1963-11-20 - The Good Times Are Killing Me
Summary: The Hulk is let out of his cage again.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
karolina laura akihiro lorna hope samantha bruce 


It's cold now, in New York, and these late night walks will probably need a better coat.

It's 3 a.m. and Bruce Banner doesn't use the subway anymore. People can get to close. He has a beard now, but someone might recognize. He's lucky that the picture they used of him was grainy, but someone might recognize.

As he walks, he mutters to himself, trying to play out everything in his mind. He's been focusing on being calm lately and things have been pretty good. He pretends to work at Stark Industries. By pretend, he sits at an office and solves problems that Tony Stark could just as easily solve if he had the time, or more importantly, the inclination.

He has a clock he is rather fond of.

Once a week, like clockwork, he calls Betty. They only talk about his condition. It is good to hear her voice, but it is sad.

And once a week he visits his cousin Jennifer. It seems nice. She's really successful. He knows he should be happier. She makes really good food. He really should be happier.

And it occurs to him, after a night of using Tony's tools in another desperate attempt to cure himself, that he may not ever be happy again and cannot remember a time when he ever was.

It's cold now, in New York, and Bruce is shivering wearing a light jacket as he makes his way through Central Park toward his home. He has an apartment now, which is all he spends money on. He eats with Stark stipend money. He keeps his cash in a case under his bed because he's never sure when he's going to need it and whether or not he could get there before the cops do in an emergency. Or before the military does.

He should be happier, but he's not as he approaches what appears to him to be a pimp and his mistress. The lady of the night and her controller are having an argument. He knows he shouldn't interfere, but he does. And when the bastard pulls a gun on him, things go red pretty quickly. Red with rage and then go green.

And the next thing you know the Incredible Hulk is destroying what is left of Central Park.


Hope and Lorna had been driving away from the park. There were things they were going to do. But then there's a very loud noise, and Hope turns in her seat to get a look out the rearview window. "Uh, Lorna?" she asks, fingers white-knuckled on the headrest. "Is that normal, or is that the sort of trouble you were talking about?"


Further into the park is another man who is struggling to remember a time when he was happy. A time when he didn't have to pick fights in bars to feel alive. He knows it isn't normal or healthy, but isn't sure how to change.

And that's how he found himself in the park again. Dressed in a t-shirt and jeans despite the weather, he is here to train. Over and over again he drives his fists, elbows, and knees into one of the trees.

"What the fuck?" he stops mid-swing, turning his ear towards the sound of destruction. "Can't be good."


Harlem had always had its troubles, more then once Samantha had been asked why of all the clinics she could find to donate her time to, a white woman would pick that particular neighbourhood. She had friends there, she felt like she could do some good even with all the recent madness, but it was still a strange sight to see her walking from that direction.
She doesn't take the subway, but it's a preference rather then a necessity. With an umbrella held above her the blonde woman was taking a shortcut through the park's remains, seeing the devestation for herself when sounds of new destruction reach her ears.
Tossing the Umbrella aside, she starts running towards the sounds, tugging her beat-up leather jacket tighter around herself.


It is a very common thing, these days, for Laura and Lucy to be out together. A little less common for them to be out roaming beyond Mutant Town, as they are now. A LOT less-common for Laura to be dragging Lucy around, as typically the dark-haired former lab rat, living weapon, hired killer, etc etc is the more subdued one during outings. It's also not really very normal for the girls to be out so late, but they walk with a sort of unhurried confidence that is unusual for girls their age this time of night.

"…it is an ideal time for training," Laura is explaining as they walk with their arms linked. "Not many people awake. Except the dangerous ones that do not care who you are. You have been doing well. So it is time to become accustomed to realistic scenarios" she cuts off, head tilting in the sort of way she does when listening to something even she needs to strain to hear. "and surprises. Time to adapt. Let us see what this new fuss is," she decides, and shifts their path towards the Park without breaking the leisurely stride. Lucy will be able to hear the ruckus soon enough, probably.


Lorna mutters uner her breath something that might have been a curse, at the loud bangs and muffled sounds behind them. She pulled the car to the side of the road, putting it into park and throwing open a door. "Yeah, that would be something like what I was talking about Hope." She opened the door, getting out of the car and looking back and around them for a moment, trying to gauge how far off the sounds of destruction were from them.

"So uhm, how different exactly are you hope on a scale from one to ten? Any chance you'll be any better at dealing with this than me?"


"I'm so showy at night." Lucy has been working on that but she's still pretty shiny. "Why is it always Central Park, Laura? What did that poor place ever do to anyone?" She's not local so she doesn't know much about it. The noise is building and she peers ahead of them.

"You know, it would be nice to have a night out without…without…" Lucy exhales sharply. "Is that man green? And huge? I don't suppose we can just go home, can we?" She knows the answer to that. They need to help out. But she really would like a week — even days — of normalcy.


Hulk stomps on the ground with his feet, like some sort of petulant child who cannot get his way. His large green hands grip his hair, almost as if he wants to tear it out as he pulls his gigantic forearms in front of his face in anguish. He lets out a mighty roar and arches his back, looking into the sky as if a prayer might stop what happens next.

It doesn't. He rips the closest tree from its roots and chucks it clear out of the park, heading towards that brick apartment with all of those windows. Only several of them have turned on their lights so far to see what's going on. The rest of the people are sleeping soundly as if nothing was wrong.

The Hulk's fist smashes into the ground, creating a huge divot in the park and send the running pimp and his girl into the air like two dandelions a child might throw up into the air when he gets bored with them.

As if that wasn't enough, on the backhand, the giant green monster grabs a decorative boulder and throws it one of the Park Authority office buildings not too far away.


"It's kind of a long story," Hope answers Lorna as she hops out of the car, looking toward the monster wreaking havoc. She looks out of place herself, in a green and gold jumpsuit with a sort of cowl over her shoulders and around her neck. "The short version is basically anything you can do…" She reaches out with her senses, grasping for mutant powers and finding Lorna's first. Others are still too far away, but that one's useful.

As the Hulk tosses a tree toward the apartment, Hope reaches one hand out toward a lamp post nearby, ripping it from the pavement to swing it at the tree before it can hit the building.


Giant green monster…alright. Samantha actually has to stop for a moment and blink. That's certainly the strangest thing she'd seen on the walk home. Then suddenly the creature was ripping up trees and hurling them at occupied buildings where people were standing at their windows…so the moment passes.

Like a bullet fired from a gun she takes flight, effectively tackling the tree out of the air and slamming it down to the ground, safely away from the building only a split second before Hope rips out the lamp post. She hadn't thought to try that…wait.

There's a genuine look of suprise at someone else displaying similar strength to her, then she's pulled back to reality as she dives towards the boulder, the flying woman trying to continue the game of extreme catch.


As for the aforementioned boulder, it slams into Akihiro, and keeps right on moving. Rather than deflecting it, the teen is thrown into a pole and folded clean in half. "Uuhh." he weezes, not doing any sort of hero activities for the time being.


Lorna's brows shoot upwards as she stares, mouth falling open at the green… thing? That ripped up trees and roared. She blanched, hand pressed against her car door as if to hold herself up. "Oh my God." She gasped, pressing a hand over her lips.

Then her attention shifts back to Hope and the young woman stares, stunned for a long moment as she /feels/ the other mutant's manipulation of the metal of the lamp post.



Laura just shrugs at Lucy. Of the two of them the sometimes-technicolor blonde is the one with a functioning moral compass most of the time. "We could leave if you would like. But it would be a useful exercise. Shiny is the point, however. Being more visible will force you to control it better. We do not grow from comfort. We must be forced. It is the way of things— Oh, hello, Akihiro," she adds dispassionately as that notable arrives and comes to a stop at a lamp pole as they pass.

"He will be okay," she asides confidently to Lucy, then comes back to the immediate point. "So, are we in or out?"


"Oh, for…" Lucy has learned to be more discreet. She pulls off the bracelet and, yes, she glows. But she doesn't fly, she simply shapes her power into a curving basin of light that catches the young woman who was thrown through the air, then her male companion, just before either hit the ground. It's not comfortable but it does keep them from splattering on the dead grass and muck. Then, the light is gone again and they're left in the dirt.

"Well, I think we're in," she says with a sigh. "We need uniforms at this rate."


It's tough to see what would win in a battle between flying thing in the Hulk's vision path or bright and shiny in the Hulk's vision path. Since the flying thing came first, he decides that's what he's going after and leaps towards the west, clearing the trees and the large road after that to slam into the apartment building, using his hands to hold the brick by the grips of his hands and intermittently smashing glass as he tries to get closer to Samantha.


Hope blinks when Samantha intercepts the tree, leaving one lonely floating lamp post by the sidewalk. "Okay, well, that was new," she asides to Lorna. "And I don't think it took that well." The light from Lucy's rescue draws her attention and she reaches out her senses in that direction before she starts to jog that way. "Come on!" she calls over her shoulder to Lorna, the floating lamp post faltering for a moment when she realizes she's drawn away from the other girl. "There are people in there!"


"Hey Laura." Akihiro wheezes again, probablly punctured a lung. He pushes up onto shaky feet, upper boddy flopping over to the side in a sickening way.

It takes a few moments, but he's able to straighten up his spine and walk properly once again. "Alright, I'm pissed."

Without much planning, or self preservation, he takes off for the building where the Hulk is causing trouble. To his credit he doesn't pop his claws. Yet.


Lorna stared, aghast at the sight of the green.. monster? Mutant? Alien? That leapt for the apartment building. Her jaw dropping as it started smashing glass. She missed the light show, or at least where it originated from. So she was shocked when Hope started jogging away.

"Wait up! Hope! I'm.. I'm not that good with my powers yet!" She yelped, trying to catch up with the other young girl. "I'm not openly a mutant or anything, if the police show up we gotta get out of here." She hissed between panting breaths as she caught up to the redhead.


The boulder? Sammy didn't quite catch it before it cleaned up a passer-by. Crap. Whincing she turns towards the big green monster thing…that seems to have noticed her. That's good right? No more throwing stuff at innocent civillians? Now she just has to avoid getting stomped. "Get everyone out of the way!" she yells, observant enough to have guessed that whomever the lightsource was or the lamp-post floater, they were probably here to help.

Turning towards the hulk where he comes at her, the flying woman picks up speed, twisting through the air in a hope of avoiding the raging limbs and slamming a fist with her inhuman strength and momentum behind it into the Hulk's chest.


"Yes, I am certain that will help," Laura observes mildly as Akihiro announces his feelings and goes haring off, then shrugs towards Lucy. Well. They'll see, she supposes. She cocks her head in the same direction, then goes running along after the Hulk. Not much standing around here is going to do.

"I am not certain what the situation is," she notes towards Lucy. "So improvisation, observation, and care will be required."


There are people screaming, fleeing the building or looking out their windows — while others are running toward the scene — all of which intersects poorly with the falling glass. Lucy, who is miraculously keeping her feet on the ground even if she can't stifle her rainbow aura, shapes fields of light to protect people from falling glass and the crumbling facade of the old building, providing a corridor for escape without injury. She's still nearly a block away but that's all right, she doesn't need to be close.

With a little effort, Lucy also manages to erect a pair of barriers to block off the street so that traffic doesn't make things worse down here. Fortunately, this is actually…not terrible. There's only one source of trouble and, while it is very big and very agitated, it doesn't seem to have much of an agenda other than smashing whatever catches its attention. The real key here will to starve it of things to smash so that it finds something else to do.

"I think they're just making it angry," she says to Laura.


The good news is that the Hulk is no longer explicitly attacking other civilians other than those who are in the apartment he's running across the side of. The other good news is that Samantha's punch lands right square in the middle of his chest.

But the really bad news is that the punch has absolutely no effect other than to make the Hulk smile an almost evil grin as he reaches out towards Samantha in an attempt to rip her into two equal parts.

The people "in there" as Hope puts it, are in several different positions. Some are fine, well, physically fine. Their investments in high priced real estate, however…

Then there are some who are lucky to be alive and were nearly killed or almost thrown from their apartment.

The third group hand precariously, close to death if they should fall.

The police are coming, for sure, but Lorna has some time before they arrive should she attempt to try anything. There are people's lives who could depend upon it.

Akihiro is able to catch up to where the Hulk is pretty easily, and has the benefit of being /not/ the focus of his attention. Currently, now that he's getting down off the building, his back is turned to the younger fellow with the claws. Hulk's full attention is on Samantha. Just after Akihiro arrives, so does Laura, and under the same circumstances.

Lucy's defensive moves save dozens of lives and prevent more from being in danger. As to her hypothesis about the effect they are having on the Hulk, she is safe to assume she is right.


"Good news, getting out of here if the police show up was definitely part of the plan," Hope assures Lorna as she gets closer to the others. The closer she gets, the more familiar one of the figures feels. That power's familiar, but more than that… She catches a glimpse of Laura, brows rising swiftly as she starts to call out. Until, that is, she remembers. Not here, not now. She's nobody to this Laura.

Instead, she looks to Lucy - whatever the light girl is doing, she can't duplicate it - nodding firmly. "Do you think it can swim?" she asks, looking between Lucy and Lorna. "Nice, good fling out into the river?" Good use for that lamp post, at least, which starts to hover a little closer to the Hulk.


Samantha is strong, stronger then anyone her size had any right being. The girl could bench-press a tank…so when the punch does nothing? She actually goes a little paler in responce before she darts skywards and only just manages to avoid being turned into an improvised wish-bone. "Holy crap this thing is tough," she calls, backing up a little and glancing over towards the others in a hope that they've got a better idea then her 'punch it' strategy. If the hulk is still coming her way? The blonde grits her teeth and dives, intending to continue her very dangerous game of 'keep away'.


"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" Akihiro calls out, letting his fancy metal claws extend with a soft snikt. Sometimes we have to make bad decisions, and for this teen his is running forward and trying to drive his claws into the creature. "Cut this shit out!"


Breathlessly, Lorna runs up along side Hope, glancing at the others only briefly as she did her best to avoid falling debris that the /thing/ caused. She wasn't sure whatever the green thing was, but decided that she didn't overall care. "Oh good, because I definitely don't need to explain things. Totally not prepared for that." She muttered, when her gaze falls upon several people dangling from various places.

"I dunno if that thing can swim, but I'm willing to bet that those people can't fly.." She swallowed a hard lump in her throat, shaking out her hands as she struggled to bend pieces of metal that ringed windows. Sweat pooled on her forehead as she tried to bend the metal to help pull a few people back into their apartments and hopefully to safety.

Her powers, normally, only of note when she was upset, continued to evade her until one woman nearly slipped and fell. With a pounding heart, Lorna managed to at least tug her back into the building. Even if the squirming metal had said woman screaming just as much as the green monster had.


Laura headtilts, and Lucy's comment that it seems like they're just making the giant green monster angry bounces around in Laura's head for a while before X-23 makes a decision. She skids to a halt as Akihiro commits perhaps the most classic blunder in all of comics, and instead of joining in, turns to scale her way up a stretlight where she has a vantage to pause an observe from, green eyes roaming the action. Hmmmm.


"Who cares if it can swim?" Lucy doesn't look away from her work. This is hard, and she's starting to float, her rainbow aura swirls and trails off of her like steam rising from a cup of coffee in the cold November air. "It started this. At the least, it might have some time to think about what it's done."

She has to pay attention, to lift the barriers when the police cars come. She doesn't want to get in trouble for obstructing them. Someone leans too far out of their window, falls, skids down her light shield, and Lucy finally comes up off the ground as she has to shift more attention to extending that shield into a ramp to the ground. "Why can't they just behave?" she mutters in frustration.


And the police are arriving soon.

But not before Lorna twists metal to save many of the people who likely would have fallen. Hope, meanwhile, has no real answer to her problem. And her time is running out as the red flashing lights can be seen down the street. The police are coming and they've seemed to have brought their heavy artillery. Whatever they have planned, it seems to take a ton of force.

Samantha is summarily ignored now that Akihiro is taking the foreground. The Hulk pivots as the young man yells at him. "HULK SMASH!" the green monster bellows as his big green fist comes straight at the young man!!!

Laura watches it all from her perch, completely ignored. It seems easy to do, to stay out of the way. So long as someone else is occupying his attention.

Lucy, if it wasn't clear, the cops are coming.


"Okay, well. I'm gonna try to throw it. Might need some help, though." Using Lorna's borrowed powers, she warps the magnetic fields around the lamppost, jaw setting as it snakes in loops around the Hulk's leg seemingly of its own volition. Lucy and Lorna have the bystanders. Laura and Akihiro have any potential stabbing needs covered. The flying woman, well. She's tried the punching thing.

Once she has the metal twined around the Hulk, she tries to pull it and the green monster away from the building. "Stay clear!" she shouts toward Akihiro. "Lorna, I need you to push with me." She forces more and more power into the metal, gasping as objects around her start to rattle and shoot toward the girls.

Crap. Too much power. Better fling this thing.


Akihiro meets the Hulk's punch with one of his own. Clearly not the best ides. While those claws of his may sink into the green giant's fist, the creature's strength is more than enough to completely destroy human bones. The man himself goes flying again, making his land at the base of Laura's lamppost.

"Alright, that was a bad idea."


And suddenly, Samantha isn't being punched at and Akihiro is there, can't that guy stay out of trouble for five minutes? Then again, who is she to talk? Landing on the park ground with a skidding motion she ends up beside Lorna and hope, blinking at all the flying metal. Magnetic powers? She can roll with it. "Flinging him? Tell me where you're aiming and I'll help!" Or she'll try anyway. Taking a breath she tries to focus, the air around her humming with the slightest vibration. If they can get the creature movine she might be able to slam it towards the destination, like spiking an extremely angry volleyball right?


The sound of sirens and the flash of police lights has Lorna freaking out more than a little, to say the least. This was why Miss Frost had demanded she make up a codename, and wear a mask. Annnnd she had yet to do either homework.

Dadneto lecture 1, Lorna 0.

Lorna senses and feels the pull of the metal that Hope slings around the creature, her eyes going wide as the other assorted metal rattles around them. Lorna grits her teeth together, her jaw squaring in concentration as she tried to still the other various metals around them while push out against the green thing above.

And then Samantha is there and Lorna blinks, her focus wavering momentarily. "Try for the river, see if it can swims?" She called, and closes her fists tightly, flinging her arms out in the direction when Hope tries to do the same.


Police cars. Lucy isn't going to run. Not while the police might need as much protection as the rest of them. As the cars peel around the corner, rushing for the scene, Lucy lets her barriers part — the effect is a little bit 'opening of the pearly gates' — so they can pass. She's not going to run. What are they going to do? Arrest her for helping?

When Hope and Lorna manage to start wrangling that green man-lump up there away from the building, Lucy realizes that she has the last card to play. It's going to take all of her concentration, though.

Lucy pulls in her shields, with the effect that she lights up like a star, and then projects everything she has out of her hands at the green thing suspended over the street. It's a battering ram of pure light and Lucy throws it hard enough that she goes backward — on her backside in the grass — and her light dims to almonst nothing.


Laura cranes her neck to peer down at Akihiro like some kind of gothic gargoyle. Which…. actually is totally appropriate. Huh. In any case, she just smirks. Slightly. "You think?" she quips, and then takes aim on the distance from herself to the Hulk and the motion involved, before she takes a precisely timed-leap, angling to come down on the back of his neck.

But she doesn't attack. Instead she gets a grip so she can attempt to ride him out, Her arms settling into what would normally be a sleeper hold but in this case is more of a cling-on-for-dear-life. It does, however, get her near his ear, and X-23 starts talking, in an even, smooth cadence. Her words? Something she used to say to herself, over and over again, even though it wasn't entirely her choice at the time, and portions of it are different now. "Do not be upset. Emotion is how they control you. They want you angry, they want the rage. Rage is a knife you twist into yourself. Rage is useless except as a tool to others. It makes you dangerous. It makes you do what they want. You should do what you want. You should be in control, not them." To be honest, she has no idea how applicable this is. But it worked for her pretty well, once upon a time.


The Hulk lets out a scream of terror as Aki's blades get into his fists. They're not going to do him harm and will regenerate quickly, but it's partially the shock and partially the pain which seems to drive the green giant crazy.

Even as Laura leaps onto his back and begins whispering into his ear, the Hulk is shaking and writhing and fighting and pushing and snarling and flailing. But the combined efforts of the heroes have a hold on him.


"Get clear!" Hope calls again as Laura jumps aboard the Hulk. "Three! Two!" She does her best to give the Hulk a few shakes with the lamp post, trying to make sure that he's not holding on to anything - or anyone - before she reaches the end of the countdown.


It's timed with Karolina's blast of light, a massive push of magnetic force to help fling the monster out toward the river. It also rattles quite a few large, metal objects in concentric circles away from her. Oops. Overcharged.

"And that's our cue," she pants to Lorna, already turning to make a dash back toward the car. Gotta go!


"Yeah, I'm done for the day." Akihiro decideds, going about trying to set his arm. He doesn't bother with any of it anymore, heading back off where he came from before he gets more blood on his clothes.


Lorna was shaky with adrenaline pumping in her veins and making her shaky, as the magnetic force that Hope borrowed shook the various metal objects around her, Lorna had to swallow down her own powers. Her breath escapes her in a quick gust as Hope starts to dash back toward the car. And more than a few, smaller, metal objects fly up in Lorna's direction, clinging to her as she ran back toward the car and away from the police.

She /really/ did not want to explain to Miss Frost or her father what she'd done. Reckless. Utterly reckless and dangerous.

She got back to her car, the door jumping into her palm as she pulled the handle back.

"Okay, okay, in the car, in the car!" She slammed the door behind her as she jumped inside.


He's already moving, Samantha's part should be easy, right? Launching into the air with enough force the dirt around her is disturbed, the flying woman brings her hands together, fingers interlocked as the beast goes hurtling towards the river. She waits, letting it reach the height of its arc before she slams her hands down hard at the Hulk to send it slamming into the water. Without the ground to cancel out her force, moving the big green beast that had already been thrown shouldn't be that hard…hopefully.

After the blow lands she's left hovering there, her clothing dirtied but otherwise unharmed aas her jacket flutters a little in the breeze and the rain soaks her skin and hair. The others were leaving, Sammy was very quickly going to be left alone. Time to leave before the cops get close or someone recognizes her. Taking a deep breath she exhales her relief and then zips across the sky, a small sonic-boom displacing rain in her wake as she makes herself scarce very very quickly.


Laura wishes she could say this is the first time she's heard the wind whistling in her ears while soaring through the sky on a ballistic trajectory, but it's not even close. Though at least familiarity with the situation breeds… confidence in one's ability to live through it. Hurtling towards the river, even with the unjolly green giant here, is not that big a cause for alarm.

"Well. This is unfortunate. Others have controlled the situation and look where it hass got us," she notes, releasing her grip on Hulk so she can prepare to do… what little there is to minimize the impending impact. This part coming up is never, ever pleasant.


"Laura, no!" Lucy did not anticipate Laura jumping on the man-monster-thing. She's not used to Laura trying to solve things with words. She takes off like a shot after the pair that are on their way toward the river. She can't catch them, but she can probably grab Laura, or soften the landing, something. Anything. She's a rainbow streak over Central Park. Gone in a flash.


As Laura and Hulk soar through the air towards the frigid river, the beast should have an easier time flailing as they get farther and farther from the powers that bind him. But something odd happens. He doesn't flail. In fact, underneath Laura's grip, the green of his skin turns a little paler and the mass of his shoulders seems a little less. Just as she's about to let go and go her own way, if you will, the Hulk turns to her. He looks far more human than he did earlier, albeit with bright green eyes. And his voice is somewhere in between the loud roar and that of a normal human being.

"Thank you," it says quietly towards her.

A moment later Laura is helped by Karo and Banner is splashing into the frigid water.

The cops arrive at Central Park and try to interview anyone who will talk. A lot of civilians and few heroes. The latter seems to have mostly bolted.

Over the next few days, they drag the river trying to find the Hulk, or whatever is left of him. The mission is not fruitful.

Inside the FBI and the Pentagon offices there's a war going on as to whether or not they should put Banner on the FBI's most wanted list. Bobby Kennedy is sure he's dead. General Ross is sure he isn't.

Over the course of the next couple of days, the damage is started to be cleaned up by construction companies that are paid to do this sort of thing by insurance companies that pay to do this sort of thing. In a world where there are aliens, it's nice to tick off one more box and this time it's a really big green one.



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