor as she was keeps her at an even keel when it comes to a threat. Not that she thinks the Hulk would ever smash her to bits, but there was a man there.. and he did kind of.. well.. it was just an odd situation. "I remember you." She says with confidence, slowly rolling upon her knees to crawl into the direction of his voice, stopping once she was close enough to listen to him muse about the nesting, the location, and everything else.

"Is he alright?" She asks, "You know. The Hulk." She didn't mind the food right now, she barely had time to use her powers so she was running on full preserves.

Bruce Banner can't entirely keep the surprise out of his voice, "Of course. The Hulk is extraordinarily resistant to injury and heals at a vastly accelerated rate. Even had he been hurt, he'd have been healed by now. But I do not believe he suffered injury. Admittedly, my recall of what happened when he is…present can be spotty at best," he says.

He sets something down next to her, "I found some old soup cans campers left behind. I washed them out to use as cups. They're not rusty, at least," he says.

"Most people, when they encounter the Hulk, are deeply afraid of him. Yet you seem concerned. That's unusual. Perhaps because you could not see him?"

Reese inhales.. "Well, from what I could assume, I think he beat the monster to death." She frowns a little. "I.. think." She wasn't too sure, sometimes they lived in the world where it just comes right back. Hearing the little *tink* of the cup, causes her to slowly draw her fingers around to find and grasp it, curling so much that her knees join at her chest as she silently sips. "Even if it was rusty, I'd be alright." She says quietly.

"Well, he did save my life. And he's a very nice person." Her lips frown, then she gives a shake of her head. "No, I couldn't see him. I mean. I could. I can see the energy in living things.. but.. he was all over the place." She takes another sip of the water. "He's a rather big guy. Like.. really, really big. I think he was able to cradle me like a little baby." Though, Reese wasn't all that tall to begin with.

Bruce Banner nods, "Based on video and perspective, I'd guess him to be somewhere between eight to ten feet tall. He increases in size as he increases in anger," he says. "He can be protective, sometimes, of certain people. People who are nice to him. You were nice to him," he says.

"It is worth remembering, though, that he is, at heart, a brute. He doesn't have any discipline, any control, over how he feels. And he is quick to anger and misunderstand. He is always dangerous - even to those who he likes."

Wow. Though, she has met gods and goddesses who were as tall as the Hulk. Though.. 'met' was subjective. But none of them ever really increased in size due to their emotions. Power.. yes. Size.. eep! She shivers just a little, then gives a nod confirming this. "I've no reason to be mean to him because he's different." She admits. "Plus he saved my life. I wish I could thank him."

Though, she does give a shake of her head, tilting it to the side as she listens to him. "I grew up in a world were war and starvation is all I knew. And people that walked the earth that were far more cruel." She takes a final sip of her water, carefully setting the can down to give it a twist. "He's dangerous, yes. But I'm not fragile in the slightest." There was a quiet moment, then a lift of her eyes to where she thinks he is. "Give me something sharp."

Bruce Banner might have been wary if he were an ordinary man. But he feels no threat. Even if he did, he would not fight it. Bruce no longer believes he can die but he has lost all fear of death anyway.

It takes him a moment to find something, getting a sharp stick from among the broken limbs and bringing it back, "If you want something sharp like a knife, for cutting, it might take additional searching," he says.

"So you are from another world, then? Or do you mean that you are extremely long-lived and the world has changed around you? I am not sure that I believe men were more cruel, once upon a time - I think circumstances merely required harder choices."

The sharp stick was taken, which was good enough for her. With a press to the tip, she digs it right into the vein within her wrist, twisting back and forth with a wince upon her features. "In a sense. Yes. Another world, another life. Much, much different from here. Yes. It changed around me. I was born in the Edo era." She grins a little, finally finding a niche where her skin parts with the hardest press, grunting and sliding the stick to that the skin forms around it, blood pooling.

She tosses the stick away to show him her damaged arm, which slowly begins to heal and knit together. "Harder choices? I do not believe that."

Bruce Banner watches with the kind of plain fascination that one might expect of a scientist, dispassionate and unbothered by the sight of gore. He anticipated she must have some sort of regenerative abilities, both to feel so secure in danger and to be so long lived. "Harder may not be the correct word. Rather, they faced choices by circumstance that modern people rarely consider. Modern life, at least in the West, is a luxury. Life and death rarely come into it," he says.

"So you say. It's all a matter of opinion." Reese remarks. "And entirely subjective. That is the dangerous thing about choices and mannerisms, Mr. Banner.." Yes. She remembered his name. "What you see as subjectively good could be bad for other people. I've lived two hundred years upon the side of neutrality because I thought I was doing good by keeping out of others lives.. but I failed to see the harm of it in it's entirety."

Bruce Banner considers what she has to say, "I am willing to accede that you have the greater experience in the matter. History has never been a subject of much interest to me. I'm more interested in the future than the past. And more interested in ideas than people," he says. "I, too, have tried to stay…neutral. With mixed results," he says. "In part, because I know all too well that I can do more harm than good."

"This wasn't a contest. Just a mere conversation." Reese murmurs. "History, in the right forms, can actually be enlightening in so much that it repeats itself every fifty years." She actually smiles about that, but nods. "Yes. My results were mixed as well. There were times where I often thought I could do good. And did. And it turns bad. Or the times where I thought I could do bad.. but.. there's good in that."

She furrows her brows. "Time is strange in a sense that I do not know where it starts, stops, and what is the middle anymore."

Bruce Banner nods, "That's because time isn't necessarily linear. Most modern physics believes time to be a continuum. It can be folded or reshaped by matter. Black holes warp time almost certainly, for example. We don't know what's in them but it's possible that even getting to the interior might require a near infinity of perceivable time. Because what we think of as time is merely our biological equipment registering changes in teh world around us. Some think time may not even actually exist," he says, all very casually. These are the things Bruce Banner thinks about.

"That's an interesting concept." Reese states. "I never really think about the 'fact' of time in itself. I do know that in certain places.. it is slower. In others it seems faster. Time can go by within a blink of an eye. It could also -feel- as it moves like the devil when in truth it does not. Time.. in a state of flux.." This is something Reese never thinks about. But it would be soon enough. Her time within the Ley Lines run differently than everyone else. "You are a very interesting man, Dr. Banner."

Bruce Banner nods, "Time-space theory is extremely intriguing. I think I would have been better off pursuing that than the applied physics that eventually…well, transformed me," he says. "I would be sitting at a telescope now, watching the stars somewhere in California, perched on a mountain with a cup of coffee and a notebook computer," he sighs.

"Wouldn't that be lovely.." Reese mutters honestly. "I've been to California… late in the seventies and most recently. I think.. I prefer it then because the skies weren't filled with so much shit that I could smell." But she inhales and lets it go. "Which reminds me.. the Hulk said that there was another.. in there.." She lifts a finger to lightly tap at her temple. "Is that true?"

Bruce nods, "Pollution standards have certainly improved. The major cities were covered in blankets of smog and soot up until the 1990s from the Industrial revolution," he says. "And, of course, before that, a lack of modern sewage likely created different smells," he nods. To the last question, he frowns and nods, "Yes, that is true."

With the confirmation there, Reese slowly nods. It was a little disconcerting. While she wasn't afraid of being hurt, mauled or maimed.. She was afraid of death. A death that could happen to her under the right circumstances.. when her heart would stop beating and the electricity that fires within her brain ceases to exist..

"Is he like the Hulk?" She frowns a little. "I.. mean in a sense that he's a brute. A dangerous brute. One that.. I definitely wouldn't be safe around.." Was she considering sticking with him? The conversation from before plays in her mind.

He seems pensive at the question, "He's a different kind of brute. He can speak more easily. He has a basic level of human intelligence. He won't attack senselessly. He can be reasoned with. But he's also petty and shallow and self-indulgent. Sloppy. Violent for his own amusement," he says. "Your safety would be…I don't think he'd harm you without provocation, no. Especially because you're a woman. He can be crudely backwards about such matters."

There was a wry grin that touches her lips, one that is hardly ever seen as she listens. "Seems like my sort of man." So to clarify.. "You have a brute. There is you. And then you have an asshole.." Reese reaches for her can again to take another sip. "Too bad the male population of this world aren't able to compartmentalize like you." Someone.. told a joke.

Bruce Banner nods, "Perhaps, although I have been informed that my compartmentalization is sign of mental illness. I suffered a great deal of childhood trauma which I did not process successfully," he says. "I apparently suppressed my negative emotions and created them as…outlets," he says. He's never really spoken to anyone about this, even those few close to him. Something about this woman seems to invite him to open up.

"Mental illness.." Reese had some words about that. But they weren't shared for the sake of him. "We all have at one point or another. Suffer childhood traumas. It's just the way that the world has to work at times. Creating things and happenstances of evil that .. well.. make us who we are today." She nods slightly. "Uh.. despite you being the Hulk, I do say that you've handled it quite well." If Reese has heard of the exploits of the Hulk, she does not say one bit about it. "I.. suppose I should stay here until he returns so we could leave this place. I don't know where we are and if it's a far drop.."

Bruce Banner nods in response, "I believe the other…Joe, he calls himself. Joe Fixit. The third. He will emerge in time. I can hear him in the back of my head now, but he's lazy," he says. "He'll take you down 'when he's good and ready'." he says, providing the audible quotation.

Reese flinches visibly. She was clearly.. clearly put off by this Joe character.. or if he was even a character after all. She was put off so much that she backs herself into a corner, her knees drawn up, her chin pressing against her thighs as her white eyes stare out into the darkness..

"I.. suppose that settles that then.." She was smart. Curling up and keeping to herself as she was, her jaws clenched together, not speaking another word. However.. it must be a godsend.. she was still tired. So with a little slide down to rest upon her side, she slowly begins to drift off to sleep.

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