1964-09-09 - What Could Go Wrong?
Summary: Bruce and Tony discuss the Avengers and other bad ideas.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
tony bruce 

It's late in the evening. All of Bruce's colleagues have long gone home, but this is how he likes it. Now he can actually do some of the work he needs to do. He's in a white coat and wearing gloves and safety glasses as he uses a syringe to drop a drop of liquid into several petrie dishes. He won't even notice if Tony walks in, he is so intent on his work.

Tony comes down to R&D late because that's when the place is (supposedly) empty and he can play with the neat toys. He times the visit, though, coming down after Bruce has had at least a little uninterrupted time to do his work. Tony walks in with a packet of roasted peanuts, and he munches, right there in the R&D. He pauses, though he's not trying to be overly quiet. The munching of peanuts isn't exactly a stealth maneuver. The he wanders over and says, "What've we got here? Deadly virus? Cure for cancer? A new formula for Mike & Ikes?"

Bruce almost spills the beaker he's holding as he jumps in surprise. "Oh…gee…" He sets the beaker down and turns. "Stark! Uh, yeah. Anthrax. You maybe shouldn't be eating in here," he deadpans as he puts himself between Tony and the petrie dishes, which are each labled very carefully with the date and the initials BB. He then cracks a smile, "Good evening, boss. You're up late. Do you ever go home?"

Tony says, "Oh, always a favorite." He tips the bag of peanuts toward Bruce. "That depends on your definition of home. How about you? Should we be setting up a cot in the break room? Do you guys have a break room down here?" He looks around curiously. "Anyway, have you given any thought to the other lab I want you to poke your nose in at?"

Bruce slips his gloves off and cups his hand to accept some peanuts. He pushes his glasses up. "Yes, we have a breakroom, and no…I will go home soon. I just wanted to do one last test. " He gives a swallow, "I don't know if I'm the guy for this other lab. Why do you want me there so badly?" He furrows his brow and squints at Tony. There is a niggling voice in the back of his mind that reminds him that he would really be able to conduct some great tests there. He looks down, remembering the peanuts in his hand. "It's really not good lab safety to eat in here." He smiles. Oh, the irony.

Tony gestures broadly and says, "Stay as long as you like. I've spent my share of nights here." He gestures toward the door of a supply room closet. "There used to be some pallets stacked in there that made an exceptional bed." Looking back to Bruce, he smiles crookedly. "Because you're the best at what you do, and we need the best." He pops a peanut into his mouth, munches, then adds, "Even if I can do most of it alone, I can't do it all alone. Just imagine the stuff you'd get to work with. Futuristic tech, alien pathogens — I'm assuming. There's aliens, we're bound to run across an alien pathogen eventually. Could be cool to poke at."

Bruce says, "But this group you have…the Avengers, right?" Bruce looks at Tony carefully over his glasses. "It sounds good." He gives a shrug, "It sounds fantastic, actually. But I am trying to keep out of the eyes of the authorities. Avengers sounds a little like the authorities. I appreciate you overlooking my …what you might call me discreet lifestyle, but how do you explain me to your partners over there?"

"Actually we operate apart from the government," Tony says. "Cap deals with all the liaising. We just play in the basement and lock and load when it's time to kick some badguy backside." He offers Bruce the peanut bag again. It's down to the last few. "As for how I describe you to the others, I say you're one of the best scientific minds in the world today. It's not a lie. So omit the part about sometimes becoming a bit angry. What you do in your own time is your own business."

Bruce's eyes widen a little and then his shoulders fall, resigned. He declines more peanuts as his stomach is starting to wind itself in knots. "So, you know about that. If you know, don't you think these people will too? I mean unless I stay undercover, but even then…what would they do if they found out?" He crosses his arms in frustration. "You're asking for trouble." Of course, that's Tony's MO.

Tony tilts his head back, letting gravity deliver the rest of the peanuts to his mouth. As he cruches, he wads up the bag into a crinkly little ball. He shrugs and says, "No offense to anyone else involved, but I wouldn't worry too much about their deductive reasoning. Besides, even if they did? Bruce, we're a collection of oddities. We've got the super soldier, the Shadow — still alive and looking great for his age — not to mention mutants and aliens. I mean if it were me I'd lead with the thing you don't want to talk about."

"No," protests Bruce. "I can't do that. This isn't a superpower. It's a curse and a very dangerous one. If you put me on your team, and the Department of Defense finds out or SHIELD finds out, then the government maybe doesn't keep ignoring you. That, and the other guy is just plain dangerous. He doesn't take orders." He steps out of the way of the petrie dishes since Tony's on to him anyway. "I'm testing to see if the radiation resistance research you are doing has any effect on my blood. " His fingers curl into a fist at his side. "You have a good marketing department. This isn't nearly as far along as I had thought." He looks at Tony again and lets his fist relax. "You really think it's a good idea? I can just be Bruce that scientist guy?"

Tony perks up and steps up to the work station. "So you want to cure something that, if it could be understood and controlled, could punch a hole through a tank? Could literally stop armies." He waves a hand as he seeks out the notes so he can go over them, if he can. "I'm not saying try to make more, but what if you could learn to control it?"

There is a green notebook on the lab table, opened up to a certain page filled with formulae. Bruce doesn't bother stopping Tony from looking. Heck, it's not likely, but possible Tony might see something Bruce missed. "I am controlling it the only way I can. Preventing it from showing up. The monster can stop armies, but it will destroy the good guys too, and everything in between. If I could learn to control it…it just isn't possible." He trails off, an air of hopelessness in his voice.

Tony tunes out for a little a he looks over the notes with piqued interest. For as lackadaisical as he lets on, there's a distinct spark in his eyes, all that bright intelligence coming to the fore. "Everything is possible," he murmurs. He tilts his head and says, "What if, instead of this…" He takes up a pencil and scrawls in the margins. At least he doesn't erase anything, "we tried this?" We? It's a minor tweak, not even a correction. Just an option that might've needed an outsider's perspective.

Bruce perks up and moves beside Tony to see what he has done. He notes the change and shakes his head. "No. /We/ haven't tried that. We aren't yet able to work on that small of a scale. Not with the instruments we have now." He looks at Tony knowing full well that this lab is a state of the art. If the right instruments aren't there, it's because they haven't been invented yet. "In the future, I do think it's plausible."

"We might have to invent them," Tony allows. "Working on a little something at the manor, but you wouldn't be interested in that." He paces idly, glancing back at Bruce. "That's where all the good stuff is." Of course he doesn't play fair. Not playing fair is his thing.

"What do you mean? You're working on this already?" Bruce's eyes fix on Tony, "What are you working on?" Curiosity will kill the Bruce.. Or at least make him very angry. "I know what you're doing…" But he's still falling for it. Damnit Damnit Damnit.

"Not that," Tony says with a gesture to the work station. "Not specifically. Working on miniaturizing on a scale we've never done before, and the instruments we make might match the ones you need. Depends on what type of approach you've got in mind." He considers Bruce, then turns toward him and says, "What if I told you I've gotten my hands on something that's either alien or from some kind of timeline-something, I don't know. What I'm doing is trying to do is crack it open and figure out how it works. It's decades ahead of anything I've been working on up til now."

Well, that's a change of topic. "Some alien technology? Well, first I'd wonder if someone has been spiking your martinis with hallucinagenics, but …" He shrugs, "I suppose stranger things had happened." Like men turning green when they are angry. "What does it do?" He pauses. "In answer to your question, I would say you would have to be really careful. Whatever is there could be deadly…" He looks up sharply. "Is that it? If I poke at this thing, at least I can't get hurt?" He makes a face. "If it keeps you from blowing up your manor, I'll go look at it."

Tony brows lift. "I keep a close eye on my martinis." Because of everything said, that is the matter of principle to insist upon here. He lifts a finger to protest, then his expression perks up a bit and he admits, "Hadn't thought about that, but that's a good point. You wouldn't get hurt." He shakes his head quickly. "That's not why I'm making the offer." But then he grins. "You will? Great. I'll bring it somewhere secure we can blow up."

Bruce says, "It almost sounds like you are /trying/ to blow it up. I really don't like things blowing up, Tony." He smiles, relieved that Tony wasn't just looking for someone who wouldn't blow up. "I'm assuming that this is top secret stuff. You realize I don't have a clearance anymore."

"You've got clearance for this, and yeah, it's top secret." Tony manages to school is glee, drawing on his own brand of dignity with a tug at the lapels of his suit's jacket. "We'll get started once I can isolate a sample of the stuff. I can get you some more backstory on it, too. There might be a young lady I bring into this named Hope. She's either insane or like no one else we've ever met."

Bruce smiles, "I met a girl named Hope in the park the other day. It's a pretty name." Then he comes back to earth and tries to pull Tony with him. "I'll help, but Tony, I'm wanted. I am asking you to please help me stay out of the way of the military or SHIELD. I can't let them catch me. It would be bad. Very bad."

"I've got the resources to keep you off the radar," Tony says. "Besides, I don't know who Bruce Banner is. We've never met. You're, who, Baker? Baxter?" He has to know Bruce's cover. He couldn't have forgotten already, could he? "If you want, you don't even have to go to the manor. You're missing out, though."

Bruce says, "Baker. I was Baxter, but then someone recognized me. That was in Houston. I don't know how dangerous the manor is." He shrugs. "It's hard to assess the risk. DO you think Cap knows who Bruce Banner is?"

"I don't know," Tony says, tentative. "Your deal is more green than red, white, and blue. We've got SHIELD people on the grounds sometimes, though. Hrm." That was a complication he hadn't thought of. "You know," he says, "they recently gave the all clear to someone who committed enough assassinations to qualify for mass murder if you put them all together? Walking free as day. I might not worry too much about what they're giving the green light to these days."

Bruce strokes his chin. "I'll grow a beard. That will help a little. I still think there is a difference between pardoning a human and accepting a monster. General Ross is not going to agree to anything except me locked down somewhere ready to be thrown out of a plan on some Vietcong or something." He makes a face. "But, sure…let's work on this alien thing. " He shrugs again. "Alien technology…what could go wrong?" he smirks.

Tony smiles crookedly, and he claps Bruce on the shoulder. "That's the spirit." He gestures around and says, "Take as long as you want down here. I've got an important business meeting with a leggy redhead, so the place is yours all night if you want it." With that, he turns and ambles toward the door.

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