labcoatgirl: (Default)
Part I
[from here]

[searching her desk for her glasses]

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[David notices her searching as he walks by on his way to another lab and comes to a stop just outside her door. He notices her coat on a chair and gives a small cough, pointing to a wire frame sticking out of a pocket with a gentle smile.]

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[Betty's still scrabbling through a drawer, they were here yesterday.] Just a second....I can't seem to find....

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Your glasses? [He points again at her coat, this time raising his eyebrows, still smiling and trying to let her keep a little dignity at least.]

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[She finally lifts her head out of the desk and looks where he's pointing] Yes! Yes, them, thank you.

[Betty pulls them out, setting them on her nose with a sheepish smile.] I'm not usually this scatter-brained, I promise.

Um, are you new here?

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It's alright, not a word out of me. [He chuckles.] I'm the new lab technician over in 209. I'm David Baxter, I just started yesterday. You must be Doctor Ross.

[He offers out a hand to greet her.]

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[He's got a nice smile. Betty gives him one of her own and shakes his hand.] That's me. Nice to meet you, Mr. Baxter...or is it Dr. Baxter? [Probably not if he was a tech but she had to ask.]

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Just David is fine. I assure you the pleasure is all mine. I've heard so much about the work that goes on at this institute, I'm glad I have an opportunity to be a part of it. [Likewise, she has a very kind smile, and it reminds him of Laura, his first wife.]

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David...you can call me Betty then. We're not exactly formal here.

If you're settled in, I could use some help if you're familiar with irradiating skin cells for a test group?

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Uh, yes, I am. [He's a little surprised by the request, but is more than happy to help.] I might wind up asking a few questions as we go along, but radiation equipment is actually my specialty.

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Perfect. You have no idea how hard it is to get techs that are familiar with it. [She points him in the direction of the machine and the skin samples.]

We're working with 2 minute increments each time. I'm working on an antidote to reverse the effect. [And what do you know, they're working with gamma radiation.]

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[David picks up the samples to put them into the tool, studying them with a touch of disbelief in his face. Does she have any idea what she was really working with? Does he have any idea what he's walked into? Dutifully he gets right to work, loading the samples and warming up the machine.]

If you don't mind me asking: why gamma radiation? I know it can be used for a number of medical applications, but it's rarely found in doses of this magnitude. [He may be giving away more than he should, but when David scents a fellow mind he can't help it. Something is up, or it's an impossible coincidence.]

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[Betty is hesitant to say the real reason. This is actually a side project but it's very important to her for.....personal reasons. She doesn't look up from her note taking, looking back and forth from microscope to notebook.]

Well....if an antidote can be synthesized for these doses of gamma radiation, I'm hoping to apply it to all radiation types across the spectrum. In the future, if course. There really isn't any way of reversing radiation as of yet.

[Hopefully that vague explanation will suffice.] After gamma, we'll be testing other types.

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Of course. [He lets her finish her vague explanation, his curiosity piqued but he doesn't want to let on too much. He loads the samples and gets right to work, using the equipment very proficiently, even for a technician.]

Right, two minutes and your first sample should be ready, Doctor.

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[He's very good for a new tech. Betty watches him for a bit before going back to her own work. It was almost like old times with....]

Thank you, Br-... [she catches herself in time] ...David. [Maybe too much like old times.]

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You're welcome, Dr. Ross. [He still finds himself turning to respond, it is rare he responded to the aborted 'Bruce', but his middle name had been used often enough by his father as a boy in their artuments with each other it was still a habit. He smiles, but t's meant at himself as he watches the gamma levels of exposure closely.]

At what point are we going to conclude the exposure? [Because if it were the two million units he'd been exposed to, or greater, he might just have go poking his nose in her lab after hours. Her research could very well be the saving cure he's looking for.]

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[She mixes up another test solution, labeling it with a code number.] As high as we can get it.

[Betty looks over her shoulder at him.] Which we'll have to wear lead protection once it gets over the million mark.

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[David hesitates, but then goes back to the controls, a little tentative. The last thing he needs more exposure to is gamma radiation. Even if he is protected.]

Unfortunately, I, uh, have to return to the other lab soon. They're bringing in a new x-ray emitter. I imagine I'll be seeing you over there once your research here is complete.

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[She can understand his hesitancy. Especially after seeing what an overdose did to Bruce. Betty is always careful with radiation.]

Oh... [She sounds disappointed. Good help is so hard to find.] Well, thank you for your help. You're always welcome, even if you're not working. [Betty gives him a smile, test tube in hand.]

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[David smiles back warmly.]

Thank you, Doctor. If you ever need any more help, I'm glad to assist. You're doing some great work here, and it's going to really change lives. I'd stay, but I promised the other Technicians that I'd help with the installation. I didn't realize how much time had passed. [He stands and offers his hand out.] It's been a pleasure and I look forward to working with you.

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[She shakes his hand with a smile of her own] Thank you, I hope you're right. [Changing lives for the better and not worse.]

[Suddenly, there's a loud crash heard down the hall. Betty quickly goes to the door to see what happened and runs to catch another person running away from the alarms going off.] What happened??

A short in the system, lab 5 is on fire!

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[David is right there, pardoning himself even as he pushes by her and takes a few jogging steps when Betty stops the other person.]

No...that's where everybody is! [David turns and sees two people coated in soot helping each other down the hall. On instinct he runs down to make certain they're okay, and then heads for the lab.]

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[Betty urges the people towards the exit, picking up a fire extinguisher and following quickly after David] Wait! Stop! [Was he crazy? Running towards a fire?

There were a few people still trapped in a smoke filled room. Betty coughs, trying to spray the nearby flames with the extinguisher.]

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[He reaches the doorway in time to help drag someone into the hall, ducking his head to avoid a flare-up. Others trapped in the room are still shouting and he glances over as Betty works the extinguisher.]

Stop! Stay back! It's still live! [He doesn't know what kind of extinguisher she's grabbed, and if it is water-based, she is in danger of electrocution.]

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[She scurries back with a yell as a bookcase overturns, bursting into flames nearby. There's a sparking wire overhead threatening to light more things on fire, Betty ducking to try and avoid it.]

We need to get out of here! [Oh but those people trapped, Betty just couldn't leave them there.]

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[David is herding out a few that can still walk, and they're helping by taking along the injured. He looks over when Betty shouts, and can hear a few others, trapped by flames.]

Betty! Keep low! Get them out! [He points to the people trying to escape. He ducks his face into his sleeve and coughs. A moment later, he's turning around as a shelf teeters behind him and catches him by surprise as he shouts, books and glass knocking him to the floor as the heavy wood pins him.]

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[She's helping the last few out when she hears the ominous creaking of wood and the loud crash. Betty spins around, horrified to see his feet sticking out of the flaming bookshelf.] David!!!

[She grabs a fire proof blanket out of its space in the wall, trying in vain to put out the flames around the shelf, trying to pull it off of him but it's too heavy.]

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[Underneath the shelf and its contents, David makes a struggling noise that sounds almost like a growl. The heavy shelf shifts, heaving upward slightly as the sound from underneath grows louder. The fire nearby is growing and a shout from one of the trapped people rouses the creature as it gives a mighty heave, pushing the heavy bookcase off and managing to come to its knees.

The green face turns to look at Betty, confused and a little uncertain in the smoke. Another shout though has it turning toward the growing fire, and looking for a way to bridge the barrier of flames.]

****************************

[It was all too familiar a situation. Betty gasps, backing up against the wall from the green creature.

Green.

The gamma radiation. It was happening all over again, just like when Bruce had first transformed.

She coughs into her sleeve, trying to breathe] David??

****************************

[The creature pauses, glancing back at her before taking a leap into the fire. A few tense moments of silence are split by a mighty roar as a hole opens in the opposite wall, allowing the trapped people to escape. Shortly after the creature destroys a table, as it crosses the flames separating him from Betty.

Another flare from the fire has it ducking away as it struggles in the thick smoke that fills the room, trying to locate her.]

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[She's gotten lost in the smoke, trying to find the way out herself. Betty crawled on the floor, trying to stay conscious but losing the battle quickly. She couldn't breathe, couldn't see...it was getting hotter by the minute.]

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[The Hulk ducks as that live wire sways dangerously close to him and he roars. The smoke is starting to get to him though and he intensifies his search, at last locating Betty. He cradles her in his arms gently before making a last dash for the hole he'd created, whisking her outdoors to fresh air.

He takes her, fleeing from the flames and the emergency, and finding a quiet corner of the campus to set her down, before sitting down nearby with a tired sigh.]

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[She fleetingly remembers the noise, the green hands...and then she was being put down in the soft grass, coughing as she tries to catch her breath.

Oh air, how she missed you. Betty blinks up at the green figure, trying to sit up carefully.

Was it possible? Another one like Bruce? Betty didn't think they had been using that much gamma radiation in the lab but if there had been another accident.]

...David, is that you? [She moves a little closer, reaching to put a hand to his face. Not afraid of him, he saved her life after all.]
Reply

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[The creature looks over at Betty groggily as she moves closer and he starts, not expecting anyone to approach, but then it settles again. It sighs and closes it eyes and a moment later, the green starts to fade and soon, left in its place is David.

He puts his hands over his face and then parts his fingers, looking over at Betty like a caught child.]

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[She lets out a sigh, looking guilty herself. What if she caused this? With her research and trying to cure Bruce, what if she had created another monster.

Betty felt awful, her eyes tearing up.] I am...so sorry.

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[That took David by surprise, and he looks at her confused.]

Sorry? [He blinks, and then reaches out, putting a hand on hers.] Doctor Ross, you saved people's lives today, what is there to be sorry for?

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[She wipes away a tear with the heel of her free hand] No, it's...I didn't mean to... [Betty has to compose herself before she can finish a sentence] The gamma radiation, I didn't think it would effect anyone without the pulse generator.

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[David's eyes open wide and his jaw actually drops a moment. How did she...?]

A, pulse generator. Have you experimented with the effects of gamma radiation before? [He grabs both her hands, gentle but firm.] Doctor Ross. Please, I need to know.

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[Her hands shake a little bit in his, Betty dropping her head, ashamed] Yes. I was looking for a cure... [Her voice trails off. How could she apologize enough for this? He probably didn't even know what had happened.]

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Doctor Ross. [He lets go and clears away a tear with a weak smile. If he has the chance he can question her later about who she's trying to help. The thought of another poor soul out there like him makes his heart sink, but he has to calm her down first.]

Betty. What we did back in your lab before the fire had no affect on me, I assure you. You're right, a pulse generator is required, as well as massively high doses of radiation in order to mutate the human genomes to such a level. You did nothing wrong.

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[She looks up at that, confused at what he's saying.] ...but...then how did you...? [Betty hadn't imagined what happened. The hole was still there in the wall.] You were green and stronger than normal. Look, you're not even burned. [She's reaching to turn his hands over as if he hadn't noticed]

****************************

I, uh, noticed. [His smile turns shy a moment, something reminiscent of Bruce, or perhaps the other way around. He turns to look around, rubbing an arm and realizing there's a slight breeze picking up.]

I did my own experiments with gamma radiation some time ago. I think we have some things to discuss, but I have to take care of something first. Are you going to be alright? [He's giving her a look over, checking for burns, bruises, scrapes, any harm that she might have come by in the fire before he leaves.]

****************************

[He noticed? Betty was so confused but she had to find out what this was all about.]

You did? [She's got one nasty burn on her arm that she hadn't noticed before, some smudges here and there but otherwise ok. There were sirens in the distance, someone having called the fire department.] I'm ok, I think.

****************************

[He takes her arm in his hands gently, and then looks up at her.]

That's going to take a little time to heal but I think you'll be alright. You should still have the paramedics take a look at that. [He stands, offering to help her up by her unharmed arm.]

I can meet you at the campus library later, and we can find somewhere to talk. If there's someone else out there with a similar mutation, I need to know, and I imagine you have your own questions.

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[She stands up, wincing a little at the burn as it's starting to smart. She'll definitely have the paramedics look at it.] Alright...I'll be there. [Though she wasn't sure why he was leaving.]

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[Even if there was a fire, losing one's shirt and destroying a pair of pants with a green creature on the loose is quite a bit to explain. If anyone present who saw the creature reads the National Register, he needs to keep low until he has a chance to leave town.

At least he makes certain she's getting along well enough before he lets her walk on her own.]

I imagine it will be a very interesting conversation. Be careful, Betty.

****************************

[She smiles faintly. There was something about him...]

You too, David.

[Hopefully they could figure out what happened here when they met up again. She makes her way towards the ambulances and fire trucks lining up in front of the building.]


Part II
[from here]

['Hiding' in a library corner, reading.]

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continuing their other thread? :)
[Betty is just now walking towards the library. A few notes in hand in a folder. She's a little shaken from her previous ordeal but the paramedics wrapped her arm well enough so she could be released.

And now she needed to find out what the mysterious new technician knew about gamma radiation and the Hulk.

He should be somewhere in this library...]

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Sure. :)
[David is staring at papers written by Betty, about her work using gamma radiation as a catalyst. He's still in a bit of shock at the similarities when he notices her walking by. He makes a sound to get her attention, but it shouldn't disturb anyone else. He's tried to find a private corner.]

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[She jumps a little, her nerves on edge but smiles a bit when she sees its David. With a shirt again.

Betty sits down in the chair across from him.] Hello.

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[He looks a little dressed down, trying to look less like a professor and more like an adult student. He smiles as she sits down across from him.]

Hello. How's the arm?

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[She shrugs, looking down at the bandage.] Still there. Itchy.

[Betty tips her head curiously at what he's reading and smiles knowingly] Reading up on me, I see. Pity, I can't do the same for you.

[Oh, if she only knew]

Are you ok? [After all, he'd just been in a fire recently and broken down a wall]

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Yes, I'm quite alright. [All things considered, at least. He sets a hand on the table and looks down meaningfully at her arm. He wants to check that bandage.] A little aloe might help with the itching.

[He's not going to acknowledge that comment about being unable to read up on his work just yet. Things are a little too strange to tell her his real last name right now.]

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I have some at home. [She just....hadn't gone home yet. Even though she had the day off of teaching due to the fire. She hadn't checked the bandage either since it was put on.

Her brain has been working overtime trying to figure out what happened in that fire. Had she imagined it? Was it a mistake on her part? He had said it wasn't, but how could he know?]

[Finally, she just says it] Who are you?

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[He checks the bandage but doesn't disturb it, appearing content with the work of the paramedics.]

I'm no one, really. [He glances up at her and then lets her have her arm back, keeping his voice low.] Not anymore, and before you ask any questions, just trust me that I think you're better off not knowing. What I want to know is what you were doing with your research into gamma radiation.

[He taps the table gently, pointing to her papers. Long ago, Ross had seen to having all mention of Bruce Banner wiped from them, and so David had not yet come across mention of his doppelganger.]

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[Betty presses her lips together in frustration. She didn't like not being able to ask.]

...it was a government funded project. [She was breaking confidentiality telling him this, but considering all that her father had put her and Bruce through, she really didn't care who knew. More people needed to know the truth, in her opinion.] Using gamma radiation to help humans become more resilient.

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I see. [He folds his hands, running a thumb along his chin in thought. Government projects were a whole different ballgame, and easily brought problems and meddlers into the mix.]

It never says in here, but judging by your reaction earlier, I'm guessing it advanced to the point of human testing...

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[Her heart sank, remembering that day well.]

...yes. [It's barely a whisper.]

It went very wrong.

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Uh huh. [He watches her closely, feeling a pit open in his stomach as she confirms his worst fear. So there was another, but perhaps it was a chance at a cure. There were more people working on it than he'd thought.]

It caused a mutation unlike anything else. [He voices his own experience and that of Dr. Marks, as well as what others have told him in an effort to try and see if hers was similar.] A rapid acceleration in cellular regeneration triggered by extreme emotions like fear, or anger.

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[She nods at everything he says, remembering the transformation itself.] It destroyed the lab...there were a few soldiers killed. [She had ended up in the hospital for a week.]

[Betty lowers her eyes to her hands in her lap] ...if I'd only talked Bruce out of it....

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[Killed. The other man, had killed people. That put a new sense of urgency into David but then she mentions the man's name and all discussion about the cure stop.]

I'm sorry, who? [Because David Bruce Banner himself sat before her, and that was one painfully impressive coincidence. He has no idea how much of a coincidence it really is, yet.]

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[She looks up, puzzled] Bruce....Dr. Bruce Banner. We were working together on the project...

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[David's jaw drops. Very, clearly drops.]

No that's, it's not possible. Well, the odds against it are incredible...[He's babbling, not incoherently, but it's clear he's shocked by the name as he runs a hand through his hair.] I just don't understand how it's possible...

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What is it? What's wrong? Did you know him? [It was possible, Bruce had been one of the smartest scientists of his time before he had to go on the run.]

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Well, no, but...[His voice trails off as he leans back in his chair. It takes him another moment to collect his thoughts before he leans forward again, his arms on the table.]

Doctor Ross, I'm Doctor David Banner. Bruce is my middle name. [He just stares at her, still trying to wrap his head around the thought. What exactly was going on here?]

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[Disbelief works itself all around her face. So does anger and grief. This was some kind of joke. Someone's sick joke, that's what it was. Maybe her father had set this up...

But she had seen him change...

It couldn't be. She shook her head, unwilling to believe it.]

But you're not. Bruce is... [Betty fumbles for the right description. Failing that, she digs in her purse with a vengeance, pulling out a small snapshot of him from her wallet. It was from before the accident so he looks noticeably happier.] That's him.

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[He looks at the picture, almost afraid to touch it. They looked nothing alike. He didn't doubt her but...]

This is too much. [He sets his hands on his head, leaning back and just staring at the picture. There's no way anyone could fake the look of shock on his face.] I was working with Doctor Marks at the Culver Institute when I experienced my overdose. I just don't see how it's possible we could both have the same thing happen to us. It's, it has to be impossible.

Wait. Not impossible, but highly improbable. I met someone once, a while ago, he had built equipment in his own home to do this years before I even thought about the effects of gamma radiation. It was crude, but he had induced a mutation of his own. [He's grabbing at ideas, but his logic is failing spectacularly in the face of this situation. It's the best he can do.]

***************************

[He didn't seem like he was lying. Her forehead creased, trying to make sense of what he was saying.]

How long ago was it? We were experimenting about a year ago...Bruce has been running ever since. The army considers him a fugitive. I don't know where he is. [She takes the picture back, fiddling with it absently in her hands.] I wish you were him...then I would know he was alright.
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labcoatgirl: (Default)
Elizabeth (Betty) Ross

April 2014

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