Heart of Metal, Beats Like Gold

My Pet Robot

"Sooo, Kuno," Randy said slowly, as he closed the closet door behind him. "What's with this…? You're—"

"Dude, you're a robot?!" Howard exclaimed. Then he hesitated. "Yeah, we should have seen this coming. I mean, all that talk about data, being on time…"

"My apologies," Kuno said, still blank. She unplugged the wire and closed her heart panel. "I cannot help that I have been programmed this way. I was made to pass off as the perfect schoolgirl. I must not have been created perfectly."

"What are you sorry for? This is bruce! Hey, this is just like that time when Franz Nukid came around—"

"Yeah, and he tried to destroy m—the Ninja?" Randy scoffed. "And speaking of…Kuno, do you mind if we ask you a few questions?"

"Certainly."

"Why exactly are you here? I mean…who are you?"

Kuno stared for a while at the two. The pixels in her eyes were analyzing again before she blinked them away. "Very well. It is time you know the truth."

The two boys sat down, prepared to listen.

"My name is Kuno Ichi. Serial number MF626-14. I was created a long time ago; from a time I do not recall when. My creator apparently believed I was not a perfect model. He disposed of me. There was an accident, that involved technical difficulties and exposed electricity, which I have later discovered was because of the Ninja. Because of that, I was revived. And I therefore chose to find sanctuary here. I do not have any data of my past self. Much less know who my creator is. So I started a life as a Norrisville High student."

"Whoa," Randy gasped. "So you're here on your own? Awww!"

"How can anyone take you out?" Howard wiped away a fake tear. "You're great at doing homework!"

"So, wait, you're not Japanese?"

"No. I was only programmed to speak the language."

"Aaand, all this time you talked about parents and being busy…all that was a lie?"

"Naturally. I have collected data on how a normal teenage girl would act. Anything I said about myself was unquestionably untrue. I am still not the perfect robot. I have much data to gather. That is why I am in school."

"So…what was all that talk about Ninja business?"

"It is still important for my data. He is the one that managed to revive me after all. It is important I know how the Ninja works."

"Heeey, Kuno. Calm your pixels. The Ninja is not a robot too. And good luck with that! I'm sure you'll know who it is soon." Randy chuckled and silently winked at Howard.

"Yes. It must be so."

"Hold on, then where do you sleep?"

"I have my ways." Randy decided not to ask. "Now that you know everything, I must highly request you keep my secret safe."

"Don't worry, robot girl!" Howard said proudly.

"Please refrain from calling me that."

"Your secret will be kept in our brains. Unless you know, someone gets a mind reader. I do not want to go through that again."

"Very well. Now, I believe it is time you get to class."

As usual, the bell rang as if on cue. "That's never gonna be a mystery now!"

"Wait, we have the same math class together," Randy said. "Aren't you going to follow?"

"I might be late. But there is no need to worry about me. I am, after all, a robot."

The two boys glanced at each other and silently left the room, choosing not to say anything else.

Kuno continued to sit on the box as she closed her eyes and opened her heart panel again. The gears in her head literally turned. Her database was ready to do upon command. She opened her eyes again, and they were glowing a little, as her mind began making a few…changes.

"Commencing external memory alteration."


Luckily for them, it was a Wednesday. It wasn't long before Friday came around. There were two days of more homework duties for Kuno. Two days for Randy and Howard to think. They definitely believed Kuno wasn't working for Viceroy. And Viceroy, for some reason, did not know about their knowledge of the robot girl. Something was up, but nobody knew yet.

In the meantime, the boys had other plans on their minds. During lunch that Friday, Kuno was sitting with the two, as usual. "So what do you do on the weekends?" Howard asked, apparently still psyched about having a robot as a classmate.

"I shut down until Monday."

"That's it? You don't do any bruce robot stuff?"

"With my sole purpose to just be in school, I have no other reason to live."

"You know Kuno," Randy said. "If a normal person said that, it would be just sad."

"But it is the truth. I know nothing else. And I do not technically know what a normal teenage girl does outside of the learning system."

"Shopping, gossip, sunshine and rainbows?" Kuno only blinked at that. "Why are you asking us? We're manly men! We don't know what girls do?"

"I just assumed. After all, you did go into the Girls' Locker room."

"How did you know that?!" Howard exploded. "Ugh, see, this is why you can't trust Fowler!"

"There were no rumors. I was merely overhearing what you two were talking about yesterday. You were inevitably loud."

"…Well played, Kuno Ichi. Well played."

"So, you know nothing of being a teenager?"

"Shopping, gossip, sunshine and rainbows? I have yet to research on that."

Randy suddenly broke into a wide grin. "Kuno Ichi, you are in for a treat! You found the right teachers to teach you! Lucky you don't do anything on the weekends."

"I do not think I understand what you are saying."

"You. Howard. Me. We're having a Night-Out!"

"All right!" Howard cheered, high-fiving his best friend. "So honking bruce!"

Kuno stared blankly again. "Night-Out?"

"Well, I would call it Boys' Night-Out, but you're not a boy, are you?"

"I am technically just an object with a learning chip."

"We're gonna go crazy later! Just you wait. We are going to teach you the meaning of fun."

"RandyHoward style!" The two boys did their bro slap.

Kuno nodded. "I look forward to that. In Japanese, sensei is what we call teacher. Therefore, you are my senseis, correct?"

"Hei!"

"What?"

"Isn't that Japanese for yes?"

"…"


When school was over, the first stop was apparently Randy's house. "Why are we in your place of residence? Is your idea of fun to do homework?"

There was a bit of silence for a while. Then, the two boys burst out laughing, leaving Kuno expressionless again. Once it died down, Randy cleared his throat and regained composition.

"No, my student. This is where the beginning of fun happens. And the beginning of fun has one name: Grave Puncher!"

The purple-haired teen gestured to his television, where his gaming console was already set up. The Grave Puncher CD was already inside, and the introduction of the two boys' favorite game appeared on the screen. The "Start" button was just waiting to be pressed.

"I have been informed of such devices," Kuno said after a while. "It is called a video game, correct?"

"Precisely! One of the most brucetastic ways to have fun!"

"Each game has a different theme," Howard explained. "Consisted with levels filled with honking grave-punching awesomeness!"

Kuno hummed a bit as her eyes begin to glow again. She appeared to be scanning the game in front of her. "According to my data, there is some information in the game that can be acted upon certain movements and commands, therefore making it rather straightforward and effortless."

"Say what."

"There are cheats in this game, yes? Would that not make the game easy?"

"Easy, you say?" Randy smirked. "Oh, contraire, my young robot. You must prepare your little learning chip because it is game on."

"I'm gonna be generous this one time and let you take my console," Howard offered. "But only because I want to see you going down."

Kuno's deep eyes stared back at him. "We shall see about that."

She and Randy each took a console as he then pressed "Start". The game had begun, and Kuno listened to the intro and instructions. Her dark eyes glowed again, as she scanned the game.

"Begin!"

Fingers flew across the consoles, pressing buttons left and right. Lights from the television were blaring as the two played the apparently stressful game. Randy had his focusing face on, while Kuno kept her blank expression. It was hard to tell if she was even trying. Halfway through, she did a little series of pressing on the buttons, and the character she was playing suddenly followed her command. Howard gasped when he realized what she'd done.

"You're kicking graves?! But that's impossible! That can only be done in the other games!"

"Is that so…" Kuno did not lose her concentration as she continued to play.

Round after round, she was did not leave her spot. She did not leave the zone. Round after round, she played beside Randy, until a couple of hours later, they appeared to be done.

"Congratulations. You have punched all the graves."

"Aw, yes!" Randy cheered. He and Howard did their bro slap.

"Come on, Kuno!" Howard encouraged. "Didn't you think that was fun?"

The robot girl looked up at the boys, her blank expression still on. "It was certainly more challenging than I had expected. I have not come across anything like this, and I have to say that the experience was rather pleasant."

"Say what."

"…It was a little fun."

"Then you're in for a whole lot more!"

"There is more?"

"Of course! Come on! If you liked Grave Puncher, you'll love this!"


"I did not think it was possible for me to gather so much data."

Where else did you think they took her? Of course, none other than Greg's Game Hole?

"Ehh? Ehh?" Randy grinned. "What do you think? Pretty bruce right?"

"I still do not understand that term. But I would definitely like to try all these games."

"Too bad, Kuno," Howard said. "My mind is begging to get started as well, but my stomach is just dying to get some grub. Frankly, I listen to my stomach more."

"Grub?"

"He means food," Randy took Kuno by the wrist. "Come on! This place isn't just filled with gaming goodness."

The boys now dragged her over to the Food Hole. Luckily, they found a table for three and Randy quickly went to the counter to order some food. Kuno was still slightly confused on why she was there, but she chose not to say a word yet. She just hoped they would understand, especially when Randy had returned with heaping trays of nachos and pizza.

"Bon appetite! Or whatever they say in Japan."

"Finally! I'm starving." Howard took a giant slice of pepperoni pizza, topped nachos onto it, and practically swallowed it whole.

As Randy bit into his own slice, he raised an eyebrow when he saw Kuno not moving. "You're not going to have any?"

"…Randy…"

"...Oh right you can't…yeah." If Kuno knew how to facepalm, she probably would have done so. "Well that's just sad…what do robots eat?"

"We do not technically eat anything. Electricity and oil is all we need to survive."

"Oil?" Howard echoed. "Is that what you've been drinking the entire time at lunch?"

"Yes."

The boy now looked ready to hurl. "OK, no wonder it tasted bad."

"You drank my oil?"

"It was just as sip!"

"Hm. I guess that will explain why I could not find it last Thursday…"

"Oil, hmm…" Randy tapped his chin. "Does oil have flavor?"

"I suppose it does. I do not technically taste it. The chemicals just appear in my head and slightly power my system."

"Then I think I've got it! Do you have some oil with you?"

Kuno reached into her small sling bag and brought out her bagged oilcan for the day. "I was supposedly saving it for later."

"Too bad, you gotta drink it now!" Randy popped the can open and tried to ignore the overwhelmingly foul smell it emitted. He crushed some cheese-coated nachos and sprinkled them through the hole. He took some pizza bits and added them to the mix. After some vigorous shaking with a napkin, he handed it back to the robot girl.

"Bon appetite again!"

"Aw, Cunningham!" Howard gagged. "What did you do to nature?!"

"Added it with the opposite and let Kuno enjoy. If you like oil, then have a taste of this kind!"

The robot stared at her drink for a long while, staring inside the murky mix as if scanning again. "Itadakimasu," she muttered. With her blank expression still on, she took a sip.

Suddenly, at that very moment, the boys watched for the first time ever as her eyes popped wide open.

"How is it?"

They really couldn't tell if she was enjoying or not. She just continued to stare into the ceiling with her eyes open, with this weird look of both amazement and horror. It just stayed like that for a few more seconds until it returned to its blank state.

"I suppose it is all right."

When she took another sip, Howard turned to Randy. "That's rather brief, but I'll take it!" They did yet another bro slap.

"I will never understand that movement you do with your hands."

"Oh, this?" Randy smirked. "It's our bro slap! Specifically just for the two of us bros."

"Buuut I guess if you can keep up with it, we can teach you. It starts like this…"

They attempted to do it step by step, but even the slow version while sitting down was hard. When they finished, Kuno just stared again.

"I will never understand that movement you do with your hands."

The two boys began to laugh. "You just said that!" Randy chuckled. "OK, we'll just do a little brofist, that all right?"

"Brofist?"

"Yeah, you just gotta kinda…make a fist and then…bump it."

When Kuno made a fist, Randy reached over and bumped it with his own. Howard did the same thing. The robot blinked, opening and closing her hand repeatedly. "Brofist…it has now been added to my database."

"Cool" Howard grinned. "We got a girl bro. If that's even possible!"

"I have to ask. Does this term 'bro' refer to another way of saying 'friend'? Because I have not learned the term in my database."

"Way to go, Kuno! Cunningham, she's learning!"

"And now I'm starting to think," Randy mused. "Your name, Kuno Ichi. Has that always been your name?"

"Yes. That was the name my creator had given me."

"Well, it's not…you know…that brucetastic."

"Hm?"

"It's wonk, dude, get over it," Howard put in.

"You cannot blame me. I was also created with the way of a female ninja. In Japan, female ninjas are called Kunoichis. I was literally named Kuno Ichi."

The two boys stared at her, blinking, for a little while longer. "…OK then? Now that you have no creator, you deserve a brucer name!"

"A new name?"

"Yeah!" Howard agreed. "Like Honking Bruce! Or Bruce McCheese!"

"Or Randy Cunningham?" the purple-haired teen joked.

"Pardon, but those are all boys' names. If you must insist on giving me a new name, try forming one out of the one I already ha—"

"I got it!" Howard exclaimed. "Kin!"

"Kin?" Kuno and Randy echoed.

"Yeah, I don't know it just popped into my head."

"Why, Kin?"

"Because you know! Her first name, Kuno, last name Ichi…put the I in between the K and N…I know it's stupid don't judge me."

"I like it," Kuno mused. "It sounds…nice."

"Well if you like it, we're all up for it!" Randy patted the girl's shoulder. "Kin…huh! Nice one, Howard."

"Yep, I know, I'm a genius!"

"It'll be your little nickname from us. Now, let's go have more fun!"

And so, the three teens plunged themselves into the Game Hole.


~Three hours later (because I'm too lazy to write actual things happening~)~

"That was so—"

"Bruce?" Kuno questioned. The two boys stared at her in amazement before grinning wildly.

"Yeah!"

The two boys laughed as they all bro-fisted. Even Kuno got the hang of it already. "We totally crashed it in there!" Randy hooted. "Kin, you played like,every game."

"I had to find the system that matched my standards."

"Totally a night of brucetastic fun!" Howard pumped his fist in the air.

"Yes…it was…fun." Out from the corner of her mouth, Kuno turned away and smiled to herself.

Either Randy noticed, or he was just plain proud, because he grinned madly. "We should do this more often!" He frowned when he stared up at the dark sky. "Ah, but it's getting late, shouldn't we get home?"

"Yeah, my mom's probably gonna kill me when she knows I—"

"Guys," Kuno interrupted. "Do you hear something?"

The two boys looked at each other and shrugged. "We don't have your ears, Kin."

"It's coming from over there."

As she walked ahead, the boys had no choice but to follow.

The more they walked, the more the boys realized she was hearing music. And as they got closer, Randy realized how much he recognized the person singing.

We're like bros, yo!
(We're like bros, yo!)
We're like bros, yo!
(We're like bros, yo!)

"That sounds like…" he started.

"Look."

When Kuno pointed, Randy resisted the urge to groan. It was just Bash Johnson and his gang again, singing that infamous song they said that they loved to sing so much. And what's worse that there was a crowd actually listening.

We're like bros, yo!
(We're like bros, yo!)
We're like bros, yo!
(We're like bros, yo!)

"That is the stepson of Hannibal McFist, yes?" Kuno asked.

"Yeah," Randy sighed. "Guess they'll never stop getting at it. Come on, Howard, let's—"

"Nah, I dunno, I kinda still wanna listen." Howard was actually nodding his head to the beat, enjoying the "music" Bash was making. "Remember when they entered the talent show—"

"Yeah, I get it. Come on, Kin—Wait, Kin?"

He looked around and stared in horror when he saw the robot girl walking up to the performance. "Kin?!"

We're like bros, yo!
(We're like bros, yo!)
We're like bros, yo!
(We're like bros, yo!)

Once Bash finished, he jumped up, and stomped on his turntables. Again. Just like last time. He cheered for himself, pumping his hands up. "Yeah! Go us!"

Only Kuno was not impressed by this action. "Is this what you call music? All you are doing is destroying your belongings and repeating the same words."

The audience that stood and watched let out an "Oooh"

"You again?" Bash glared. "What's the matter with yous? You wanna get beaten up?"

"This time, I am only here to show you what real music is."

"What? What are you talking about?"

Randy and Howard quickly ran up front and the purple-haired teen laughed nervously. "So sorry, Bash, our friend here just kinda got out of control—"

"No, I am not. I mean what I'm saying."

"This is my stage! Get off of it!"

"My apologies, Bash, but I must request you get off." More "oooh"s.

"You messin with me?!'

"You already asked that."

"…What? Did I?"

"I do not know with you."

"I don't know! Stop confusing me!"

"Then you better step away then."

"OK!"

Before Bash could even realize what was happening, he had dragged his crew away from them, much to their confusion. Randy and Howard stared and slowly grinned in amusement, especially when the crowd cheered slightly.

Kuno picked up a guitar that was just lying there and quickly strapped it on. She glanced over her shoulder and at her two friends. "I just might need your help on this one."

With a cock of her head, they turned to see a keytar and drum set just lying there too. Understanding, the boys laughed as they quickly got to position. The crowd cheered, seeing a new performance commencing.

"1, 2, 3, 4!"

Some legends are told
Some turn to dust or to gold
But you will remember me
Remember me for centuries
And just one mistake
Is all it will take
We'll go down in history
Remember me for centuries

(He-e-e-ey ya, oh he-e-e-ey
He-e-e-ey ya)

Remember me for centuries

Kuno: Mummified my teenage dreams
No, it's nothing wrong with me
The kids are all wrong
The story's all off
Heavy metal broke my (All: Heart!)

Come on, come on and let me in
The bruises on your thighs like my fingerprints
And this is supposed to match
The darkness that you felt
I never meant for you to fix yourself

(All: Du du du-du, du du du-du
Du du du-du, du du du-du
Du du...)

All: Some legends are told
Some turn to dust or to gold
But you will remember me
Remember me for centuries
And just one mistake
Is all it will take
We'll go down in history
Remember me for centuries

(He-e-e-ey ya, oh he-e-e-ey
He-e-e-ey ya)

Remember me for centuries

Kuno: And I can't stop 'til the whole world knows my name
'Cause I was only born inside my dreams
Until you die for me, as long as there's a light, my shadow's over you
'Cause I, I am the opposite of amnesia

And you're a cherry blossom
You're about to bloom
You look so pretty, but you're gone so soon

(All: Du du du-du, du du du-du
Du du du-du, du du du-du
Du du...)

All: Some legends are told
Some turn to dust or to gold
But you will remember me
Remember me for centuries
And just one mistake
Is all it will take
We'll go down in history
Remember me for centuries

(He-e-e-ey ya, oh he-e-e-ey
He-e-e-ey ya)

Remember me for centuries

Kuno, Randy, Howard: We've been here forever
And here's the frozen proof
I could scream forever
We are the poisoned youth

(All: Du du du-du, du du du-du
Du du du-du, du du du-du
Du du...)

All: Some legends are told
Some turn to dust or to gold
But you will remember me
Remember me for centuries
And just one mistake
Is all it will take
We'll go down in history
Remember me for centuries

(He-e-e-ey ya, oh he-e-e-ey
He-e-e-ey ya)

Remember me for centuries

We'll go down in history
Remember me for centuries

Once the song ended, the three realized the crowd had become a little larger. Everyone cheered loudly as they ended their performance. Bash was glaring at them in the background. Randy and Howard were grinning as they did a brofist with Kuno. From the corner of Randy's eye, he saw a certain shorthaired girl in the crowd. Theresa sighed dreamily and got the courage to wave at him from there. Randy blinked in surprise before waving and smiling back.

Kuno, however, was smiling for everyone as she bowed for them. It was hard to tell if this smile was fake…or now sincerely genuine.


That night, Kuno was walking to McFist Industries. Otto was there to greet her as usual, nuzzling its little body against hers. Kuno patted its head as she smiled. Ever-so-slightly.

"Hello, Otto. I have brought you something…pizza-flavored oil. I suggest you try it. It could be good for your system." Otto only buzzed happily as he took his nightly oilcan from her.

"Kuno?" Viceroy questioned, turning back from his work. "Are you all right?"

"Yes, Master. I am well."

"You never greet Otto…like that. And what is pizza-flavored oil?"

"It is something I tried today. With my newsenseis."

"You have...senseis?"

"Yes. They have been teaching me how to 'have fun'."

"…They don't suspect you being a robot, do they?"

"Oh no, Master. They just think I am not having fun."

"…Hmph. If you say so. Now get on the table. Your data has been lowering! Have you found any suspects on who the Ninja could be?"

"I have a few, Master, but some of the data is uncertain. They all give me false leads."

"It's been three weeks, Kuno! You need to give me answers!"

"Do not worry, Master. I still have some suspicions. In fact, tomorrow, I must request you deploy a monster in the morning. I will spy on my suspects and see what I can come up with."

"And you are certain this will give you an answer?"

"76.9% certain."

"…I guess I'll go for it. But I do not want you to come back until you have the Ninja's identity!"

The words were harsh, and if Kuno could feel it, she would probably feel hurt. "...Wakarimashita."

"Do not fail me, child."

"Yes, Master." Then, Kuno paused. "Master...if you must insist upon this, I have a request."

"What is it now?"

"One of my acquaintances has invited me to sleep over at his house."

"A sleepover?" Viceroy turned to the girl on the wall and raised an eyebrow. "You do know what a sleepover is, right Kuno?"

"Hai. I have done a bit of research on it, and I am positive with its meaning."

"But what if they suspect you're a—"

"There is nothing to worry about, Master. He has allowed me to, as I recall his words 'crash over at his place.' I am sure I can come up with many solutions. After all, you created me to be that way."

She had complimented him as usual, but Viceroy was still hesitant. "Well…if you say you can do it…oh, why not? I can never say no to my greatest creation."

The mechanical arms that usually restrained had released her, and Kuno closed her heart panel herself. "Arigatou gozaimasu, goshujin. I will see you in the morning."

"Be careful, child! I expect better results next time we meet."

"Of course, Master." Otto watched as Kuno took her stuff again and started to leave the building. The small robot was a little uneasy, but it could never say that. Instead, it just watched his robot friend leave.

"Ittekimasu."


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