hey y'all! here's chapter 3!
i hope you like it, this is probably the longest chapter I've ever posted! I'm so excited!
thanks silvie/disneymagic/helena for all your feedback and support of this franchise! it might even get to five parts...here's hoping!
thanks everyone! please review!
She screams at the retreating guards as the door slams, clutching at the bars of the cell, ignoring the streak of fire that slashes across her palm. It needs stitches, she knows that—after all, graphene blades can cut through nearly anything. Honestly, she's amazed it didn't cut her whole hand off.
Her heart breaks at the thought of Mochi, all alone in the café with no one to feed him. When Hiro and Tadashi didn't come back from the battle after three days, she knew something had to be seriously wrong. So she left Mochi with some food and water and set out to find her nephews, not anticipatings that the North Koreans would still be trying to capture as many people as possible. When they found her, she screamed and kicked and fought, but they were so fast. The graphene blades slashed at her furiously, and her blood splattered over the pavement.
They had asked her her name. She refused to tell them, instead kicking the man holding her in the groin and trying to run. But the woman who appeared to be their leader tackled her to the ground, nearly knocking her unconscious on the street. The woman had hissed into her ear that if she knew anything about Big Hero 6, she'd better say it now.
She wouldn't expose Hiro for anything, not for all the death threats or money the North Korean threw at her. Finally the woman had dragged the graphene blade across her palm and and spit at the guards to put her in prison, suspecting she knew something.
Now she is here, in this dark cave, with bars made of titanium on the door and ones made of stone on the window. Through that tiny hole comes the last vestiges of sun, causing the metal bars on the door to gleam a bright blood-red. She crosses the cell to the window, resting her chin on the stone and cradling her bleeding hand against her chest, watching the glowing red orb of the sun dip below the horizon.
She thinks she's somewhere in Muirahara Woods, in some kind of cave. How she would get out, she doesn't know. She has none of the technology her nephews do, not even her baking equipment or her cat—neither of which would help, but which would at least comfort her.
The sun finally sinks into the ocean, its fading light heralding the return of the soft violet dusk. Stars begin to appear in the velvet expanse of sky, and she watches each tiny pinprick with wide, weary eyes, wondering if Hiro and Tadashi can see them.
When all the stars have emerged, spreading a glittering blanket across the heavens, she turns away from the window and slides to the ground, finally allowing the tears to stream across her ravaged cheeks. She does not allow herself to sob, only to weep. She will cry all her ters, but she will not make a sound.
After several minutes of crying, she climbs to her feet and stares the window again, finding comfort in the innumerable stars. Her palm stings again as she closes it around the narrow pillar of stone, and she removes her hand to see blood dripping down the rock.
What makes her do it, she doesn't know, but she presses her bloodstained hand against the rock beside the window, leaving a perfect, rust-colored handprint on the pale stone.
So one day, someone will know she was here. One day, someone will know the horrors of this war, how innocent people were imprisoned.
One day, someone will know her story.
She doesn't know how much time has passed, but it has to have been at least a week. The cut on her palm stopped oozing blood a few days ago, but the skin is swollen and red and she knows it's infected. She can already feel the fever taking over, and it probably won't be long before it kills her.
Food and water are scarce in this horrific dungeon, and she's only been fed three times—two slices of bread for each meal. Water is brought daily, and if it's not enough, somewhat clean liquid drips from a kind of natural spring in the ceiling into the corner of the cell. Sometimes that tastes better than the water they bring her.
She holds her palm under the stream of water, willing it to wash the gash clean. It's not antibacterial ointment or soap, but it's cleaner than anything else she has. She would bandage the cut, but her clothes can't be sterile, and that's all she has of that kind of material. Besides, it wouldn't be nearly enough for the cuts on her face, her arms, her side, all of which are also red and swollen. She knows without a doubt that she is going to die if she doesn't get out of here.
But there is nothing she can do, nothing. Nothing except shake the bars and scream at the North Koreans, scream into the stone corridors, scream into the vast, empty, unyielding sky. The stars are sometimes a comfort, a sweet reminder of her nephews, a place of meditation. But sometimes they are a curse, a painful reminder of freedom, a deep, penetrating feeling of desperate longing. She has to be free, has to help stop this war.
But still, she reminds herself, she can do nothing. She sits in the pool of dying golden light and looks at the wall, marred with streaks of dried blood. Tally marks. Her count might not be accurate, but it's been a week, perhaps eight days. Still, she's lost track of how many times the sun has risen and set.
Her handprint, outlined in blood, still shines copper on the gray stone. She stares at it blankly, her gaze dull and nearly unseeing.
Sitting there, motionless, she realizes that life isn't worth living here. To be honest, sometimes she wishes she could just die.
She could do it. Maybe. She has no weapons, no noose, but perhaps she could provoke the guards to shoot her...
She shakes her head, dispelling the dark thoughts. She has to live for Hiro and Tadashi. They can't lose their guardian—Tadashi may be a legal adult, but he's not ready to take care of Hiro yet. She has to het out of here for them.
But for now, all she can do is wait and hope and scream at the brilliant, unforgiving, endless sky.
I look around at everyone, seated in Hiro's living room. Wasabi is sitting in lotus pose on the floor, GoGo protectively clutching his arm. Hiro and Tadashi are on one couch, the latter with his arm around Honey. Fred is nearly passed out on the other couch, and Dad sits ramrod straight on the end of it. Momokase is silently perched on the table, her graphene blade twirling into a circle of blue light, and Callaghan stares gravely at me from between Dad and Fred. All of them look tired but determined, ready to hear what I have to tell them.
"So," I begin, rubbing my hands together. "Hiro and I have some ideas for how to end this way. But he doesn't want to talke until he absolutely has to, so I'll be conducting this meeting."
"Fire away," Dad says, tipping his hat to give me permission, although I don't need it.
"First order of business!" I declare. "We need a resistance movement. Hiro and I have talked this over, and we're thinking of trying to recruit members. We'd have to go out and find as many people as possible, see if maybe they can help make weapons or be good spies. Once we have enough people and we've learned enough secrets, we can attack the North Koreans. Not all of them, but maybe some in their inner circle. Momokase—are you a good assassin?"
Momokase gives a curt nod. "I can carry out assassinations. I assumer you are thinking of terminating Chasu Jeong?"
"Well—not necessarily. Only as a last resort, but probably. And we could totally assassinate other people, too—"
Tadashi speaks up, and his voice has just a hint of controlled disapproval in it. "No. We are not going to kill people if we can avoid it. If she's accidentally killed in battle, fine. But we aren't going to commit murder. We would be just as bad as she is."
"Think about it, Hamada," Momokase snaps. "The whole world would be better off if Jeong was dead, so I will gladly carry out the deed. She is a monster and a cruel dictator, and it is absolutely imperative that she is terminated to end this war."
"We aren't shedding innocent blood," GoGo adds, and Wasabi nods in agreement. "Jeong is a long way from innocent, Tadashi. She deserves anything we could do to her."
"But we can't just kill a human being!" Tadashi says furiously. "I know she isn't innocent, but we are taking her life, risking ours, and possibly putting our eternal salvation in jeopardy! If anyone tries to assassinate Jeong, I'll—I'll tell the North Koreans about this!"
"You wouldn't," Hiro says softly, putting a hand on Tadashi's shoulder. "You would never do that."
Tadashi sighs and drags his free hand through his hair. "No, I wouldn't. But we can't kill anyone, you guys. That makes us monsters too, just as much as Jeong is."
"Then how are we going to stop her?" Dad asks, and a deep silence falls over the room.
"Well," Hiro mumbles. "I have a plan to help with that. But you're not going to like it."
I gesture for him to come up to the front of the room, and Hiro stands up, his fingers weaving through his hair. "So...this plan is going to be dangerous. And illegal. And it'll involve doing a lot of things I wish we didn't have to do. But I believe it's absolutely necessary."
I can already see the disapproval on Tadashi's face, but Hiro presses on. "Meg and I are going to break into KreiTech."
Tadashi, Honey, and Dad all open their mouths simultaneously, and Hiro holds up his hands in defense. "Hear me out."
They all close their mouths, and I stifle a laugh as Hiro continues. "That's not even the worst part. Yes, we're breaking into the North Koreans' base, but we also need to rob them. We're going to sneak into Krei's office, break into his safe, and take the contents." He deliberately avoids mentioning what those contents are.
"What's in it?" Fred asks eagerly.
Hiro sighs. "I feel like I shouldn't tell you. It's probably a really bad idea. But—they're blueprints."
"For what?" Wasabi inquires suspiciously.
Hiro sighs again, seeming to regret bringing this up at all. "You guys have to promise not to freak out."
No one says anything, so Hiro takes a deep breath and whispers, "Project Silent Sparrow."
The room instantly erupts into chaos. GoGo leaps to her feet, shouting. Callaghan roars, "NO!" and Honey shrieks, "Hiro, you can't!" Fred just looks dumbfounded, and Wasabi says, "Seriously, Hiro, why would you even want that?"
"Hear me out!" Hiro yells over the clamor. "Seriously! It's not gonna cause trouble, I promise! I just want to use it to teleport their nuclear weapons out of America, that's all!"
"That machine almost killed us all!" Callaghan bellows. "You and Abigail barely made it out, and Baymax was destroyed! How can you possible think about recreating it?"
"We're not gonna teleport people!" Hiro explodes, his voice rising nearly to a shriek. "I only want to use it to get their missiles out of here! I would never use an unsafe invention on a person! I'm not that cruel!"
"EVERYBODY SHUT UP!" I scream. "Sit down!"
When the room has quieted, I declare, "It's not Hiro's fault! When he thought of Silent Sparrow, he decided not to do it, but I convinced him it was the only way! Seriously, blame me!"
Everyone stares at me, and I continue, "You can't deny that it would probably work. It's a good plan, and it might save us all. Please, you guys, we have to put the past behind us. If there's anyone that can end this war, it's Hiro. We have to listen to him. And besides, you guys aren't even doing the breaking in! Just let us take care of it!"
"Well said," Momokase replies. "I personally am willing to go along with your plan. You may need my skills to complete the mission."
"We can take you," I decide. "But that's it. We want as few people as possible. Besides, it's not like anyone else wants to do it."
"I'm not letting you go without me," Tadashi cuts in. "I—"
"You can't go," Hiro interrupts. "You're hurt, and you need to stay here. Besides, you aren't being forced to do this like your last spy mission. You shouldn't go, Tadashi."
"You're hurt too, Hiro!" Tadashi exclaims.
"Yeah, but not that bad."
Tadashi huffs indignantly. "But will you be okay without me?"
Hiro rolls his eyes, but they're sympathetic. "Of course. DOn't worry, we won't get caught."
"You better not," Tadashi mutters, attempting to cross his arms but apparently remembering he has a sling. He sighs and flops back in his seat.
"Okay," I say cautiously, knowing everyone's tempers are prone to flare right now. "So it'll be me, Hiro, and Momokase. That's it. The rest of you will stay here and...well, pray that we don't get killed. I know you guys don't like it, but please, trust Hiro and I on this one. We're going to come back with potentially lifesaving information."
"When are you guys gonna do this?" GoGo asks. "I'm assuming soon?"
"Tomorrow night, hopefully," I reply. "Whenever Hiro can fix our armor, actually, but that shouldn't take long."
"I can probably have it done by tonight," Hiro admits, "but we should wait until tomorrow. They'll probably have relaxed the security a little—if we haven't been found by then, North Korea might stop sending out the whole army to look for us."
"Sound good!" I proclaim. "We'll talk more about recruiting resistance members and break-ins later. Last order of business—we need some way to distinguish people in the resistance. I was thinking a tattoo, but that would be really obvious."
"Can you have invisible tattoos?" Fred wonders. "That would be seriously awesome."
"Actually, you can," Callaghan says, his previous anger seeming to have abated. "We could use bioink, like what is used in a 3D printer. If you inject it under the skin, you won't be able to see it, but you can make it glow under black light."
"Awesome," I breathe. "Hiro, do you have any bioink?"
"Yeah," he replies. "I think I can make it glow, and I think we could just print it directly onto your arms. But I'll need DNA samples from all of you so it'll merge with your skin. Meg—what do we want the tattoo to look like?"
I smile and gesture at my chest. "I was thinking a phoenix. Like the one on our suits."
"That's awesome," Hiro declares, unconsciously fingering his own breastplate. "But we should probably do it after the break-in. I think we should get that done as soon as possible."
"That's fine," I agree. "Okay, we'll do that, then. Meeting adjourned."
No sooner have I said it than I hear a loud voice outside, yelling in broken English.
"We know you inside! You come out now or we burn place to ground!"
Hiro and I exchange horrified looks, and my heart leaps into my throat as all the blood drains from Hiro's face.
The North Koreans.
They found us.
Complete silence falls over falls over the room, and Tadashi whispers, "We can't go out there! They'll kill us all!"
"And we can't fight them," Wasabi adds. "We haven't built our suits yet!"
"What do we do?" Dad whispers as a loud pounding echoes through the room. "What do we do?"
"I'll go out and fight them," Honey decides, standing up. "I have my prosthetic."
"I'll come with you," Momokase insists. "My blades will give us an advantage."
"You can't!" Tadashi hisses. "You're both hurt—they could kill you as soon as look at you! I can't lose you both!"
Honey and Momokase both stare at him, and Hiro breaks the tension. "I should go too. I've got graphene blades now. Meg, if you want to come, the choice is yours."
"Of course I'll come," I reply hastily as the pounding on the door gets louder. "Let's go."
"Not you guys too!" Tadashi wails. "Please, you guys, don't go!"
"We have to," Hiro replies, reaching out and grabbing his brother's hand. "We just need to incapacitate them. We'll be back."
Without waiting for Tadashi's reply, Hiro pulls away and heads for the door. I follow him, then turn and whisper, "Everyone go upstairs. We don't want them to know there are more people in here."
I follow Hiro out the door, with Momokase and Honey bringing up the rear. My heart is pounding, sending a searing panic through my whole body.
When we get outside, I see six or seven North Korean guards silhouetted against the light of the full moon, standing perfectly straight and glaring at us with all the ferocity of a raging bull.
"It's him!" one whispers, and I can tell the voice is female, though thankfully not Jeong's. "The American with the small robots!"
"What do we with him?" asks another guard, this one probably male—though I can't really tell in the dim lighting.
The guards switch to Korean and the only word I recognize is chasu. The first woman's goes to the satellite radio at her belt, and my eyes widen as I realize she's calling for backup.
"Go!" I screech. "She's calling Jeong!"
Momokase leaps forward with a primal scream, her graphene blades slicing the radio in two with such precision they don't even touch the guard's hand. With a few well-aimed kicks, the woman is unconscious on the ground.
But Momokase, after landing lightly on the ground, doubles over, clutching her side. I think Tadashi said she had a punctured lung—she must have torn open the wound. Evidently, she can't fight well, so I leap forward with my graphene blade. Pressing the button on my breastplate, I soar into the air as my wings unfold. I see a flash of bright purple light as Hiro's wings snap open and he shoots upward with his graphene blade out. For a moment, he's silhouetted against the moon, the pale silvery light glinting off his armor. I watch this rather beautiful scene for a split second, then dive back down, slashing at the North Koreans with my blade.
I slice three of the guards' satellite radios in half with my knife, making sure not to chop off any limbs or fingers. Twice I nick guards in the ribs, and both shriek and collapse to their knees. Graphene blades are really, really, sharp.
I swipe my blade at a guard's rifle, slicing it in half right as it goes off. The force of the gunshot catches my wings and blows me backward, directly into Hiro, who lets out a rather high-pitched squeal as I collide with him. We both fly backwards and barely miss the ground, instead slamming into the nearby streetlamp.
Shaking the stars out of my vision, I wheel around and dive back towards the North Koreans. Suddenly, I see streaks of color flying through the air, and I wonder if I hit Hiro harder than I though. But that's not it—it's Honey's prosthetic, firing chemistry combos at the guards. A blur of blue light flies into battle beside Honey, and I realize that Momokase has again joined the fight. Behind me, Hiro, looking slightly dazed, is struggling to orient himself. He manages the feat and swoops down, slicing a rifle in half. I do the same to two others, but another guard shoots at me—and this time he hits my thruster. I yelp as it gives out, leaving me with one wing in operation.
I press the button to retract my wings, and the moment I touch the ground, a guard with a broken rifle uses the grip half to whack me violently in the shoulder. I let out a gasp of pain—that was my sprain! Oh man, he is going to pay for that...
Before I can hit the man, retribution comes in the form of Hiro, who picks the guard up with his magnet disks and flings him backward. I slash at another guard with my blade, giving her a deep cut on her cheek, and she raises her broken rifle and swipes at me. I duck, but the guard hits Momokase in the side, and the spy lets out a furious shriek of pain and anger. Just as she falls, Hiro screams from above me, and I look up just in time to see him plummet from the sky.
I can't get out of the way fast enough, and Hiro crashes into me, wings and all, knocking me to the ground. Thankfully, I don't end up hitting my head, but I land hard on my injured shoulder, and I grit my teeth as Hiro rolls off me, retracting his wings and gasping for air.
The guards close in, and I stumble to my feet, trying to pull Hiro up, but we're not fast enough. The guards left with rifles point them directly at us, and I find myself staring down the barrels of several guns. This is it—
"Don't touch them!" a voice screams, and then the world explodes into pink and white and orange and all I can see is light.
Hiro and I both scream as we're flung through the air, and I'm vaguely aware of the scent of something burning—and possibly formaldehyde. Then I slam into something soft and bounce off, hitting the ground hard and rolling over twice. I come to a stop on the asphalt after a second, my head spinning so rapidly I can't see a thing for a few moments.
Once my ears have quit ringing and the world has righted itself, I raise my head slightly to see Hiro lying on his stomach next to me. For a second, I think he's unconscious—which would be bad since he already had a concussion—but then he lets out a groan and rolls over onto his side to face me. "You okay, Meg?"
"Yeah," I whisper. "What did we hit?"
"Honey...must have thrown out...some chem cushions," Hiro gasps, pushing himself up onto his elbows. "At least we didn't just...slam into the road."
"Yeah, that's good, but are you okay?" I ask, looking him over. "You were already pretty beat up."
"Just winded," Hiro says breathlessly. "Maybe a few bruises...seriously, I think my whole body...is one giant bruise right now."
I laugh slightly, wincing as the act makes my side ache. I've probably acquired several new bruises as well.
A weak cry cuts through the dust-filled air, and I recognize the voice as Honey's. Hiro and I exchange wide-eyed glances, and I push myself to my feet. Hiro does the same, and we limp away from the chem cushions toward the source of the explosion. I wince at the twinge of pain in my broken ankle—Tadashi splinted it well, but I shouldn't be walking on it.
Another silhouette appears in the dust, and I have to squint to make out the slight figure of Momokase. She's bent nearly double again, her hand pressed against her side, but she limps steadfastly forward, falling into step beside us.
"Are you okay?" Hiro whispers.
"Yes," Momokase says through gritted teeth. "But I fear that Honey Lemon may not be."
Several dark shapes are slumped on the asphalt, undoubtedly unconscious or even dead. The broken street is stained with the remnants of Honey's giant explosion of chemistry, and I wonder what combination she used to make that large of a blast. Then it occurs to me that she probably used all of the elements in her arm—is the prosthetic okay? Is Honey okay? She would have been really close to the explosion...
"Honey?" Hiro whispers as we approach her limp body. "Are you okay?"
"No," Honey gasps. "Please, Hiro—get Tadashi."
And that's when I see that the prosthetic has been completely blown off, and the stump of Honey's arm is pouring blood onto the asphalt.
"Oh my gosh," I whisper. "Hiro, go. Run."
Hiro, seeming to be struggling not to pass out, stumbles back to the café, moving as quickly as he can. He disappears inside, and I wait for a few terrifying moments before Hiro emerges, followed by Tadashi, who his carrying a first aid kit and quickly overtaking his little brother.
Tadashi kneels down next to Honey, opening his first aid kit one-handed. He struggles with undoing a roll of gauze for a moment, then lets out a hiss of frustration and rips his sling off, revealing a plain white cast on his forearm. "Honey, hang on, I'm gonna get this bandaged, and then we'll get you inside and stitched up—"
"You can't," Honey coughs. "I'm losing too much blood—"
Her face is already turning white. I'm faintly aware of GoGo, Wasabi, Fred, Callaghan, and Dad running over, then of Hiro gripping my arm. His face is nearly as pale as Honey's and his hand is shaking.
"It'll be okay," I whisper. "Tadashi will fix her."
"I don't think he can, Meg—"
"He has to. We can't lose anyone."
Tadashi is frantically trying to pad Honey's wound with gauze, but the dressing is quickly soaked through. He gives up trying to protect his injured arm and uses both hands, desperately trying to press more and more gauze into the wound, but it's not working. My heart seems to leap into my throat and drop into my stomach at the same time.
"Stay awake, Honey!" Tadashi begs, and I can hear the desperation in his voice. "Stay with me!"
But Honey's eyes have closed, and Tadashi gasps. "Someone help me get her inside! We have to hurry and close the wound, or she'll bleed out!"
Wasabi hurries forward and scoops Honey into his arms, then sprints back toward the café. Tadashi swiftly zips up his fist aid kit, then runs after him as fast as he can.
I gently put and arm around Hiro's shoulders and guide him back to the café, still limping on my broken ankle. Hiro is chalk-white and shaking violently, obviously finding it hard to deal with the sight of so much blood.
"It's gonna be fine," I whisper to him as we step inside. "She'll be okay. Tadashi is the best doctor I've ever seen. Come on, let's go upstairs."
We pass the couch, which Wasabi has laid Honey down on, and head up the stairs to Hiro's room. Thankfully, no one else follows us, so I steer Hiro over to his bed and help him sit down. Now that we're away from the blood, his breathing is slowing and the color is returning to his face.
I realize that the adrenaline that has fueled me since the attack started is now wearing off, and all the aches in my body from the various falls and explosions are returning. My ankle starts to throb, and I sink down onto the bed next to Hiro.
"You okay?" Hiro asks. "Did you get hurt in the explosion?"
"Not badly," I tell him. "I think it's only a couple bruises. We were insanely lucky, Hiro."
"Yeah," he agrees, running a hand through his hair. "We could have gotten hurt a lot worse. I feel so bad that Honey might die for us—she didn't deserve that, not after losing her arm. And now I'm gonna have to make a new prosthetic."
I laugh. "Honestly, Hiro, that's the least of our problems."
We sit there in silence for several minutes, and then I hear footsteps coming up the stairs. A few moments later, Dad appears, and he walks over to the bed, looking down at us. "Megan, why are you in Hiro's room? You know the rules."
"We were just talking," I defend. "Come on, Dad. We've been in here before—we even slept in here before coming to get you guys out of prison. We're not doing anything, like, suspicious, Dad. I promise."
At his glare, I quickly add, "And we slept in separate beds."
Dad sighs. "Okay, I suppose it's fine. Anyway, what I came to tell you was that Tadashi managed to stop Honey's bleeding. He and Wasabi are suturing new skin on right now, so they think she'll be alright."
Hiro exhales, sounding relieved, and flops down onto the bed, closing his eyes and dragging his hands down his battered face. I shoot a weary smile up at Dad and whisper, "Thank you."
He smiles back, and to my surprise, he leaves.
I lay back on the bed, turning my head to look at Hiro. "Told you she'd make it."
He laughs. "Yeah, you win. Oh, yeah—how's your shoulder? You hit it a couple times earlier."
I flex it gingerly, wincing as it twinges painfully. "Fine, I guess. I'm glad I've got wings, or this sling really would have slowed me down. How's your...everything?"
Hiro sighs and drapes an arm over his eyes. "Like I got hit by a truck. But that's how I've been feeling for a few days, so nothing out of the ordinary. I think I'm gonna take my ankle splint off, though. It's been a couple weeks since I sprained it, so it should be fine."
Hiro sits up, takes off his shoe, and begins unwinding the bandage from around his ankle, gingerly pressing on the joint. It doesn't look bruised or swollen anymore, so I conclude that it's probably healed.
"Can you believe it's only been two weeks since the battle?" Hiro asks, flopping back down and wincing. "I forgot I shouldn't do that with a concussion. Anyway it feels like it's been years since this war started. And I'm worried it'll last for just that long."
"Hey, it'll be fine," I whisper. "We just need to keep trying. We'll get the Silent Sparrow blueprints and stop the North Koreans, and then everything will be back to normal."
Hiro sighs and attempts a smile. "I hope so."