Title: Recruitment
Author: plazmah
Rating: G
Fandom: The Big Bang Theory and Lost
Pairing: None
Summary: Penny thinks she finally might get her big break and land a sweet acting gig. But things take a turn for the odd considering Ben is involved; the only person he's really concerned with is Sheldon.
Notes: Technically, this fic takes place during current TBBT cannon, but within the Lost universe it takes place before Oceanic crashes. Please don't take it too seriously, I shoe-horned the characters into this crossover like crazy. ;)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Penny spun around so that she could lean back against the bar, scoping out the scene. A scene that happened to be pretty sweet, she had to admit. Her latest role had been in a music video for a rising local band and everyone in the business knew the best thing about shooting for a music video was the after-party. The entire cast, the band, producers and execs, everyone mixed and talked inside the trendy lounge that had been bought out for the night. Penny loved meeting new people in the business (networking was so key) but there was no way she could catch anyone's attention if she was hanging out with the rest of the aspiring actors. No, she had to stick it alone. So here she was, her back against the bar as she ordered a second glass of wine. Hair glossy, eyes shining, oozing confidence and praying with all her might that someone important would freaking give her their card already.

From a quick scan of the room, it wasn't easy to tell who was there for the band and who was there to check out the local acting talent. Maybe that's why Penny didn't even react when a short man with brown hair and beady eyes stood next to her at the bar.

"What'll it be?" Penny glanced at the bartender talking to him. Young girl, redhead, toothy smile. Definitely had some kind of east coast accent. Probably in the same boat as she was, struggling to find work and make it big.

"Just a glass of water." The man replied, thanking the bartender when she brought him his drink.

"It's an open bar, you know." Penny commented. "I'd make use of it and get something with alcohol in it."

As soon as the words left her mouth, Penny felt like smacking herself on the forehead. The man was dressed in a nice suit, crisp shirt, shiny shoes. In other words, a man who could drink alcohol whenever he damn well wanted. Now she looked like some kind of cheap vulture who was only hanging around for the free drinks, not an actress looking to expand her resume.

The man turned and looked at her, amused. "Maybe another time. I'd rather not drink while I'm working."

"Working?" Oh crap, is he a talent scout?

"I'm a talent scout, checking out the local actors."

Craaaaaaaaaaaaap.

But he fixed an intense gaze on her and kept talking to her in a very interested tone. "You had quite the performance today, young lady. I was impressed."

"Oh. Thank you!" Penny stuttered at the compliment, quickly putting her professional face on. "It's my range of experience and past work that allowed me to really understand the role, Mr..."

"Please, call me Ben." He replied, shaking her hand.

"Ben, nice to meet you. My name is Penny."

"It's a pleasure to meet you too, Penny." The man continued to speak after taking a sip of his water. "I'm going to cut to the chase, Penny. I'm looking for an actress to fill a role on the pilot of a TV show. If you're available, I'd love for you to meet with the writers and producer. Maybe read a few lines?"

"I'd be more than happy to!" Penny exclaimed with a grin, thankful for her good luck.

"Fantastic." Ben replied somewhat dryly. He stood straight as a rod but relaxed at the same time and Penny found herself thinking back to every other scout she had ever met. After a certain point, every scout was the same as the last, blending into a strange person-shaped blob. But this guy was different somehow. She couldn't put her finger on what it was though.

Maybe he's the one who'll get me my break. Maybe he's the one who'll recognize that I'm a star, Penny thought as Ben handed her his business card.

"Call me tomorrow morning around nine o'clock." He sipped the last of his water and straightened his suit jacket, getting ready to leave the party. "You'll be meeting the director and producer on-site, at Caltech. Until then, take care, Penny."

"Wait, at Caltech?" Penny replied before Ben could leave. "Is the show going to be filmed there?"

Ben turned around. "Of course. The show is about an astronomer who works at Caltech and discovers an alien civilization." He smiled slightly. "Hollywood always has room for another one of those fanciful, sci-fi epics."

"Of course." Penny replied, wondering what the guys would think if they found out she would be working at Caltech too, just like the rest of them.

Ben looked at her curiously. "You wouldn't happen to know anyone who goes to school there, would you?"

"Well, I know some guys who work there, actually." Penny said. She wasn't sure how she felt about this strange coincidence. A sci-fi TV show? It was like dorkiness followed her everywhere since she had met Leonard and the boys. And ever since Sheldon had explained to her (in gruesome detail) what a 'fanboy' was, she was pretty sure that if she was the star of a show with aliens, there'd be all kinds of nerds clamoring for her attention. Ugh, Wolowitz is going to be creepier than ever if this works out for me.

But Ben didn't seem to notice that she was deep in thought; he was busy checking his cell phone. "Bring them along too."

Penny went stock still. "... What?"

He kept talking while using his phone. "We're in need of subject-matter experts for the show anyway, people who understand the science and can fact-check the details for us, so that the writing isn't too ridiculous. If we can get researchers and professors from Caltech on board the show, it saves us money." Ben slipped the phone back into his pocket. "So bring your friends along so that the writers can ask them about their field of expertise."

Knowing she would do whatever it took to get this talent scout to like her, Penny smiled agreeably. "Sure, no problem."

She couldn't help but sigh as she watched Ben's back, his small frame squeezing through the crowds and heading out the door. This is going to be so weird.

- - -

I had a plan, of course. I always have a plan, sometimes more than one. But all I needed this time around was the one plan. It was pretty simple too; was separate Sheldon Cooper from the rest.

From the profile Richard had put together, it was clear that using logic and reason would get his attention. But in the end I would have to speak to his ego, his unwavering sense of superiority. Then and only then would he agree to come work on the Island.

- - -

"You're going where?" Leonard's face was twisted with confusion as Sheldon scribbled on his whiteboard.

Sheldon didn't even turn to look at Leonard. "As I stated before, I'm going to a top secret research facility so that my potential as a gifted mind is fully realized."

"And you're saying the talent scout recruited you? The guy who offered Penny an acting gig?"

"He's not a talent scout." Sheldon nodded at his work and put the marker down, finally addressing Leonard. "In actuality, he's the leader of a covert organization with international branches working together to unravel the mysteries of the universe."

Leonard was looking at Sheldon concern and remembered to what had happened during that strange casting session Penny had dragged them to. "When Ben asked if he could see your work and you took him to your office, what really happened?"

"As we were walking to my office, Ben revealed that his role as a talent scout was altogether fallacious and that the only reason he had spoken to Penny at all was so that he would have the opportunity to speak to me in private. Of course, despite his repeated claims of my incontestable genius, I did not believe him."

"Of course." Leonard slowly sank down on the couch, realizing this was going to be a very strange story.

Sheldon seemed to perk up somewhat as he sat down in his spot. "When we got to my office, there was a woman there. Ben introduced her as Eloise and told me that she had some information I would be interested in."

Leonard leaned forward. "So? Were you?"

Sheldon was practically bouncing in his seat, riddled with excitement. "Absolutely. Eloise, despite her penchant for theatrical proclamations, was rather intelligent. Not as intelligent as I am, but then again, who is?"

Leonard rolled his eyes. "Right. So what did she show you?"

If anything Sheldon got even more twitchy and energized in his seat. "That's a matter of security."

"What?"

"I can't tell you." Sheldon explained as he got up and headed to the kitchen.

"Jeez, Sheldon." Leonard followed Sheldon, worried. "You're the one who's a slave to logic, how can you fall for something so melodramatic and inconceivable?"

"I'm sorry, Leonard. But Eloise's calculations were impeccable." Sheldon said as he put together a sandwich. "I'm going to Ben's research facility. And before you attempt to do so, speaking with my mother will not sway me otherwise."

"Why not?"

There was a hint of smug satisfaction on Sheldon's face. "Ben spoke to her personally over his cell phone and elucidated the entire situation to her. As she would say, I have her... blessing."

Leonard watched as his friend calmly put together his food and his worry deepened.

- - -

The island was a fascinating place. It was an anomaly, a temporal singularity that Sheldon could not stop thinking about ever since he had set foot upon it. Adjusting to a new routine had been difficult, but within eleven days, six hours, and thirty-two minutes he had categorically and objectively determined how to best manage his time, how to maximize his efficiency. He would unlock the secrets of this place, revolutionize the way people around the world perceived time and space.

Unfortunately, the unenlightened buffoons around him were less appreciative of his capacity for genius.

The door to his research station opened behind him and he heard brisk footsteps. "Sheldon, I've been trying to get a hold of you for hours now. Is your walkie working?"

"My handheld transceiver is perfectly functional." Sheldon replied, not bothering to turn around at his desk. It was Thursday at 5:32 PM and Thursday at 5:32 PM meant that he had just received the latest transmission from Eloise and was busy processing the numbers and calculating trajectories. He didn't have time for idle conversation.

"We're moving you to the Hydra, Ben's orders."

The Hydra? Sheldon momentarily turned away from his laptop to face Juliet. "But... that station is full of biologists. There must be a mistake of some sort."

"Ben doesn't make mistakes." Juliet replied calmly and Sheldon once again wondered if she was being sarcastic or not. He couldn't tell; body language and voice cues were normally difficult for Sheldon to pick up on, but Juliet was even more unreadable than the average person.

Not that Sheldon cared much about being conscious of a person's unsaid dialogue. If something is important enough, people should say it out loud.

"I find that to be a highly improbably assertion. Ben had no idea about the-"

Juliet cut him off abruptly. "Let me rephrase that: Ben doesn't make mistakes very often."

"Very well, I accept your correction. But I still don't think that moving to the Hydra would be beneficial to me in any way."

Juliet folded her arms across her chest. "You'll have all the same equipment there. Plus, you'll be around other scientists instead of us commoners, as you like to say."

Again, Sheldon wondered if she as being sarcastic. Again, he couldn't tell and pushed the question aside in favour of demonstrating the error of Juliet's assumption that he could work at the Hydra. "But do they serve the same food? What are the dimensions of my sleeping quarters there? Is there a gentle breeze consistently blowing from north-northwest at three to seven knots? And as I mentioned before, biologists? I can't work in the company of plebeians masquerading as intellectual revolutionaries."

Juliet pressed her lips together and was silent for a moment. "Sheldon, I'm going to let you in on a little secret-"

"-I must inform you that I'm not a very good secret keeper." Sheldon interjected. "Continue."

Sighing, she did. "You're being moved to the Hydra station because you're driving Ben insane."

"Insane? Last I spoke to him, Ben's faculties seemed perfectly capable of-"

"He's not literally insane, Sheldon." Juliet laughed a little and shook her head.

"What is it that's so humourous?"

"You are." Juliet replied, looking at him strangely. "I'm going to be completely honest and tell you that there are a lot of people here who are very... put off by you, Sheldon."

Ah. As usual. "They're merely intimidated by what they cannot comprehend."

"I'm being serious, Sheldon. If you weren't so stubborn about staying here, Ben would have shipped you back to the mainland days ago. You've alienated a lot of people."

Sheldon decided he was bored with the conversation. "Thank you for informing me about Ben's intentions, Juliet. You can go now."

He turned back to his laptop, the sound of the clicking keys soothing him. Eventually, he heard Juliet walk out the door.

- - -

It was late. Very late. Later than Sheldon preferred to be up working. But work was so compelling, in spite of his need for rest. Alone in his office, with nothing but the warm glow of his computer to keep him company, Sheldon was completely content.

That is, he was content with how things were going. Then a man appeared out of nowhere, standing to the left of him. Sheldon skittered backwards in his chair, gripping the armrests in shock.

"Dr. Cooper?" The man had dark hair and a beard, dressed in a blue collared shirt and slacks. "I'm really sorry to sneak up on you like this, but I didn't have much of a choice."

Sheldon's peered at the stranger with curious eyes. "Who are you and how did you do what you just did?"

"Unfortunately, I don't have time to talk about the Einstein field equations or general relativity right now." The man glanced around furtively, as if he were expecting someone else to be in the room as well. "What I need you to do, Dr. Cooper, is trust me."

Sheldon balked, watching the man pull a journal out of his backpack. "How can I trust you? I don't know anything about you, aside from the fact that you materialized beside me in a rather inexplicable manner."

"You should trust me because your life depends on it, because I'm a fellow physicist, and because Eloise Hawking is my mother."

"Eloise is your mother?" Sheldon perked up immediately. "I find her to be shrewd and exacting, in addition to being intelligent."

The other man didn't look as thrilled. "Yeah, tell me about it."

"I just did." Sheldon replied with some confusion.

"Never mind. Listen, it's absolutely imperative that you get off the island." The man was flipping through the pages of his journal as he spoke.

"How so?"

"I can't explain it to you, but these calculations should give you an idea..."

The man settled on a page and handed the journal over to Sheldon, who started to avidly read in the dim light of his office. Minutes ticked away and finally Sheldon looked up at the other physicist.

"You revised the Kerr metrics." Sheldon noted, duly impressed.

"Precisely."

"And your work has revealed that I need to leave this island?"

"Yes. Otherwise, reality as we know it will cease to exist."

"Really? Huh." Sheldon leaned forward and powered down his laptop. "I always had a feeling I would have an revolutionary role to play in the history of the universe."

- - -

"That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard."

"I don't even understand what I just heard, but I'm going to have to agree with Leonard." Penny added, now that Sheldon had finally finished the bizarre story of what he had been doing for the past several months and why he had decided to leave.

"I'd say it's more crazy than stupid." Wolowitz remarked while Raj snickered quietly.

"Fortunately, most people already think Sheldon's crazy." Penny said with a smirk. Part of her was mocking Sheldon because she was pretty sure he'd somehow sabotaged her chance to get that role on the sci-fi TV show. But mostly, she mocked him because she knew that Sheldon could take it. The guy didn't have a clue about how the world really worked.

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