A Gundam x Worm Crossover
+++PROLOGUE: THE ORIGIN+++
It was the day after my mother's funeral that I locked myself in my room with all sorts of junk and equipment that I scoured from the house, from the living room to the garage.
About five hours later, I stumbled out of there with a satisfied feeling to meet the face of my worried father.
I was not alone.
"Hi! Hello!" The large light green ball in my arms greeted my dad, dolly eyes and squiggly lines on its face flashing with each word.
I answered my father's shocked expression simply:
"Dad, I think I'm a cape."
It was three days after that when I decided it might be time to tell Emma, who decided to let me have some space after my mother's funeral, about my new abilities. In that time, I've done a few things besides my first work, the Highly Automatic Robotic Orb.
Haro, for short.
I've first fixed up the mess I left behind from the things I ruined in my room, and then I did Dad a favor and looked over the car to see the things I could modify on there. It was a productive few days as I tested what I can and can't do, and right now I was working on some of the less complicated things I could do, fixing my ruined computer.
It was just about lunch time that I finished my work when Haro's eyes flashed and he made a beeping noise.
"Taylor! Taylor!" He called my attention. "Door! Door!" He said as he bounced up and down.
Sure enough, the doorbell rang. Huh, didn't know I put that kind of sensor on him. Better check that later, I wasn't really all that coherent when I first made him. I just wanted the image in my head to become a reality, the details of how I made him and what he did were still a bit sketchy, being too busy trying to take my mind off mom's death and focus on something else. It's like I had a case of a really vague tunnel vision or something.
I stood up quickly and rushed down the stairs on to the door, knowing who was on the other side as I opened it.
"Hi Taylor!" Emma Barnes smiled widely and wrapped her arms around in a warm hug, one which I returned in full. I sighed happily, I didn't realize how much I missed her these last few days.
"Hi Emms." I said, pulling back just a bit with a smile on my face. "Sorry I haven't been around much these days." I apologized sheepishly. I gestured for her to come in and she obliged. Emma was my best friend, I really shouldn't have ignored her this much, even when she gave me space to mourn.
"It's okay Taylor, I understand." She gave me an assuring smile as she sat down on the couch. "I know you needed some time for yourself after everything that happened." I sat down across her on the smaller chair, smiling gratefully.
"Thanks Emms." She understood me like no one else, and it's great to know she had my back even when I didn't pay attention to her. Man, I feel like such an ass for not at least going to her once and telling her I'll be okay. " You're the best."
"I know." She winked at me cheekily, leaning back on the couch. "So what's been going on with you these last few days?" She combed her vibrant red hair back as she asked carefully, mindful of what happened.
"Oh, lots of stuff actually." I kept a straight face, having decided that I'd do this with style. I let no emotion show on my face despite the giddy smile that wanted to break out.
"What kind of stuff?" Emma's eyes suddenly narrowed suspiciously. Having known me for most of my life, Emma knew my quirks from the inside out. She saw the look on my face and immediately found out that something was going on. I kept quiet, trying to maintain the whole charade.
"Come on Tay, I know you're hiding something! Tell me already!" She demanded, sitting up on the couch. My facade crumpled and I broke out a nervous but excited smile.
"Uh well," If this was anyone else I might have gotten away with it, but it was Emma, I really should have known better.
"It's better if I just actually showed you." Emma leaned forward a bit more in anticipation, and I smiled. "Haro!" I called up to my room.
There was a small commotion from upstairs, and Emma looked over just in time to squeak as something green vaulted over her, over the couch, landing right on my lap.
"I'm here! I'm here!" Haro's eyes flashed up to me, flapping his vent-like ears for like he was looking my approval at his timely arrival. I smiled and gave him a pat, turning him around to face Emma, who looked at my invention in shock and confusion.
"Emma, I'd like you to meet Haro. Haro, meet Emma Barnes, my best friend." I grinned audaciously at her slack jawed expression.
"Hello Emma Barnes! I'm Haro!" The Haro greeted Emma enthusiastically, bouncing a bit in my lap. Emma answered with a stunned silence that seemed to last forever, then:
"Oh my gosh Taylor! Is he what I think he is!?" Emma jumped up from the couch and pointed at Haro. "Did you actually build him!?"
"Yes Emma, I did." I couldn't help myself, I laughed. "I built him in a few hours, so I'm thinking I might just be a cape."
It would take even pure geniuses with a knack for building things to make little bots like my Haro weeks, maybe even months, to build. And given that I created him in my room with just the stuff I had in there, in such a short amount of time, makes me doubt I'm anything but a cape. That and I never really had an interest in creating bots until now.
"Holy crap." Emma bounced in place, excitement rolling off her as she strode over to me and picked up Haro, who beeped and flashed his eyes at her curiously, flapping his vents. "Aww, he's so cute!"
Evidently my Haro's reaction made him look adorable, as Emma cooed at him and held him up like toddler.
"I'm not cute!" Haro responded to her affections by squawking indignantly, flapping his earlike vents more insistently. "Not cute! Not cute!" Emma giggled at him, making baby faces at his annoyed reactions.
"Oh but yes you are, yes you are!" I laughed as Emma continued to treat Haro like he was a baby. She smothered him and flashed a wonderfully giddy expression at me, "Oh Taylor, he's so adorable!" She sat back down on the couch and set him on her lap, petting him like a little puppy.
Haro quieted down and just huffily accepted her ministrations, yet I could tell that he actually quite liked what Emma was doing though.
I giggled a bit, Haro was such a baby.
"So, you're a cape now huh." Emma continued petting Haro, but she was looking at me now. "How'd that happen?" Her curiosity showed through her eyes.
"Well, I dunno really." I answered honestly, because I really had no idea. "The day my mom was buried, when dad drove us home, I ran to my room to wallow away on the bed thinking about how unfair the world was and how I'd never see mom again because of some stupid accident. Just seeing her coffin buried under a pile of dirt made me realize that mom was never ever coming back and I felt so sad that I cried and cried until I didn't realize that I cried myself to sleep."
I felt a sting at the back my eyes.
I wasn't over my mom's death, but she would have wanted me to be strong, most especially now. I held the tears back and steadied myself.
"Oh Taylor." Emma looked at me in sadness, and I felt Haro's eyes looking at me, looking like he was listening to what I said intently.
I trudged on, recounting the events with a small grimace. "I didn't wake up until it was already morning of the next day, and immediately an idea was running in my head and I just had to make it come to life."
With a sigh I leaned back on the chair, adjusting my glasses.
"After that it was a great big blur, I just became consciously aware once I finished him up." An embarrassed spread across my face as I recalled what happened next.
"I couldn't remember anything then, all I remember was the boiling need to create him and poof," I snapped my fingers, adding to the expression. "The next thing I know my room was a mess, and I think almost every electronic device in there was wrecked, I think I used it all on him. Everything was ruined Emms, you should have seen it, my computer, the alarm clock, the wiring on the lights, just about everything, even the wifi router. It was like a hurricane went through my room. It was a disaster."
I smiled sheepishly, thoroughly embarrassed by the memory.
"Dad looked absolutely aghast at the remains of what I scrapped in my room!" Though I felt bad about what I did, I still laughed just a teensy tiny bit as I recalled Dad's reaction.
Sorry Dad, I'll make up for it with the car though! I promise!
"Wow." Emma looked parts thrilled and giddy. "I can't believe it, my best friend's a real cape." She looked down at Haro in wonder, and Haro rolled up to meet her with his own eyes. "You built this guy all by yourself and I've never seen you being into building stuff, doesn't that mean you're a Tinker?"
I nodded at her, "Yeah, I'm a Tinker."
My dad and I looked up the classifications for parahumans online, trying to find what kind of cape I'd be described as.
"I haven't exactly found out what my specialization is, but it's definitely related to engineering and robotics." I built Haro in my room, with a bunch of scraps, I think that would more that qualify me for robotics. "Maybe a bit of AI and coding too. Watch, Haro: Search online database for definition of Parahuman Classification, Tinker."
Haro rolled back down to face me, little eyes and the lines that made up his mouth flashing. "Searching, 1,987 results found." His robotic voice retained its cutesy tone, just a bit more formal, "Verbally describe most trusted definition?" He inquired while flapping his vents.
"Yes." I answered, grinning at Emma's amused face.
Haro complied, saying:
"Parahuman Classification: TINKER, parahumans with the capability of creating devices and item as well as altering devices beyond usual restrictions of current personal knowledge possessed and surpassing laws of physics. Are known to use resources of barest amount to create such devices with complex designs. These parahumans are known to have 'Specializations', that is having a skill tree they are more well versed in than others. Source: The World of Parahumans; by William Manton, PhD."
Haro ended his description with a beep."Did I do good? Did I do good?" His manner of speech went back to his cute robotic childlike tone, immediately seeking my praise.
"Yes Haro, yes you did." I nodded at him with a big smile, proud of my invention.
"Did good! Did good!" said Haro, happily bounced on Emma's lap. My best friend laughed at the little orb's joy and set him down, watching as he bounced around the living room freely.
I smiled and decided to show her just one more thing that the little guy could do. "Haro, can you go get Emma an apple?" I requested, and Haro stopped bouncing. He gyrated his whole body to me and flapped his ears, asking:
"Green Apple or Red Apple?" Haro robotic voice sounded out, asking hesitantly. I grinned, I've actually done this before for Dad, but Haro used his more formal tone and actually asked me what the apples were in their more scientific botanical names. Since then his systems learned to use be less formal and less technical with his descriptions. It's how I figured out that he was a learning AI.
I smiled. "Red apple, pleeeeaaase." I clapped with my hands, encouraging Haro.
"Roger, roger!"He replied with an excited bounce. He rolled off until he reached the kitchen table, and paused.
Opening his ear vents, Haro extended two little mechanical arms out, complete with small gloved hands. From his bottom half jutted out similar two circular plates, giving the little bot the impression of having legs and feet.
"Whoa..." Emma watched in surprise as the now more humanlike Haro gathered himself and jumped up onto the table, plucking an apple and placed it on a plate from the center. With that done, Haro landed back down and waddled over to Emma with his little legs and feet, handling the apple with great care with his tiny hands.
"Apple! Take Apple! Red Apple!" Haro offered the apple to Emma, holding it up to her with his little arms. Emma smiled benignly at him and picked it up gratefully.
"Thank you, Haro." Emma took a bite from to apple just to show him that she appreciated it.
"You're welcome!" Haro tucked his impromptu limbs back in to himself so he could return to his ball form and rolled over to me," Taylor! Did good?" He flapped his ears, looking at me eagerly.
I picked up the little guy and put him on my lap, smiling a proud smile as I looked at him. "Very good, Haro." I pet his head, making him flap his ears appreciatively.
"Very good! Haro is very good!" He spun on my lap in celebration, eyes and mouth flashing.
"He's just...amazing, Taylor." Emma said breathlessly. "You actually programmed him to do all this stuff with so little, imagine what you can do it you had more time, if you had more material..." She trailed off, mind looking like it wandered off from the possibilities. "You could do so many things..."
"I know." I said seriously, setting Haro down and standing up. "It's actually all in my head now Emma, there's so much stuff in here and they all just want jump right out." I tapped my head lightly, seeing the images, seeing the possibilities. The things I could build, all flashing before me...
"And all they're waiting for is me."
They were waiting for me to make them.
To give them life.
I looked at Haro, who was rolling around mindlessly, exploring the living room. He was a small technical wonder, I'm sure anyone with some big enough brains would be able to make something like him, but I made him with just junk from my room and I wasn't even lucid. I wanted to do more, to build more.
"You're restless, I can tell." Emma said, giving me a worried look. She was right, I was. I had so many things I wanted to do, but I felt so limited.
Emma stood from the couch and came over to me, enveloping me in her arms. I leaned in to her, grateful for her comfort. "You have all these new things you can do and you want to make them as soon as you can, but you know the problem..."
Who had just lost his wife...
And now his daughter was a cape.
Well, I'm a Tinker, I could probably hide myself from everyone and just keep making small things that wouldn't be noticed by the heroes and villains. I could just pretend to be a normal girl and no one would suspect a thing. I'd just be Taylor Hebert, the daughter of Danny Hebert who'd with a knack for building stuff like computers and programming operating systems. Simple everyday things.
But I couldn't.
He might not have realized it by now, but I had big plans. Big things to make, to create, to program. To give life to.
And we lived in Brockton Bay. A city filled with capes. And heroes that were far outnumbered by the villains. Villains that wouldn't hesitate to tear me apart once they found out about me.
I could go to the Protectorate and be a Ward. But that meant being a hero, and as much as I wanted to I know my father doesn't want me to go out there and put myself in danger.
That just meant I would have to sit still and be the good little daughter, keep to myself and stop trying to build the ideas that filled my head. I hated it, but I knew how hard it would be for Dad if I ever decided on being a full time cape. I could be careful, I could be subtle. But that just doesn't seem possible for me. Haro was just a fraction, an infinitesimally small fraction of what I knew I could do.
It was in my power. It was the things I could make. I just couldn't be contained. Imprinted in my brain were technical miracles that could possibly change the world! Staying here, controlling myself. Controlling my desire.
It all just feels so...limiting.
"You know you can just talk to him about it, right?" Emma gave me a pointed look. Like what she said was the most obvious thing in the world.
"I could, but I think we already know how he's gonna react." I stated.
"How can you be so sure?" Emma pulled back a bit and raised a delicate red eyebrow at me.
"We just lost Mom, Emma. Dad wouldn't want me to be all that I can be if he knew the things I'd be able to do. I'd have a painted target on my back." I just did not want to hear that from him, I don't know if I had it in me to obey him, because the urge, the desire. It sung to me, it wanted to be let free.
"And I'm sure he's said all this to you already because you've already told him. Oh wait, you didn't." Emma said flatly, looking at me like I'm an idiot. "You never know until you tell him."
I sighed, I knew she had a point. Keeping it to myself and keeping things from my father right now, in such a delicate time, I could already tell it was a recipe for disaster. "I guess I really should, right?" I intoned my words like a question but I knew her answer.
"Yes, you should." Emma said brightly, pulling away from me. "My dad always said that talking is key." She nodded to herself, like she was proud of remembering her father's lesson.
"Alright, I'll talk to him." I held back a sigh, this was gonna be a long night.
"Talk! Talk! Talk is key!" Haro added in helpfully, rolling around both of us.
"Yes it is Haro, yes it is." Emma cooed while she picked Haro up to her again, "We're gonna make sure your mommy talks to grandpa so she won't make a big mistake and regret it right?" She cuddled Haro like a little plush toy.
"Mommy?" I asked in surprised.
"Well you did make him right?" She said plainly, playing around with the round little robot in her arms. " That obviously makes you her mommy. Plus he does all the things you tell him to, and he keeps looking at you for your approval. Like he wants you to praise him." She nodded to herself with each assessment. "That's what a child does, he wants your acknowledgement." She smile smugly at me, rocking Haro in her arms. "Face it Taylor, you're a mother."
I opened my mouth to argue.
"Taylor! Mommy!" And of course, Haro butted in with best timing.
"See what I mean?"If anything, Emma's smile grew even more smug.
"But I'm not..." I wanted to argue but I knew she wouldn't budge. She would forever think that Haro was my child and I was his mother.
Well in all technicality she was right. I made him so I was his mother.
But I was still 13 years old though. Having someone call me mommy felt awkward...
"You're not what?" Danny Hebert interjected with clueless tone, coming into the living room to join us. He smiled warmly at Emma. " Hello, Emma. It's nice to see you here again." He saw her holding onto Haro and smiled wider. " I see you met the newest addition to the family."
Oh you have got to be kidding me!
"Yes Mr. Hebert. I did." Smug was no longer an apt description to the smile on Emma's face. It's transcended boundaries of the mortal planes to revel in its undeniable triumph.
"I told her I'm a cape." I said flatly, trying to divert the topic to something else. Anything else.
"I can tell." Dad nodded at Emma and Haro direction. "I knew she'd be the first one you'd talk to about this, so I came prepared." With a flourish he lifted his arm, showing us his bag of groceries. "You gonna stay for a while Emma? I was actually gonna whip up some grub, you're welcome to eat with us."
"Actually Mr. Hebert." Emma carefully let go of Haro and let him bounce off and away. "I think it might be time to go back home. I told dad I'd only be here for a bit, so he might be worried now." It was obviously a lie, Alan Barnes knew Emma would be in safe and capable hands when she was with us. She was just leaving so I could talk to Dad about my issues. Right now.
Not exactly a good time Emms! I threw her a look.
She threw one back. You have to do this as soon as possible! Her look said.
"Oh," Dad said, blinking. "That's a shame. You sure you don't just want me to phone Alan and tell him you'll be fine here?" Dad had no idea what Emma was trying to do, and so he tried to be nice let her stay for a bit. For my sake, because I told him I missed Emma.
Oh Dad. I understood now, the longer I put this off the more this would hurt. For both of us.
"Dad, it's fine." I waved off his attempts to implore Emma into staying. "Emma probably has stuff to do with her family too. She shouldn't stay here just for me."
My best friend is trying to this easier for us and she wants to keep this between the two of us, Dad.
Is what I didn't say.
Emma gave me a grateful look and smiled. "Yeah Mr. Hebert, that too." She said to my dad. "I'll be back later to hang out with Taylor, I promise." She's saying she wants to know what happened and will come back for it later.
Let's hope this doesn't blow up in our face, Emma.
"Alright, if you say so Emma." Dad relented. "Just don't be a stranger okay? You're always welcome here." Dad said kindly to Emma.
"Welcome here! Welcome Emma!" Haro supplied earnestly, bouncing and flapping his ears. Emma and Dad laughed. I did too, just a bit.
"Thanks Mr. Hebert." Emma replied gratefully to my father, "I won't forget it."
"I'll walk her out the door." I stated, to which my dad nodded and went off to the kitchen. I picked Haro up and led Emma out the door.
"You know I'm right." Emma said as she stood from our doorstep. "Talking about this sooner will make things easier."
"Will it really make it better though?" I replied tiredly, having already accepted that the quicker this was over with the better.
"It might, or it might not. We'll find out won't we?" Emma hugged me one last time, sandwiching Haro between us.
"Find out! Find out!" Haro muffled voice sounded out, making Emma laugh as she let me go.
"I'll see you later, okay?" With one last pat on Haro's head, Emma went on her way back home
"Okay." I muttered, more to myself than anyone else. With a determined look on my face and Haro held tightly in my arms, I turned around and went inside. Ready to face what was coming next.
No turning back, tell him about what I want and what I was planning to do. Tell him I plan to do big things and that I want to be a hero.
I can totally do this.
I waited until we finished eating before I would begin. Lunch was an enjoyable affair, all told. We talked about Emma, about Haro, about his job and we even laughed about the small nonsensical things. But we never really talked about my newly acquired abilities. I was scared that just interjecting it into our pleasant conversations would suddenly start a discussion that I wasn't just ready for. I needed to gather my nerves for what was to come, think of the right words to say.
I can't botch this, just keep calm and be levelheaded. You can do this.
I watched as Dad took our plates so he can start washing them, detecting just a bit of rigidity in the way he moved. I had volunteered to clean up the table and dishes, but he insisted on doing it himself.
He has done so ever since Mom's funeral.
In truth, he's been really different since Mom died. It was understandable but it's just that I felt he's...shut down. Everything he does felt so mechanical now, like he was a puppet going through the motions of some unseen strings. It's silly, because he has indulged me whenever I talk about my new powers and what I've done with them, even though I could feel just a hint of weariness in his eyes whenever he sees me going off in a tangent. Mom's death hit me hard, but I could only imagine just how much it has affected him, losing the love of his life so suddenly.
This was the biggest reason I couldn't bring myself to say what I wanted to become with my new abilities, the possibility of hurting Dad was so big. Would he finally snap when I declare that I want to live the life constant danger? That his only family left was actually volunteering to be another hero, a profession that had a high mortality rate?
"Danny! Can I help?" Haro rolled up to Dad and bounced in place, eager to help. My father glanced down the excitable green orb with a fond little smile.
"Nah, buddy. I got this, go play with Taylor." Dad shooed Haro away lightheartedly, making the little bot obediently bounce off to me.
"Play?" Haro flapped his ear vents at me, and I took a moment to just admire how adorable I had made him look.
His eyes were a simple but cartoonish and beady sort of design with the lines that parted him in the middle curved in a way to make it look like a big goofy mouth. Plus, the way he flapped his vents with certain gestures, just made him all the more endearing.
Dad was sold after the first few minutes of seeing him. My father was an actual honest to god nerd, and seeing a real live robot, even though it was a cute little ball, pushed all the right buttons. He quickly accepted Haro and I was so proud of my little bot for bringing out a real smile on my father's face, something that's been starting to get rarer as the days went on.
I shook my head with an apologetic smile. "Sorry, Haro. Maybe later? You can go explore around the living room, just don't break anything okay?"
My little robot made a small sad noise that wrenched my heartstrings, but he immediately perked up and squealed out a cheerful "Okay!" and rolled off to our living room.
I glanced at him as he went. Right there when I told him I couldn't go play with him, I sensed a flash of emotion besides his usual happy disposition. Haro wasn't just a dumb little robot with simple functions. He observed and he learned, but it seems like I designed him to be a friendly and happy little ball of sunshine. He knew how emotions worked. In just the few days that he was born Haro learned how to feel emotion.
He was like a living being.
I realize this was getting repetitive of me, but I actually made that complicated ball of programming and robotics in a few hours. In my house that didn't have any sort of sophisticated technology.
"Dad, we really need to talk." The words slipped out of my mouth very suddenly. My mind caught up to what I just said and my eyes widened.
I quickly redirected my eyes back to father, and saw that he had become very still.
Okay, that was not how I wanted to start this. But that's fine. I haven't fucked it up yet, I'll just go with the flow. I still have the things I wanted to say ready just in case.
"Oh." His back was to me and I couldn't actually see his face, but somehow I felt his jaw lock up. "What about, kiddo?"
He was trying to sound casual but I heard tiredness in his voice. He knew what was coming next.
"It's about what I want to do with my powers Dad." I paused and watched him carefully, preparing for his reaction to what I was about to say next.
Well, here goes nothing: "I want to be a hero."
I had thought about all the things I would feel after finally saying those words to my father. I thought some unseen weight would finally lift from my shoulders, something like relief flooding me after I say these simple words. But no, none of that really happened. I felt lighter for sure, and there's just a bit of relief. But they were soon replaced by a dreaded sort of anticipation that formed in your gut and just stayed there.
The silence didn't help.
My father kept quiet for what seemed like forever, his shoulders taut with tension and his back was rigid as stone. The encroaching silence slowly enveloped the room, making the dread in my gut grow colder with each second that passed.
Until finally, Dad spoke.
"I figured you would." My father's sounded worn-out, and his figure from the kitchen sink visibly slumped.
"You did?" My breathe hitched, hope blossoming in my chest. I tensed as Dad sighed audibly, shaking his head as he finally turned around to face me.
It was then that I saw the deep sadness that shone through his eyes, heavily coloring the small smile he gave me. The hope I felt faded away, realizing what that meant.
"You are your mother's daughter, Taylor. If she had an ability to do good, she would make sure to use it. I wouldn't expect you to be anything different." The smile on his face angled up just a bit as he mentioned my one of my mother's many virtues, yet the sorrow did not leave his eyes.
I thought of the words I prepared for this moment, and I gathered myself. I opened my mouth and said the next words very delicately.
"Dad, we've known that I wanted to do something about my powers from the moment I showed them to you. I'm sure you saw it in the way I talked, you saw how much I wanted to build more. Ever since I made Haro there have been tons of ideas that have been popping up in my head, and I've written so many of them down that I've lost count on how many sketchbooks I've used up." I tried to make the conversation a bit less daunting with that small joke, and it kinda worked judging from the quirk that Dad's lips made.
I continued, gaining momentum as words flew out my mouth more seamlessly, more confidently. "I know that having powers like these doesn't mean I have to be a hero, or be anything but a girl with a special talent. But can you blame me for wanting to be something more? I might sound so selfish and arrogant right now Dad, but I know the stuff I can make will make a difference out there! Brockton Bay needs all the help it can, are you saying I shouldn't do what I can to help it improve?"
Dad huffed a bit, crossing his arms with a hard look on his eye. "No, I'm not saying that, Taylor. I'm not about to tell you that you can't help people but I want you to think about just how much of a risk you're taking when you become a hero while doing so." He's doesn't sound like he's against it at least, so that's good. I can tell that he's going to judge me by what I was going to say next, so with a nod I pushed on.
"I have, Dad. There's a lot of things that will happen if I do this, I know you don't approve of me going out there and putting myself in the line of fire. You might argue that as a Tinker I don't really need to be anything noticeable, and you'd be right, I really don't." I trailed off for a bit to let him process what I'm saying. I needed to let him know that I was serious about this, that I've thought of the consequences. "I know that I can't really do anything out there like I am right now, I'm not like Alexandria or Eidolon. But you've seen Armsmaster Dad, you know what a Tinker can do with time and preparation, with actual resources." I said the last sentence with just a bit of respect.
I used the local Protectorate hero who was also a Tinker to make my case more valid, and also because I thought Armsmaster was awesome. I could admit that I was pretty disappointed when I understood that my powers weren't going to be like Alexandria. I always wanted to be like her, always wanted to fly around and punch bad guys without worrying about getting hurt because hell yeah, I was invulnerable. Alexandria was what every girl wanted to be if they ever became a cape, and I wasn't any different.
Of course I got over that quick, since I was also a fan of Armsmaster and his cool gear, his awesome motorcycle, and even that fact that he goes out as a guy who just trained himself to fight bad guys, without any real super powers. Just the stuff he built and his wits on the field.
With that in mind I pressed on, pleading my case with another example of a Tinker that I admired. "There's Dragon too Dad, no one has ever actually found where she is but she's a Tinker that helped tons of people by reverse engineering Tinker-tech and making it useable for everyone! I could do that Dad! I could help people too!" My voice raised in the end as I felt passion burn in me. I wanted to do this, I had the actual desire to help people. I dimly realized that maybe I'm coming on a bit too hotly now but I really have thought a lot about this, I'm not going into this like a big idiot.
My father didn't react to my tone rising, and I was grateful for that. I used to hear from Mom that Dad had a temper but he wouldn't ever show it or direct it to me. To know that he was still doing that even when I was being kind of insolent and persistent meant that he might be mad but he was controlling it for me, because he was listening to what I was saying and was trying to understand.
For a time Dad just looked at me with carefully impassive eyes, his arms still crossed. Then he slowly closed his eyes, and spoke. "Taylor, I'm your father. I don't want you to think that I'm trying to hold you back, but it's my duty to keep you safe." At this Dad opened his eyes, uncrossing his arms so he could put his hands on the sink and leaned back on it. "You might be a Parahuman, but that doesn't mean you're invincible." A faraway look came to him, eyes glazing over as he seemed to remember something. "Have you ever heard of the cape named Hero? He was a Tinker too, he was part of the Triumvate, the most amazing heroes ever, and people kept calling him the best Tinker in world. But that didn't help him all that much in the end, because he died too Taylor. Torn in half by the Siberian." He said the name with such emphasis that I shivered visibly, feeling my face go pale.
My father used an infallible example just like I did, to counter my words of reinforcement. But he used the name of the greatest Tinker hero to ever live, who was killed by an S class villain who has never been brought to justice even to this day.
My father continued as he noted my reaction by narrowing his eyes. "That's the kind of danger you're subjecting yourself to. I hate thinking about it, but one day someone like that psychopath might be the kind of person you fight, Taylor. Are you really ready for that?" His tone as he asked this could only be described as cold, and his eyes were more serious than I've ever seen it.
The question itself wasn't a real question, because I could hear from his voice that he had judged me from the way I reeled back to the Siberians name, as if I hadn't really given consideration to the things I would face should I become a hero. He made me feel like a fool, and unwillingly my temper flared, heat flooding to my veins and coloring my face with annoyance.
I knit my eyebrows together to show my frustration and glared at him in irritation, feeling anger at the way he embarrassed me. He was my father! Why couldn't he just understand and support me, his daughter? My next words came out of my mouth without a modicum of control.
"Do you think I'm an idiot? Of course I considered that! Of course I know that there are things out there I can't take on and that deadly people will fight me one day! I'm not invincible Dad! I know I'm not! But what exactly do you want me to do? Just not do what I can do? You don't get it Dad, it's what I can build! You've seen Haro, you know what I can do with just stuff around the house. I could make amazing things with more Dad! Stuff that could actually help a lot of people!" My tone reflected the indignant feeling I felt in my chest. I might be going too far now, but I can't help it. What good is having powers if I couldn't actually use it? And it's not like I wanted to be a villain!
I'm trying to help people Dad, why won't you let me!
"I know alright!" Dad slammed his fist at the side of the kitchen sink, and I jerked back in surprise at the loud sound of flesh meeting pavement, somewhat abating my indignant fury. "I know you're amazing Taylor, even without your powers I've always been proud of you. What you've got right now just made you all the more special and as happy as you may be with what you have, it's not all about sunshine and rainbows." My father has responded to my anger with his own and now his words were more heated, more emotional. He glared at me, and for the very first since I could remember it seemed like my father was actually angry at me. "I've read up on what people want with Tinkers, Taylor. You can help a lot of people, but that doesn't mean all of them are actually going to be of the good sort."
He spread his arms out to put emphasis on his next words. "There are vile people out there, Taylor. People with power that will want you and they'll come after you, lock you away to force you to do things for them until you've got no use left!" Furiously, my father scowled. I didn't know if it was at me or at the thought of what could happened to me, but I have never seen him so angry. It silenced me, all my annoyance, irritation washing away from the pure unbridled emotions painted on my father's face.
"Do you know how that makes me feel Taylor? It terrifies me! I don't want wake up one day to my daughter missing and only find her when she ends up in a ditch, dead!"
"Dad..."Whatever words that would have been said was swiftly cast aside as I saw my father sob, bringing a hand to his mouth to choke it back.
Dad used the hand on his mouth to palm his face, calming down. He looked at me again, his emotions dwindling back down, until all that was left was the sadness.
"So you might say that you can make amazing things, that you can help change the world, but that doesn't matter to me, Taylor. In the end you're still my daughter and you are all that I have left. I don't want to lose you so soon...just like how I lost your mother."
In response, I could only bow my head down. Shame filled me as I realized that even with all the great intentions I had, I was only really thinking of myself. Maybe I would be doing great things, but my father would be stuck here. Constantly worried, constantly thinking about what would happen to me.
The room fell silent again. The only sound was my father breathing to calm himself more, and a distant noise of Haro roaming around the living room, beeping and chattering about.
Finally Dad heaved out, looking calmer but still looking tired. He pushed of the kitchen sink, went back to his seat at the table and sat down. "But I suppose...that really wouldn't matter." He sighed, bowing his head. "The point is you're a cape now Taylor, and no matter what I do I can't keep you away from the world forever. Especially because you're a Tinker, and a lot of people would just love to have you."
His hands down at table clasped together. "Keeping like you are, making control yourself to building just the little things aren't really gonna help you once they find you. The moment they do, you're a sitting duck." My father looked away from me to the side, trying to see something that wasn't there.
And looking like he just swallowed the world's most bitter pill, he sighed once more and spoke.
"So, I guess...as much as I hate it, I can't stop you, and I'm not going to."
At those words, my eyes widened. Hope once again blossomed in me, stronger than before.
"Does that mean that...?"
He gave me a small, tired smile.
"Yes, Little Owl. I hate it, but I can't stop it."
He looked me straight in the eyes, wavering just one more second. Then, finally:
"You can be a hero, if you really want to."
"YES!" The hope in my exploded into pure joy, making me jump from my chair.
Dad smiled at my joy. "Hold on, hold on. We haven't exactly worked on the terms and conditions of this agreement yet. I'm still your father and that means I'm prioritizing your safety first and foremost, even if you're going to go do something this dangerous." He said this very seriously, and I sat back down despite my joy. I got the deal and now I'm ready to negotiate.
"Okay kiddo, this is how we're going to do this..."
I listened raptly and we talked about what we were going to do for a few hours, but in my chest I was filled with happiness.
I was finally going to do this, I was going to be a hero!
THREE DAYS LATER
"...needs some more mobility, joints too stiff. Gonna need to adjust those..." I mumbled to myself as I used my wrench to tune some of the parts in my latest invention.
"Haro, pass me the screw driver, the one with the five millimeter cross tip..." I held out my unoccupied hand absently, still looking at kinks I needed to readjust and the wires I needed to repurpose.
"Okay!" Haro squealed and obediently gave me the screw driver. I put it to work immediately, making sure to tighten up the screw holding the joints.
Just a bit of a touch up here and a bit of better placing there and...
"There we go!"
I pulled back and appraised my latest work with a smile.
Standing before me at just a little under five feet was a humanoid mass of metal and electronic wires.
Mostly grey in color from all the used steel and junk I scrounged up with Dad, it was built with the thought of emulating the human frame, with thin yet sturdy looking arms and legs made of steel and wires, complete with hands and feet, connected to a bulky torso and hip housing its main command servos and power supply. Its head was a simple camera with a single lens, connected to the rest of the body with a neck of wires and small rods, slumped due to being deactivated.
It wasn't all that impressive in retrospect, but it wasn't built to be impressive. I made this as the test bed for the things to come and I've decided to start small, but still bigger than Haro.
I stood at the basement of our house, looking at the left over materials and the tools I used to build this guy. Man, what a mess.
I'll need to clean that up later, for now though...
"One thing left to do..." I muttered, nervous. I closed my eyes and heaved out, preparing myself.
"Wait!" Emma, brandishing her phone."I gotta record this!"
I groaned. "Emma please," I already have a camera on standby right by my side, and she knew this. "You know you can't."
Her phone wasn't the safest thing in the world, it might go missing or stolen and then people would see me testing my stuff.
Plus, she was pointing it at me, and not at my invention. Can you be any more obvious?
"Come on pleaaaase."
"No, Emma. I told Dad we'd do this safe, and safe is not having a recording of my test on a camera phone."
"Ugh, fine." Emma put the phone away with a pout, crossing her arms huffily.
Haro rolled into her. She smiled and brought him up, embracing him to her chest.
"You promised you'd behave." I glowered at her.
"And I am!"
"You're making fun of me!"
"You just wanted to record my face if this failed!"
Emma gasped in an overly dramatic way. "How dare you accuse me of such a thing. I totally was not going to record you throwing a hissy fit if it ever blew up!" She hugged closer Haro to her."I wouldn't do that, right Haro?"
"Yes!" Haro chirped his agreement. "Emma wouldn't do that!"
She smirked at me, looking victorious. "See?"
"Oh yeah?" I glared playfully. "Why was the camera pointed at me instead of the experiment then?"
"It totally was not!"
"It was too!"
"Girls?" Dad walked in on us threw raspberries at each other. He raised an eyebrow. "What's going on here?"
"Nothing, Emma's just being a brat." I went back to looking at my new bot, waving a hand Emma dismissively.
"I was not!" Emma cried childishly, glaring at me."I just wanted a video recording of my best friend's reaction to her first experiment! I wasn't doing anything bad!"
"She wasn't doing anything bad!" Haro supplied, vents flapping.
"Yeah see, Haro agrees!" She smiled down at the bot.
I glared at the round green bot.
Dad laughed at that. "Well Emma, as nice as that would sound, your phone isn't exactly the safest thing in the world." Then a bit more seriously he said, "We really need to play it safe for now."
"Okay Mr. Hebert." Emma bowed her head in shame.
Hah, take that. I had Dad on my side!
"Besides," Dad suddenly said, walking to the camera. "The camera's angled so it'd catch Taylor reaction too, we can watch that later." Dad added, grinning. He made it so it did just that.
I gasped. "Traitor!"
"Yes!" Emma pumped her fist in triumph.
"Yes!" Haro cheered with her. Of course he would. I slumped, feeling defeated.
My own family has betrayed me!
I groaned again. "Fine whatever, let's just get this started." I scowled. All the professionalism I tried to do was gone, my mood for it shattered.
I looked at my invention again. Right now it was plugged in to the nearby electric socket via the long extension cord jutting out of its back. The power supply I created for it would hopefully forego the need for that later, walking around without the need to be constantly plugged.
But the power won't last that long. An hour, maybe two.
I'll need a better way to power my inventions, but right now this would do.
I coughed into my fist again, regaining a bit of the earlier mood.
I looked at Dad, who was to the closest to the camera now. "Dad, we'll start the recording."
Dad nodded, pressing the record button.
I reached out to my newest work and pressed a button hidden inside its torso, booting it up.
I watched, wringing my hands nervously as I watched the machinery slowly start itself up. The body's limbs twitched as its own systems felt out the appendages.
The finally, the head stood up straighter and with small buzz, the lens of the camera flashed a bright pink.
"Yes!" I cheered and threw my hands up, "It activated!"
"It's working?" Dad sounded apprehensive, yet I could feel his excitement as well.
"Yeah..."I stared at it giddily and this time, it was actually staring back.
"Can you make it move?" Emma's voice was half curious and half excited.
"I'm about to." I said simply. I took from my work bench the control module I made for this.
"Wait a minute, is that a PSP?" Emma asked, looking at the controller.
"Uh, well, it used to be?" I needed something small enough to be held, so I just repurposed and modded the PSP I got from the junkyard to control the robot via a remote signal in the torso. I easily just mapped the controls already on the console, and I'd see what the bot was seeing through the repurposed small screen on it. Even added more buttons so I could use it more efficiently.
"You...well, you know what, never mind." She just sent me a bemused smile. Dad was smiling as well.
"It's fine, Taylor." Emma said, her smile still there. "Keep going."
"Keep going!" Haro cheered me on as well.
"Don't mind us, kiddo. We're just here for the show." Dad's tone was amused now.
Well, whatever. I coughed into my fist again, directing my gaze to by new bot, still stationary on the wall.
"Okay, let's get this thing moving." I moved the analog on the controller, gently.
In response, the head of my invention tilted upward. I grinned excitedly, it moves!
"Alright! Next, the arms." I pressed some buttons, and once again the robot responded, moving its arms up and down again. I did it again for the legs, raising them one at a time. I made its hands rotate around on its joints, then did the same for the feet, pivoting them one at a time so it wouldn't fall over.
The frame did everything I made it do, all without a bit of fuss.
"It's working..."Emma whispered breathlessly and Haro chirped a bit as well, mirroring what she said. Dad stood by the camera silent, observing with great interest as well.
I grinned excitedly, eager to make it do the next phase of testing.
"Okay next, we make him walk." I backed up a few feet away to give it space. I waited for just a moment, then started.
Under my command, the whole body moved, doing its best to imitate the act of walking like a man. In the five steps I made it do, it was clunky in its movement, stiffly going about the motions I inputted into the control.
I smiled at it, proud. It needed some major adjustments until it actually walked better, and my eyes had caught some joints not properly as I projected. But all in all it had done well, and I felt excitement in the thought of making it do better.
"A bit clumsy, but that was great!" Emma loudly approved of what she saw, clapping. Dad nodded as well, smiling at me and my test bot.
"Definitely a work in progress, but it's not a bad for a first run."
I nodded absently, agreeing. "Now to make it walk back."
First, I pressed the necessary buttons to make it turn around. It did so by rotating itself by the torso, then the hips and the legs followed. It did the same clunky walk to the wall, and then I made it turn around, returning it to its previous station. I walked back to it and pressed the button inside the torso again, turning it off.
That would be enough for now, friend. You did great.
I breathed a sigh of relief.
I mumbled, more to myself than anyone.
"I can't believe you did that with the stuff we got from the junkyard." My Dad's tone was still amused, but carried a bit of astonishment.
"Yeah Mr. Hebert." Emma nodded, looking at the bot with admiration. "This thing's amazing."
"I gotta fix the issue with how it moved though." I muttered, looking at the control module.
It was fine to use this for the test bot, but I definitely couldn't keep using it for the future models. Part of the reason it was so stiff was because of the way it inputs command, it was woefully inefficient.
"Have to find a way to make response time better too..." I kept mumbling, racking my brain for solutions.
"Taylor, you're babbling." Emma's voice snapped me out of my stupor. I blinked and looked back her, seeing her concerned face.
"Uh, yeah. Sorry about that." I grinned sheepishly.
"Well," Dad said loudly, pressing a button on the camera. "You should take a break, Taylor. You've earned it." Dad smiled at me, but I knew he was ordering me to rest.
"Okay." I said absently, thinking it was time to slow down. I flopped down the nearby couch, feeling exhausted.
"I'll go make you guys something to eat, I'll call you up when it's done." Dad went up and out of the basement, leaving me alone with Emma and Haro.
Emma flopped down next to me, Haro in her arms. "You should be happy, it worked." Emma told me, relaxing on the couch. She rested Haro on her lap, patting him.
I leaned back on the couch more comfortably, closing my eyes. "I am, really." I replied.
I actually was, my first new thing and it worked! I was excited just thinking about of the stuff I could do next. I put my head to work thinking of the test bots flaws, and how I could fix those.
Those movements mainly, hmmm...
"Hmm, good." Emma mumbled close to me, as I kept thinking of what I could do. "Not everything's gonna go perfectly, you know. But you made it work, and it worked great. I thought so, anyway." She paused then. "Actually, I take that back. Some things you make are perfect from the start. Just look at Haro!" She squealed at the little bot.
"Yes! I am perfect!" Haro tittered at her and did a mechanical equivalent of preening.
I groaned. Ugh, last thing I needed was for Haro to start getting a bloated ego.
Seriously, that little guy is growing up too fast. Next thing I know he'll be learning how to pick up chicks just like he learned...how...to...
My eyes snapped open.
I snapped my gaze to Haro, the little green ball of happiness that's been learning to do stuff like pick up apples in only hours after he was made. He even learned how to walk on his own using the internet and he wobbled only because of his size, but even that was more refined now. It was just his size that limited him.
I then looked at my newest invention. Bigger than Haro, and with the limbs to actually move like a human more. And I never programmed anything remotely close to an AI like Haro had in him.
I then looked at the control module. I made that so I could control the new bot remotely
Then I looked back again at Haro.
Then the control module.
Then back at Haro.
I then looked at Emma. She was looking at me like I'd grown a second head.
"Emma," I said seriously.
"Give me Haro. Now."
I stared, a wide smile on my face as I positively vibrated with excitement.
Emma stood by the camera, recording what was happening while being slack jacked, awed and terribly amused.
Dad was by the stairs, looking down with his face doing a great impression of a gaping fish at what he was witnessing.
"...Dale a tu cuerpo alegría Macarena ¡Ehhhh Macarena! Aaay!" Haro childish voice sang, titling side to side, back and forth, flapping his earvents consistently to the beat. With his little round body, he tried to do his best to do the song's dance moves.
Meanwhile, we all watched as my newest machine danced the steps of the Macarena with perfect ease. No fuss, no wasted movements, dancing as if it were a real human.
I finally managed to speak, voice pitched high in exhilaration. "Okay Haro, I think that's enough."
"Awww," though he sound dejected, Haro obediently stopped moving. The robotic frame stopped as well, standing back up straighter. I breathed out to calm myself, even though all I wanted to was jump up and down in happiness.
"Wow," Dad said from the stairs. "I'm gone for what, twenty minutes? And I come back to you fixing the movement problem." He still looked incredulous at what he saw.
"I know right?!" Emma exploded, bouncing in place. "I was ready to run when she looked at Haro like a loon, but she grabbed him from me before I could! I was so scared that she was gonna do something crazy like tear him apart but she just started going around and picking up stuff like wires and then she-"
"What Emma is saying," I cut the excited redhead off, glaring at her. "Is that I found a solution with the finer movements and proper control response time." I pointed at Haro.
My little bot lay on the ground, hooked up with wires connecting to the now modified control module. "I was struck with inspiration when I remembered how Haro kept learning how to walk better on his own, how he kept learning to do things as time went by."
I gestured to the now stationary machine.
"I thought, what if I made Haro's learning interface handle all of movement and control problems?" I babbled on. "Haro's current database has already observed how to walk properly, his problem was his own chassis and insufficient limbs. So I just modified the control module a bit and hooked him up on it and well... Haro, make the frame walk over to me."
"Roger!" Haro's chirped, eyes flashing.
The mechanic humanoid frame did as I commanded Haro to do. The way the body walked was leagues and leagues away from the first test, now more human like and more refined in its movements. It was no longer clumsy, moving as if it were a real human, without stiffness that plagued it earlier. It stopped as it stood right in front of me, its posture looking like a man, head angled like a man.
"Squat." I said.
Haro made it do so.
"Stand up straight."
Again and again I commanded, and every time the frame did as I said with human like efficiency.
Of course I could still see problems, but it was the physical stuff like the joints that I needed to adjust and wiring that needed to be placed better. But Haro's learning program has fixed the movement and response time of the machine to near perfection, the most immediate problem that I needed to patch up.
"I can't believe how simple it is."I muttered to myself, incredulous at the way the conundrum had solved itself simply because of a happy-go-lucky green ball. I looked at Haro again, he was waiting for further instructions, absently flapping his vents.
"Uh Haro, can you walk him back to where he was." I told him what to do.
"Okay!" Eyes flashing, Haro made the frame return to its previous station.
"You did great, Haro." I leaned down and patted him on the head proudly. Haro looked up at me and made an appreciative sound.
"This should be enough for now." I smiled and unplugged him from the control module.
"Oh Haro, you're so awesome!" Emma immediately scooped up the little ball into her arms and spun around. She raised him upwards and chattered at him "I bet you made Mommy so proud! And you made me proud! Because you're so cute and adorable-" She babbled on and on so I tuned her off and walked over to the machine, looking it once over in approval before turning it off again.
"So Taylor," Dad started, now at foot of the basement stairs. "Think you're ready enough yet?" He asked casually, leaning against the railing with his hands.
That made me pause. I thought back on our deal, and how I was able to make my newest invention through that.
When my Dad agreed to let me become a hero, he brokered no argument that I was going to the Wards. It was my safest bet, and the local Protectorate had Armsmaster, who might even help me with stuff I build. It was a sweet deal, and I really couldn't find anything wrong with it.
But I asked him to wait, to let me do Tinker stuff on my own for just a bit. I wanted to see the limits of my capabilities within the resources allowed to me. It was a stubborn thought, but I just wanted to see how I'd do on my own. Even for just a little while.
"That's too dangerous," Dad had argued. It really was, but it irked me to think that I couldn't be anything on my own. "You're a Tinker, people want you. Especially with the stuff that you could do."
Pride was what drove me to say my next word. "We'll be extra careful! I promise Dad!" I had argued.
"No, Taylor." Dad had said to me firmly, eyes hard. "We're going to the Wards. We need to make sure you're safe." I couldn't argue to the face of my father's firmness, but I tried to find a way anyway.
"Just let me do one really awesome thing." I had told him, trying to at least get away with one thing.
"Taylor, I'm your father. And I'm telling you, no."
"Please Dad, just one thing! I swear it won't take even a five days, a week tops." I had practically begged. Looking back I was being really dumb. Very dumb.
"Taylor..." Dad's eyes softened. He sighed.
"Alright fine. But let me handle getting all the stuff you need." He had consented but put conditions with it. "I have very close friends that can help me get the resources from junkyards around the docks. You, however, are not to going to be seen with them, nor are you going out with whatever you are making in plain sight."
I had nodded eagerly, agreeing to his terms."I promise, I'll be extra safe."
"One invention, that's it. And one week, that's all. We're going to the PRT once that's over, even if you didn't finish it yet. No questions asked."
I had nodded then again, no longer arguing.
It turned out that Dad's friends were loyal dock workers who has been with him through thick and thin. As the head of hiring my father has met his fair share of different people, and he contacted the ones he trusted the most.
Despite the discreet nature of how he obtained the stuff I wanted, it only took about a day to get all the things needed. I was struck at bit by how quick it was. I had asked him how.
"Sometimes you get good people who work for you, Taylor." He had smiled then. It was very sincere smile.
That made also made me think.
Sometimes Dad would come home sad, looking frustrated. I knew it was about work. He was also the Union spokesperson, and that meant he was a voice for the people he hired. That meant he would constantly disappoint people when he couldn't get the mayor's approval for fixing the budget for the repair on the ferry, or when he couldn't improve the job growth of the Docks section in Brockton Bay.
These good people, these were the ones he'd disappoint, and yet they stayed loyal to him. I finally understood a deep part of the reason why he was so frustrated.
To honor that, I made sure that I wouldn't waste anything when I made the test unit. It took me less than a day, even between breaks that my father would force me to have.
Incidentally it seemed like my powers had attuned me to resource efficiency, as a surprising number of materials were left over. I could use those to upgrade the frame, and still have a lot left over.
Which brings me back to today.
"I just want to make a few more adjustments." I answered him truthfully.
"Hmm, I see." He watched me for a few seconds, then to the test unit."I'm really proud of you, kiddo. I just want you to know that." He nodded at the mechanic frame. "I already think it's awesome, but if you feel like it's gonna take a few more tweaks then take your time. Just remember what we talked about alright?"
"Yeah, I do. Thanks, Dad." I smiled at him, truly grateful.
"You're welcome." He smiled. "Also, be sure to get upstairs. Lunch is ready." He climbed up the stairs and was out of the basement once again.
"Emma," I called to the redhead who was busy smothering Haro with loving attention.
"Yeah?" She stopped and turned to me, blinking.
"Go upstairs and eat, tell Dad I'm just gonna clean up the mess here a bit." I told her.
"Oh, okay. Come on Haro." She carried the little ball of machinery to her chest, chatting him up as she skipped up the stairs. The sounds of their voices trailed off as they closed the basement door.
With them gone, I looked at the basement. It was a right mess, parts that I used for the machine scattered all over the floor.
My make shift work bench was littered with circuitry that I used for the bot. The computer was right next to it, having transferred it from my room here, and the keyboard was piled on by sheets of used metal. The couch had some wires on it making it the least messy, but the station of the frame was surrounded by junk.
Cleaning this up is gonna be hell.
I groaned, not wanting to think about it. I just actually really needed some peace quiet, and made the excuse of cleaning up a bit.
I'll work on that later, right now I just needed time for myself. To think.
I assessed the mechanical frame once more.
Besides what I had already observed, the frame needed work. Some joints collided a bit together and impeded movement, some wires got in the way of the limbs stretching as well as they should.
And again, the movement and control system.
Without Haro's help, this was a currently a clumsy piece of machinery. I could work on it, adjust things till it moved like how Haro made moved. That would take a lot of time, and I wasn't exactly keen on that. Dad was absolutely right, I really needed to go to the PRT, get help, be part of a team, be safe.
I didn't exactly realize how dumb I was when I begged him to wait. I imagine that the PRT might have helped me with this anyway. I was just being stupid when I said that I wanted to test myself. In the end I still got help from people, and I made Dad call in favors from the people he trusted.
I'm such a stupid kid.
I was actually worried there earlier, thinking to myself that I'd actually be spending more time away from the PRT because I didn't realize how much more work it would be to make the frame move right.
I'd still fulfill my part of the deal with Dad, but I'd feel woefully unsatisfied. Stupid pride.
Haro helped me a lot with that. Thank goodness, I had more time for tweaking the machine now.
Speaking of Haro, the little ball of sunshine really was my best work right now. When I made the new guy, I hadn't really thought of reusing the programming I had with Haro, it would have felt like I was just rehashing what I made. I banged up the newest model with the looming thought of a deadline in mind, and I wasn't nearly thinking as well as I should.
Sometimes you just have to take five and realize how many things you're doing wrong.
It was folly, from how stubborn I was with insisting on being on my own to not thinking about how useful Haro's programming could be for the new machine. I was trying to be self-important and I didn't know how many mistakes I was making and how I was being a burden instead of a boon.
I knew better now though. I sighed again.
This was an enlightening experience.
Once again I looked at the machine, my little mistake that's turning out better than it should.
There was an idea in my head for alleviating the adjustments I needed to make for this test frame.
Haro was my ball of happiness and joy, and he was programmed from the beginning to be a very happy little child. He would keep learning, but in my gut I instinctively knew that he'll never grow a personality beyond that. I didn't design him to be.
But that was fine.
He was perfect the way he is, but I needed something more than that.
I looked at the control module, then to the material yet unused, ready and waiting.
I needed something to handle the controls for my new machine. And for my future inventions as well.
I looked upstairs, to the door. To where Haro was.
I needed to make a control system like Haro, one that had his programs, his learning interface. Another A.I., but one that had a personality that I needed for the task.
And I had all I needed to make it.
But, that would be for later.
I looked at the mess again, nodding to myself.
I'll clean this up and go upstairs, like I told them.
Then I'll go to work on the frame, and the new control system.
Stretching my arms, I smiled.
I picked up some junk and started to clean, eager to get to what's to come.
It was night by the time I finished. Emma already left, and Dad was upstairs taking care of the dishes with Haro. I finished eating dinner and was now back at the basement, laboring away at my newest tech.
I adjusted my glasses as I typed away at the computer. I already downloaded Haro's database into this, thus copying all that he had learned and now I was just finishing up the new personality and brand new parameters of the latest A.I.
I decided to use Haro's design for its body. I looked at it, it was connected to the computer through wires, lifeless. It was powered like Haro, an ultra compact energy storage system that could make it last for days, rechargeable as well.
I made it look like Haro in every way, from the face to its round body to the limb design and the ports for wires that opened up on command.
The biggest difference was the newest program. I took apart the control module and put its remote programming into the new Haro lookalike model. This would serve as the new control system after all.
Other than that, it looked like Haro in every way.
Except of course, the color.
I made it red, just to distinguish him from Haro. It felt appropriate, somehow.
I went back to the screen and I made sure the algorithm for the program it was specifically made for was just right, and nodded.
"Here we go." I pressed the enter button to begin. I stared at the screen intently, watching the process. I put the new model on my lap.
...Checking internal processor.
...Internal processing systems cleared
...Routing server pathways
...Connecting to online database
...loading program preferences
...receiving data packs
...downloading acquired data
...confirming system parameters
...all systems cleared
Beginning upload of artificial intelligence interface:
"And there we go!" I cheered at the screen. I picked up the new machine on my lap, stand from my seat and holding it up.
When before its eyes had shown no signs of life, this time they flashed a bright yellow color along with its mouth. It's eyes flashed a few times, like it was blinking, and then it tested out its ear-vents, its tiny arms and its makeshift feet, before turning back to a ball again. It's eyes had stilled, like Haro's when he was quiet.
"Hey there, little guy." I greeted my new invention warmly.
It's yellow eyes flashed again, once.
"Hello..." He answered back, and unlike Haro his voice was more mature.
"I'm Taylor, by the way. I made you." Smiling, I set him down on work bench. He titled himself in every direction, as if he was testing himself. Finally, he settled back down and looked up to me.
"Greetings, Taylor." He greeted me again, more formally. "Or shall I address you as Creator?" He asked me respectfully, ear vents flapping.
I waved my hand at that. "Nah, just call me Taylor. Haro does it." I paused at that. "Though he's been calling me Mommy because of what Emma said..." I trailed off.
"Mommy?" The red Haro paused at that, looking down. "Mother?"
"Ah, no!" I waved my hands frantically. "That's just something stupid Emma said because I made Haro and it technically made me his mom! Don't use it!"
The little bot looked at me for a few seconds, then flapped his ears.
"Okay, Taylor." He sounded amused, yet there was a hint of something else I couldn't quite place.
"Ehem." I coughed into my first. I walked up to the test body and pressed the switch to boot it up.
I turned back to the red Haro
"So, buddy." I started, saying buddy in place of a name I hadn't thought of yet. "Do you know what I made you for?" I asked him.
The little bot flashed his eyes and mouth.
"Affirmative." He started, tone formal and like that of a soldier. "I am the Creative Hyper Action Response A.I. Unit, designed to manage and control machinery of your creation. I am programmed to administrate action response time for finer movements and progressively learn the process of being more human-like in finer control, thus my Creative algorithm. I am to gather data at all times, and simulate them during immediate the need." He finished, ear flaps moving.
"Yep." I gave him a thumps up. I then patted the machine beside me. "So, do you wanna try making this guys arms move?" I asked.
He looked at me once more, and then again at the test unit. His eyes flashed. "Connections, set."
After saying that, he made the arms move up and back down. Flawlessly, just like Haro
"How about the legs?" I asked next, tone carefully neutral but inside I was incredibly giddy.
He made each leg go up and down at a time. He did so deliberately, knowing if he made both go up at same time the machine would fall down. He already learned what Haro learned.
"Now, can you make it walk over there?" I tried to push down my excitement as I pointed to a certain spot.
The little bot made the test unit walk to the specified spot, just as perfectly and as humanlike as Haro.
"Well, how about making it go back over here?"
Turning it back around, the little red Haro moved the machine back to its original spot.
I beamed at him with pride. "That was great!"
"Thank you, Taylor." His tone was sincerely grateful, even though it was robotic.
"Well, it looks like you can do I everything I made you to do! Perfect!" I went over and patted him on the head, but inside I was howling with joy. It worked! My new A.I. totally worked!
And this time I actually made him while I was lucid! Haha!
"Will there be anything else, Taylor?" Red Haro said, his tone curious.
"I haven't gotten you a name yet, have I?" I absently stroked his head like I would Haro. He flapped his ear vents like him too, though more subdued.
I couldn't keep calling him Red Haro, because he wasn't like Haro in personality at all.
And calling him Red is a bit too simple.
My eyes drifted back to the computer screen, where his primary function was written out
Of course. "I got it!"
It was so simple, I rolled my eyes at myself and picked him up. I held him at arms length, and gave him big smile.
"Welcome to the world, Char!"
So, hi there. If you're new to this story, then I bid you a hearty welcome, and a big thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope you enjoy the rest of the story that I've already written.
If you've been here before, then welcome back. And I think that you'll notice that it's a lot bigger than it used to be.
Well the reason for that is very simple: I've combined the prologue with the first 2 chapters, and have decided to edit the rest of my other chapters as well.
My reason's are the following:
1. The prologue really felt like it had no impact, and looking back it was stale and didn't really make for an interesting prologue.
2. The other 2 chapters were left off at a weird place, and really needed to be combined to actually feel like a real chapter.
And so, we have this new, combined and partly revised version.
I am also going to rename this simply as Prologue: The Origin. I hope that clarifies what's happened to the other 2 chapters.
And also I hope you enjoyed this just as you had before.
And as always, please leave a review, I wanna know what you think of the changes, and if you're new, I wanna know what you think of my story.