Figuring out the proper spelling for GoGo's name was literally the hardest thing about writing this. FFN has it as "GoGo" so that's what I'm going with.
Like most stories, this one starts on a pleasant sunny day in San Fransokyo. Well, unlike the many that also start on a dark and stormy night. No, this one starts in the day. Albeit, rather late in the day. Just a couple of hours before sunset, actually. Anyway, the world was pretty quiet, since the immediate area was an underdeveloped residential zone. Several empty lots, drab or downright depressing homes scattered around, small and poorly maintained roads. I'm sure you know the feeling these areas give off. If you don't, I'm not saying I envy you but…
Whatever feeling the atmosphere held was replaced with shock and surprise at a sudden, loud crack reverberating for nearly a mile in every direction. The epicenter, one of those empty lots, now had a resident, however temporary it may be. A strange, black, humanoid figure was on his hands and knees clutching the soil.
'Hmm. Decent soil.' He thought, as he curled his hands and cut through the soil with his claws and brought it up to his face.
'Must be a Terra-centric universe. Haven't been to one of those in a while.'
His head darted to the left as his attention was pulled toward the city, or more accurately, at something beyond it as the object pulled at his soul. As he gauged the vague sense of distance the pull offered him, he grimaced. It looked a bit odd on his angular, draconic head, but it was a grimace nonetheless.
'Ugh. That's a bit of a walk. Suppose it's not as bad as the last Warhammer universe I was in.'
He stood and dusted himself off before setting out to his objective, ignorant of the disintegrating fencing and housing in his wake.
GoGo was lounging in the base tonight, having finished maintenance on her suit, and was currently tinkering with a spare disk. Fred was her only company tonight, but he was currently in the training room. Fred being Fred, he had two modes. Loud, and asleep. Since he was training, he was certainly overclocked on loud. She was incredibly thankful the training room was more or less completely soundproof. GoGo enjoyed the blissful silence while she tinkered the night away. Unfortunately, the night was not going to be a peaceful one. Only a few minutes later the news was put on the screen and the face of Bluff Dunder became the center of attention.
"This just in, chaos in the heart of San Fransokyo! A strange new villain is wreaking havoc in the city! Which is saying something, considering all the villains we've met so far." He cleared his throat as he refocused himself.
"We can confirm major property damage, and the early reports suggest many injuries but we have yet to receive official word on the matter." He pressed his earpiece closer as he listened intently.
"We can now bring you live footage from our helicopter."
The screen cut to the live feed, showing a black figure walking calmly down the street as buildings seemed to decay and fall behind him. A few people could be seen running away on the sidewalks or running past him on the road.
"As you can see, whatever he wants and wherever he's going, he's obviously not in a hurry. I certainly hope the same thing doesn't hold true for Big Hero 6."
GoGo tossed the disk onto the table as she shot up from her seat.
"Basemax! Call the others and tell them to meet me and Fred at the scene!"
She ran to the armory and was a little surprised to see Fred already there putting on his Fredzilla Suit.
"Weren't you just in the training room?"
Fred jumped a little at her sudden appearance before finishing getting the suit ready.
"I was practicing in my Fredmeleon suit."
Closing the head, he dropped into a battle stance.
"So, what are we facing tonight? Escaped genetic experiment? Crazy robot? Vampire Lord!?"
GoGo slapped her helmet on and dashed for the door.
"Hurry up so you can find out!"
Even though this newcomer wasn't doing anything more than strolling down the city streets, the city was still terribly loud. This was due, of course, to the many collapsing buildings behind the strange man. The cacophony made talking and even thinking rather difficult, but it still wasn't enough to stop Fred.
"How is he doing that? Is it nanomachines? Ooh! Maybe it's a metaphor for the decay and rot in society! What if he's actually an anti-hero!?"
"Fred! Focus." Hiro cut in, glancing at him from his perch on Baymax.
Fred smacked his face a couple of times before replying. "Right. Serous business. I'll get up a little higher." He jumped up onto a lamp post while the others took up positions around Hiro, and Honey Lemon got into a ready stance a little way behind the others.
"Alright team, let's figure out how to approach this." Hiro started trying to gather as many details as he could while listening to the team at the same time.
GoGo spoke up first, flexing her arms as and testing her disks as she did so. "Should we attack him? Or should we wait for him to come to us?"
'He can disintegrate things pretty fast.'
Wasabi looked over at her in alarm. "You wanna get near him!?"
"No people are disintegrating. Their clothes aren't either. Neither are the cars, oddly enough." Honey Lemon pointed out to the group.
'Honey Lemon has a point. It's just buildings. I wonder why…'
Now hanging onto a ledge higher up a building, Fred chimed in over the comms. "You think he has to think about it?"
'There's still rubble, so it doesn't damage everything. Or Fred is right, and he just doesn't bother. You'd think he'd be worried about something falling on him though.'
Honey Lemon shook her head. "I'm not sure. He really doesn't seem to notice the buildings falling behind him. He just keeps walking and staring straight ahead."
"Could be blind. Maybe deaf." GoGo offered.
'Maybe. Doubt he's blind. He's right in the middle of the road. Could still be deaf. Won't know without interacting with him.'
Wasabi grumbled at that possibility as he looked between the others and their target. "That'll make talking him down hard."
'I can see buildings taller than the dust cloud, but I can't see through the blasted thing. If those buildings are on another street entirely then…'
"You really want to try? He's destroying entire city blocks and hurting who knows how many people just by walking!" GoGo shot back at him with a small glare.
Before the quarreling could continue, Hiro jumped into the conversation. "Yeah. GoGo? Any ideas on how to approach this?"
She took a breath before replying, loosening her form as she did so. "I'm down for whatever you decide. But, regardless of whether or not he's aware of what's happening, people are getting hurt. Maybe even killed. That needs to be our top priority."
Now fully back into the moment, Hiro frowned. "Damn. Yeah."
"Hey, Fred! Can you see behind him? I can't see past the dust."
"Yeah! There's a lot of rubble, some busted cars. Looks like some people are digging themselves out of the rubble!"
"Can you see other streets?"
"Um, yeah! They look fine!"
Hiro nodded as he put this new information into a quick plan.
"Okay team. It looks like he's only affecting things in about a 100-foot radius. We passed a park on the way here. If he only destroys buildings, we should lure him as far into the park as we can, then try and get him to stop whatever he's doing there. Let's hit him hard and move him as fast as possible!"
Baymax ignited his thrusters and shot up in the sky as the others dropped into battle stances.
"Alright, buddy. What can you tell me from your scanner?"
Baymax paused for a moment before replying. "This man has no detectable biosignatures."
Hiro shuddered. "Freaky."
Fred, on the other hand, was bouncing slightly in giddiness. "Vampire Lord!"
"Charge him! Now!" Hiro cried, as he and Baymax shot forward and angled to punch him from above.
GoGo moved to secure the right flank, dashing down the sidewalk and readying a disk to throw at her target. Fred jumped forward to secure the left flank, having not quite decided how he wanted to attack. After another moment of consideration, he decided that competing with Baymax for an aerial attack might not be the best idea and jumped down to the sidewalk and continued his dash forward. Wasabi ignited his blades and charged down the middle of the road, intending to follow-up the first barrage of attacks with his own to keep the enemy off balance. Honey Lemon, meanwhile, transformed her bag into the bazooka setting to offer precise, long-range support. As the jets boosting Baymax maxed out their thrust and screamed, the man finally seemed to take notice of the team.
'Roo-' Unable to finish the thought, and barely able to bring a hand up to try and catch the hit, the man was pushed backward slightly and was staggered for the moment.
'Urgh! Big guy.'
Hiro could only look on in surprise for a moment before Baymax flew upwards again and out of the way.
'I hoped that would send him flying!'
The man glanced at his flanks as GoGo and Fred attacked, launching disk and flames in a swift follow up. He brought his arm up to deflect the disk and ignored the fire completely. The latest round of attackers backed off as Wasabi moved in, hoping the fire was enough to mask his attack. Thrusting his right arm, he was surprised as his blade was deflected off of the man's left arm. As Wasabi scrambled back, the man briefly inspected his arm where the blade hit and was apparently pleased with what he found as he lowered his arm and stared at the heroes.
"He didn't move an inch!"
"His legs didn't anyway."
Hiro came to a decision immediately after hearing that. Speaking quietly, he gave Baymax his instructions.
"Baymax, if he won't move his legs, we'll do it for him! Hit the ground under him with a rocket fist!"
The stranger looked up at the sound of the rockets and shielded his head as he saw the fist coming towards him. Surprising him, the ground shattered and the force launched him almost a foot into the air. He had time for a thought or two before Baymax flew down to him.
'Same trick as the Sunny Dragon pulled. I don't know how I forgot about that.'
As his movement upwards stalled out, Baymax arrived to help keep him moving. He swung his remaining fist at the stranger in a swift backhanded hit that sent him flying down the street. Honey Lemon twisted to follow his flight while Fred bounded past her after him. He put as much force as he could muster into his last jump just as the man was climbing up to a crouch. Slamming into him, they both let out a grunt as he was sent flying even further down the road. Dashing past a prone Fred, GoGo looped around behind the stranger and began harassing him with his disks. She noticed a growing red form behind the man and doubled her efforts to keep his attention on her. She only had to keep the pressure on for a couple of seconds before Baymax, now sporting both fists again, sideswiped him and launched him deep into the park.
Hiro took a few moments to check on his friends. Seeing them getting up and running to him, he looked back to the target and glared as he saw him staggering to his feet again.
"Knock him down!"
Hoping to subdue the man before he could orient himself, Baymax flew into another diving punch while the rest of the team tried to keep up behind him. All seemed to be going well for a few moments until the man shifted from disoriented to a wide ready stance almost instantly, and much too late for Baymax to abort the attack.
Baymax's fist slammed into the man's palm to no effect. Once Baymax ran out of momentum, the man clenched his hand and crushed Baymax's fist. Or whatever part of his fist he had managed to grasp, which turned out to be most of his fingers and almost half of the palm.
Hiro stared in horror as Baymax's fist crumpled and the sounds of crunching armor reached his ears. "Oh my god!"
Now that the rest of Baymax was free from the stranger's grasp, he flew away and up as the rest of the heroes dashed in to fight him.
"Watch out! He's fast!"
Faced with the choice of backing off and planning with this revelation, or swarming the man to try and overwhelm him, the team barely hesitated. The damage he could cause if he wasn't stopped would be catastrophic.
The team again launched their opening attacks from the sides, with Fred opting for a flying kick and GoGo trying to move in to slash with the edges of her disks.
Fred's kick was parried easily, resulting in him losing his balance and careening past the man, narrowly missing GoGo as she ducked and tried to slice at her opponent. She grit her teeth as he leaned just out of reach, and tried to swipe at her head. Ducking again and managing to avoid the hit, she slid out of range as Wasabi attacked from the front and Honey Lemon strafed over to the opposite side. While Honey Lemon tried to get a clear shot, GoGo started circling the man looking for the same thing. With their full attention on the fight, they both had a clear view of Wasabi's attempt. He was slashing and cutting at the man, either missing slightly or simply not doing any damage. Seeing a chance for a good hit after a wide slash, he drove the blade towards the man's chest. To everyone's shock, the man slammed the blade down into the ground and sent a fist into Wasabi's face immediately after the blade embedded into the ground. The blades deactivated as Wasabi fell backward, his faceplate almost shattered.
GoGo and Honey Lemon engaged the man with a vengeance, GoGo almost juggling her disks between her hands and the man's face. Honey Lemon, meanwhile, was launching various concoctions from her bazooka hoping to find a combination that could work fast enough that he couldn't escape as it worked and be strong enough that he couldn't break out of the improvised prison. While they were attacking and landing numerous hits, the man was twisting and lashing out with nearly no control as he tried to hit the speedster. Any time he tried to focus solely on GoGo, he took direct hits from Honey Lemon which allowed GoGo to slip out of reach. When he tried to focus on Honey Lemon, GoGo closed in behind or beside him and delivered brutal hits to his head and dashed backward as he was forced to defend from her. So focused were they on the fight that they didn't react for a moment as they heard the man snarl out his first words.
"You two are actually annoying!"
GoGo managed to react with banter, while she eyed movement out of the corner of her eye. "So you do talk!"
The man growled his response. "I don't like wasting time."
Hiro and Baymax re-entered the melee at this point, forcing the man to take a step backward. Hiro shouted at the man from Baymax's back. "What do you want!?"
"I'm looking for something. I don't know what, just that this city is in between me and whatever it is. Now move!" The man finished his explanation by slashing at Baymax with his claws, managing to leave shallow scratches in the armor.
"No! You're hurting people!"
His glowing red eyes bore into Hiro. "I've only walked today. The only people I've interacted with today are you 6."
Hiro scowled and managed to throw one of his arms towards the rubble. "You hurt all those people in the buildings!"
The strange man managed to convey minor surprise for a moment before focusing on the fight again. "Oh? I didn't really notice. I suppose you may have a point." The man slid backward and managed a shrug before diving back into the fray. "It's not like I can control it though."
Hiro shook his head. "Doesn't matter. The longer you're in the city, the more people get hurt! You have to leave!"
"Not until I get what I came here for! I have reasons which compel me inexorably! I cannot leave until I have it!"
Fred chose that moment to jump back into the fight, literally. He managed to latch onto his back and pulled backward, opening him up for Baymax to punch his chest. Unfortunately, the stranger used the hit to help buck Fred off of and over his back and into Baymax. Dashing forward, he grabbed Fred and threw him into a nearby tree, breaking it. He then pushed off of Baymax and kicked at GoGo's legs, knocking her off balance. He then grabbed the back of her suit and threw her over Baymax. Hiro reacted quickly, jumping down from Baymax's back and launching a magnet at his comrade.
'On one hand, I'm glad she wasn't hit as hard as Fred or Wasabi. On the other hand, I don't have nearly as much time to catch her.'
Luckily, it was just enough, and she landed fairly softly on the ground. Hiro ran over and helped her up, retrieving his magnet at the same time.
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah. Thanks." She took a breath and dashed back into the fight, Hiro right behind her.
They made it back to the fight in time to see the man launch himself at Baymax, who was starting to fire up his thrusters to dodge, Honey Lemon's chem-balls nipping at his heels. Time seemed to slow as they watched him grab Baymax's wing and pivot the robot in between him and Honey Lemon. Baymax was enveloped in sticky restraints before Honey Lemon managed to stop firing. The duo tried to charge the man while his back was turned, only for him to jump inhumanly fast and land a brutal kick into GoGo's chest. Hiro looked in shock as he saw a spiderweb of cracks appear in her chest plate before it collapsed slightly and she was launched back. Hiro hoped the cracking he heard was just from the chest plate as the man grabbed his arm.
"No!" Hiro cried in desperation, as he punched his captor in the head while he was pivoting. He seemed to ignore the hit completely as he launched the impromptu missile directly into Honey Lemon. They both grunted at the initial impact, and there was enough force in the throw to launch Honey Lemon into a tree. Her purse clattered to the ground beside her as the air was pushed from her lungs at the impact. Unfortunately, Hiro wasn't out of momentum and he slammed into her again barely a second after she hit the tree. Hiro rolled off of her onto the ground beside her while she was forced to crumble after the hit. Hiro struggled to push himself up for a moment before collapsing again. He could only watch as the man approached him, his hope fading as he could hear Baymax still struggling to escape the chem-balls.
The staring contest continued for what felt like an eternity, Hiro gasping for breath as the man stepped closer and closer to his prone form. He could hear faint groans and grumbles from his incapacitated friends. He felt as if the world was collapsing around him as he tried to understand how things had gone so wrong.
'Is this the end?'
Both Hiro and the strange man were pulled from their staring contest when something kicked up dirt between them, quickly followed by the sound of a gunshot. They both looked to the source and saw dozens of blue uniforms, taking cover behind trees while one man stood with a smoking gun in his hands. Hiro quickly looked around and thought that maybe he could see a SWAT team hiding in the trees in the opposite direction.
Chief Cruz and the police force had managed to surround them during the fight.
Seeing that he had the man's attention, chief Cruz yelled out to him. "Don't move! You're surrounded! Surrender immediately!"
"Ugh. More obstacles."
After uttering that, the man disappeared from where he was standing and immediately reappeared in front of the chief. Gladly exploiting the stunned onlookers, he grabbed the front of his uniform and prepared to drive his hand through Cruz's chest.
"Get out of my way or die."
The officers reacted with commendable speed and had their weapons trained on him before he finished speaking.
Hiro, meanwhile, had another rush of adrenaline and managed to get to his hands and knees and briefly wondered about the human body.
'How much adrenaline can a person make in one night!?'
Immediately putting the thought aside, he cried out to the man. "No!"
The stranger turned his head to glare at the stubborn hero. "We already talked about this, child! I must have what I came here for!"
"Exactly! The sooner you get your thing, the sooner you leave, right?"
He narrowed his eyes and sharpened his glare. "Unless you have the authority to negotiate, you're wasting more of my time."
Taking this as his cue, chief Cruz cut into the conversation. "He can't. Not really, but I can."
The man looked back to the chief and growled, before finally releasing him.
He took a step back and continued. "I am willing to negotiate if this goes quickly."
"Where do you need to go?"
He pointed off to his right, vaguely towards the bay. "That way."
Quickly consulting his mental map of the city, Cruz continued questioning the man. "How much farther?"
The man tilted his head to the side for a moment before answering. "Hmm. Not much farther. Past the city at any rate."
Cruz grit his teeth. There were a lot of buildings, and people, in the way. "If you being around buildings destroys them, we can speed this up with a helicopter."
"No. It won't work."
"Only I can approach it."
"Then we can drop you off outside the city." Cruz reasoned, already reaching for his radio.
"Won't. Work." The man growled out. Neither of them noticed Hiro shambling his way towards them.
He shrugged. "Truthfully… I don't know. I must walk to my target. Somehow, they know if I don't. They can be temperamental. If I'm lucky, it teleports somewhere else. If not… well, whatever chaos I cause will be a pleasant memory in comparison."
Unsettled at the thought, Hiro spoke up. "Okay, fine. You have to walk. Chief, we should evacuate everyone in his path. You shouldn't have to clear anywhere more than a hundred feet from the road."
"Kid, that's still a lot of people." He pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. "It'll be a couple of hours, at best."
Again, the stranger shrugged.
"Waiting for people to move is almost always quicker than fighting my way through them."
Hiro nodded and motioned with his hand. "Wait here then. We need to fix ourselves up before anything else."
Cruz shook his head. "You can't leave him here alone. I'll need all my manpower to get everyone moved."
Hiro nodded and wandered back to his friends.
"Fred, help Wasabi get back to base. GoGo, are you okay to help guard this guy?"
She struggled to stand and staggered immediately when she did so.
"Hate to say it, but I'm out for tonight."
"Head back to base with the others and patch yourselves up then."
"Honey Lemon, are you good to stay? Your chem-balls might help control property damage."
Clutching her chest, she nodded. "I think so. Just a little sore."
"Baymax, how are you holding up?"
"Aside from my hand, I am at full functionality. My batteries will last for approximately 10 more hours."
Hiro nodded at the news. He went to turn back to the officers and stranger when GoGo caught his shoulder.
"Hiro. You and the others have to be careful. He trashed us."
"Yeah. I know." Hiro nodded.
"Unfortunately, I don't think even being careful could help. I mean, if we were careful, we would have brought the Ultra Armor instead. Though, I think even that wouldn't have held up. I mean, look at what happened to your suit!"
He placed his hand on the broken armor to emphasize his point for a moment before he realized what he was doing. Retracting his hand like he touched a hot stove, he squeaked out an apology.
"Sorry! I'm sorry, I wasn't thinking!"
GoGo waved him off and sagged with a groan.
"Whatever. You've probably got a point. Just… If you start fighting again, just run and call us. Stay near Baymax. We'll be on our way as soon as you call, and the police will be right behind us."
Hiro nodded. "Alright. We'll be careful."
Satisfied, GoGo patted his shoulder and hobbled over to help get Wasabi back to base.
Hiro, Baymax, and Honey Lemon walked over to Cruz.
"Alright. Guess it's decided then. We'll stay here with him."
"Okay kid." He turned to address the officers around them.
"Listen up! We've got a lot of people to move and not a lot of time to do it! We also need to start digging people out of the rubble! Let's go!" He walked away from the scene, which prompted the rest of the officers to do the same. A blonde officer fell in beside him and spoke.
"Shouldn't we try to arrest him? He's dangerous, and he's already hurt so many people."
Cruz glanced at her with a strained look on his face as he replied.
"I want to. But we saw what he did to Big Hero 6 and we have even less information on him and his capabilities than they do. Our responsibilities are to protect the city and the people. If getting rid of him as quickly as possible is the best way to do that then that's what I'll do."
She nodded. "Alright chief. Let's call it in and get started then."
Casting a look at the backs of the officers, the man grunted before turning to face the three remaining members of Big Hero 6. They stared at each other in silence as he shifted his weight from foot to foot before finally speaking.
"I'm going to… take a nap for lack of a better term. Wake me up when the path is clear."
Honey Lemon smiled a bit. "Oh, sweet dreams then."
The stranger looked at her for a moment before replying. "I no longer dream. But, thank you."
The lights that were his eyes dimmed and his head fell to his chest.
Hiro looked at her curiously.
"What? I figure there's no point in being rude."
Hiro shrugged and motioned for her to follow. They walked a few feet to the nearest tree and Hiro sat down against it, Honey Lemon doing so after him. Baymax stood in between them and the stranger, maintaining a constant vigil until he moved unexpectedly, or the call came to wake him up.
"GoGo was right. He trashed us." Hiro hit the back of his head on the tree in frustration.
"We seemed to be off to a good start, but he turned the tables on us so quickly!" He looked over to Honey Lemon. "What do you think happened?"
She pursed her lips in thought for a moment before speaking. "Well, the fight changed when we forced him into the park."
"Right, after we sent him flying."
She nodded. "Exactly! From what he's said, I think he didn't take us seriously as a threat before that. So when we not only fought him but actually beat him around, he must have decided we were threatening enough to take seriously."
Hiro groaned as he held his head in his hands. "I hoped that wasn't the case. This guy could have killed us from the start, and I chose to go in head-on."
"There really wasn't much else we could have done." Honey Lemon consoled, placing a hand on his shoulder in support. "You heard what he said, if we had gone all out in the street he would have started fighting us right then and there. Who knows how much more damage he would have caused during the fight."
"Yeah, fair point."
They sat in silence for a few minutes, resting and feeling the worst of their injuries now that the excitement had died down. Hiro sighed and spoke again.
"Whenever we get beat badly like this, I think about Tadashi."
Honey Lemon turned her head to listen fully to him as he continued.
"What would he say right now? "You shouldn't have gone in guns blazing." Or something like that? Would he just say this superhero stuff is crazy, and we should let the police handle the baddies while we help the hurt and scared people in their wake?"
Hiro sniffled a bit and looked down at the ground.
"I still miss him. So much."
Honey Lemon hugged him close and spoke.
"We all miss him, Hiro. You aren't alone. We will always miss him. And I don't know what he would say about this fight or what we do, but I know he wanted us to help whenever we could, wherever we could…" She trailed off before speaking again quietly. "However we could."
Hiro curled into her hold as he wiped his tears away. "Thanks, Honey Lemon."
They sat in silence for several minutes after that, Hiro shaking and shivering every so often and Honey Lemon comforting him, rubbing circles onto his back. Eventually, Hiro and Honey Lemon calmed down and simply rested on one another. They stayed like this for several more minutes, enjoying the company, calmness, and blissful peace. Eventually, though, Hiro spoke up.
"We're both exhausted and hurt, but we still need to make sure he leaves the city. One of us should sleep for an hour or so while the other watches him." Hiro looked up at Honey Lemon. "You got hurt worse in the fight, so you should rest first."
She wanted to protest, but Hiro kept staring at her. Finally, she let out a sigh and nodded. She shifted a little to get into a more comfortable position, still holding Hiro, then set to work dozing off. She didn't have to work hard.
Hiro cast a glance at her sleeping form for one last moment before looking out to Baymax and the stranger. Still holding onto Honey Lemon, he set to work staying awake. He had to work much harder.
Honey lemon was startled out of her vigil by the radio squawking in her ear suddenly.
"It's clear. Get him out of here as quickly as you can."
"We're on it, chief."
Honey Lemon shook Hiro awake
"Chief Cruz says it's done."
Nodding groggily for a moment, Hiro stood up and turned to help Honey Lemon up as well. Once that was managed, the height difference being a minor inconvenience, Hiro called out to Baymax.
"Wake him up, buddy! It's time to go."
Baymax placed a hand on his shoulder and shook him slightly.
"Please wake up. It is time to go. I hope you slept well."
The man's eyes glowed brightly as he deeply inhaled and stretched. He nodded his thanks to Baymax as he looked towards his goal.
"Keep up. I won't wait."
As Honey Lemon and Baymax scrambled to fall in behind him, Hiro contemplated hopping on Baymax's back for a moment. He quickly decided that his desire to stretch his legs after sitting for a couple of hours outweighed his frustration with having to walk quickly to keep up with the others.
'I do envy them, Baymax and Honey Lemon and… whatever his name is. They're so tall!'
"Do you have a name?"
The stranger glanced back at Hiro as he contemplated answering.
"Names have power. So that's a dangerous question for me to answer. But, there isn't really anything supernatural about this universe, so the risk to myself is minimal I suppose."
"Ugh." He said, rolling his eyes. "My name sounds super edgy, but I swear it's only a little edgy."
Honey Lemon and Hiro both quirked their eyebrows at this unexpected comedy from the man.
"My name is Shadow. I picked it because my current life, and my entire being really, is a mere shadow of my former self. There are only vague remnants of the person I used to be."
Both Hiro and Honey Lemon stifled some giggles, though only one of them managed to do so after just a couple of seconds.
"Okay, Shadow. You're much more talkative than when we first met. Why is that?"
He grunted. "Gotta kill time somehow."
They both nodded at that, but Honey Lemon looked much more excited at the prospect of talking.
"What were you like, back then?"
"By your standards, I was a pretty shitty person. As far as I was concerned, I was the greatest thing to happen to humanity since alcohol. Ha!" His posture shrunk a little after the laugh, though.
"That was true for the first half of my life anyway. After the onset of what I assume was undiagnosed and therefore untreated depression, coupled with a crippling fear of being forgotten, I was still a shitty person. Just a sad one."
The duo frowned and look on with some measure of sympathy.
"I'm sorry, that sounds horrible."
They had reached the edge of the park by now. Hiro gazed up at the buildings and thought for a moment.
"Honey Lemon, can you make something that'll keep the buildings from smashing or shattering into rubble?"
She thought for a moment before nodding.
"I think so."
She input a combination and stated blasting the sides of the buildings, as high as she could hit. They all paid attention to the buildings as they started decaying and falling. The rubble was much more manageable now, though there was certainly still damage to the road.
"What causes this decay?"
"It's just some minor reality-bending. From what I can tell, my universe and yours are…" He paused for a moment as he waved his hand around, looking for the proper word. "moderately… incompatible."
Hiro and Honey Lemon looked at each other, checking to make sure they both heard the man right. "So, you're from another world?"
"Yes. I travel the infinite multiverse searching for powerful artifacts to claim them for myself and my allies."
"How do you find them? Like, obviously you know where you're going right now, but how do you figure out where the next one is? And how do you get there?"
"When I claim an artifact, it usually sends me to another world with another artifact. Then the artifact somehow pulls at my soul, or what's left of it, and leads me to it."
"Okay, hold on. This is getting kinda crazy. Can we back up to when you were depressed and work from there?"
"Hmm. As I said, I was pretty miserable. I carried on for a few years. You know, just kind of existing. Then, I was caught in the middle of some political and societal instability. By the time I realized just how bad things were gonna get, the quickest path to survival laid in climbing up instead of diving down into the masses and hoping that keeping my head down would be enough. Things kept spiraling out of control, so I just kept climbing the ladder until I was at the top. The fighting stopped, I cleaned up the place. Made some things better and then just kinda wandered off to explore. Went on adventures and ended up here."
Hiro glared at him a bit. "That's way too simplified. Come on, man. More details!"
Shadow rolled his eyes a bit. "Fine. Most of the world was consumed by chaos and I just happened to be in charge of over half of it. I didn't want to die and be lost to the sands of time, so I figured that if I was gonna die I should do something memorable. The only thing I could do at that point was fix things, and that's what I did. Rebuilt, slowly brought the rest of the world under my influence with subterfuge and economic leverage and I didn't stop fixing things when I got them up and running either. Bring the grid online with an improvised coal plant? Nah, let's replace that with renewables immediately. Not enough places for renewables? Well, how close are we to warm superconductors? Commercially viable fusion? Naturally, those were a ways off if they were possible at all. So I just commissioned orbital power generation, among various other solutions. Oodles of orbital solar panels. Set up a moon base to build more panels there to bring launch costs down, moved on to mining asteroids for stuff, and the next thing I know I've got an interplanetary society on my hands."
Shadow waved off their awe with an annoyed grunt.
"It was just one stressful day after another. And contrary to my quick description, this wasn't a quick process. I was kinda old by the time things started slowing down and we had resources to throw at things. So, managed to crack fusion at the turn of the century, superconductors took a little while longer, and someone very clever figured out how to upload human consciousness to machines."
"What!? How did you manage that!?"
Shadow glanced at Hiro, slightly amused at his outburst.
"Yeah, we were surprised at how early we got that one too. And technically, it was just making a copy of a person's mind. Which could be considered immortality. Easiest to feel like that when you get copied on your death bed."
He motioned to himself.
"At any rate, I wasn't sad anymore, I would be remembered for most if not all of human history… Everything was running pretty smoothly on its own so I just kinda dissolved what was left of my empire thing and went on adventures. Someone eventually made an interdimensional portal. No idea who or how, both the lab and the creator were destroyed in the blast. Naturally, I went through. Found different versions of me doing amazing things and tagged along. Went on quests, saw things you wouldn't believe even if I took a picture."
Shadow took a moment to chuckle before continuing.
"Failed several times. Couldn't save everyone. Or I hurt them with my actions. Made a deal with a powerful entity for power to make a bad ending into a happy ending. Only cost me most of my soul. Basically been doing stuff like that ever since."
As Hiro digested the answer, Honey Lemon now had another question. So, in between blasting buildings and dodging the odd piece of rubble, she asked. "So, you said you gave up most of your soul? What did you mean with that?"
"I did not always look like this. Nor did I have these abilities. I traded my soul for power to focus on a single purpose. Like all the others I call my allies, I left the terms rather vague."
She glanced at Hiro for a moment, and seeing him trying to figure out all the impossibilities of traveling between universes, decided to continue asking her own questions. "What is your purpose, if you don't mind?"
Instead of answering that, he said, "Did you know our color changes depending on the terms? Those of us that negotiated a deal that involved sadness are colored blue. Those that wanted to find someone worthy of pledging their eternal loyalty to are colored orange." He glanced back to the trio with is eyes blazing crimson. "If you ever see someone like me that is red, run and hide. They seek only to spread hate and destruction wherever they can." They nodded warily, and he continued his explanation.
"Those of us who negotiated some of the vaguest terms behave almost like humans, amusingly enough. They are grey and are not willing to take extreme actions and prefer more varied and what many consider more logical approaches to their missions. If one is white or gold, they wish to pursue noble, just goals, or they only want to achieve their goals using the most moral and ethical actions. If they are black or dark like me, then they tend to seek out darkness or evil. Or are more likely to use 'evil' methods to achieve our goals."
"Since we are almost all focused on a single thing, most of us don't follow what you may consider to be the natural progression of the logic behind our colors. The white and golds do not stamp out injustice wherever they see it, nor do they stop or settle down in one place and exert their vision of ethics and morality on the community around them. Just as I am not a murderer or a conqueror." He cackled a bit as he continued.
"Actually, I'm more likely to kill those doing 'evil' deeds. We tend to not like sharing the spotlight or leave potential power unclaimed. Though, I suppose that would be called murder after all…"
"Would the ethical ones not harm anyone then?"
"Unless there is no other way, they won't. They'll ignore or go around inconveniences and try to find alternate paths to their goals. Whereas I would simply knock blockages aside, as you experienced firsthand."
"You never said what your purpose was…"
"I mentioned it a bit earlier, the collecting artifacts thing. But the original agreement was more along the lines of, 'Give me power so that I may collect more power to do with as I wish.' My personal purpose is to collect power for my allies, to aid in our campaigns. That also included destroying threats that may impede the collection or threaten us directly."
Hiro jumped back into the conversation, having tossed aside the problem of defying physics for now. "So, these relics are pretty powerful then?"
Shadow nodded. "Yes. We do not know how they were created, who created them, what they were made for, when they were made, where they originate, or why they exist. We just know they are some of the most powerful things we have encountered, and that we are not the only people seeking them out."
"Usually. Though we do encounter the well-meaning idiot every so often."
"So finding them is pretty important then. Do you know how many more there are in our world?"
"There is only one. I will reach it before sunrise, I think."
The conversation died and lapsed into silence after that. Though it didn't take much longer for the sounds of waves to reach the group. The last part of their journey concluded a few minutes later. They stood on the sand, looking out into the bay.
"The bargain has been fulfilled." Shadow said as he walked into the water. "The relic appears to be under the water. If you follow me any further, there will be problems. So we part ways here. Goodbye, Big Hero 6."
The trio waved as they watched him wade into the water, and waited until he had submerged completely before turning to leave.
"Ok, Baymax. Think you can carry us back to base?"
Hiro hopped onto Baymax's back, and Honey Lemon stowed her satchel at her side. Baymax then picked her up and held her with his good arm and flew off into the sky and back to the base.
They landed back at base and were greeted by GoGo outside.
"About time. I was starting to go a little crazy waiting. Sitting around staring in the general direction of the bay gets pretty boring pretty fast."
"Sorry about the wait, GoGo." Honey Lemon apologized. "He wasn't in a hurry after the fight either."
GoGo grunted and walked over to her friends. She punched Honey Lemon in the shoulder and used her other arm to lean on Hiro's shoulder.
"At least you came back. In one piece and awake to boot."
Hiro looked up at her. "Did Wasabi wake up?"
GoGo nodded. "He and Fred are in the infirmary. We managed to find a superhero doctor or whatever from Fred's dad's old days. She's watching them."
The group was snapped out of their conversation by a bright flash from the bay. It lit up almost the entire city for a moment before dissipating as fast as it arrived.
"Guess he's gone."
"Another mission complete, I guess."
"I guess this was a nice reminder that not every mission will make sense. We just have to try and help as many people as we can."
At that, they all turned around and headed back inside. They dragged their armor off as they made their way to the infirmary, where the nearest beds were. They stopped to chat with Fred and Wasabi for a couple of moments, then waited for the doctor to finish her checks. Finding nothing major, she allowed them to see to themselves. They finished tending their wounds and fell on the nearest beds available.
"Good night, everybody." Hiro called out. He wasn't awake long enough to hear any responses. Everyone had strange dreams that night.