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Smashing Puddles

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Ever since meeting everyone, it’d been ‘rage monster’ this, ‘get angry’ that, transforming because of injury or pain, and Bruce had gotten better and better at controlling his anger.

Unfortunately, one other thing slipped his mind.

It was his first time visiting the Grid, and it was beautiful. The lighting, the architecture, the programs, everything was so different, exciting and new.

It made his heart race.

It took far too long for him to realize what was happening; he was with Tron, Alan, and a few other security programs at the dockyards gawking at a Solar Sailer when he finally realized what the tightness in his chest actually wasIn the end, all he could do was choke out a vague “Get away!” After that, his world faded from green, to black.

Hulk was in a new place. A city; a nighttime city. There was a big snowflake.

There were lots of big boxes in the Nighttime City, pulled by… giant snowflakes?

Hulk did not understand.

That made Hulk angry.

There were puny people here, but they hadn’t hurt Hulk, yet. There was Spot; he also did not understand, Hulk could see. There was Old Spot, who didn’t actually have spots before, but did now. Was Old Spot now White Spot? Did that change Spot to Black Spot?

There were other puny people Hulk did not know. They dressed like Spot - Black Spot.

They could have sharp circles like Black Spot.

Hulk did not know them.

They were not hurting Hulk, so Hulk would not smash them.

Hulk would go away.

Hulk ran.

Spot - White Spot? - said to wait, but Hulk ran. Spot - Black Spot? - said to follow a Non.

Hulk did not know what a Non was.

Hulk leaped.

Hulk would hide in the rocky place.

Hulk found a puddle to smash in the rocky place.

So he smashed.

The rocky place made ‘tap tap’ noises when Hulk walked.

Hulk smashed the puddle for a long time, then he heard punier ‘tap tap’ noises than Hulk made.

It was a puny person from the snowflake-box place. Black like Black Spot, but no spots.

He had a shiny head. Not as shiny as Metal Man, though.

Hulk grunted at Not Spot.

Not Spot waved back, then sat on a rocky place rock.

Hulk smashed the puddle, while Not Spot watched.

Hulk splashed Not Spot.

Not Spot made sparks, then splashed Hulk back.

Hulk smashed the puddle with Sparky.

When Bruce came back to himself, his clothes were little more than rags, he was soaked to the bone but not cold, and lying on a large slab of black rock.

Footsteps approached him, and he looked up to see a black-suited program with a glossy helmet approaching.

“Sorry,” he apologized pre-emptively. Who knows what he’d broken this time.

The program just shrugged, like it was no big deal, and offered him a hand up.

After a silent - but surprisingly not awkward - ride in a light runner, and a replacement outfit courtesy of a trio of lady programs that seemed to take great satisfaction in his embarrassment, his silent companion took him to rejoin the others.

Alan smiled in relief when he saw them, “Are you all right, Bruce?”

He immediately tried to apologize again, but Alan wouldn’t hear of it, and soon Bruce was being sucked back in to the beauty and possibility of the Grid.

He did, however, notice Tron walk over to join the silent program’s company with a nod, and a quiet “Thank you, Anon.”

Bruce was struck with the sudden knowledge that he now knew what ‘a Non’ was.

… He also had the urge to call him Sparky, though he couldn’t say why.