Another week, another chapter of this Big Hero 6 tale. I hope everyone is enjoying this! I've received a couple of kind comments and they're very appreciated! I don't have a lot of preamble to offer today, so let's just get on with the show! I own nothing except the story.
"Hiro, it is currently 10 AM, you are scheduled to meet with Prof. Granville in one hour."
"Mmmuhhhh?" Hiro's eyes slowly adjusted to the light in his room, slowly looking around to see that he was still laying on his back, in his clothes, with his shoes neatly placed on the floor next to his bed. "Oh man…what happened last night?"
"You were texting Karmi until," A graphic of a clock popped up. "3 AM."
"Wait, what?" Hiro rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and unlocked his phone, and sure enough, there was a thread of text messages that seemed to scroll on forever. "We…did all this? How did we find so much to talk about?"
Baymax looked down at his belly as a pie graph appeared on the screen, with one area much larger than the other two. "Your conversation consisted mostly of hypotheticals combining your respective specialties, as well as numerous expressions of figurative laughter."
"Oh." Hiro smiled at the remembrance. "Well, she…has a lot of great ideas. If we really put our heads together, we could do some real good in the world."
"I believe that is what Tadashi ultimately wanted."
Hiro looked away bashfully, rubbing the back of his neck before looking back up at his friend. "Thanks, Baymax. It…means a lot to hear you say that." The boy took a deep breath, and then fully sat up. "Baymax, begin vlog recording."
"Beginning recording now."
As the cameras activated, Hiro saw his own face staring back at him, and he mentally prepared himself for his recording. "If you're ever wondering what it takes to make a friend, just know that it isn't easy. It can sometimes take a long time to really understand a person, to know what motivates them, what makes them do the things they do. For me…I just want to live up to my brother's legacy. He created Baymax, the most advanced medical A.I. in the world as far as I'm concerned. But recently I learned that Tadashi was not a medical genius. He was able to make the robot, but the programming needed a special touch."
As Hiro got up and started walking across the floor of his room, Baymax followed him to make sure he remained in frame. "Baymax is the result of the ultimate collaboration between robotics and biotech. It took a doctor's consultation for Baymax to reach his full potential. Two different specialties converging into one amazing project. I used to think that I was smart enough to solve any problem by myself. But now I know that sometimes working together for a common goal can be one of the most rewarding things in the world. When Karmi and I teamed up to make the nanobots that saved the life of the real Liv Amara, that's when we finally came to an understanding about each other. That's the moment we really became friends."
He looked down at his phone again, and saw the smiling profile picture of Karmi staring back at him, causing a soft smile to appear on his own face. "If I'd given up on Karmi, Liv Amara probably would have died. Karmi would probably still be a mutated monster, all of San Fransokyo might have been destroyed…instead, we're closer than ever. This message is for me as well as you, whoever you are. Don't ever give up on friendship. You never know what you might miss out on. So…with that said, let's meet back tomorrow, shall we?"
Baymax ended the recording, and the screen on his belly went dark as he took a wobbly step towards the boy. "Your neurotransmitter levels are slightly elevated."
"If by that you mean, I'm feeling a little better than normal, then yeah I am." Hiro nodded. "I guess…it's just nice to know that I'm starting to make a social circle all my own. I mean…I'll always consider the others my best friends, but they came into my life because of Tadashi…in a way, I inherited them from him. But Karmi, Megan, they're my friends first. It's…different."
"I understand. Will you also be adding Rishi to your circle of friends?"
Hiro's face immediately fell as he sighed and smacked his face against his palm. "Right…my mentee, the new youngest student at SFIT." He snorted at the irony. "Now I guess I know how Karmi felt when I showed up. I'll try my best, but first I need to come up with some safeguards so Rishi can't keep hacking your system."
"That is an excellent idea." Baymax raised a finger. "However, Rishi is so much smarter than you, and you will not be able to stop his brilliance."
Suddenly Baymax's head started spinning in circles, his eyes glowing purple as his voice started modulating. "I-I-I-I-I have been hacked by…Rrrrrriiiiiiisssssshhhhhhiiiii."
Hiro groaned as Rishi's smirking face appeared on Baymax's belly. "Put him back, Rishi."
"All this time to prepare and you still haven't even tried to put in any safeguards, Hamada?" Rishi snickered. "You must like seeing me mess with your stuff."
"Considering I'm supposed to be your mentor for your first semester at SFIT, I shouldn't have to safeguard my stuff from you."
"Please," Rishi scoffed as he looked back down at his tablet, which prompted Hiro's diminutive Megabot to start zipping around the room at high speed as the 11-year old genius also hacked into its system. "I don't need any mentoring from you. You're old news, I'll be the big man on campus by this time next month."
Hiro could feel his head starting to pound from the frustration, his fists clenching and unclenching rapidly as he fought to control his temper. "Okay…" He took a deep breath. "I get it, you feel like you have to prove yourself. I used to be the same way with my friend Karmi. She and I-"
"Karmi?" Rishi raised an eyebrow. "As in, KHeartsQT from FicFans dot com?"
"Wait…you know Karmi?"
"Of course I know her." Rishi rolled his eyes. "She's my dweeby cousin."
"Why do you think I decided to come to SFIT? It's not because I need the education, I'm in it for the excitement of maybe meeting up with Big Hero 6! And…proving that I'm smarter than her is a nice little bonus." Rishi smirked at that. "I've read her stories, they're so cringy with her self-insertion. Like, of course she pairs herself up with the main hero, like he doesn't already have a girlfriend in real life."
Hiro found himself blushing at the thought. "W-W-What makes you say that?!"
"Well, duh, he's the leader of a superhero team! He's probably got girls fawning all over him. Now that's a mentor I'd really wanna get in touch with, helping me make time with the ladies."
"Hiro," Baymax suddenly spoke up again, his voice still higher than normal. "Rishi's hack is damaging my internal sensors."
That instantly got Hiro back to the task at hand. "Alright, Rishi. We'll talk about this later. Right now, I really need you to get out of my bot's code before you crash him altogether!"
"Relax, Hamada." With a press of a button on his tablet, Baymax went back to normal. "I'm not gonna wreck your robot. In fact, I left you a little present. You can thank me later. Seeya at SFIT."
"Wait, what did you-" Hiro was suddenly staring at the white balloon body of Baymax as Rishi cut off the transmission. "Something tells me this is gonna be a looooong semester." Hiro sighed as he grabbed a chip reader, plugged it into Baymax and connected it to his computer, causing endless lines of code to appear on his monitor. As he examined Rishi's tampering, his eyes widened slightly. "Huh, this is…actually really good." Rishi's work had added numerous safeguards to prevent any outside signals from tampering with Baymax's programming. "I'm sure Rishi himself can break through these firewalls…but at least I won't have to worry about anyone else taking control of you, buddy. Maybe Rishi isn't so bad after all."
"With time and effort, mutual understanding and respect can be built."
"Trust me, Baymax, no one knows that better than me." Hiro stood up and patted the robot's arm. "C'mon, we gotta get to SFIT to meet Prof. Granville."
It was a little weird to think about going back to SFIT next semester without his friends there with him in the robotics lab. As he walked through the room, seeing all of Honey Lemon's chemicals sitting idly, Wasabi's workstation starting to collect dust, and Gogo's maglev bike hanging up, untouched for weeks now, Hiro's chest tightened a bit as a bitter loneliness crept into his heart.
"Hiro, my readings indicate your neurotransmitter levels are low."
"Just…thinking about this upcoming semester, Baymax." Hiro replied as his eyes scanned the entirety of the lab one last time. "It's gonna be tough not having everyone here. I wonder who's gonna take their workstations." Hiro shook his head and redirected the robot's attention. "Let's go to Granville's office, last thing I want is to be late and start things off on a bad note."
The two quietly made their way to Prof. Granville's office, Hiro's thoughts swirling at the uncertainty he'd soon be facing. Soon enough he reached Granville's office, and with a knock on her door, he waited to hear her voice grant him access before poking his head into the room, seeing her at her desk signing paperwork. "You wanted to see me, Prof. Granville?"
"Yes, come in, Mr. Hamada." She fixed her usual neutral gaze at her student as he sat in the seat in front of her. "I wanted to discuss something with you pertaining to your future."
"Did I…do something wrong?"
"No, you did not. At least not to my knowledge." Granville smirked slightly. "That being said, I wanted to ascertain what sort of goals you're setting for yourself."
"I don't think I follow."
"I realize that the idea of preparing for your future is somewhat foreign to you." Granville's eyes softened slightly. "After all, you're only turning 15 later this month. However, as you are one of my star pupils, I wanted to offer some guidance in this area so you don't leave SFIT not knowing what to do with yourself."
Hiro leaned back in his seat, exhaling deeply as he ran his hand through his hair. "You're right about one thing, Prof. Granville…I haven't really thought about my future, at least…" He lowered his voice slightly. "Not beyond Big Hero 6."
"Your extracurricular activities are undoubtedly important, Mr. Hamada. All of San Fransokyo is forever in your debt." Prof. Granville stood up and began pacing the room, back straight and hands held behind her back. "That being said, I do not want your civilian life to be neglected, lest you fall into the same…habits as some other mutual acquaintances of ours."
It didn't take a genius to figure out who Granville was talking about. Nevertheless, Hiro nodded as he pondered the idea. "Well, I guess if I'm going to carry on my brother's legacy, I'll need to find a way to improve Baymax's potential. Maybe…I could make other versions of Baymax, ones that specialize in other forms of healthcare."
"An excellent idea." Granville smiled. "With that in mind, I recommend enrolling in classes focused not only on your robotics research, but also with a minor in biotech. After all, healthcare is a difficult field to break into, particularly when one doesn't have the background for it starting out."
"Sooo, this meeting was more about being my guidance counselor?"
"In a manner of speaking." Granville sat back down in front of the boy, folding her hands as she looked him in the eyes. "There is a reason I take special interest in you, Mr. Hamada. It's not just because I'm aware of your secret. It is also because I see potential in you to become one of the greatest minds of our time. That is also why I placed the responsibility of mentoring Mr. Patel this semester. Great minds find ways to work with others, capitalizing on strengths and shoring up weaknesses."
"Heh, don't I know it."
"You and Karmi did good work together."
"How did you-"
"Together, you two saved the life of one of the finest minds of our time. While Liv Amara may not be making waves in the public eye at this time, she is still undoubtedly gifted and brilliant. And together with Karmi, you managed to solve a puzzle that even she - nor her clone - could not."
Hiro just smiled slightly, his heart warming at the fond memory. "Even all the way back then, you knew we'd make a good team."
"I always have reasons for my decisions, Mr. Hamada." Granville looked away for a moment. "They don't always lead to my intended outcomes, and I am by no means infallible. But the decision to introduce you to Karmi was much more than just a simple matter of breaking her out of her shell."
"Well, I'm glad you did." Hiro frowned as he leaned back in his seat. "It's…too bad she's gone." But then his eyes widened as he remembered something. "Wait, Prof. Granville…about Rishi, did you know that-" He cut himself off when Granville raised an eyebrow, a tiny smirk playing on her lips. "Of course you know."
"Mr. Patel's parents aren't as…strict as Karmi's. Having spoken with them myself, they feel similarly to how your brother did about you attending SFIT. Just like you, Rishi is a gifted, brilliant mind with a need for guidance. So when I approached them about enrolling him here, they were quite eager."
With a deep sigh, Hiro looked the woman in the eyes with a determined expression. "I'll do whatever I can for him. But…maybe you could help me get him to stop hacking and wrecking everything he gets his hands on?"
Granville smiled. "Not to worry. If I feel the situation requires my attention, I will step in. You do your part, and I promise you, I will do mine."
After the incident with the Buddy Guardians, It was clear that the San Fransokyo Police Department needed a change of direction. With that in mind, all of the Buddy Guardians were given new programming courtesy of Hiro, at the behest of Chief Diego Cruz.
Learning that his daughter's best friend was the leader of Big Hero 6 did a lot to reassure him about the nature of the hero team's intentions. Now, thanks to Hiro, all of the Buddy Guardians confirmed to survive demolition at the hands of Megamax were given one of Hiro's healthcare chips, with slight adjustments so their focus was guarding the supervillain maximum security prison, rather than focusing solely on being healthcare companions.
"Good morning, Chief Cruz." One of the Buddy Guardians said with a Baymax-esque wave.
"Morning, Buddy!" Cruz smirked as he walked past the group of villains all glaring daggers at him behind their cells. "Another day, another villain-free experience." As Cruz made his way past the cells, he stopped when he saw the disembodied head of Trina, the robotic daughter of Obake, otherwise known as Bob Aken. "Well, another day of the silent treatment?"
Like every other day, Trina just glared silently at the police chief. Ever since her defeat at the hands of Big Hero 6, the robot girl was practically nonresponsive.
"It's really too bad you decided to be evil. Based on what I've heard, you're one of the most advanced A.I.s ever made." Again, Cruz got no response. "If you really wanted to, you could choose a different path. You have the ability to make your own decisions, decide for yourself what's right and wrong. No other robot I know has that kind of ability."
"Why don't you just leave her alone?"
Cruz turned around to see Ian Fletcher, otherwise known as Hardlight, sneering at him through the bars of his cell. "Frankly, this is none of your business." Cruz shot back. "Besides, I find it difficult to believe you actually care. Last I checked, you just wanted a thrill."
"Maybe I still do." Hardlight smirked as he squeezed the bars a little tighter. "Mark my words, Chief. Someday soon, you'll know what it's really like to be an NPC. They tend to get run over a lot, and no one ever cares." Cruz just shook his head and went on his way, ignoring the satisfied grin on the gamer villain's face. "Yeah, that's right! Run! It's only a matter of time before you get put in your place! You think you're soooo tough, picking on us lowly criminals…but you'll see!"
As Hardlight cackled with glee, Trina just continued to stare silently.
"Y'know," Hardlight said as he focused his attention on the robot girl. "I have to say, your plans were ambitious. Definitely final boss worthy! Maybe when we get outta here we should team up! Something tells me we'd work real well together."
Again, Trina said nothing.
"It's okay if you don't wanna talk. I get it. But just know that you have a companion character ready to go when you get outta here! Something tells me you're too determined to just sit there and let time go by."
"Give it a rest, millennial!" Baron Von Steamer suddenly shouted from his cell about five cells away. "The smell of desperation wafts all the way over here!" Steamer snorted and laid back down in his bed. "Kids today, using robots to fulfill their needs instead of the real thing."
"Y'know what your problem is, Steamer?" Supersonic Sue piped up. "You refuse to get with the times! Who cares if the kid wants to get his jollies with a robo-chick? Probably means she's less maintenance! Take it from someone who's big enough to admit she's high maintenance!"
"Humanity still breeds the same way it always has, and this technological folly will be the downfall of the human race!" Steamer sat up and shook his fist in defiance. "Listen good boy, if you know what's good for you, you'll find a real woman, not a machine that merely imitates one!"
"I don't recall ever asking you two to give your input!" Hardlight shouted with an embarrassed crack in his voice. "And I never said I wanted to do anything with Trina!"
"Aww, you're on a first name basis!" Sue laughed.
"That's literally just her name!"
"Look, there's no judgment here!" Sue said as she leaned back into her cot. "The problem with villains nowadays is that they don't let themselves get attached! They have this ridiculous belief that they have to do everything by themselves in order for it to mean anything. What's the point of ruling the world or stealing every valuable on Earth if you don't have anyone to share it with?" Sue smirked. "See, that's why I always make sure to keep my family close. Really close."
Suddenly without warning, the wall behind Sue came crashing down, as none other than Supersonic Stu - Sue's dimwitted grandson - barreled through. "Hey, Nana! Sorry I took so long to rescue you, I was trying to find a way to get more smart."
"Oh that's okay, angel face." Sue cooed as she pinched the man's cheeks. "Come on, no time to suit up," She said as she leaped into Stu's arms, watching the Buddy Guardians start to close in. "The fuzz is upping their game so speed is everything!"
"You got it!" With a rapid spin on his rocket skates, Stu curled into a ball with Sue tucked into his chest, and together the two evildoers escaped the incoming horde of Buddy Guardians, through a conveniently Stu-shaped hole that was clearly made recently. "Does this mean we can have ice cream for dinner again?!"
It was at that moment that Chief Cruz came rushing back in, a stunned expression on his face as he saw the wall caved in and Supersonic Sue missing. "Oh, great."
After his meeting with Prof. Granville, Hiro was looking forward to spending some time with his friends. Although, he was hoping to quickly move past the part where he snapped at them for the idea of Karmi being let into their inner circle. Megan knowing was enough, he didn't need anymore on his plate.
As he walked through the doors of the secret base, he saw Fred, Honey Lemon and Wasabi all talking to each other around the conference table. Their discussion quickly stopped when they noticed Hiro and Baymax walking in. "Hey, Hiro!" Fred waved with his usual excitement. "You're just in time!"
"Fred, what did we just discuss?" Wasabi pointed at Fred accusingly.
"Uh, what's going on?" Hiro's smile wavered. "Is there something I should know about?"
"Don't worry, Hiro." Honey Lemon spoke up. "It's nothing bad, I promise!"
"Then, what is it?"
Fred looked at Wasabi expectantly, and the large man just sighed in defeat as he placed his cheek against his fist. "Go ahead."
"Yes!" Fred pumped a fist and leaped onto the table, getting right in Hiro's face as the boy leaned back to get some personal space. "So, we were all coming up with ideas for what we could do for your birthday party!"
"Really?" Hiro raised an eyebrow. "No surprise party? I'm actually kinda shocked."
"Well we figured after all the drama we've been through lately, you'd like to have something to look forward to rather than getting surprised." Wasabi said. "Speaking from experience, surprises usually aren't a good thing."
"Oh come on, you loved the surprises we gave you for your birthday!"
"True, Fred, and I appreciated every last one." Wasabi smiled at the memory. "I'm just saying in general. For me, I'd like to know what's in store rather than just hoping I'll enjoy it."
"Right now, I couldn't agree more." Hiro sat in his seat and kicked his feet up as he looked around at his friends. "So, what kind of suggestions do we have in mind?"
"Well," A new voice spoke up, and Hiro turned around to see none other than Megan walking in next to Go Go, who had a smirk plastered on her own face. "Since we're asking, I think it's high time we got back to my 'Hiro is a normal kid' agenda!"
"M-Megan!" Hiro's voice cracked, and he quickly brought his feet down, but he did it so fast he fell out of his seat, much to his embarrassment as he stood back up and tried to save face. "What are…what are you doing here?"
"I brought her." Go Go replied, her smirk still firmly in place as she walked past the boy genius. "I figured if we're gonna celebrate your birthday right, we should get some input from someone who's actually around your age."
"Yeah, we old fuddy-duddies are probably out of touch with what the kids are doing nowadays." Wasabi snickered.
"Speak for yourselves." Fred shot back as he crouched in front of Wasabi's face. "I am totally hip and know exactly what we should do! Kentucky Kaiju movie marathon and arcade gaming session with all of Hiro's favorite foods personally prepared by my personal chef! I'll spare no expense!"
"But isn't the Kentucky Kaiju series literally more than 18 hours worth of content?" Megan looked at Fred incredulously.
"It is! And that's what makes it so amazing!" Fred exclaimed as he jumped off the table. "There's a reason I can never get enough of the series. Its characters, writing, and amazing ability to reference other dated pop-culture makes it go beyond any other movie series ever made! And now, Hiro will get the chance to see it all for himself, with his best friends surrounding him."
"Thanks, Fred. But uh…" Hiro rubbed the back of his neck. "I think we'll save that for another time." Hiro briefly felt bad when Fred flopped onto his face with dejection, fortunately Mini-Max was there to provide some comfort. "Honestly, what I wanna do more than anything is just go out and do fun teenager stuff without any danger being associated with it."
"And that's where I come in." Megan smirked as she held up a poster to Hiro's face. "There's this new laser tag arena opening up just a couple miles north of Fish Town, and it's supposed to be state of the art!"
"Ooh, that actually sounds like fun!" Honey Lemon giggled.
"I haven't been laser tagging since I was a kid." Wasabi said with a reminiscent lilt in his voice. "Of course that probably had more to do with the fact that I didn't want to touch any of those disease-ridden props."
"It would be advisable to bring antiseptic materials." Baymax said.
"Oh, I'm waaaay ahead of you, Baymax." Wasabi pulled out a briefcase and opened it, revealing antibacterial wipes, sprays and liquids of all kinds. "Never leave home without it."
"Cleanliness obsession aside," Go Go rolled her eyes. "Laser tag sounds like fun. Just know that you're never gonna beat me, I'm an elite markswoman."
"Is that a challenge?" Hiro stood up and lowered his eyelids slightly as he smirked at the speedster.
"Nope, it's a promise."
"You're on, Go Go. Looks like we're going laser tagging!"
"Great!" Megan exclaimed. "I'll start making the preparations for the party! The laser tag opens Saturday so that's when we'll do the party! I know this awesome local pizza place that'll deliver wherever we want, and I'll grab some sodas, and-"
"Bup-bup-bup!" Fred suddenly shot back onto his feet. "If this is what my little buddy Hiro wants, then I insist on at least footing the bill!"
"Fred, that's okay, you really don't have to-"
Fred suddenly appeared next to Megan, wrapping his arm around her shoulders. "I. Insist." He said seriously before putting his goofy smile back on. "Trust me, you'd be surprised how awesome you can make a party when you have waaaay more money than you know what to do with." Fred frowned. "Did that sound braggy to anyone else?"
"Little bit, yeah." Go Go deadpanned.
"It's okay, Freddie, we know you mean well." Honey Lemon said reassuringly. "I think it's sweet you wanna give Hiro the best birthday party ever!"
"It will be an extravaganza the likes of which the world has never seen!" Fred playfully punched Megan's shoulder. "You just tell me what you need and I'll make it happen! And like I said, spare no expense!"
Megan looked over at the others, and they all just gave her a shrug and an exasperated smile. "Alright…but remember, I'm the one in charge. No extra stuff without my approval!"
"Aye aye, Captain Cruz!" Fred gave a salute. "C'mon, Mini-Max, we've got a party to prepare for!"
"I look forward to the merrymaking and jubilation that comes with shooting comrades with an infrared beam of light!" Mini-Max shouted. "Jocularity, ho!"
But just before the two could leave the room, Basemax popped up on the screen. "Alert, breakout at San Fransokyo Prison. Supersonic Sue, last seen heading south."
"Oh no." Go Go sighed. "Looks like we gotta teach the old lady another lesson."
"You have to admire her persistence though!" Honey Lemon just received a glare and a bubblegum pop from her roommate. "Sorry. Villain escape. Bad."
"Maybe now might be a good time to make that call we've been planning to make?" Fred wiggled his eyebrows.
"Actually, that might not be a bad idea." Hiro pressed a button on his phone, and the fleet of Skymax whooshed into the room to provide the team with their supersuits. "Megan, stay here. We'll let you know when it's safe to leave."
"Why can't I come?" Megan crossed her arms. "Imagine the story I could write seeing a Big Hero 6 battle live and in person!"
"Because Supersonic Sue is a super-speed psychopath?" Go Go replied as she started putting on her gear. "Trust me, you don't wanna be in the way of her or her brain-dead adult grandson when they get moving."
"Fine." Megan groused as she sat in Hiro's seat. "Can I at least be like mission control or something? Keep an eye on things?"
"That seems fair." Hiro nodded. "Just please, don't do anything dangerous. Promise me."
Megan said nothing, and Hiro intensified his stare. Finally the journalist caved and sighed in defeat. "Alright, I promise. No heroics."
"Thank you." Hiro looked at his friends. "Let's go, it's time we put these two away for good!"