Maine Trip

June 10, 2018:

Betsy and Banner experiment with coming out of the Hulk.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The drive to upstate Maine was a fairly peaceful one. Mostly. At a few stops along the way, there seemed to be someone who acted a little shady, and it made Betsy nervous. She pointed one out to Bruce along the way, and had advised him to be on the lookout. Never the same person twice, which was a little bit comforting, but still enough to set Betsy on edge.

When they arrived at a cabin, seemingly in the middle of nowhere in a clearing miles from nowhere, Betsy got out of the car and invited Bruce to come inside before they got down to brass tacks, so to speak.

"I just want to make sure you're comfortable…well, at least as comfortable as you can be, with this whole thing," she reassures him. "Do you need to rest?"

Bruce got more and more anxious as the trip got closer to the destination. It was a roiling anticipatory worry. He kept it entirely in, though, like a festering core of worry. Now that they're actually at the site, though, he looks around, and has switched out of anxiety and more into an acceptance of fate, like someone going to his doom. A more resolved, dismal look at things. "I'll try to eat, at least," Banner says, bringing in the cooler of food they'd brought, and exploring the kitchen. He's not at all out of his element with making his own things. In this case, a vegetable and beef ramen is flung together pretty efficiently. And is also a stall tactic. Bruce hasn't entirely resisted most of the 'plan', and even makes suggestions now and then, but that it's actually going to occur is stressful. "Normally I come way the hell out here to hide /after/ an episode, not — do this sort of thing."

After Bruce has eaten, Betsy stands at the sink washing up his dishes. The corgi puppy they brought is snoozing peacefully in the bedroom with the door shut, and all is moving peacefully toward a productive try.

Outside there is a sound. Something small. Unalarming, except that the two were on edge all morning, and Betsy moves to the front window. "Don't see anything. Maybe a deer? Lot of them out this wa—"

She is cut off by an explosion that rocks the cabin, as the car they rented for the trip is launched a dozen feet in the air from the blast, and comes down with a horrific crash.

The car is thrown airborne, and Bruce reacts automatically, dodging forwards and across to physically shield Betsy, his back to the explosion, facing her, in an immediate and desperate protective 'embrace'. If she doesn't dodge or throw him aside he'll bodily attempt to cover her from any shrapnel or continued blast, and draw her downwards flat, in case there's anything flying around from whoever did this.

Betsy is shielded, mostly by the window, but as it has shattered, also by Bruce. Her expression becomes stern as she looks Bruce over. "Are you all right?" She asks, as she pulls a katana from its sheath in her bundle of belongings beside the couch. As she returns to Bruce's side, a second katana appears in her hand, translucent and glowing in a neon violet light. "You need to stay in here, I'll go find out what's going on." Because, as anyone who's ever played a video game knows, scholars are squishy.
Bruce isn't green, but is sort of pale and stern. He scowls but nods. "If it won't distract you, talk to me mentally, though, please?" Bruce asks her. He's willing to some extent to stay back. Or at least make her think that he will. He stays low near the window, crouched by the floor now, and shakes some glass off of a sleeve gently.

Betsy nods in agreement, and slips out the back door of the cabin. <Nothing amiss out here.> She moves swiftly and silently, watching always the woods. <I'm not getting any kind of psychological activity, for miles. If there's someone here, they've got stronger shields than Xavier or Jean.>

As she rounds the front corner of the cabin, however, Betsy is snatched around the neck by a large metal claw and hoisted ten feet in the air, until she is eye level with the machine standing on the roof. A modulated voice speaks to her, and as if Bruce cannot hear it himself, she leaves a connection open with him mentally, so that he sees and hears what she does as she flails and dangles, helplessly grappling with the claw at her neck, trying not to be strangled, nor her neck broken as she hangs precariously.

"Have you ever played the claw game at the arcade, Ms. Braddock? You know the toy that's always on top of the one you want, so that you have to capture and get rid of it, just to get to your prize?" the voice asks. "Well…consider yourself captured. Now to make sure you're gone for good. Give me the Hulk."

The open connection creates a sudden bombardment from Banner as he reacts. Banner's emotions are a sledgehammer when he's not suppressing them, and they rear in panic like a wild animal. He's frozen up for the moment, gaping towards the ceiling and events he personally can't see from where he is: he wasn't personally physically threatened, which would automatically force a change; as it is, Banner's still present, and reacting with confusion and horror at what is going on.
And the guilt. It's a dam bursting of guilt and self hatred. He put her in danger. Of course. And Hulk is close by, ready to turn those feelings into rage.

Betsy kicks at the machine as she tries to pry off the metal claws around her neck. It responds by shaking her like a ragdoll, and throwing her a hundred yards or so clear of the house. The claw then punches down through the roof of the cabin…through the ceiling and the floor next to Bruce. The connection with Betsy is broken. The machine is going for its prize.

Bruce is just left helpless. He can't do anything to help her, himself. Hulk may be a lot worse. But his twisting resentment, fear and yes, anger, fuel that into being a good decision. To allow the rage to replace all these other horrible feelings.

The scared, yapping puppy's voice is shrill and quick. It's drowned by the roar that announces the Hulk's response to the request of his attendance. The cabin shudders from the force of it as Bruce transforms in the kitchen, shredded shoes and shirt lost in the mix of broken glass of the front of the cabin. The bellow is followed by a slight squat and a leap straight up through the ceiling in a fountain of roof tiles, ceiling wiring and wood beams. His body rotates and a massive green fist flies out across the robotic foe with a war cry of angry thrill. It followed with a grappling extension of other huge, still growing green hand. Hulk LOVES twisting robots into pretzels. You want Hulk? This is how you get Hulk.

As Betsy shakes off the delerium from impact, she pushes herself up with her hands just in time to see the flash of green that explodes roof tiles everywhere, and the Big Guy himself, trying to pummel the machine that had her. Unbeknownst to her, the claw that had her in its grasp was only one of several on the thing. A drone hovers nearby, no doubt a spy for whoever wants him. But as Betsy turns back to watch the fray, she finds the cabin itself transforming. Bars and fences rise from the ground around it.

"It's not the machine! Bruce!!" Betsy runs toward the house and inside, snatching up the puppy and exiting again. "Bruce!" She screams from the ground. "The machine, it's just a distraction, look!" The ground shifts as more bars rise from the ground, an attempt to cage them in from a few dozen yards out. "We have to go!"
Hulk can be difficult to redirect. He's focused on the claw hand still, trying to tie it around itself, crushing it between his hands in a massive and very powerful squeeze. "Smash FLAT," Hulk snarls at the claw, uncaring, it appears, of various cage bars or small women yelling at him from somewhere. And then he spots that drone out of the side of his eye, and lunges for it. "See you!" Hulk bellows at the drone, hauling up a long piece of drainage pipe off the roof. He does partially clear the cage bars, due to this choice to go after the shiny hanging thing, the pipe swung across in a full arc.

"Smash it, Hulk!" Betsy calls, running in closer as the drone is under a full code-green attack. She clears the bars with the puppy just before they are too high for her to scale, and she puts him in the empty well house to keep him safe for now as she returns to Bruce's side to make sure he's all right.

The uneven pipe was dodged on the first arc, but not on the flip and downstroke that slams the drone into the ground. Hulk lands and satisfyingly steps on it, crunching it into little bits under enormous foot. A dark chuckle bubbles out of the green mutation. His eyes slide over the approaching Betsy. "Hulk smash," Hulk answers, but he's turning back towards the cabin and the bars, and sets his stance wide. He balls up both fists and bends to hurl a battle cry back at it, challenging.

"Let's just go, Hulk. We can go. There's no one in there to smash. There's no one for miles. I have a car stashed in case you smashed that one. It's not far, we can go…Smashing it won't do any good." Betsy's words are calm and reasoning for now, trying to get close enough to him to catch eye contact with him. "We can go. Let's just go…"

"Hulk smash robots," Hulk says, in a mixture of both things that he HAS done, and also things that he'd like to continue doing. He squeezes one fist tight, and then wraps the other over it, in an expression of truly wringing something into juice. He eyes the cage-cabin, still clearly tempted to go beat on it. "Still robots," Hulk says, as if hoping there were more. He gets restless and confused when he doesn't have an immediate target. He snorts and rolls one massive green shoulder, angrily staring at the cage and cabin. It's a sense of someone who is upset but lacks a proper outlet to express it.

Betsy shakes her head, still trying to catch eye contact with the Hulk, and reason with him. She moves quickly over to the well house, and opens the door, catching the corgi in her arms as he's one big puffball of fur and tongue, trying to make sure her ENTIRE face is satisfactorily licked. "We have to get the puppy to safety. Somebody somewhere was controlling that robot, AND the drone. Let's go find them, smash THEM, okay? They tried to hurt the puppy. They tried to hurt us. Let's go get /them/…"

Hulk growls and bares his teeth with a grinding sound at the whole of the cage and robot situation, hands still clenching and unclenching, but lacking any necks or robotic limbs to crush into toothpicks. "Show Hulk robots," Hulk suddenly declares and turns his head towards her, narrowed eyes bringing the gaze of tightened, frustrated hatred onto her. There's no real reasoning with something that is entirely emotionally driven. Anything can set him off further, the Hulk is a viatile bomb at the best of times. He's fairly big now, though he's been a lot bigger: the fight ended pretty quickly, so he's more around a 7-8 foot mark currently.

"We will find them. And the people who control them. I promise you, Hulk. But I need your help. Can you hold Mr. Wiggles so he stays safe?" She holds the corgi out toward him gently. "He likes you. And I like you. We don't want anyone trying to hurt you, so we'll find them all and smash every single robot."
"No one hurts Hulk," Hulk brags immediately when she suggests they don't want anyone to hurt him. Hulk clearly thinks Hulk will be JUST fine. "Find them /now/," Hulk insists loudly. She's holding the corgi at him, though, and it pulls some of his attention. His expression shifts to something akin to delight, and he palms the corgi with surprising care, though it isn't the BEST way to hold a puppy, he isn't harming it. He draws it in against his chest, a loose cradle.

Betsy smiles and moves in closer, to pet the unfortunately-named fluffball. "So very soft, she cooes softly and then brushes the backs of her fingers lightly along Hulk's cheek. It's a stretch. "I know, you're very strong. But They scared Mr. Wiggles, and he needs you right now. We both do. Just breathe. We will go find the others. I'll drive us. Just…breathe…"

There's a flux of annoyance at Betsy automatically. "Hulk breathe," Hulk grumps at her, like a petulent child. "No car; Hulk jump." She'll pick up, though, that pushing at him once he's started to calm does the opposite effect. He glowers at her when she puts her hand in his face, pulling his head up and back, and also taking Mr. Wiggles out of her reach, though the intent is more that he's just annoyed in general. He turns away from her partially, but does sit down with a FWUMP to get a better look at the puppy.

Betsy smiles as the Hulk turns his back and effectively dogblocks her. His mentality is far from bestial, as she expected. His more primal instincts seem to ale precedence, but it is as though he has completely lost any and all filter…his basal needs and desires all come to the surface. Betsy couches to one side, studying the Hulk and the puffball. "I have some beef jerky, want some? You can share with Mr. Wiggles if you want."

Banner just ate. This earns her a snorted "No." Simple and to the point, with this guy. It's the same tone a child would use to say 'NO NAP'. He puts the puppy down on his left thigh as he's sitting. It's a sprawled sit, with both legs straight out. He watches the puppy climb up to his hip with pleasure, and catches it in a palm when it almost falls off him. He reduces in size some, as well, but is still green. The rage is coming down.

Betsy pulls a small squeaky rubber chicken from her pocket, looking surprised to find it there. "Wow…this survived and still squeaks," she announces, squeaking it a few times in disbelief. "But the dog treat didn't fare so well, it is broken in two," she laments, with the two halves of a milk bone sitting in her open palm.

The puppy responds to the squeaker toy, standing on Hulk's thigh, turning towards her and barking eagerly, tiny tail all wag-wag-wag. Hulk moves the puppy to the ground to let it run at Betsy, bouncing around her feet like a demented happy toy in tight circles. Hulk gets to his feet, and just starts to sort of walk away from her. There's no explanation at all.
Betsy Braddock says, "Hulk, catch?" Betsy holds out the toy in a motion of tossing it to him, he he turns back. "He likes the toys, and he likes you. Now he can have both!""

The toy bounces off of Hulk; he ignores her fully. The dog no doubt charges over to get the toy. Puppy, though, means it won't be bringing the toy back, but just pouncing on it midway between Hulk and Betsy. A few more steps and the green abruptly mutates in a churn of muscle and eerie mass displacement. Hulk stumbles but doesn't quite drop at first, as motor skills in his legs suffer, and the pale skin of Dr. Banner surfaces through the previous green mass. No shoes, bare torso, and back down to the 'dad bod' that Dr. Banner generally rocks.

Betsy is still sitting on the ground where she was as she watched Hulk with the puppy. She's hugging her knees to her chest, watching as the Hulk exits stage left and Bruce Banner appears. "Are you all right?" Betsy asks tentatively as his change becomes complete, but she rises quickly and approaches him as he looks like he might collapse. "Are you hurt, Bruce?"
Bruce does partially stumble and go down, but is loosely aware of her approaching and talking to him, so an arm does go out to let her snare and steady him: he doesn't fall onto hands and knees, though she'll have to put some force into helping him to stay up, he's not in full control of his muscles at first. Spagetti legs while things reorder. He attempts to reorient. He's not in a kitchen anymore in a panic, and there's no robot thing. He looks around sharply as if just waking up to someone yelling in his ear, and then at her. Sharply. "No — Are /you/ hurt?" Bruce asks quickly.

"Only my pride," Betsy replies with a soft smile as she gently helps him stay upright, and assists him to a flat-topped tree stump where he can sit and recover. She has a few little scuffs here and there, generally on exposed skin below her shorts and a bruise on one cheek, from her landing when the claw threw her. And her tank top is ripped on the diagonal, but she is wearing the deep violet leather of Psylocke beneath.

Mr. Wiggles bounds through the underbrush, most of which is taller than he is, especially given the length of corgi legs. He gets stuck high-center on a fallen log, and wiggles frantically till he tumbles forward, never breaking stride till he is bouncing up, front paws on Bruce's knee. Bonus! Two new friends in one!

"The puppy treatment was effective?" Bruce guesses, through his eyes move over her injuries uncertainly. He doesn't call her on them, though. Bruce has tact and awareness. She doesn't appear to have any major injuries to his gaze, though he's unsure if Hulk caused any of her minor ones. Memory gaps aren't fun. He drops a hand to stroke the puppy's head and ears, and gets a large licking for his effort on his hand. He wipes it on his pants/shorts. Kind of more like Capri, due to the tearing around lower legs. Even his technological pants never seem to handle calves for some strange reason. "Do we need to run? I can move."

"The claw thing got me, that's all." She pulls back her long, somewhat tangled deep plum hair, picking leaves out of it as she does, and shows him the faint bruises on her neck from the claw. "But it threw me. It was looking for you…well, HIM." Betsy senses his uneasiness, and shakes her head quickly. "Nothing broken. Nothing that won't heal fast. He didn't hurt me. He didn't even try. Just sulked because I wouldn't let him attack the cabin. The puppy brought him down." Betsy is already typing notes into her phone as she speaks, then she locks the screen and pockets it. "Whoever did this was remote, but I'm sure they aren't too far off. I have a car stashed a quarter of a mile from here, y'know, just in case…"
"I'm not covered in dirt or anything. I guessed things didn't get too bad," Bruce says, with a note of his own condition and a small gesture. "I mean, I still have my stuff. …Some of it." He has his phone and wallet still. Miracles. He draws the phone out (STARK tech), and keys into it quickly. "I might be able to pick up on local signals here. Give me a minute." A good reminder that he's a smart guy when not green. He's fairly shameless about lacking shirt and shoes, sitting on the stump, his focus is on the device for the moment, though he adjusts where he is holding it, since he lacks glasses, out a little bit. "Or if there's something left of the robot." He pauses. "Is it safe to go back over there and see?"

"The cabin is completely enclosed, but the robot….thing….is demolished as far as the mechanics go. It was broadcasting a modulated voice, in direct response to real time stimuli. I think it's a safe bet that it is transmitting as well as receiving. Or was, until you tied it in a knot and gave it a big ol'hug." Betsy winks and rests her hand on Bruce's shoulder as he works with the phone. Mr. Wiggles is making sure Bruce has the cleanest left shin in the tri-county area.

Bruce sighs and nods. Unlikely to get much from it if the Hulk really went to town to destroy it into the ground, Bruce knows. He checks for signals locally, but doesn't come up with much. Which could be a number of reasons. But he starts to get up, putting his device away and picking up the puppy. "Well. Then we walk, huh?" Bruce asks, quietly. There's a rueful humor to it, and below that, some guilt or embarrassment. The puppy is trying to lick his bare chest, after all, and he has no shoes.

"We have more supplies in the car, just a ways down the road. We can walk on the grass, unless you want a piggyback." Betsy grins at Bruce lightheartedly, and offers him a hand up. "New shoes and clothes await. Although I won't mind if you just want to keep rocking that look, alllll the way home."
Bruce flushes and kind of self consciously pushes his fingers back through his hair in a suave, subtle attempt to fix it without drawing too much attention to it. It helps only a meager bit; it wasn't that much of an issue to begin with. "Ha ha," Bruce chuckles, willing to make fun of himself. "I know I can't really compete physically with the guy that was just here," he teases. He's computing something else, though, behind that joke, and offers her the puppy. "I… have a bad idea, too," Bruce finally says. "It's … a good opportunity out here to test deliberately asking the big guy to come. Nothing around to harm worse than I already have." He can see an opportunity to do the test they came out here to do in the first place. "But I don't want to if you want to get out of here."

Mr. Wiggles is wiggling in Betsy's hands. And wiggling. Aaaand wiggling. Apparently he is aptly named, after all.

Well, better to do it when you've already destroyed your clothes, right?" Betsy smiles and looks toward the well house. "Give me a moment…" She ducks inside with the corgi and emerges moments later sans the puppy or the shorts and shirt she wore moments earlier. Her attire was completely concealed beneath her street clothes, apparently: a deep violet leather bustier, with matching straps on her thighs and biceps. Bare shouldered, she approaches the spot where her katana was stuck in the ground when she approached the Hulk before. She takes it up, but sheaths it. "So…how do I summon Goliath?"

"Um. Let me try it on my own, first. Give me like … five or ten minutes," Bruce says, flushing again from her super-costume's proximity to where he is. The katana don't exactly alarm him, but that she thinks she needs to attack him, well — "I'd rather try it without getting hit first. I know getting hit can do it." He looks around. "I just — don't want you to be the first thing I'm aimed at if it works, so I'll be, uh, over there," Bruce suggests, towards some trees.

"I didn't intend to hit you, Sweets," Betsy chides. "I just didn't want a katana lying around when the big guy erupts. Right here is the safest place for it." She pats her sheathed blade. "If it doesn't work, I have options." She is bent down, tightening the laces of one boot. She bounces lightly on the balls of her feet as Bruce disappears into the trees.

So, Bruce is angry pretty much all of the time in a subdued, hidden way. It's letting his own control go that is the 'problem'. The self control patterns and keeping himself locked inside are barriers he needs to drop, yet he fears doing so. Hulk is rarely as good as he was so far this day: Hulk just mashed some robots. It was a miracle! He has a great deal of anxiety over whether he'll come back easily or not, this second time. It isn't the 'going in', it never has been. It's always coming back to himself. So due to this anxiety, he paces around in the trees, getting more tense over second guessing this. Should he call it off?

"If you can't do it, I'll do it for you." Psylocke stands before him, smiling with a wink, and pacing a circle around him, as he tries. "I'm not afraid of you. And I'm not afraid of him…." The illusion shimmers, then fades. For her part, Psylocke is still standing up the hill, a few nervous butterflies in her stomach. What if it comes to actually having to legitimately defend herself? She would never want to hurt Bruce. But hurting the Hulk is the same thing. She bounces lightly again. It's a nervous habit that rarely ever shows. Because Betsy Braddock is rarely ever nervous.
Bruce tries to stop doing his relaxation items. Let the frustration over everything in, and feel it. So many things to feel, in a tangle. Such self-loathing, such disgust over having to do this situation in the first place. He has twigs in his foot. And what must Betsy think of all this? And throwing illusions to him, in that way, she must not think he's capable! Instead of burying these things, he tentatively allows them in. They flip into anger. And the Hulk is ready to answer.
The change is slower than earlier that day, a rolling boil instead of instant response, and Bruce's shift includes punching a tree to bloody knuckles, a frustrated cry added that expands with the breadth of oncoming Hulk… And then a full continuation of destruction begins. He starts to rip the trees up, whipping himself up. A bellow that is fringed with some kind of emotional pain shudders the forest, and makes birds flutter up out of the trees. Well, he succeeded.

"Yes!!" There is a cry of victory from Betsy up on the hill. He did it! She never had a doubt. Well, maybe a little doubt. He is extremely ocd over controlling his anger, after all.

Now comes the true test: She has to see what he makes of her when he's in the height of his fury. With a deep breath in and slowly out, Psylocke moves down the slight incline and immerses herself in the Hulk's woods.
The situation that caused the Hulk clearly has some impact on what he's doing. Earlier he single-mindedly was after robots. This is different. This is a destructive aimless rampage. He doesn't register or see her, he is ripping and hurling trees, and seems to have just picked a direction (sort of southwest), shoving things out of his way, which includes a boulder. The whole of nature seems to be worthy of being pummeled. It looks like a tantrum more than something directed.

"Hulk?" Psylocke calls out to him in his tyrannical crusade against nature. "How's my big, green boyfriend, hmm? What's got you so angry? Can I help?" Psylocke tilts her head watching him for a moment before asking, "Want to come sit with me, and tell me who we need to smash?"

Hulk was proceeding to pull a tree out of the earth, and has a mass of roots and earth. He's filthy with the aggression on the tree. He's proceeding to crack it in half when her voice filters through the noise of his distrustiveness. His look is dark and unpleasant. He snorts out a bit of soil, wiping his jaw and nose on one giant forearm. He's a bit bigger than earlier. "Hulk Smashing," Hulk states, and starts to move again, seeming to find her uninteresting.

"Ooh, can I smash with you?" Psylocke seems genuinely interested as she trails behind Hulk. "You're smashing AMAZINGLY well. I've never seen anyone smash that well. I want to help. Can I? Pleeease?"

And the reception to that is indifference at first. He looked at her out of the side of his eye. And then rounds on her, bearing a full tree truck. There's about twelve feet of it. He bashes the end on the ground and faces her. "Hulk fight," Hulk proposes, and promptly tries to mash her under the tree limb.

Psylocke is already ducking and rolling to the side away from the tree before Hulk even came down with it. Raising it told her all she needed to know. "Now, Hulk…I like you. Why would I want to fight you?" Her lips curve into a playfully lopsided smile, and she starts moving in closer again. "Why are we smashing? Why do you want to fight?"

Why? These are complex questions for somebody that's just angry. He glowers, automatically persuing with a quick adjustment and follow with the tree. He's not REALLY trying, but is adaptive and quicker than he should be as a powerhouse. "Puny Banner /weak/, Banner /sad/," Hulk answers, as if those things were things that naturally would make anybody angry. Hulk is, at least, succinct and informative. There's a simplicity to it all: Hulk isn't bright, but he can see matters that others might overthink or over-process. "Hulk strong."

Psylocke couches to one side until the tree comes close, then she hops up to touch down briefly on the trunk, and she springs lightly over to Hulk's side, where she is too close to be thwacked with a tree. "Would it make you happy if Banner was stronger?" she asks, picking up a sizeable branch herself (though not nearly so sizeable as Hulk's) and she hops out in front of him, playfully crossing swords with him, so to speak. "En garde!"

Hulk laughs! It is a deep boom of laughter. It's not a relaxed, pleasant laugh, because the anger is still present. Still aggressive. "Haaaaa! Girl funny. Hulk strongest," Hulk declares, flexing his hand, which reduces the tree into and explosive bundle of shards of sharp wood that splinters out all over the place. He narrows his eyes at her sword, entirely unconcerned with her overall. In fact, he's not all that into fighting her. Aimless. "Nothing to break," Hulk says, upset over the lack of things to smash. He moves again, this time without the wide swatch of destruction: this time is just breaking whatever is immediately in his path. "Find robot," Hulk suddenly decides, and wheels on her once more. She knew about robots.

"You smashed the robot," Psylocke declares, dropping her branch. and placing her hands on her hips. "We need to find more. The computer at home can tell me where they are. Do you want to help me find them? We would need to get Mr. Wiggles and go home."

"Which way?" Hulk demands, glaring at the forest that dares block his vision of the robot nemesis he needs to locate.

Psylocke narrows her eyes, and looks around them suspiciously. "There!" She points enthusiastically as a robot similar to the first steps out of the trees to face them down. Psylocke grabs her tree branch again and lifts it. "Smash it, Hulk!"

Hulk immediately orients on it and pounces forwards with a quick little hop, both hands slamming out with an eager and ready haymaker punch. He then moves to stand over it and continue to pummel the spot with a wild angry abandon.

The robot raises metal, tentacle-like arms either to defend or attack. But it is no match for Hulk. The robot begins to disintegrate into pieces that scatter on the ground at Hulk's feet while he pounds with abandon.

"Hulk! Another one! I'll save Mr. Wiggles!" The second robot comes at him from the opposite direction as Psylocke runs to the well house to get the dog.

The response from Hulk is entirely predictable, and he fires up eagerly, into a new vaulting level of anger as something actually DARES attack him. It's just what he wanted: anger fuel. He'll go after the next one, using part of a root network on a ripped up tree this time, slamming across it like he would with a baseball bat, and then leaps after it. Hulk's leaps are big, he'll get some distance with that.

The robot practically shatters to pieces when he hit it. Note to self:cameraderie is not necessarily a thing. Not yet. Not in battle. The anger is only rising. "GOOD JOB!" Psylocke yells as she returns down to the woods with Mr. Wigggles. "Is that all of them?" She stops, looking around as the dog barks excitedly.
She'll have to seek him out a distance away where he found some other target: looks like a broken down old jeep. He hauled it up out of a murky low hill back up towards the edge of a dirt road. Hulk answers her grumpily, "Hulk crush them." He kicks at the jeep. "This not robot."

"No, it's not…" Psylocke looks around at the perimeter of the immediate area. "Looks like that's all." We should go find out where the others are. Back home…Can you hold Mr. Wiggles while I get our things?"
"Hulk not tricked," Hulk says suddenly at her, eyes narrowed, but slowly comes over. As if watching for trickery. Something set off some suspicion with the angry monster. He looks at her and the puppy relatively coldly, scowling.

"Hulk…we can't find more until we find out where to look…Please? We will need to go…" She offers Mr. Wiggles toward him. The puppy's stump of a tail wiggles madly as he squirms trying to get to Hulk. "We need to calm…we need to find out where they are. And who is controlling them…Please?"

Hulk doesn't want the puppy again, he seems to be avoiding looking at it. He has some awareness of her motive, by the look of it. "Get plane, Hulk fly. Or jump." There's a stubbornness here, obviously. Hulk starts to walk, along the dirt path. He's lucky, he IS going towards the highway. But it was a 50-50 chance of being right.

Psylocke catches up to Hulk and tries to take hold of his massive arm. She couldn't turn him if she tried, so she instead tries a more gentle gesture. "I want to help…but whoever is after you wants me gone. I don't want to go without you…You make me feel safe."

Hulk solves it: he attempts to just scoop her up and carry her. She can carry the puppy, he'll carry her, and they'll get underway. There's a simple logic to it all, really. Hulk will also start to speed up, into his heavy strides.

Psylocke is scrappy. She's extremely skilled in martial arts. But is is not super-powered. And the whole purpose of today has been to learn. So she's going on a Hulk-powered field trip. She holds onto him as best she can, clinging to his massive form and holding the corgi securely. She has seen how he is with the puppy. He has the capability to be gentle. That doesn't mean he will be, so she gauges his movements carefully, and smiles. "Hulk is strong, AND smart," she gushes, hanging on for dear life.

Betsy gets a low grunt that's close to solumn agreement for her compliments. And also isn't squeezed or anything. He adjusts his grip with an effortless little partial-toss that might be frightening, since he does it while leaping over a huge patch of brambles, but surely things are fine. He makes it to the road, and then waits, as if expecting instruction.

"Hulk…are you really going to try and run across two states carrying us? It seems like a very long way to run. And you might need rest before we smash all the rest." Psylocke makes the appeal as she reaches up to touch his cheek again, now that he can't just walk away. Well, he could…but he would have to drop her first. Mr. Wiggles is taking this all in stride, panting with the breeze ruffling his fur. "We could do this an easier way."

A narrow sideways glance is aimed at the hand towards his face. It's fearless, more a distrust of why he's being petted. Sneaky people try to get him to calm down. Though it does exhibit her bravery, and a smirking smile moves out on his rough, heavy green features. Hulk is monstrous, though there are pieces of the man underneath in some of his appearance, such as the style of smile. "Hulk staying," Hulk says stubbornly, but does look for the car.

"Very well, then," Psylocke concedes. "Our. things are in a black car parked just off the path…down the mountain to the south. That way," she indicates, and holds on.

Hulk rolls out! He takes a few steps, then like a big truck building steam, begins to actively charge. He takes up the whole road doing it. And there's other traffic now and then. They aren't shoved out of the way, they are jumped over. Which causes all kinds of havoc on those poor drivers that were being charged at: screams of braking tires and so on. But Hulk is set on new goal: find car.

"Over there, back behind those trees!" Psylocke has never been so glad she concealed the car from public view. Time to get the Hulk out of the public eye, and out of -here- in general. The cars they have passed have at least continued on instead of stopping to come back. But that kind of luck might not hold out.
Perhaps more than just luck is involved, though: who wants to actively go chase down a giant green monster, really, that just leaped over your car? Hulk obeys her directions, slowing by planting his feet suddenly, hard, in the soil off to the side of the road, creating a big ditch. He climbs out of it casually, and puts her down. He doesn't dump her, but if she doesn't actively take part in her own dismount she may end up on her butt.

Psylocke begins to slide before he completely puts her down, and she lands lightly on her feet, puppy cradled in her arms. "Now then, keys…are…" She circles a large rock until she finds a scratch on it, then turns around and pulls the key from beneath a smaller stone. She unlocks the door of the car and unceremoniously holds out Mr. Wiggles to Hulk as she struggles to juggle the pup and the things she is pulling from the car. "This will be okay. I promise…"
Hulk accepts the puppy this time, kind of loosely holding it in one hand, but far enough off the ground so that the puppy isn't interested in randomly leaping down. BUT it is a puppy, so of course it tries, and Hulk has to adjust to grab it with other hand. He doesn't harm the dog but it does yip at the slight force of it. And it starts to lick him, and he responds to the puppy, distracted, poking it with an opposite big green finger.

Psylocke watches Hulk and the puppy interact with a soft giggle, as she pulls out clothes to change into, and lays them atop the car. She also slides her katana beneath a seat, sheath and all, as she reorganizes. Finally, she pulls a black duffel bag from the front passenger seat and readies it in the beck seat as she watches the Hulk and his puppy. "I'm not sure I like the name Mr. Wiggles. He needs a new name, y'think?"

There's no way the Hulk will remotely fit in such a car, particularly when he's as massive as he is now. But he's reducing. Not having any specific goal or rage-fest doesn't maintain Hulk particularly. And he stopped, and is holding a puppy. And being left alone. He sits down near his ditch with the puppy and mostly ignores Betsy.

As Hulk sits in the ditch, Psylocke pulls a stylus from her phone and begins scribbling notes on her screen, trying to record the things she has seen and learned, lest anything should be forgotten. For now, she muses, he seems happy. It is a part of Bruce that she hasn't exactly seen - contentment. The fact that Bruce's rage-monster can find it and Bruce himself cannot? It's tragic. And she vows to do everything within her power to change it.

Hulk releases the puppy, he can't hang onto it while also collapsing partially into the ditch. The transformation back is unpleasant, but relatively quickly Banner is back, twisted half around, hands in the dirt of the ditch as he breathes heavily and the puppy makes unsure noises at him by his foot.

The phone is flung into the seat of the car, and Psylocke rushes to Bruce as the transformation completes, leaving him twisted, the puppy snuffling around hi. The corgi sniffs his way up to Bruce's face, and licks his cheek in an attempt to "wake" him.

"Bruce," Psylocke calls out softly, twisting her fingers gently through his hair and letting him get his bearings before attempting to help him up. "Are you all right?"

"Yes. I'm used to waking up in weird situations," Bruce says, with more awareness than his physical position of being mushed in a ditch suggests. He draws his head up and looks at his dirty hands and limbs, and then around, with a sort of tired acceptance. He's seen far worse. He isn't leaping to get up: he'll sit a minute. "How long was that?"

"I don't know…an hour maybe? Seemed longer…it was eventful." She smiles and sits beside him, scruffing the pup idly behind his ears. "How was it for you? He didn't want to go."
Bruce flushes, and thinks about it, twisting to sit up fully, resting his forearms against his knees, and looking at the interesting ditch and the huge footprints. He draws in his smaller feet just a little bit more. "I think when I'm at an emotional low he sticks around longer. I can make some guesses about what that means, but." But it's depressing to say.

Twisting a long strand of her deep violet hair idly, Psylocke appears deep in thought. "Maybe, so, Love, but you might be missing the more important part of today's revelation. You initiated his takeover. He is not violent toward me. He is cooperative. Well…" She breathes a laugh. "As cooperative as he gets. He carried the puppy and me from the cabin back here." She looks back onto Bruce's face with a brighter smile. "Today has been a success. It shows this -can- be done."

"Well …. Yes. The part where I gave in to rage, that I remember," Bruce says with a rueful smile. He's not happy. He's mixed about it all. "It's still hard to just entirely be unconscious for a while. Like big spots are missing from life. I have a gist of the anger I felt before I was here. I'm surprised there wasn't more damage. I'm glad you and Mr. Wiggles are okay," Bruce says. "What made him calm down? The dog again?"

"Actually…" Betsy hesitates, as if deciding whether she could possibly be right. "He did take the puppy. But…he knew. He knew why. He was determined he wouldn't be tricked. I tried to reason with him, and he did resist. But…he brought us here. And he took the corgi and left me to go sit with him. I think…he knew. I think he gave up willingly."

Bruce looks doubtful, but considers that possibility. "Maybe. My video reference mostly shows that he just kind of works off stimulus. If there's something to rev him up, then he stays, and gets worse and worse. Maybe he ran out of things to be angry about." Bruce starts to wipe his hands on the pants. It doesn't do anything since he's filthy all over. "Let's go back, though? We can talk in the car," Bruce suggests, bending to pick up the puppy.

Betsy nods, and hops up. At the car, she hands Bruce the black duffel bag from the back seat, with clothes and shoes, and an industrial sized container of wet wipes. "You'll want this." Then she pauses long enough to slip on a tank top and a pair of khaki cargo shorts to cover her armor. Before they go, she gives the Corgi some water from a water bottle, and when they get into the car, it sacks out on Bruce's lap, sleeping hard. Mr. Wiggles has had a VERY busy day.

Bruce doesn't fully change his clothes, but does put on a button-up shirt and adds shoes after libral wipe use. And actually passes out as well after a little while in the warmth of the sun coming in the window. He had a stressful day too, the puppy still in his lap, loosely held by a hand.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License