Greetings everyone! So I realize you don't generally come to my profile for Big Hero 6, y'all want more Pokemon, Sonic, Teen Titans, etc. And I get it, I really do. But there's just something about the charm of these characters that makes them so fun to write for. If any of you haven't watched the Big Hero 6 animated series by Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley, you're missing out. It's on Disney+ if you wanna watch it legit, and it's on KimCartoon if you wanna pirate it lol.
I already had these chapters laid out, so I'll be updating once a week for at least a few weeks. If there's any love left in the fandom, please say so, that way I know I'm not just writing into the void! In any case, on with the show! I own nothing except the story.
There was something surreal about seeing Megan again after so long. The wannabe ace reporter hadn't changed a bit, and was still as energetic and peppy as ever. If he were being honest, Hiro missed her more than he thought he did, and now popping up again after being absent all summer, he found himself eager to hear what she'd been up to.
So as soon as they began walking back towards the Lucky Cat Café, the questions began cropping up. "Where have you been?! What was your summer like?! Did you know your dad and my aunt are getting more serious and how seriously gross that is?! Why weren't you here to stop it?!"
"Whoa, slow down, Hiro." Megan put her hands up defensively. "My brain doesn't move as fast as yours does, remember? In order of asking," She started counting on her fingers. "I've been away at a journalism summer camp, and it was totally awesome! Boston University's Summer Journalism Academy gave me an opportunity to learn from real working reporters to get an idea on what the journalist's life is like! Actually, I did know about your aunt and my dad, and I agree it is disturbing, and I think I already answered that last question."
"Okay, fair enough." Hiro put his hands back inside his hoodie pockets. "Well, I'm glad you had a good time this summer. I just wish I'd gotten a chance to hear from you."
"I know, I'm really sorry about all that." Megan rubbed her arm and looked away shamefully. "It's just, that camp kept me so busy." She smiled slightly and gently punched the boy's arm. "But that doesn't mean I didn't keep up with the exploits of Big Hero 6 while I was gone. I'm not the only one who's been busy by the looks of things."
"Yeah, we've uh…we've dealt with a few issues here and there." Hiro shrugged. "No big deal."
"No big deal?" Megan raised an eyebrow. "I mean, yeah, I guess if you compare chasing down rogue fast food mascots to an exploding star, mutated monsters and rampaging police bots, then yeah, it's no big deal."
"That's pretty much what I'm comparing it to, yeah."
"Okay, no big deal it is." The two began to laugh, but soon fell into silence once more as Megan tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. "I really am sorry I bailed on you this summer. Part of me was looking forward to giving you a chance to be a normal kid for once. Y'know, spending time with kids your own age, doing things that kids our age are supposed to do, like going to the beach-"
"Hiro has fair skin, and would require a high-SPF level sunblock to prevent burns." Baymax interjected with his usual visual aids. "Alternatively, he could wear a rashguard."
"Now where would the fun be in that?" Megan smirked at Hiro. "Then I wouldn't get a chance to see those nerd muscles."
Hiro yelped and tripped over his own feet, much to the girl's amusement as she giggled at his misfortune. "Very funny." Hiro grumbled as he got up and brushed himself off. "Sometimes I think the only reason we're friends is because you enjoy messing with me."
"No that's not the only reason, but I do enjoy messing with you!" Megan purposely bumped shoulders with the boy, only to accidentally knock him over again as he crashed onto the sidewalk. "Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry, Hiro!" Even as she helped him up, she couldn't keep a slight smirk from appearing on her face. "What's with you anyway? I know I've been gone a couple months but you weren't this clumsy before."
"Hiro is experiencing a loss of balance due to his pubescent growth sp-"
"That's enough, Baymax!" Hiro leaped to cover the graphic on the robot's belly, an embarrassed grin on his face. "Robots, am I right?"
Megan didn't reply, as she stalked around Hiro with her eyes narrowed studiously. "Hey…when did you get taller than me?"
"W-What?!" Hiro blushed, his eyes wide as they flicked back and forth wildly. "W-What're you talking about? You've still got the advantage!"
"Uh, no." Megan got nose to nose with Hiro, forcing him to stand up straight to get some personal space. "I spent the whole summer at a journalist camp. I had plenty of time to hone my observation skills. I got news for you, buddy." She poked at his forehead. "It looks like I'm the shorty between the two of us now."
"For serious?" Hiro took a moment, and realized that for the first time, he was looking ever so slightly down at his friend, confirming the theory to be fact. "Heh…well…whaddya know?"
"You're so weird, Hiro." Megan laughed as she shook her head. "This is a totally normal thing and you're the only one in this whole world who can make it seem not normal."
"Well it's just uh…I'm so used to people telling me how small I am, it's kind of…weird…to be told the opposite."
"Get used to it, Hiro. You're only gonna go up from here, literally." Megan took a few steps ahead of him, her hands behind her back before she looked over her shoulder. "But if you ask me, tall looks good on you."
Hiro stared blankly as Megan started walking again, his face beet red from the blunt compliment. "Uh…thanks." He said quietly.
"Hiro, your cheeks are flushed, are you experiencing a fever?"
The boy shook his head vigorously, getting himself back in the right frame of mind. "I'm fine, Baymax. C'mon, we can't let her get too far ahead."
As Hiro jogged ahead to catch up to Megan, tripping one more time in the process, the large inflatable robot blinked once before raising a finger. "I should inform Honey Lemon that her ship is currently going in another direction." With that stated, he slowly wobbled his way behind the two teens as they made their way back to the Lucky Cat.
Of course, once they arrived, that's when things got wild again, as Megan stood in the doorway with her jaw dropped, eye twitching and a shaky finger pointing at the staff of the Lucky Cat Café. "Uh…"
"Howdy and hello, Miss!" Noodle Burger Boy exclaimed with a cheerful wave. "Sorry about the whole kidnapping you didn't order! In the interest of great customer service, here's a coupon for a free smoothie from my sis, Hangry Panda!"
"Yeah, I'll get on that as soon as I'm done with these!"
Hiro watched with bated breath to see what Megan's final reaction would be, as Noodle Burger Boy printed the coupon from his mouth and handed it to the teen journalist. Hiro grabbed it for her, his eyes never leaving Megan's face. Then he saw her take a sharp inhale of breath, and that's when he grabbed her by the shoulders and rushed her through the café. "Have Aunt Cass bring it up to my room!"
"Hey!" Aunt Cass popped her head out from the kitchen. "Did I see Megan?!"
"Sure did, Mother!" Noodle Burger Boy gave a salute and went back to tending to customers. "Howdy folks, y'all enjoying your swell beef dip?"
Once they were safely upstairs, Hiro practically tossed Megan into his desk chair, the girl spinning around a few times before slamming her feet onto the ground and coming to an abrupt stop. "Hiro, what are those robots doing in your aunt's cafe?! Are you mental?!"
"Listen, after we captured them, I removed Obake's evil coding from their systems. Now they're just regular service bots again. We tried to give them back to their original owners, but none of them wanted anything to do with the bad PR anymore. So…Aunt Cass needed help in the cafe, and the mascots have a fresh start here at the Lucky Cat."
"Noodle Burger Boy," Baymax interjected as he finally made his way into the room. "Only wanted to have a family. Hiro has given him the opportunity to keep his family, without needing to harm others."
"Noble, but what happens if someone comes along and tries to reprogram them all over again?" Megan crossed her arms over her chest with a raised eyebrow. "For instance, that Trina robot that Noodle Burger Boy helped kidnap me?"
"Not a chance." Hiro waved it off as he sat on his bed across from her. "Trina's just a head in a jail cell now, her body's been dismantled and your dad, the best police chief San Fransokyo's ever seen…" He paused, seeing that she wasn't amused by the blatant compliment of her father. "Heh…well, the point is, there are eyes on her 24/7. And she hasn't said a word since she went to jail. Noodle Burger Boy's all but forgotten her at this point."
"You'll forgive me if I'm skeptical." Megan scoffed. "If Noodle Burger Boy has such a strong sense of family, what happens if he decides he wants to see his old big sister again?"
"Well, that's why the city needs Big Hero 6." Hiro shrugged. "I just hope we'll still be able to be a team of six."
"What does that mean?"
Hiro frowned as he lowered his head, taking a deep breath before facing Megan again. "Go Go, Wasabi and Honey Lemon…now that they've graduated, they're starting to apply for jobs, and they could end up moving out of San Fransokyo altogether. They say we'll always be a team, and I know what they mean to say…but as far as the whole crimefighting angle, it's hard to picture us staying a team if everyone's scattered across the country."
"Yeah," Megan nodded slowly. "I can see where that'd be a problem. Of course, I know my dad'll be happy to hear the gang's breaking up."
"What?!" Hiro jumped up only to fall back on his bed, quickly sitting up to stare incredulously at Megan. "I thought we were past this! He still doesn't like us?!"
"Oh he likes you fine, but he still believes that crimefighting should be left to trained professionals. And as much as I roll my eyes at him at home, I can at least agree with him on one thing. You aren't trained, and you also have a nasty habit of leaving the police out of the loop on whatever stunts you're gonna pull next."
"Gah!" Hiro yelped as he turned to see Aunt Cass staring at him with a raised eyebrow, a couple of berry smoothies sitting on a tray in her hands. "Aunt Cass, why do you keep sneaking up on us?!"
"I wasn't sneaking, I just walked up the stairs quietly, unlike you, Thunderfoot." She placed one hand on her hip. "But back to the whole police business, you aren't in trouble again, are you?"
"No, I'm not!" Hiro exclaimed. "We were just, uh, talking about Megan's dad and how he doesn't think Big Hero 6 are bad guys anymore." He turned to look nervously at his friend. "Right, Megan?"
Megan nodded vigorously. "Yeah, Ms. Cass, I was just saying how glad I am that Dad's finally seen the light when it comes to San Fransokyo's heroes."
"I see." Cass smiled and handed each teen a smoothie, the blue-ish purple hue causing Hiro to eyeball it suspiciously. "I had a feeling he'd come around eventually. Diego is a lot more bark than he is bite. He's…a very sweet man, deep down." She paused, a gentle smile on her face as her eyes drooped slightly. But she quickly realized what she was doing and stood up ramrod straight, blushing as she observed the squinting faces of the teens. "Well, anyway, I've got customers that need food! I'll uh…just let you kids talk…bye!"
"Bye, Aunt Cass."
"Hiro, Aunt Cass was displaying symptoms such as, flushed cheeks, a shift in vocal tone, and an increased level of norepinephrine in her bloodstream. This would seem to be an indication of-"
"Thank you, Baymax!" Hiro quickly cut off the robot before he could finish. "See? Disturbing!"
"Yeah…" Megan took a sip of her smoothie, but soon put it aside as she looked down at the floor with a serious expression on her face. "Hiro, there's something I've been wanting to talk to you about." But just as she finished her sentence, her phone went off, and she groaned in frustration when she read the text that came through. "My dad wants me home, apparently he's got this big dinner planned to celebrate the fact I came home."
"Sounds like how Aunt Cass cooks whenever she wants to celebrate." Hiro chuckled.
"Yeah, except your aunt can cook. Dad? It's…hit and miss." Megan stood up just as Hiro did the same, and the girl was still surprised to see how he stood over her, regardless of how slight the advantage was. "It was really good to see you again, Hiro. Think we could hang out again before summer ends?"
"For sure!" Hiro exclaimed. "In fact, my birthday's coming up, and I know Aunt Cass is gonna be planning something crazy…hopefully without Hyper-Potamus's input…but in any case, I'd love to see you there!"
"Great!" Then after a mere moment's hesitation, Megan lunged forward and wrapped the boy genius in a hug, much to his shock as his eyes widened. "Thanks for being you, Hiro. Just in case no one's ever told you that before."
"I…don't hear it very often." He chuckled and wrapped his arms around Megan as well, but the hug only lasted a few seconds before he pulled away. "Good to see you again, Megan. Just don't be a stranger anymore!"
"Oh like it was all me," Megan punched his shoulder. "You could've called too, y'know."
"Fair enough. I'll be sure to do that."
"Looking forward to it." With that said, Megan slowly walked towards the steps, only to quickly turn around and snag her smoothie off the desk. "Taking this with me, just in case I might have to starve tonight."
"Starvation cannot occur in one night's time."
"Oh, Baymax." Megan shook her head with an exasperated smile. "Never change."
"I am a robot. I cannot change."
"Why do I find that so hard to believe?" Megan looked over her shoulder once more, a soft smile gracing her features. "Seeya soon, Hiro. Stay out of trouble."
"Heh, I'll do my best." Hiro watched the girl leave, and he sighed and fell back onto his bed, arms spread and eyes closed as he took in the comfortable silence.
"Hiro," Baymax said as he leaned over the boy. "What about Karmi?"
Hiro's eyes remained shut, but now they squinted as a frown replaced the contented smile. "What about Karmi?"
"Your neurotransmitter levels are currently elevated." The robot replied. "The readings are similar to those previously recorded during your last encounter with Karmi. Do you intend to pursue Megan in a relationship instead?"
As the images of both girls invaded his private mindscape, both of them smiling at him in a way that made his whole body tingle, Hiro groaned and sat up to glare at the inflatable robot. "Why're you asking me this? Like, the others I get, but you? This has nothing to do with my health!"
"That is not true." Baymax replied. "As your personal healthcare companion, it is my responsibility to ensure your wellbeing in all aspects. Your emotional health is just as important as your physical health. Also, both the physical and emotional factors affect each other." Baymax's eyes followed Hiro as the boy groaned and went over to his desk to work. "For instance," Baymax continued unimpeded. "Studies show that those engaged in positive relationships live longer."
"Also, those who engage in romantic relationships are generally in better physical health. When it is difficult to keep motivated to exercise and eat right, the support of a good friend can give you encouragement to stay on track. In particular, new romantic relationships are a boon to weight loss and good health, since there is a desire to look and act your very best for that special someone."
"Yeah, well, I don't have a special someone." Hiro scoffed. "Besides, I've got too much work to do to worry about having a girlfriend! The city needs us to be on our toes, just in case a supervillain attacks!"
"I couldn't agree more."
"Gah!" Hiro yelped as none other than Fred suddenly shimmered into view, the camouflage of the Fredmeleon suit deactivating to reveal the beanie-wearing superhero underneath. "Fred, what are you doing here?!"
"Keeping an eye on my fearless leader of course!" Fred struck several dramatic poses. "Evil could be lurking behind every corner, but Fredmeleon is ever vigilant, eyes always watching for any threats!" Fred suddenly stood casually, stroking his chin in thought. "Actually now that I think about it, when were you going to add the chameleon eye function to my suit again?"
"Wait…" Hiro cringed. "How long have you been watching me?"
"Long enough to see that we're on the verge of a ship war!" Fred exclaimed dramatically. "This is just like in Captain Fancy #839, where Captain Fancy is forced to choose between his newest love interest, the spunky but endearing Lady Diva, and his longtime on and off love-interest-turned-girlfriend ever since Issue #600, the fiery spitfire Rita Rampart!"
"There is no ship war, because there is no ship!" Hiro threw his hands up in protest. "Megan is my friend, Karmi is my friend, neither of them are my girlfriend! And frankly, I find it just a little annoying that my friends keep trying to play matchmaker for me!"
"But this is what happens in the middle of Phase 3, Hiro!" Fred wrapped an arm around the boy's shoulders. "A brief respite from the incredible, heart-pumping action to make room for a more comedic, and more character-driven story where the heroes go through changes in their personal lives. The calm before the storm that leads to an epic finale the likes of which the world has never seen before!"
"For once, Fred, can we please just skip the part where the stakes get higher?" Hiro sighed as he got out from under the older boy's grasp. "I wouldn't mind fighting El Fuego once a week if it means the other six days I can focus on the real world. At least all he's interested in is picking a fight with Baymax."
"I shall continue my attempts to hug the aggression out of El Fuego."
"Way to stick to the courage of your convictions, Baymax." Fred patted the robot's tummy. "But before we can be ready for the inevitable Phase 3 finale, I am hereby calling for an official Big Hero 6 meeting at our secret base!" Fred wrapped his arm around Hiro's shoulders again, pointing dramatically in his perceived direction of the base. "To the secret base!"
After receiving a limo ride from Heathcliff, which saw Fred soaking in a bubbling hot tub, Hiro saw that the rest of his friends were already assembled in the conference room. "Hey guys." Hiro waved.
"Hey, Hiro!" Wasabi waved back, suddenly glaring as Fred walked by with a very satisfied smirk on his face. "I see Fred roped you in with his little fake emergency."
"Wait," Hiro raised an eyebrow. "What emergency?"
"Fred called me saying Supersonic Sue was calling me out on the carpet." Go Go spun one of her maglev skates. "Turns out that was a lie."
"Freddie told me that Globby was having a Nega-Globby relapse!" Honey Lemon exclaimed.
"Huh, and here I was told we were all here to address the lack of cleanliness in the base." Wasabi looked around at the blank stares he was now receiving. "What? You all like walking around in your own filth?"
"Our definitions of filth are on the opposite ends of the spectrum." Go Go deadpanned.
"Dishonesty aside," Fred said as he jumped up onto his chair and stood over everyone. "I have an announcement to make!"
"You're finally going to change your underwear after all this time?"
"Fred has reached a new record in unhygienic habits!" Mini-Max, the miniature and heroic version of Baymax suddenly hopped up on the table with a grand gesture. "He has been reusing the same undergarment for nearly two months!"
Wasabi gagged and held back a stream of vomit while the others just cringed in disgust. "Seriously, Fred? Do me a favor and practice some major social distancing…like, forever."
"Not that it's any of your business, but Mom has been looking to buy the newest washer-dryer combo since I broke our old one…" Fred tapped his fingers together sheepishly. "Again."
"Oh, Freddie," Honey Lemon groaned. "You tried to take a tumble-dry again?"
"It just looks like so much fun!"
"I concur!" Mini-Max exclaimed. "The rapid circular rotation is a mini-maximum thrill!"
"O-Okay, I really have to get home and run the diagnostics on the mascots," Hiro interrupted. "So what's the big announcement, Fred?"
Fred grinned as his original plan came back to the forefront. "In light of our current Phase 3 exploits, I feel it is time we took the next necessary step as a team of superheroes, and…Basemax, if you please!" The giant hexagonal display suddenly showed a picture of the six heroes in their hero gear, just as Fred posed and gestured towards the screen. "Expand our roster!"
"Not this again." Go Go face-palmed.
"Look, as much as it pains me to think about it, we all know that soon there are going to be times where we can't all respond to a crisis at the same time." Fred paced back and forth. "I mean, I know I'll have my hands full going out with Olivia, and that's not even considering what might happen when you guys get jobs."
"Waaaaait," Go Go leaned forward with her eyes narrowed. "Are you seriously suggesting that you're going to forgo superheroing just to spend time with your girlfriend?"
"I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that Fred has a girlfriend." Wasabi added.
"The point is, we're gonna need some serious reinforcements for the inevitable dramatic Phase 3 finale that could be just around the corner!" Fred grabbed a remote, and a series of images flashed onto the screen. "I've spent the past four days putting together a list of candidates, and I felt it was important that we all be here to judge whether or not they are worthy of joining the awesomeness of Big Hero 6!"
Go Go blew and popped her bubble gum, and then placed her hands on the table before getting up out of her chair. "Yeah, I'm out. I've got job applications to fill."
"Wait, Go Go." Honey Lemon grabbed the shorter girl's wrist, a concerned expression on her face. "I think Freddie makes a valid point."
"Yeah…much as I hate to admit it, it'd probably be a good idea to think about reserve members." Wasabi added. "After all, like Fred said, there are gonna be times where we won't be able to just bail on whatever we're doing, even if we do ultimately end up staying in San Fransokyo."
"Yeah, even if…" Hiro slouched in his seat, but he quickly straightened up, steeling himself with a determined gaze. "You're right, Fred. Let's see the list."
"Aw yeah!" Fred pumped his fists in victory. "Phase 3 recruitment is officially a go! Alright, first thing's first, we need to officially welcome Mini-Max to the team, since it's always been just an unspoken, understood fact that, as my sidekick, he's a big part of what makes Big Hero 6 tick."
"I thank you, Fred! By knighting me, you have only further increased my desire to dish out mini-maximum justice!"
"Congratulations." Baymax played a graphic of a noisemaker on his belly.
"You've definitely earned this, Mini-Max!" Honey Lemon clapped with a huge grin. "I'll be sure to find a way to commemorate your official initiation somehow! Just have to think of the perfect way to do it!"
"You're too kind, extremely tall comrade!"
"I'm really not that tall…"
"Anyway, next." Go Go deadpanned.
"Right, next." Fred pressed a button, and a new image came front and center. "So I went with the more obvious choices first. I think it's high time we added a real monster to our group! All in favor of recruiting everyone's favorite chemically-enhanced shapeshifter, Globby!"
"Ooh, I completely approve!" Honey Lemon nodded eagerly. "Globby's earned the title of hero after all he's done to help the city! He'd be the perfect choice!"
"Have to admit, makes sense." Go Go smirked. "I vote yes."
Hiro raised his hand. "Same here."
"I concur as well." Baymax added.
That left Wasabi, who was cringing internally before he slowly raised his hand. "Fine. But he better find a way to clean up after himself! I am not having globs all over my nice clean secret base!"
"I'll talk to him, don't worry." Honey Lemon smiled in understanding. "This is actually more exciting than I thought it'd be! New friends to help us protect the city!"
"That's the spirit, Honey Lemon!" Fred pressed a button, and a green checkmark appeared next to Globby's face as he was shifted into the screen to the right of Basemax's main interface. "Next up, they're lean, they're not so mean…anymore, that is, and they'd add a real spark to our roster! The redemption arc concludes, as we add the mother-daughter duo of High Voltage to the team!" The High Voltage theme started playing in the background, causing the others to look around for a moment as Fred kept posing. "Whaddya think?"
"Aren't they still doing community service?" Wasabi raised an eyebrow.
"Yes." Baymax pulled up a video of the mother-daughter duo's last scheduled appearance at a local church, and it did lead to a lot of applause all the same. "Based on my dancing database, I can say they have not lost a step."
"And so what better way to serve community service than to join a team of superheroes and help save the city?!" Fred exclaimed. "Come on, wouldn't it be so cool if they decided to start kicking bad guy butt instead of our butts?"
"I'm still not convinced they actually wanna stop kicking our butts." Go Go blew a bubble. "It didn't exactly take much for them to fall back into their old habits."
"To be fair, they were being influenced by the mutation chip Liv Amara's evil clone put on them." Honey Lemon shrugged. "Shouldn't we give them the benefit of the doubt?"
"I'm with Go Go on this one." Hiro shook his head. "I wanna believe they've changed, but I don't completely trust them yet."
"Same." Wasabi sighed.
"Fine…" Fred grumbled. "I'll just put them in the maybe column." Fred pushed the button, and a question mark appeared before High Voltage was shifted into a different hexagon. "Now, speaking of people we couldn't trust before…how about the femme fatale, the deadliest and yet apparently most cooperative assassin we've ever seen…Momakase?"
"Absolutely not!" Wasabi yelped.
"I have to agree with Wasabi and Go Go on this one, Freddie." Honey Lemon frowned. "She's too unpredictable."
"Aw come on!" Fred threw his hands up in frustration. "Hiro, you've worked with her! You swiped something from another villain with her! That's classic hero-villain bonding time, and you even made a deal with her to defeat the mascots!"
"Right, we made a deal. She owed me, and she made it even." Hiro scowled. "She's not looking to become a hero, Fred. Move on."
Fred groaned and put her in the maybe column, in spite of the looks his friends were giving him. "Fine, another maybe. Now, how about the most maximum insane of them all, the one and only-"
"We are not recruiting Mr. Sparkles."
"Now you're not even letting me finish my introductions, Go Go!" Fred fell to his knees with a dramatic groan. "What is wrong with Mr. Sparkles?! He literally left his life of crime to make the Pizza Partytorium the most fun kid hotspot in San Fransokyo!"
"That's just it, Freddie." Honey Lemon replied. "Frank is living a happy life away from the world of superheroes and supervillains. I don't think it's a good idea to drag him back into it."
"Mental health recovery is about preventing relapses into bad behavior." Baymax added. "The removal of negative influences, as well as a healthy work-life balance and strong support group is imperative."
"There, you see? Strong support group! We'd be the strongest support group ever!"
"Fred, what does Sparkles even do?" Hiro smacked his forehead in frustration. "Aside from being desperate for attention, all he does is scheme and maybe some light engineering work. Any one of us could do what he does, but better."
"Not true!" Fred exclaimed. "He'd add a dash of magnetic charisma and prove that Big Hero 6 does more than just beat the bad guys, we can fix the bad guys!" He pressed a button and brought back High Voltage and Globby. "Speaking of which, may I present exhibits A and B to illustrate my point?"
"I'm starting to notice a pattern with these candidates." Wasabi crossed his arms.
"Yeah, they all used to be evil. Some might still be." Go Go kicked her feet up on the table, much to Wasabi's discomfort as he shifted away from her. Go Go paid him no mind. "Do you have any candidates that are just good guys, period?"
"Sheesh, you guys are a tough crowd." Fred sighed and pressed a few more buttons, until finally a new set of candidates appeared. "Okay, so, this next one is, admittedly, more for me than anything else…but, hear me out!" Fred pressed a button, and none other than Olivia Mole's face appeared, although this graphic had a big heart in the background as Fred swooned over his girlfriend's image.
"You want to recruit your girlfriend?!" Hiro exclaimed incredulously. "I thought this went against, like, every comic book rule ever written! We're not supposed to tell the people we care about our secret identities!"
"Well, that's not so much a hard set rule as it is a guideline…" Fred replied evasively. "I mean there are plenty of examples where the hero's significant other is fully aware of their double life."
"She figured it out already, didn't she?" Go Go deadpanned.
"In my defense, as a fellow comic book nerd, it wasn't exactly hard for her to connect the dots…" Fred rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. "And…also, I may have geeked out and brought her to the secret base while you guys were chasing Supersonic Stu earlier this summer."
"You what?!" Hiro shouted. "Fred, don't you realize what you've done?! Now Olivia is gonna be in danger constantly! I can't believe that I have to be the one to lecture you of all people on why people knowing our secret identities is a bad thing! Especially the people we care about most!"
"Hiro, your blood pressure is rising." Baymax said. "Would you like me to play some calming sounds?"
"Please, Hiro. I understand why you're concerned," Honey Lemon placed a hand on the young teen's shoulder. "But this isn't the end of the world. After all, Megan knows who we are, and that worked out pretty well for us, right?"
Hiro's head whipped around to glare at the strawberry-blonde woman. "And now Megan always has to watch out, because she'll either be a target for villains who know who we are like Momakase, or she'll make herself a target by sticking her nose into business she's got no business making her business!"
"That was an impressive diacope!" Mini-Max exclaimed. "That means usage of the same word multiple times, since I know Fred is behind me wondering what that means!"
"Thanks for reading my mind, Mini-Max. It's uncanny how well you know me!" Fred then looked back up at Hiro. "Come on, Hiro! Olivia would be awesome as a hero! She knows all the obscure references and she even gave me a diagram for what kind of powers she wants!" Fred revealed a crudely drawn photo of what appeared to be Olivia in a moth-like battle suit. "See, since I'm Fredzilla, she wants to be Motholivia! In the fifth installment of the Kentucky Kaiju saga, the Kentucky Kaiju meets the Montana Mothter, and together they battle against the Hawaii Hydra and fall in love in the process. It…was…moving!"
"So you two wanna be matching superheroes!" Honey Lemon squealed. "How romantic!"
"And not only that, the powers she wants are totally doable for our fearless leader." Fred wiggled his eyebrows, much to Hiro's annoyance. "She wants to be able to fly, we've already cracked that code. She wants to be able to make gusts of wind, maybe a way of bouncing enemy attacks back at them, and also antenna stun beams. I don't think it's fair that only the bad guys get to use stun beams."
"That actually sounds reasonable." Wasabi hummed with a nod. "Know what? I'm voting in favor of recruiting Fred's girlfriend."
"You know that means there'll basically be two Freds running around, right?" Go Go looked around at her friends, and saw that Honey Lemon already had her hand up in favor, as did Fred and Mini-Max. "Ugh, fine."
"Hiro, the majority is in favor of adding Olivia Mole to our team." Baymax said.
"I see that." Hiro groused. "Fine. I'll start working on a suit for her."
"Aww, dude! You're the best!" Fred suddenly hugged the teen tight, much to his discomfort. "Now, for my final candidate for the day, I went ahead and I thought of you for this one, buddy." Fred pressed a button, and a new, but familiar face started to appear. "Now the best part is that she comes with powers already built in thanks to Hardlight! All in favor of recruiting-"
"No!" Hiro's enraged shout caught everyone by surprise. It was his fists slamming against the table that downright shocked them. "No, no, no."
"Chill, Hiro." Wasabi said. "It's not like we're forcing her to join, it's a vote to see if we'll even ask her."
"I-I don't care!" Hiro shouted again. "I refuse to let Karmi join the team, I-I'm exercising my right as team leader…to veto this decision!"
"Whoa, timeout." Go Go raised an eyebrow. "Since when does being the alleged team leader give you the right to completely overrule our opinions?"
"No, he has a point." Fred shrugged. "It's written pretty clearly in the big book of superhero team rules. Team leaders do have the right to overrule one decision made in open council. Although I question whether or not he should be using it on this particular decision."
"Hiro," Honey Lemon said gently. "Is there a reason you don't want Karmi to join?"
"Because!" Hiro took a shaky breath. "After everything that happened at Sycorax, with Liv Amara's clone, Karmi mutating into an almost mindless monster…being taken away by her parents…" Hiro squeezed his eyes shut, his fists clenching and turning pale from the strain. "For Karmi to join the team, she would need to know about our secret identities. If that happened, she'd be put in danger. I won't let that happen to her. Never again. And that's final." Hiro got up from the table and started walking out the door, his robotic companion taking his cue to follow along, leaving the rest of the team in silent shock over what they just witnessed.
"So…I'm guessing now would be a bad time to ask if Megan would like to join the team instead?"
"Fred, take who you got and go."
"Yeah, you're right, Go Go. Well, I'll uh…just go tell Olivia the good news…lemme know if there's anything I can do to help with Hiro."
"I think something is really bothering him." Honey Lemon said with concern. "Should we go after him?"
"He needs time to stew for a bit." Go Go shook her head. "We'll talk to him, after he's had some time to think."
After returning home and completing the mascots' program diagnostics - they came back clear, thank goodness - Hiro found himself staring at his phone, contact information staring back at him as if taunting him.
"Hiro, you have been staring at Karmi's contact information for 15 minutes." Baymax expressed with his own brand of concern. "Are you experiencing a form of emotional distress?"
Hiro briefly glanced up at his healthcare companion before looking back down at the photo of Karmi on his phone. It wasn't that long ago her contact photo was of the incredulous expression he captured of her after his resounding success with the seismic assignment. At the time, he took great amusement in staring at that disbelieving face. But after their scientific and personal breakthrough in coming up with a way to save the real Liv Amara, the young teenager found himself seeing Karmi in a whole new light, and he instantly changed her photo to one more flattering.
Karmi did tend to be prickly on the surface, acting standoffish and superior…but now Hiro had gotten a chance to see the Karmi underneath all the bluster. This Karmi was kind, selfless, and truly wanted to make an impact on the world in only the most positive ways. In some ways, she was just like Tadashi. Hiro regretted not seeing it earlier.
He was so distracted by her shield of anger and her unapologetic obsession over his alter ego that all he could see was Karmi's bad traits. That, in and of itself, was a bad trait of his own. He still didn't like being teased about his alleged feelings for Karmi, but now he wouldn't dare pretend he didn't care about her wellbeing. The fact that she went out of her way to call him and invite him to her fan meetup shocked him beyond belief. But it was a very pleasant shock. "What should I do, Baymax?" He asked quietly without looking away from her photo. "Is it wrong of me to want to protect her? Hasn't she been through enough already?"
"Without an up-to-date scan, I cannot ascertain Karmi's physical or emotional state." The robot replied. "However, open communication is an excellent way to not only obtain information, but it improves interpersonal relationships."
"But isn't that a little…I dunno, intrusive? I mean…it wasn't that long ago we hated each other. And now…" Hiro blushed, remembering the last words she said to his alter ego. "She may actually like me, as in me, me. I dunno what I should do!"
"Perhaps now would be an excellent time for you to record another vlog." Baymax activated his cameras, the screen showing Hiro's face and waiting for a cue to start recording. "Expressing your thoughts about Karmi may give you an outlet to relieve your stress."
"That's okay, buddy." Hiro turned away and looked back at the phone screen. "But you're right about one thing…I need to call her, I just need a good reason."
"Your birthday is coming in a few days." Baymax suggested with a photo of a cake with candles. "You should invite Karmi."
Hiro grunted as he considered the idea. "She probably won't be able to come. She was lucky to make it to San Fransokyo for her meet-and-greet."
"Even if she cannot attend, statistics indicate that knowing you thought about her will improve her emotional health."
The boy chuckled and shook his head. "Can't argue with science. Alright, buddy, you win." With hands shaking, Hiro pressed the call button on his phone, and seconds later, the buzzing tone of the phone making the connection filled his ears.
In those seconds, his mind raced with possibilities. What would he say? What if he totally blew it?
You have reached the voice mailbox of…
"The best biotech engineer in the world, Karmi!"
Please leave a message after the tone.
What if she didn't pick up?
"Hey, Karmi…it's Hiro! Hiro Hamada? Well, of course you know it's me, you probably don't know any other people named Hiro…uh…anyway, I uh, was just calling to check up on you. We didn't really get a chance to talk much during your visit, and I also wanted to see if maybe you could sneak away to come to my birthday party in a few days. Figured I'd uh, return the favor, y'know? You invite me, I invite you, it's what friends do! At least I hope you think we're friends, well otherwise you wouldn't have invited me right? Ugh."
Hiro pressed a button on his phone, and the message was deleted before it could be left. "Alright…let's try this again." As the tone beeped again, Hiro took a deep breath and screwed on a determined face. "Hey, Karmi, it's Hiro. Just calling to see how you're doing, call me back whenever you get the chance. I'd like to hear what you've been up to lately. Hope you're doing well, bye." And with that he hung up, and promptly collapsed onto his bed, the phone falling out of his hand and bouncing next to him on the bed. "Well, that could have gone better."
"New interpersonal relationships can sometimes be difficult to navigate, particularly for adolescents experiencing extreme and rapid changes."
Hiro smirked. "You mean puberty?"
"I have noted that usage of the word puberty has a tendency to increase your stress levels. I am attempting to find different ways to phrase its meaning."
"Thanks, Baymax." Hiro laughed, but his laughter was quickly choked on when he heard his phone buzz with an incoming text message. "It's from Karmi!"
"What does it say?"
Hiro clicked on the message, and read it aloud to his robotic friend. "'Hey, Hiro. Sorry for not answering your call, I'm helping my family prepare dinner, lots of extended relatives here at home and I can't sneak away easily.'" Hiro chuckled. "Yeah, I feel that. 'There was so much I wanted to tell you but that Hardlight guy messed everything up. I want to get another chance, soon.' Baymax, she wants to talk!"
"That is an excellent sign."
Immediately, numerous responses went through his mind. He could try to play it cool, make it seem like it was no big deal. Maybe try to make it sentimental, act like he was hurt that he couldn't talk to her. But as his mind kept racing with possible scenarios, he started to hesitate. What if he said the wrong thing, upset her in some way? The last thing he wanted was to go back to square one with Karmi. "Hey, uh…Baymax…did…did Tadashi ever mention how to talk to girls in any of his logs?"
The robot blinked and remained silent for several seconds, as if processing the question. "No." Seeing Hiro sigh, Baymax's logic circuits began attempting to come up with a viable solution. "However, Tadashi always believed that honesty was the best policy in all of his interpersonal relationships. Perhaps this approach will be effective in your case."
"Honesty, huh?" Hiro exhaled through his nose, running his fingers through his hair as he stared down at his phone. "Alright, honesty it is." Taking a deep breath, he began typing out his message, letting his heart guide his fingers as the words rapidly appeared on the screen. "Well, wish me luck, buddy."
Another blink from Baymax. "Good luck."
"Thanks." And with that, the boy hit send. Now, all that was left to do was wait.
Villains are nothing if not persistent. They view failure as a temporary setback for their inevitable success. The likes of Baron Von Steamer and Supersonic Sue, elderly folks who literally dedicated their entire lives to a singular goal. The defeat of Boss Awesome. That undying desire for victory kept them going day after day, pushing their bodies beyond reasonable limits. Most people their age would be in a nursing home by now, or at the very least enjoy their retirement. But they had unfinished business, and that alone kept them alive.
There is no rest for the villain's mind. The only time they can rest is when they have finally achieved victory, or they simply give up and admit that there's no hope for them to come up on top against the odds stacked against them. When that happens, there is no telling what might happen after that.
"The mistake was giving up." The villain mumbled to themselves. "Not trying to get out, assuming that the first failure meant there was no hope. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." The lair was starting to come together. Consoles were in the process of getting repaired, as more machines became functional under the tireless vigil of the determined evildoer, the pink glow on their face periodically fading in and out. "The first step is to throw the opponent off balance. Make them think they have the upper hand, and then in their moment of vulnerability, strike without mercy."
As more pieces of scrap metal came together, the light of sparks from welded metal cutting through the still thick darkness of the room, the villain chortled to themselves as a plan formed. "Oh, Hiro. You naive little boy. Did you really think I would go down without a fight? There's a new world order on the horizon. But if there's one thing I've learned, it's that doing it alone isn't an option. So, it's time I started recruiting. After all, a team almost worked the first time…" The villain pressed a few keys on the computer, and a whole slew of rogues scattered across the screen. "This time, I'll just put together a better team…and it looks like I have some promising candidates to choose from."