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Title: The Providential Dismissal Quandary, 1/8
Author: htbthomas
Fandom: The Big Bang Theory
Spoilers: set a year or so in the future after Season 2
Rating: PG
Word Count: Part 1: 1,900 words
Disclaimer: I own only my love for these characters. And a much less extensive comic book collection than the guys. :(
Betas: foxtwin, fujiidom, van_el

Summary: Sheldon’s to blame. Penny’s furious. The guys are helpless. What’s a string theorist to do? Episode-style fic featuring the full cast, with a focus on Sheldon/Penny. Based on the prompt “pinkslip” from sheldon_penny’s Fiction Friday. Awesome banner by patronuscharms.


Howard held the remote control as if he were holding it hostage. “I don't see why we can't mix it up tonight! On Anything Can Happen Thursday, we should be able to watch anything.” He sent a glare over toward Sheldon, who had moved purposefully in front of the remote sensor of the television. Sheldon’s shirt logo of Namor glared right back at Howard.

“But I had been looking forward to watching New Doctor Who tonight. I know not everyone prefers Eleven, but I find his mix of youthful charm and quirky looks to be reminiscent of some of the Doctors of yore, like Four for example.”

“You think he's like Four?” Raj exclaimed from his spot on the right side of the couch. “Dude, if you think a little wild hair and and a large nose are all it takes to--” Raj shook his head. “No. I am not going to get pulled into this argument again. If we can't decide on a TV show, we should watch one of the DVD box sets.” Focusing on Howard, he cajoled, “Maybe start a Sarah Connor Chronicles marathon...?”

“I do miss seeing Cameron kick ass in HD...” Howard trailed off wistfully, no doubt remembering the time they'd met Summer Glau on the train. “But I wanted to watch Dollhouse,” he whined suddenly. “I know a couple of imprints I’d like to try on Sierra...”

Leonard sat up from his armchair, clearly frustrated. “I don't really care what we watch, guys. Just pick something, for crying out loud. We've been fighting about this for a half an hour.”

The three other guys looked at each other warily, none of them wanting to back down first. A Geek Noon standoff.

Sheldon broke the silence first. “Perhaps we can decide this with a game of skill.” He gestured to his opponents. “Best man selects the program.”

“Oh, no...” Howard dissented. “Knowing you, we'd end up playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl with Rock Band controllers again. I still can't figure out how you rigged that...”

Sheldon's nostrils flared. “I did not rig that game. You cannot blame me if your fine motor control on the bass guitar is less highly developed than mine.”

Howard and Sheldon both tensed, dropping into similar defensive crouches to protect their territory. Any moment now there was going to be scratching and hair pulling.

“Wait, I’ve got it!” Raj shouted.

“Oh, thank God,” Leonard said, dropping back into his armchair.

“We let lady luck decide for us.” Raj walked over to the closet and brought out a poster tube from last year’s Comic Con. Popping the top off the tube, he removed and unfurled a life-size poster of William Shatner in his gold Original Series uniform. Captain Kirk held his phaser at an uncannily similar angle to Howard with his remote. Raj held the figure high. “I propose a little... ‘Pin the Badge on the Captain!’”

The two opponents were immediately interested. “Intriguing... As much as I hated the original game as a child, a Star Trek spin immeasurably improves the concept.”

“You’d have to mock up a set of badges...” Howard absent-mindedly handed his prized remote control to Leonard, and made a beeline for the computer. “A quick image search and scaling to the right size....”

“And even if we utilize sticky tack, giving the poster a run through the laminator is absolutely necessary,” Sheldon added, leaving the television to hover over Howard’s shoulder.

“Leonard, can we borrow that godawful tie you wore to the symposium in September?” Raj asked, heading for the bedroom. “It would make a perfect blindfold.”

“Sure, go ahead...” Leonard resignedly waved his consent before going to set up his whiteboard as an easel for the game.

Twenty minutes later, Captain Kirk’s image still warm from a fresh coat of polyester and resin, Raj announced, “Sheldon, please crouch down for blindfolding.”

“Why am I first?”

“Last to win, first to go, dude.”

Sheldon’s mouth crinkled up as he pondered this. Then he shrugged and crouched at Raj’s height. “Proceed.”

Once Sheldon’s eyes were properly covered, Raj spun him three times and pushed him in the direction of Kirk. He walked a remarkably sure-footed line to the poster, and placed his badge... square in the center of Kirk’s forehead.

Sheldon removed his blindfold and pouted. “William Shatner’s charisma clearly affects his perceived height,” he complained.

“Hey, that’s how the laddu crumbles. Deal with it.” Raj fell silent for a moment, as he studied the poster. “You know it’s funny... with that marker there, Kirk looks remarkably like my aunt Nithya...” He nodded firmly. “She could really work a pantsuit.”

“My turn.” Howard held out his hand to Sheldon, who passed it over. “We’re one step closer to sexy Active times.”

Raj tied the blindfold and spun his friend around several times. Howard stumbled sideways immediately, knocking the remote control off the coffee table where Leonard had placed it. Howard’s foot came down on it, an overloud commercial on the TV blared to life, and he tripped forward toward the poster, hand outstretched...

“Owww.” The three onlookers winced at the badge’s unfortunate placement.

Howard whipped off his blindfold to see where the badge had landed. He winced as well, face turning as red as his turtleneck.

“I didn’t know Captain Kirk communicated with the Enterprise using his crotch,” Raj teased.

Leonard laughed. “No, just aliens of the female persuasion.”

“I tripped!” Howard yanked the badge off in embarrassment.

At about the same time, Howard, Raj and Leonard noticed the robotic voice emanating from the television. “Attack of the Show... Attack!” The three were immediately riveted to the program, completely forgetting about the game.

Sheldon, on the other hand, had moved to measure the distance between his and Howard’s placement and the insignia on Kirk’s chest. “Koothrappali, you know as well as I do that communicator badges weren’t used until The Next Generation series...”

The guys around the television only had ears (and eyes) for Olivia Munn, joking with her co-host Kevin Pereira about Comic Con. “Who do you think she’ll cosplay this year?” Howard asked in a dreamy voice.

“I don’t know, but I love what she wears on the show. Nothing tops her Wonder Woman.” Raj placed his chin in his hands and sighed.

“What about the Bond girl catsuit?” Leonard reminded them.

They all sighed as one. “Yeah...”

Sheldon, who had extended the tape measure between his hands, straightened up, annoyed. “Oh, please. She could be dressed in a hazmat suit and talking about proper soil fertilization and you three would watch.”

Howard, Leonard and Raj looked at each other, then shrugged. No disagreement there. They went back to watching. Sheldon took a second-set of measurements - obviously unhappy with the result he was getting.

Behind him, the door to 4A opened, and Penny walked in. “Hey, guys, I was going to watch Grey’s Anatomy but it’s a rerun. What’s on the menu for Anything Can Happen Thursday?”

None of the men in the room responded. All except Raj, who pointed silently at the TV briefly before focusing on it again. Penny sat beside Raj amiably. He didn’t squirm out of the way. He might not be able to speak directly to her yet without help, but he was comfortable having her around. She looked at the screen and read the caption at the bottom of the screen: Four-Day Passes Selling Out Soon. “Oh, is Comic Con coming up?”

“As it does every July,” Sheldon answered. The three around the television kept their attention on Olivia Munn. “We purchased our passes the day they went on sale. As long as you’ve known us, I’d think you’d remember that.”

“I don’t keep track of all of your ‘social activities’ on my calendar, Sheldon.” She stood up from the couch and walked over to where he was still standing beside the poster of Kirk. “What are you doing? Taking measurements? I thought you already had a Spock costume.”

“No.” Sheldon retracted the measuring tape with an annoyed snap, having determined that Howard had come closer that he had to the insignia on Kirk’s uniform. “I haven’t yet determined what I will wear this year.”

She glanced at the TV again, where a parade of cosplayers was going across the screen. “You know, it might be fun to go with you guys this year... but what would I go as?”

Sheldon stepped back for a moment and spread his hands like a picture frame. “Hmm. There are any number of fantasy/sci-fi heroines with your coloring and body type. You could go as Buffy Summers... or Sarah Walker... or one of any number of superheroes...”

“Superheroes?” she asked, intrigued. With all her visits to the comic book store, she’d picked up a few. It was easier to avoid unwanted conversations when you were actually reading. “Like Supergirl?”

“Or Black Canary, founding member of the Birds of Prey and the Green Arrow’s inamorata. Though you might find the fishnet stockings uncomfortable... there is also Wonder Girl, the Amazonian... Saturn Girl of the Legion of Superheroes in the Thirty-First Century... Stephanie Brown of the Bat Clan, known as Spoiler, as well as Robin, even though it was only for 72 days...” He barely paused for breath before going on. “Of course, those are only the most obvious ones in the DC universe. On the other hand if you wanted to try one of the Marvel heroines, you could choose from--”

Penny held up a hand to forestall him. “I don’t need the Sheldonpedia list all at once, sweetie.” She turned to the guys at the TV. “Hey, what do you guys think I should cosplay as at Comic Con?”

“Whatever you want, Penny,” Leonard answered distractedly. Howard didn’t seem to hear her. Raj, on the other hand, was sitting up straight in shock, eyes wide, his mouth feebly opening and closing.

“Are you even listening? I said, if I go to Comic Con this year...” Penny slowed down her words, enunciating every one. “...what... should... I... cosplay?” She sneered and turned back toward Sheldon. “I swear, it’s like I’m invisible when that show’s on.”

“C-Comic Con?” Leonard finally stammered.

“C-cosplay?” Howard added, looking even more shocked than Raj, if it were possible.

Sheldon looked down at his T-shirt and a slow grin spread over his face. “That’s it! You can be ‘invisible.’”

She frowned with confusion. “What?”

“Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman! Your words and my fine Atlantean friend here,” he gestured to his shirt, “gave me the notion.”

Penny frowned even harder. “I thought he was Vulcan...”

Sheldon shook his head. “While it is true that Namor and his people share a similar ear shape to the Vulcans, I assure you that they have little else in common.” He tapped his chin thoughtfully. “Yes! I believe I have a blue bodysuit that could be adapted for her traditional uniform...” He began to walk toward his bedroom, gesturing for Penny to follow.

“But isn’t invisibility sort of a... lame superpower?” she asked, following.

“On the contrary, her ability to create force fields and manipulate energy make her one of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel universe!” He rounded the corner.

“Really?” Penny stopped in the hall, grinning. “Cool.” She joined Sheldon in his room, her voice moving out of earshot.

Raj, Howard and Leonard looked at each other in amazement, the shock slowly wearing off.

“Wow,” Raj said, finding his voice again. “It really is Anything Can Happen Thursday.”

[cut to theme song]

Next: Part 2


( 37 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jul. 10th, 2009 02:44 pm (UTC)
oh this is fantastic! the rock band controllers for super smash bros! and pin the badge on kirk! (and i love how sheldon suggested sarah walker as a potential costume! ;) wonderful. can't wait for more.
Jul. 10th, 2009 03:08 pm (UTC)
I have to admit that van_el and foxtwin get credit for the game ideas. :D Oh, the IM conversation that inspired that was epic.

So glad you liked! I'm excited to get a multi-part idea for this fandom. :D
Jul. 10th, 2009 02:59 pm (UTC)
OMG! This is going to be awesome.
You got the tone, you got the characters and, as usual, you got the really great story idea.

Jul. 10th, 2009 03:11 pm (UTC)
Awesome? I hope so! I'm certainly excited that I had an idea for a multi-part fic!

I hope you enjoy the rest just as much. ♥
Jul. 10th, 2009 03:14 pm (UTC)
I woke up to find that you'd written BBT fic, and eee you have Raj defending Four and Dollhouse and I've only read the first three paragraphs, but SO MUCH AWESOME. *scrolls back up to finish the rest*
Jul. 10th, 2009 03:21 pm (UTC)
William Shatner’s charisma clearly affects his perceived height


So you've kind of killed me with all the awesome references packed in there, but the characterization is excellent - I'm not entirely sure Penny knows what she's in for, but I can't wait to read the next part! ♥
(no subject) - htbthomas - Jul. 11th, 2009 01:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 10th, 2009 03:42 pm (UTC)
Great work. I love Sheldon/Penny, and Raj is just somehow extra wonderful in this :)
Jul. 11th, 2009 01:49 pm (UTC)
Great! I find Raj to be extra wonderful in general, so I tried give him a lot of good lines! Thanks so much for commenting! I hope you like the next as well!
Jul. 10th, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC)
Loving it so far. :D Can't wait for more.
Jul. 11th, 2009 01:51 pm (UTC)
Excellent! I'm not the quickest of updaters, but I hope to have more within a week or two!
Jul. 10th, 2009 05:19 pm (UTC)
I love it! I love all of the geeky references, and everyone's really in character.
Jul. 11th, 2009 02:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I really did pack in the references with this one, didn't I? Thanks so much for the review!
Jul. 10th, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is FUN! Neat premise, solid characterization, and an impressive Geek Quotient too. Love how you included the theme at the end! Looking forward to the next part!
Jul. 11th, 2009 01:56 pm (UTC)
Yay! I was really going for fun on this, and the Geek Quotient just seemed highly necessary in this scene! :D I hope you'll like the next one just as well. :)
Jul. 10th, 2009 05:57 pm (UTC)
Heeee - this is great fun. I love how well you've captured all of their voices and the Comic Con squee. *grins*

And the last line with Raj is perfect! :D
Jul. 11th, 2009 02:05 pm (UTC)
I worked really hard to get all their voices, so that makes me really happy! And what would a fic from me this month be without Comic con in it! :D
Jul. 10th, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC)
Win Win Win!
So many references! This is a geek sweet shop with gaming refs as well and only the first chapter!
Pin the badge on Kirk is the best idea ever!
Also love your Raj!
Your detail and character precision as usual are excellent!
Cannot wait for more!

Jul. 11th, 2009 09:53 pm (UTC)
LOL, I can't promise any more jampacked chapters after this -- it had to do more with the subject matter -- but I'm really glad you liked it! :) Thanks for reviewing. :D
Jul. 10th, 2009 08:19 pm (UTC)
I love that you're writing this like it's an episode! And you're doing it very well! I love where this is going, can't wair to rwad more :D
Jul. 11th, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC)
I have a huge weakness for episode-style fics. I've done it a few times, and I always enjoy it. :)

Thanks for much for reviewing! I hope I'll have more before too long. :)
Jul. 10th, 2009 09:40 pm (UTC)
...math, science history, unravelling the mystery, and it all started with the...Oh. Hi. Now it's stuck in my head. :P

Good job though! I could see them and hear them in my head - this could really be a scene out of the show, I think you've got them all down really well. I'm excited to read the rest of the 'episode' :D
Jul. 11th, 2009 10:02 pm (UTC)
Hee! I sort of wanted it stuck in your head. :D! It was certainly running through mine.

I hope the rest of the episode does this "cold open" justice!
Jul. 11th, 2009 12:29 am (UTC)
Wow. This is so jampacked with stuff. I loved the reference to Dollhouse. Loved how Sheldon didn't at all mind Penny coming into his room when it came to helping her cosplay. :)
Jul. 11th, 2009 10:04 pm (UTC)
Since I'm planning to see the Dollhouse panel at SDCC, I had it on my mind! I definitely think Howard would be a fan. :D

And like how Sheldon sometimes forgets his rules when he's doing something that's his idea. :)

Thanks so much for the review!
Jul. 11th, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC)
Very well done and you nailed each character perfectly. Loved the pinning the Badge on the Captain game. Very appropriate to use Kirk for that. Howard's turn was great and where he ended up pinning his badge was hilarious.

It was funny to see when Penny entered that Howard, Raj and Leonard were so focused on the TV until she slowly explained to them that she would go to Comic Con and cosplay. Their reactions were spot on.

Great job on this one.

Would you like an extended version of the theme song??
Jul. 11th, 2009 10:08 pm (UTC)
Pin the Badge on the Captain was foxtwin's idea -- I'll definitely tell him you liked it! And the placement was van_el's. :D

The rest of the chapter was mine, though, so I'm really glad you liked it, too! I hope the rest will be as enjoyable.

And don't worry - I've had a full version of the theme for a while now. :D
Jul. 12th, 2009 04:54 am (UTC)
Haha, it does sound like an episode. Can't believe all these readings and in the show it might have only been 5 minutes at most?

*amused by Sheldon doing the measuring on Captain's Kirk*
Jul. 12th, 2009 02:26 pm (UTC)
It's true - a lot happens in each scene of the show! You really never realize it, because the time just flies. :)

Thanks for the review. :)
Jul. 16th, 2009 12:54 am (UTC)
cool set up, looking forward to what’s coming next.
Jul. 16th, 2009 12:56 am (UTC)
Thanks! I hope I can keep up the fun. :)

And your username is very interesting... is it your actual name or based on the Marvel character?
(no subject) - phil_urich - Jul. 16th, 2009 01:04 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - htbthomas - Jul. 16th, 2009 01:06 am (UTC) - Expand
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( 37 comments — Leave a comment )

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