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The Incredible Hulk #9

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  • joelmccrory
    Caught in the heart of a gamma bomb explosion, Dr. Robert Bruce Banner now finds himself transformed into Earth s Mightiest Mortal. Seven feet, 1,000 pounds of
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 1, 2002
      Caught in the heart of a gamma bomb explosion, Dr. Robert Bruce
      Banner now finds himself transformed into Earth's Mightiest Mortal.
      Seven feet, 1,000 pounds of unfettered fury: The Incredible Hulk!

      The Incredible Hulk #9
      By Joel Mccrory
      "Ryker (Part One)"

      [A cheap hotel in Sunville, Florida.]
      "I'm bringing you out of it, now."

      "Ringmaster! N-" The Hulk suddenly returned to the real world just as
      the door to the room flew into the wall parallel to it on the other
      side of the room.

      As soon as the Hulk's eyes opened up, the large green body lost one
      foot of height, some weight, and changed from a green to a gray skin
      tint.

      "So, you're the Hulk. Not quite as big as I would have expected."

      "An' who are you, besides a Hulk-wannabe who couldn't quite make the
      cut?"

      "The name is Flux, and I've been sent here to bring you in to my
      bosses."

      "Ha! A scrawny wimp like you is gonna bring me in?!?"

      "That's right." Before the Hulk could laugh, the gamma-mutated
      soldier known only as Flux shoved his disproportionate fist into the
      Hulk's jaw, a blow that sent the Hulk and one of his teeth flying,
      separate from one another. Hulk wiped his own green blood off his
      mouth with one of the room's curtains, feeling extremely stupid for
      letting Flux cause so much damage with just one punch.

      Within two seconds, the wound had healed. Flux's blow made him
      angry, and that angry kept growing, and as the anger grew, his
      strength grew to equally enormous levels. The Ringmaster ran out the
      door as fast as he could, and Flux didn't even glance at him. He
      just kept on staring and laughing at the Hulk.

      "One punch made you bleed and you call me a wimp?"

      "It won't happen again."

      "Wanna bet?"

      Well, I'm dead, they won't stop until I am, Ringmaster thought as
      fast as he could as he ran equally fast. He heard a loud noise and
      stupidly looked back. The front of the hotel room he had rented was
      falling down, crumbling like a sandcastle. Something fairly large
      and gray was on the ground several feet away from the wreckage. Just
      like I said, we're all doomed now, the Ringmaster thought right
      before running through the middle of a busy street, and then he
      stopped thinking as a car slammed into him, sending the limp sack of
      bones rolling forward. It would be awhile before he had another
      thought.

      [Betty's room...]
      The three that the Rock had seen and tried to kill before weren't in
      this room he thought they were in. He double-checked under the beds
      and everywhere, but no sign of them. Assuming they were gone and he
      had failed to kill all witnesses of his public appearance, he left
      the room.

      As soon as he was out of the doorway he saw the one of the three who
      had put up the most fight, the red-mohawked one with the stick that
      shot powerful energy blasts. She happened to have that stick of hers
      positioned right on his rocky shell.

      From further away, the blasts only delayed him. From this close,
      they could do some real damage. If she were aiming for the head, it
      would all be over for the former Hulkbuster. Luckily for him, she
      was aiming near his stomach, and though the blast ripped apart the
      stone-hard casing, it almost totally missed his body, barely burning
      him a little. Being mentally linked to his outer shell he felt the
      pain from the shell's being torn apart and passed out.

      "That was the most fun I've had in years. Hey, why're those rooms
      crumbling.... Flark..."

      [At the center of the collapse...]
      Once the one room fell in, all connected rooms started to imitate
      it. The Hulk and Flux were too busy with one another to notice.

      The fight had been fairly one sided the entire time. Flux would
      punch Hulk, which would make him bleed and also make him even angrier
      which would then heal him faster and make him stronger. Hulk would
      then punch Flux, who would barely feel it, notice that Flux was
      barely affected, and get even angrier than before, after which Flux
      would punch him again.

      "C'mon! You're the legendary Incredible-friggin'-Hulk! Don't make
      this too easy!"

      The Hulk said nothing, trying instead to think of something that
      would give him the upperhand, but with the sun now up it was starting
      to get a little warm.

      "And who do we have over here?" Flux saw the three standing around
      the fallen, smoking Rock. Before the Hulk could react, he leapt over
      to them.

      Betty, Thunderbolt Ross, and Janis all stood looking at the strange
      green approaching man. Janis got out her pole, prepared for action,
      and Betty and Thunderbolt likewise got out their guns.

      Hulk followed. "Betty!" He screamed at the top of his lungs.

      [Inside the Hulk's very messed up mind...]
      "I can't go out there again, not yet..." It was the side of the Hulk
      most often known as Bruce Banner thinking. "But this new guy's gonna
      kill Betty... and the others.... unless the Hulk can get stronger...
      and fast!"

      "Let Hulk out! Hulk will smash any puny monster that tries to hurt
      Betty!"

      "I thought you were still in denial?"

      "In denial that Puny Banner killed? Hulk got over it."

      Bruce smiled. "That's good, `cause as much as I hate both of you
      Hulks, right now you're my only hope of saving Betty. Go!"

      Suddenly, the savage Hulk was no longer "there" with Bruce, but loose
      in the real world. So was the gray.

      Maybe, Bruce thought, they'll create a merged Hulk more humane than
      either left alone? Even if they aren't, I'll come back out.... just
      as soon as its safe....

      [In the real world...]
      "No! Not now! Fake Hulk will get me... all of us... killed! Real
      Hulk's turn now, no!" The Hulk's skin was now green with gray
      splotches. His height was somewhere around seven feet. The two were
      fighting for control, with all they could muster.

      Mere feet away, Flux slapped Janis's powerful weapon out of her hands
      and casually swatted Thunderbolt, sending him to the ground.
      Recognizing Betty as Bruce's wife, he stretched back his long arm,
      preparing to splatter her head all over the pavement and his fist.

      She shot him in the stomach, forcing him to laugh. His other arm
      grabbed her arm, squeezing it so much that it felt like it would snap
      off even though he wasn't even trying. Unable to escape, Betty
      closed her eyes, knowing that this was the end. His arm started to
      come forward....

      ...and suddenly stopped.

      Betty's eyes reopened to see Flux's arm held motionless in the air by
      a large green Hulk. A very angry and very strong green Hulk.

      Flux grinned. "'Bout time." Now he actually began to try to squeeze
      Betty's arm, and she yelled out in pain. Flux looked back at the
      Hulk behind him and kept grinning.

      The Hulk's look of rage quickly transformed into a smile as he
      twisted back Flux's arm. He began to scream in pain, so the Hulk
      grabbed the arm holding Betty and began to squeeze it.

      "Fine! I'll let her go! See?" Flux let go of Betty and she ran
      over to her fallen father and Janis. "Now... let me go?"

      "I don't think so." The Hulk squeezed tighter on the one hand and
      twisted back further on the other.

      "First, you're going to tell me something about your boss. Like who
      is he?"

      "I won't talk!"

      "Yes, you will." The twisted arm's bones cracked. "Do you have a
      healing factor?"

      "Yes."

      "Too bad it won't help you after I kill you."

      "Do it."

      "What's your name?"

      "Flux."

      "And your real name?"

      "Flux."

      Hulk twisted back both the arms and started to squeeze the previously-
      unsqueezed one.

      "If you do have a healing factor, just think of all the fun I can
      have with you before I end up killing you."

      "Try it. Others will come."

      "Like who? More puny brats like you?"

      "No, like the L..."

      "The what?"

      "Nothing."

      "You said something. What was it?"

      "I'm not sayin' nothin' more."

      "Fine, then you can break some more!"

      "Bruce, wait!"

      "Who are you talkin' to, lady?"

      "I can't watch this!"

      "Then don't!"

      Betty, revolted, bolted towards the busy street now plagued with cops
      too scared to come watch the Hulk's fight, though brave enough to
      occupy their time with writing up a report on the car accident
      involving one fugitive known as the Ringmaster.

      Betty recognized him and came across an obvious solution to their
      problem, assuming that the Ringmaster was still alive.

      "Hulk!" The name she shouted still hurt her to think about, "There's
      another way! That's the Ringmaster over there, recognize him?"

      Hulk looked to the stopped traffic. "Yeah, wait... I was with him,
      right before this puny Flux guy came in. What about him?"

      "If he's still alive and can be woken up..."

      "Yeah?"

      "He can hypnotize Flux to tell us what we want to know, maybe?"

      "I'd rather do it my way." Hulk continued slowly twisting.

      "Mind if I help?"

      "Go ahead." Janis picked up her pole and shot a blast at Flux,
      destroying his right leg.

      "I.... still.... wo... won't talk!"

      "I don't want you to. Gives me an excuse."

      "Listen, Banner..."

      "And who do you think you're talking to?!?"

      "Yeah, yeah... Hulk, why don't you at least go see if this Ringmaster
      chump is alive?"

      "Because no puny human orders the Hulk around, that's why!
      Especially not you, Ross!"

      "Alright, alright! Just a suggestion!"

      "Want me to take out his other leg?"

      "Yeah, go ahead."

      "Stop!"

      "And why should we, Flux? Just `cause you can dish it out but can't
      take it?"

      "No, because my ride is here." Everyone looked up and saw the
      helicopter that none of them but Flux had noticed before he mentioned
      it.

      "It's got the ammo to easily kill your li'l friends here, so I
      suggest you let me go. Unless you want them dead..."

      "Nobody tells me what to do!"

      With Flux's arms still in his arms, Hulk leapt up to the helicopter.
      The bullets its guns shot at him bounced off as was expected. None
      bounced in the right direction to hit any of the Hulk's companions, a
      fact that frustrated Flux more than anything.

      The Hulk expected to see an enemy of his flying the thing, who would
      reveal himself to be the brains of this entire mission.
      Unfortunately, no one was in the helicopter.

      "Remote-controlled... bah!"

      "That's not all!"

      "What...?" One more leap and he was inside the machine's cockpit and
      could see the timer going off.

      "Only a few seconds left `til you and all your buddies die!"

      "No puny bomb can stop me!"

      Dropping the immobile Flux in the helicopter, Hulk jumped out of the
      plane, ricocheting off the ground to the helicopter's underbelly.
      Nothing can kill me, but if it kills those puny humans down there,
      the Hulk thought to himself, I'll end up taking the blame for it, as
      usual! And I'm tired of being blamed for everything wrong in the
      world.

      "So what if it doesn't kill your buddies.... you still won't be able
      to survive the explosion!"

      Having pushed the helicopter as high into the air and as far out into
      the Everglades as he could with what time he had, the Hulk laughed at
      the hollow threat.

      Once he assumed it was safe to do so, the Hulk let go of the
      helicopter. Flux bailed out, falling down to the water far, far
      below, totally shattering the alligator beneath him.

      Feeling successful, though doubtful that he wouldn't get blamed for
      the whole thing anyway, the Hulk started to fall back down to the
      ground, with the remotely-controlled helicopter chasing him.

      Halfway to contact with the ground, the helicopter's trigger
      detonated the miniature gamma bomb hidden inside it, incinerating the
      plane instantly and shredding the Hulk's body a nanosecond later.

      [Minutes later...]
      "Nice job, `Flux,'" The man known as Emil Blonsky to some, the
      Abomination to others, said to the unconscious young man.

      "You almost got yourself killed by him. Better than guys better than
      you have done." He reached into his pants' pocket and pulled out a
      very small cell phone. "Hey, they're here."

      "You know what I want you to do."

      "Yeah, yeah, bring `em in to you. No problem, but why can't I just
      kill-"

      "No, I have my reasons. Bring them both."

      "Awright, awright." The Abomination lifted the limp soldier and
      threw him into the hovering helicopter, flown by a man with a very
      large, green head.

      Then the Abomination leapt one half mile to where the burnt,
      bloodied, recovering body of the unconscious Hulk lied, scooped the
      pile of ravaged muscle up over his shoulder, and returned to the
      helicopter.

      Throwing the body in, the Abomination cracked one of his rare
      smiles.

      This, he thought, will be fun.

      [To Be HULKinued...]
    • joelmccrory
      Caught in the heart of a gamma bomb explosion, Dr. Robert Bruce Banner now finds himself transformed into Earth s Mightiest Mortal. Seven feet, 1,000 pounds of
      Message 2 of 3 , May 29, 2002
        Caught in the heart of a gamma bomb explosion, Dr. Robert Bruce
        Banner now finds himself transformed into Earth's Mightiest Mortal.
        Seven feet, 1,000 pounds of unfettered fury: The Incredible Hulk!

        The Incredible Hulk #10
        By Joel Mccrory
        "Ryker (Part Two)"

        "This is all your fault, Banner!" Bruce stood, silently, staring at
        a large gray piece of his own mind. A shockwave knocked him down
        before he could respond, caused by an angry green piece of his mind
        hammering down on the ground, nearly a mile away.

        [In the `real world'...]
        Ryker sat at his chair, facing the one-way mirror into the Hulk's
        three-foot thick adamantium-walled cell. The one-way mirror was
        actually two windows, with a large quantity of gas stored between the
        two in case the angry imprisoned behemoth chose to escape through
        it. There was plenty of room for the prisoner to walk around in his
        new room, yet he chose instead to lean against the wall parallel to
        the mirror and stare straight through the mirror. Of course, Ryker
        realized, he knew he was being watched through the mirror. Any moron
        could assume that much. But the stare.... something about it
        perturbed Ryker, who was decidedly one hundred percent against
        allowing anything to ever perturb him.

        Ryker's control room was much larger than his captive's cell, and
        stored many weapons, controls to other weapons throughout the secret
        base, and monitors displaying the recordings of all the security
        cameras.

        Flux entered the control room. He had only seen Ryker, the man with
        gray, slicked back hair and the uniform of a general, a handful of
        times, even though he had become one of Ryker's top soldiers. The
        mere sight of the man sent chills down the young man's spine. He had
        seen men transform into monsters, other men into piles of ash, and
        felt for himself the cause for each of those two cases. He had been
        lucky enough to come out of it a super-strong freak. Yet, somehow,
        through all the horrors he had faced, nothing had ever scared him as
        much as his commanding officer, who still had yet to reveal his rank
        or first name to Flux.

        "How is your arm?" Ryker spoke emotionlessly.

        "Better... completely better, actually. I thought he broke it,
        but..."

        "He probably did."

        "It... it hasn't been a full day yet even, and I'm healed..."

        "That's the way a healing factor tends to work."

        "But... I never thought I'd be... this fast..."

        Ryker's emotionless look instantly became a frown. "His is better."
        The image of the burnt, skinless Hulk that entered the base shot into
        Ryker's mind as he sat and looked at the now perfectly healthy Hulk.

        Flux wasn't sure quite how to respond. "Status of Rock?"

        "The doctors are still working on him, sir. That shot he took...
        well, it would take me a long time to recover even with my healing
        factor as fast as it is, I think...."

        "Do they think he'll survive?"

        "No, sir."

        "That's good."

        "Pardon?"

        "He was a poor choice, I don't know what I was thinking in placing
        him in this project." Ryker sighed. "Are the scientists ready?"

        "Yes, sir!"

        "Excellent! Then bring in Mrs. Banner."

        "Yes, sir!"

        [Soon later...]
        Betty wasn't sure how long she had been imprisoned in the cold, dark,
        tiny room before she saw the first hint of light since she was thrown
        in the room. The entire time her thoughts were wondering what had
        happened to the others, and how long until Bruce saves the day. He
        always does, but now she had started to lose faith and wonder.

        When the first rays of light revealed a muscular green arm, all hope
        was regained... then Flux came in and escorted her out.

        As they went down the hall, he never said a single word to her. In
        reply, she likewise was silent. She already knew that it wouldn't do
        any good with these types.

        The Hulk was still simply staring and sitting when Betty literally
        dropped in, pushed by a green hand owned by one whom the Hulk would
        normally decide to smash. Instead, he sat and stared, not at Betty,
        not at the wall, or mirror, but at nothing. He wasn't really
        looking, he just happened to have his eyes open.

        "B...Bruce?" Betty tried her hardest but failed to remember a time
        when he was as catatonic as this. Long ago, when the army had him
        and drugged him enough to kill several elephants, was the only time
        she remembered him being anything like this. But this time.... it
        was different, somehow.... It isn't just from drugs, Betty thought to
        herself, he's.... he's just stuck inside his own mind, somehow.

        "Bruce! Snap out of it! Please!" Betty started to sob, unable to
        control herself....

        ...and the Hulk...

        ...slowly...

        ....began to squint and adjust his vision. More and more of his
        muscles started to move again, and within a minute he stood up.

        On the other side of the window, Ryker said coldly, "Just as we
        wanted."

        The tall, green-skinned man called Hulk looked down, directly into
        his wife's eyes. "Hi, honey..."

        As quick as an eye blinks, he shrunk down to an average-height white
        man. "...I'm home."

        While they embraced, Bruce realized exactly what had just happened.
        Before he could do anything at all about it, he and Betty both
        collapsed to the ground.

        [An unknown amount of time later...]
        Bruce woke up groggily, unable to move, barely able to think
        properly. His arms and legs, now numb, were tied up in what was
        probably adamantium chains. Electrodes and such were all over his
        head and chest, probably to monitor blood pressure, pulse, and the
        like. Scientist-looking people were all around, staring at their
        screens. Bruce's eyes couldn't focus enough to see what was on the
        screen, but whatever it was had them all rather fascinated.

        "Hey, he's already starting to wake up!"

        "Impressive!"

        "Get those sedatives ready... and monitor his vitals!"

        A man suddenly came into Bruce's blurry view. Even blurred, he
        looked like the guy in charge.

        "Hello, Dr. Banner. I don't believe we've ever actually met face to
        face before."

        Bruce tried to speak and failed.

        "My name is Ryker. That is all you need to know about me. I want
        you to know that I hold no personal grudge against you, you just
        happen to be the one with the good genes, thus the study."

        Bruce tried to move anything and everything and failed.

        "You see, I've done a lot in my years, but I could do so much more
        yet. With the huge doses of gamma radiation affecting you in the way
        in which it has only affected you, our scientists believe that,
        theoretically, you could live potentially.... forever. Once again,
        nothing personal, but I just don't think that you've earned that like
        I have. I tried to make another like you, make it easier, with no
        luck. Only Flux survived, and his lifespan is shorter now than it
        would've been. So I had to get you and have you studied. Then I'll
        go through the correct kinds of gene therapy, expose myself to the
        correct levels of gamma radiation, and kill you while you're in that
        miserable, weak little form."

        [Inside Bruce's mind...]
        "He's done it again! Once again, he puts us all in danger for one of
        us to bail him out!" The gray Hulk was furious.

        "Fake Hulk has point!"

        "Hey, Puny! Let us out... and leave us out!"

        [Back outside, inside the lab room....]
        "F...Fine..." Bruce mumbled. "I... retire..."

        "What was that?" Ryker asked, though assuming he'd never know.

        The vital signs didn't suddenly radically change. There was no howl
        of pain or frustration. Without protest or excitement, the change
        into large, green, and muscular occurred.

        Ryker shouted, "Drug him up!" But now no needle could pierce his
        skin, and the Hulk broke free of his chains. "That... that was
        supposed to be adamantium chains!"

        "Somebody lied." The Hulk spoke calmly and simply.

        Ryker rushed to press a button on the wall. "Abomination, Flux, come
        here, immediately!"

        As the Hulk threw a table into a computer screen, Ryker
        screamed, "No! You can't!"

        "I think I just did," The Hulk commented as the scientists scrambled
        out of the room, leaving the Hulk and Ryker alone together.

        "Look, Hulk... I own a large amount of this world! I can give you
        anything you want! Land, money, power, weapons, women..."

        "I want to smash you into a wall."

        "Anything else?"

        "Can o' beans would be nice, but I'd rather smash you first. Helps
        build up an appetite."

        The Abomination rushed in.

        "Quickly, distract him, Blonsky!" The man once known as Emil Blonsky
        strutted over to the man called Ryker, and casually swung his arm,
        decapitating him.

        "I'd prefer to kill him. I've been waiting for this for a long time,
        jade jaws!"

        "Abomination! I've been wanting to smash you, too!"

        "Just shut up and fight me!" Abomination threw a punch, breaking one
        of the Hulk's ribs, and followed with a devastating uppercut that
        sent the Hulk through the wall.

        "Now.... I'm angry!" Hulk bellowed. "And the angrier the Hulk
        gets..." He leapt at the Abomination, sending them both on top of
        Ryker's corpse, instantly crushing the remains. "... the stronger
        the Hulk gets!" With a kick from a leg capable of jumping several
        miles up, Hulk sent Abomination through the ceiling, at an angle and
        velocity that suggested that it would be quite some time before the
        Abomination could return to the base.

        The Hulk was about to leave through the hole in the ceiling, when he
        realized that if Betty was here, then Thunderbolt Ross could also be
        here, and Hulk had been wanting to smash Ross since he first met the
        old man.

        In the first room he entered, he saw Flux on the ground curled in a
        ball, complaining of feeling `on fire.' Politely, Hulk asked, "Will
        you show me where the prisoners are kept, or can the Hulk smash your
        puny face in?"

        Soon after, Flux, still in much pain, and Hulk, still in need of
        smashing someone, arrived at Ryker's control room, where they undid
        all the computerized locks on the cell doors. Betty, Janis, and Ross
        looked at each other and all made a run for it in the same direction,
        with Janis in the lead.

        Grinning, Hulk punched Flux in the face, smacking him against a wall,
        bloodied and still burning inside, then ran out of the room.

        "Ross! Paging puny human Ross! Your Hulk is here!" Janis stopped
        after picking up her staff from a confiscated weapons room, and ran
        to the Hulk while Betty and `Thunderbolt' Ross ran down a stairwell
        instead.

        "Hey, Studly! How about we leave this place?"

        "Because the Hulk would rather smash Ross!"

        "Well, uhh..." Janis caught hold of a crazy idea. "Fine! Don't go
        with me, then! Go smash Ross, then be bored! Just don't come back
        to me and expect me to help you any!"

        "The Hulk can do what he wants!"

        "I don't care! Do what you want! I'm outta here!" Janis shouted
        back. Hulk thought of the potential dangers she could get into by
        herself.

        "Good! I'm coming, too!"

        "Fine, be that way." Janis was glad it worked. With her around,
        maybe she could keep him from doing too much damage in his apparently
        unstable state.

        Without bothering to figure out where the base they were on was, the
        Hulk, carrying Janis on his back, left the base, leaping off towards
        no place in particular.

        [The End]


        NEXT ISSUE: THE FATE OF THUNDERBOLT ROSS AND BETTY AS WELL AS THE
        RETURN OF SEVERAL CLASSIC HULK FOES IN A STORY APPROPRIATELY
        TITLED "ARE U MY FOES?"
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