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What do you do with a bag of cats?

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“You wanted to see me, Sir?” Bruce Banner said, and the title was said a bit sarcastically, with more than a little bite. “I’m thinking it’s not to discuss you implementing my recommendations.” He indicated the thick-walled, somewhat isolated room where they were meeting.

“Contrary to what you might think of me, Doctor, I’m not worried about the Hulk. I’m worried about this.” The monitor behind Fury lit up, showing footage of Bruce on the Helicarrier.

I don’t think we should be focusing on Loki. That guy’s brain is a bag full of cats - you could smell crazy on him.

“That’s an interesting metaphor,” Fury commented. “And now that you’ve found out what Asgard’s punishment for him is, you’re saying we should, what? Break him out? Let him loose? I’m starting to wonder where your sympathies lie, Doctor Banner. Harboring warm and fuzzy feelings for the guy who tried to conquer Earth?”

“To be fair, I never said he wasn’t dangerous. He had crazy, desperate, unpredictable written all over him. I didn’t really think ‘dangerous’ needed saying on top of all of that.”

“But you still want to let him go?”

“Just in general, crazy doesn’t become dangerous until someone gives it a push. But it only needs to be once. Somebody pushed me once, and now I wouldn’t recommend myself for human company at all except that isolation, as a rule, makes it worse.”

Fury tilted his head, staring at Banner and wondering what part of that he should address next. “Why cats?” he said finally, in a tone of disbelief.

“Housecats are, by weight, one of the most efficient predators on the planet,” Bruce said. “They could seriously harm us if they tried. But they don’t, unless we harm them first. But a bag of cats, specifically?” Bruce regarded Fury with thoughtful curiosity, wondering how much he already understood and how fast he would understand the rest. “Sometimes people will find something young, innocent, with a lot of potential, and they hate that thing. For whatever reason. And so they do their best to make sure that potential is never reached. Limit them and take away their resources and their ability to live normally.” Bruce paused, speaking deceptively calmly, evenly. “Do you know the traditional way to get rid of an unwanted litter of kittens?”

Fury nodded, and Bruce could see the gears turning behind his eyes.

“If one of those cats grew up to lash out at every human they saw,” he asked, “would you be surprised?”

“Trying to take over the Earth looks to me like a little more than distrust,” Fury said. “So what exactly do you think Loki is going to do when we let the cats out of the bag?”

“I’m hoping he’ll help us go after whoever put him in.”