"To: Dr. Thomas Light
RE: Proposed Partnership for Bird Easy Aerial Transport Project
A very good day to you, Dr. Light. This is Dr. Cossack here, sending this email from my humble alcove at Cossack Robot Laboratories.
You most probably remember me from the recent debacle regarding my eight Robot Masters and the trials that they'd put your blue fighting robot Mega Man through, and thus first of all, I must give you my sincerest apologies for that whole fiasco.
I simply cannot find the words to express my gratitude towards you for saving my daughter Kalinka from that fiend, Dr. Albert Wily. Again, I truly apologize for all the trouble that I may have caused to you and Mega Man. As a symbol of gratitude, how about I propose that the two of us work on a project together, one which I will gift to you after its completion?
Attached to this email is an attachment inside a .zip archive file. Enclosed within are the blueprints for a support robot that I have in mind — Project Beat, short for 'Bird Easy Aerial Transport' robot. He is designed mostly by myself, albeit with a few pointers and touch-ups from my daughter Kalinka.
Beat's final design is based on a bluebird, a species exceedingly dear to those in my native homeland. As you are most likely unaware about this, please allow me to enlighten you on the subject. The bluebird is a symbol of hope in popular folklore over here in my home country. It is my wish that with Beat to assist you, your Mega Man will be a shining beacon of hope to a new dawn of peace in this day and age.
It shall be my honor to be a co-collaborator with you in the creation of this proposed support robot. Although I am personally able to make the robot bird Beat all by myself, I instead propose for a collaborative effort in order to make this a more personal experience for us both. It is the least I can do to make up for the terrible events that had happened a month prior.
Would graciously appreciate a response to this email as soon as possible to confirm your acceptance and buy-in to the Beat project, Thomas. Should your busy schedule permit, please facilitate this request so that we could discuss this further. If you accept, I will make a trip over to your laboratory to talk more about this at the earliest possible opportunity should you have any further queries.
Thank you and have a pleasant day.
Dr. Mikhail Cossack"
The first thought that crept into the transistors of my main processor unit as my vision began to become clear was how blistering white everything was.
It was sparkling white in every direction I could see. The ceiling, the floor, even the table which I was currently sitting on — everything was all the same polished gleam of varnished white.
My eyelids blink from the sheer brightness of it all. Couldn't the designers of the room have picked out a different color to paint its walls with… besides the pure vanilla plainness of clean white?
"Voilà! He's waking up from his slumber! Thomas, it looks like the startup procedure was a resounding success!"
I jerk my head around, ambling to the direction of the thick Russian voice, only to lay my eyes on a bespectacled man with dark brown hair… who was dressed in white garb. Oh, pray tell. Why am I not surprised by this choice of colorful attire? Or rather, the lack thereof.
My processor's dictionary bank, however, quickly informed me that he—unlike the room—had a valid reason to be wearing white — it was a laboratory coat that he was dressed in.
So he was a scientist? Quite fitting. I knew what scientists were — they were the humans who worked on robots.
I move my head around to see the person he was talking to, almost rolling my eyes when the second guy entered my field of vision. To say that he was a mockery of the dazzling white room was an understatement. A massive understatement. As if he wasn't already dressed in snow white, his hair itself was also a pale white. He could virtually camouflage into the background had it not been for his face!
Okay, perhaps I was exaggerating with that, but still. I couldn't resist drawling out an elongated chirp at the man, letting loose a hearty whistle from my… beak?
Now that I thought about it, the corners of my eyes could just barely make out the flash of orange in the middle of my face. I raise a limb to feel the pointy metal object clamped to my front.
Huh. So I really did have a beak. I would never have guessed that without visual confirmation. And now that I was on the topic… come to think of it, I didn't even have a clue as to how I actually looked like.
Well, a good place to start as any were the areas that I could actually physically see with my eyes. Like for instance, my limbs, which were well within my visual range. Raising both limbs to my front, my vision was instantly captivated by the sight of small blue metallic wings.
I tentatively flap them about while tilting my head inquisitively. Now this was interesting…
As I move them up and down, the first guy—the man with brown hair—had actually been wiping sweat beads of sweat from his brow and visage. However, upon seeing me move my wings about, his demeanor changed.
"You're a curious little guy, aren't you?" he asked, a jovial expression plastered on his face as he questioned me. Considering that I found myself pondering about his remark, I was forced to agree, quickly nodding to the man with an affirmative "yes".
The man grinned at my answer, reaching down to pat me on the top of my head. "Now that's a good boy."
I couldn't help it. Feeling his hand stroke the top of my head, I bristled and let a small smile creep onto my face, preening without a single ounce of shame at the praise.
"I think he likes the praise, Dr. Cossack."
I shamelessly nod my head at the second person's astute observation, an affirmatory chirp leaving my beak. They could judge me all they want, because I didn't care less about their words and thoughts. It mattered naught to me. All I knew was that I wanted this comforting stroke of my scalp to last forever.
But alas, eventually Cossack's hand left the surface of my head. I immediately frown when I lost contact with his warm hand, folding my wings with a pout as I tapped my talons on the tabletop, starchily demanding for his attention.
"Chirp! Chirp!" I whined — in an admittedly pitiful manner. I continually chirp with pleading eyes, craving the touch of his hand caressing the crown of my head again.
Cossack appeared to be mildly amused by my reaction. "Heh! To think that he'd only been activated just a couple of minutes prior and he's already this much of a handful. I can tell that he's certainly going to be quite the rascal."
"Indeed, Dr. Cossack." The white-hair man replied. "He's quite the vain avian robot, I have to say."
I move my leg forward, cooing at the man's stealth insult. Well, even though it was technically an insult, I certainly couldn't deny that at all, not even if they put me in a debate where I had to play devil's advocate and argue against my actual beliefs. Nope, nope, nope! If I was made to be someone who was vain, then so be it! I'd relish in the feeling, feeling no remorse in my behavior.
"Well, Dr. Light. Allow me to say now that this robot's personality isn't purely meant to be vain. I might have given him independent will, but in the end, he's meant to be a friendly and helpful support robot first and foremost, so that will have to take precedence."
I huff and fold my wings, tapping my talons on the tabletop as they continued to bicker on about me as though I wasn't even there. Hello? At least if you want to talk bad about me, do it behind my back and not within earshot!
"Anyway, independent personality functional check appears to be all good as well. He certainly has one alright." Light smiled as he tapped his finger against the cleft of his chin. As the overeager scientist stared into my eyes, I slowly found myself backing away from the curious man. Personally, his extreme enthusiasm was starting to creep me out a little. "So what personality did you imbue this little rascal with?" he asked, finally breaking eye contact to my relief as he turned to Cossack instead.
"Funny that you should ask that, of all questions." Cossack said as he laughed. "I suppose that I'll have to be honest here. I had loaded Beat with a somewhat sassy personality." He sheepishly rubbed his head at the admission. "It was actually Kalinka's suggestion. She said that it would be cute if the bird robot was as vain as a peacock."
Well, I wasn't quite sure what a peacock was, but I certainly found myself agreeing with the statement nevertheless. Guess I really was made to behave in this manner. Teehee! I let out an amused tweet in approval at the vindication of my behavior.
"Well, he's definitely more approachable than a Robot Master. And much smaller as well. Why, he looks like he could fit into the palm of your hand!"
Cossack nodded at his colleague's observation, before reaching into his lab coat and pulling out a piece of glass, propping it down on the table in front of me with a clack.
Curious, I found myself stumbling forward. As I strutted ahead, I let my lower beak drop and felt a tired yawn escape my throat.
"Autonomous functional test, check." Cossack murmured, ticking off a mental checklist. "Cognitive functional test, check."
Blinking my eyes, I stare at the glass ahead of me, seeing a small blue round thing to my front. As I lift my right wing, I saw the figure to my front raising his left.
I feel my beak fall open in shock as I flinch back from the "figure". Landing on the hard surface of the table and seeing him do the same thing as me was the final confirmation I needed to prove my hypothesis right.
Somehow or another, that blue bird robot was actually… me.
"Feh! How cute. I think that Beat's scared himself silly looking into the mirror."
"He's learning quickly, Cossack." The second guy, the one with white hair, nodded with a contemplative look. "I think that he'd already managed to figure out that he was peering into his own reflection."
Forcing myself to ignore the idle gossip from the two men, I got to my feet and proceed to take a good long look at myself.
They certainly weren't kidding when they said that I was small. Although the two humans already towered over my visage, the reflection showing just how puny I was in comparison to everything else really hit the point home.
"Like what you see, Beat?" Light asked as he knelt down to look at me at eye level. "That's you, right down to the tiniest bolt."
So it appears that I'm this Beat that the two man in white were talking about. Hm… Beat, huh? I nod my head in silent approval. Yeah, it was a classy name indeed. Yep, yep. I can get behind this name.
"Neural network and AI functions are a-ok. His artificial intelligence module appears to be slowly adapting to new stimuli." Cossack folded his arms, looking mighty proud of himself. "Well, he appears to be learning quickly. Beat's artificial intelligence and motor processes will take about a few days to grow as he learns more about his body and the world, but I think that after that, we can officially declare him as serviceable and end the testing phase!"
"And then he'll be all mine to keep?"
I swivel around at Light's words, a sad coo escaping my beak at the news. Awwwww! I really did prefer Cossack to Light. At least Cossack bothered to pet me! Did I really have to stay with boring ol' Light? I waste no time in letting that thought be known, reaching onto the cuff of Cossack's sleeve and grabbing onto it with my beak to indicate my preference.
Cossack reached down to pick me up, holding me in the palm of his hands. "There, there, Beat," he said as I stare up at him skeptically. "I can tell that you're nervous about living with Dr. Light, but I can assure you that Thomas is a remarkable man who has created some of the world's finest robots. Trust me, you'll warm up to him soon enough."
I could only gape at Cossack as he reassured my fears with a soothing voice. Whoa… he could read me like an open book. I was honestly a little terrified that he managed to tell all that from my single tweet despite not verbally communicating my dissent towards the other scientist. Was my body language that obvious?
And alas, it appeared that Cossack was being firm on the matter. Well, that certainly was a bummer.
Still on Cossack's palm, I gesture back down to the tabletop with my eyes, signaling for him to put me back down. To my surprise, Cossack only laughed when he saw my gesture.
"Oh, Beat!" he struggled to speak amidst his hearty chuckles. "You don't need me to place you down on the table." Cossack's eyes gleamed triumphantly before he added five words which changed everything. "Not when you can fly!"
Wait, I can… what? Fly!?
"Chiirppp!?" I let out an elongated coo in surprise, seeking for confirmation as I stared up to Cossack's brown eyes.
"That's right." Surprisingly, I receive an answer from the other man in the room first. I glance towards Light, the scientist nodding when he saw me focus on him. "You are a support robot made for flight. That is why Dr. Cossack modeled you after a bird," he explained. "You're meant to fly."
Cossack's lips curled upwards as he saw me slowly comprehending the situation, the brown-haired man beckoning me forth with a glimmer in his eyes. "Try it, Beat," he pressed me on with a confident, determined voice. "You were made for this. You can do it. Take to the skies above."
I straighten up at Cossack's words. Putting my faith in his encouragement, I tentatively flap my wings up and down, feeling my joints at the wing area work on overdrive.
Suddenly, to my surprise, I felt my tiny body lift off of Cossack's palm. Glancing my eyes to my left and right in shock, I realize that I had actually propelled myself off his hand.
I was actually flying!
"Chirp, chirp!" I merrily called as a wide grin crept across my face. This was fun! No, it was exhilarating. No words could describe the sheer joy I derived when I found myself in the air, far away from the soulless white tabletop where I had no doubt been experimented on prior to my activation.
The sweet symphony of my harmonic whistles filled the white lab as I soar all around the place with my newfound flight. At least, until I accidentally slammed right into Cossack's face.
"Not to worry, Beat. I'm fine." Cossack adjusted his glasses from the hit, rubbing his temple but otherwise appearing unscathed. "Gah… perhaps your beak could also double as an offensive function as well? Blimey, that hit sort of hurt…"
"Chirp!" I hung my head apologetically at my benefactor, circling his head in concern.
"Well, it looks like Beat's internal radar is still a little wonky." Cossack's comment was a little discouraging to hear, but his next words felt like a wave of relief. "But that's nothing we can't fix with a little bit of tinkering, Thomas. I would recommend a plate add-on system to lock on onto specific targets using a beacon."
Light gave the Russian scientist a thumbs-up. "I wholeheartedly share your sentiment, Cossack. But as of now, let's put all that aside." He smiled as he looked up at me. "For today, I think we should let Beat have all the fun he wants. He seems to be enjoying his newfound skill."
Well, I concurred with Light's judgement, letting out a happy chirp as I soared past his head and circled the room. I let my beak hang open as I felt the whoosh of the wind against my face.
Maybe Light wouldn't be so bad as an owner after all.
Additionally, Light was also right in saying that I liked flying. No, perhaps "adore" would be a better word. In flight, I felt free, unshackled and unbound by anyone or anything as I soared, commanding the very air itself with my metallic wings. The air was my domain, one for me to weave and control with my wings.
And if Cossack was being truthful in stating that this was my sole mission in life… then well, I couldn't be happier.
So Mega Man 11 just came out and made me feel like writing for this series. Certainly cliché, I know, but can you blame me?
It's heavily implied, but this is set right after the events of Mega Man 4 and right before Mega Man 5. I just really like Beat for some reason. His design in the classic games is adorable, and his trademark chirp is cute, to boot.
This is the first time I'm trying out a first-person POV in one of my stories, so hopefully it doesn't come off as too awkward. It was a nice experience overall, and I hope you've enjoyed this short tale!