Heart of Metal, Beats Like Gold

Scanning and Song-Writing

Randy was sleeping peacefully in his bed that morning, until his alarm beeped and told him to get up. He groaned as he sat up groggily in his bed and turned to his room. "'Morning, Kin—"

He expected the robot to be there where he'd left her last night, but Kuno was not in her corner. "…Kin?"

He immediately got off and got dressed, heading downstairs to search for his friend. "Kuno?!" he called out.


Randy turned to the kitchen and almost sighed in relief when he saw the robot girl by the stove. "Oh, thank cheese, I thought someone stole you or something!"

Kuno blinked. "That would be implausible. I am created with a defense mechanism. If I were to be stolen, you would have known by now."

"…OK, then? So, what are you cooking?"

"To be honest, I do not know myself. I scanned you last night for your favorite meal and made this."

"Hold on, you scanned me?"

"The ingredients were difficult to recover, for some of them were unhealthy for human life forms. But I was able to improve the recipe and came up with—"

"Gravy fries?!" Randy gasped once he saw the big plate full of the said fries. He practically ran over to the dining table and stuffed his "favorite meal" into his mouth. "Oh, so good…Kin, you are the cheese!"

"I cannot be made of cheese. I am a robot."

"No, I…never mind, this is awesome!"

"I also did something simpler and poured a bowl of cereal." She gestured back to the table and showed how she prepared a bowl of McFistios for him."

"I'll stick with the fries, but thanks."

If Kuno could roll her eyes, she probably would.

Randy and the robot met up with Howard and they walked to school. The boys continued their constant joking, Kuno was rather silent. She was patiently waiting for Viceroy's next attack. She could never go back to McFist Industries unless she had the Ninja's identity. Her fate had to be decided soon. Once they were at school, she was more distracted than usual.

"Kin?" Randy questioned. "Are you all right?"

"I believe I am. Why do you ask?"

"Uh, you almost opened your heart panel in public."

Kuno blinked when she looked down at her chest and realized she accidentally unzipped her jacket. She blinked more before zipping it back on."Gomenasai."

"Yo, Kin," Howard said. "You all right? You seem…off."

"I am fine. I am supposed to be."

"Yeah, you don't seem like it."

"Rest assured. There is no need to worry about me."

"Sure there is. Are you expecting something?" Randy asked.

"..." Kuno stayed silent, for the first time ever, unable to answer that. The two boys looked at each other nervously.

And at that very moment, they heard a roar. Followed by screaming. Then they came in contact with frantic students running out of the school. And then they saw the giant robot dog outside the school.

"Whoa!" Howard gasped. "A robot! Sweet! We haven't seen those things in a while!"

"Looks like it's n—" Randy cut himself off when he realized Kuno was still there. "It's…now…time to hog the bathroom again! While the Ninja's fighting that robot…" Kuno only blinked in confusion.

"Well, go on!" Howard shouted, making shooing motions. Randy quickly ran off, leaving a still confused Kuno. "…Say Kuno, why don't we go watch Ninja action outside!"

"…All right."

Howard pushed the robot girl and Kuno watched as the robot dog practically tore the school apart. It was growling, as it broke through the building and used vehicles as chew toys.

"My car!" Slimotvitz shrieked. "Hey! It's been a while since I said that!"

"Smokebomb!" Everyone cheered when the Ninja had appeared before the robot. "OK, doggy. Let's take you out for some exercise."

The robot dog growled and charged.

"Ninja tripping balls!" The Ninja moved away as the robo-dog yelped as it crashed into a tree. It seemed to be angered by that as it took that very tree and flung it.

"Whoa-oh. Ninja Tengu Fireball!" The tree, however, was only a distraction, as the dog charged again and head-butted the Ninja into the school wall. Everyone "oooh"ed and winced at the intact.

"I do not need to analyze the situation to know he got hurt," Kuno said. But when she turned to her side, she realized Howard was not there. Instead, he had, for some reason, run up to the Ninja.

"Ninja!" he shouted, picking him up. "You're getting your butt whooped!"

"I know, I know! Give me a second." As the Ninja ran towards the action again, Kuno looked at Howard.

"You have interacted with the Ninja again."

"Ahaha…yeah! As I said, we are pretty close."

"I must get closer to him."

"Nah, let's face it, it's gonna take a lot to actually be close with the Ninja, I mean with his popularity and all—"

"No. I need to go closer to him. So I may examine him."

"Wait, what are you—"

Before he could finish his sentence, Kuno lifted her wrist and pressed a button on her red bangle. The black and dark blue silks appeared and began wrapping around her. Her suit appeared once again. Once it was on, she quickly followed the Ninja.

"No, Kuno—!" Too late.

The Ninja now attempted in throwing things at the robot dog. "Ninja ring, ninja ring, ninja ring!" Unfortunately, the robot dog dodged them all. It lunged itself at Randy, and opened his jaws.

"Ninja dodge! Ah!" He did manage to move away, but not fast enough for the robot to bite away a piece of his suit. Randy winced as he held his arm. Blood dripped from it and fell onto the grass.

With Randy distracted, the robot-dog came pounding in and tossed him into the air. It lifted its snout and opened its jaws again.


Once again, Kuno had arrived just in time. She swooped in using her own scarf and quickly caught the Ninja. They landed back onto the ground with Kuno holding the Ninja bridal style. She looked down at him with a blank expression.

"It appears that I did not make myself clear last time."

"Uh…" Randy just stared, dumbfounded that the robot had saved him again and immediately recognized their position. The moment he got out of her arms, the robot dog howled.

"You have to get to safety, girl," he commanded.

"It is my sole purpose to help you."

"No, you just want to find out my identity!"

"…How do you know that?"

Realizing his mistake, Randy mentally slapped himself. "Oh, um…didn't you say?"

He saw the dog charging again and decided this conversation was not important. He swung off and went to deal with the robot by himself. From then, Kuno noticed something on the ground and bent for a closer scan. It was the Ninja's blood.


"Hello, Norrisville, it's your girl Heidi Me-Casting Live in front of some epic Ninja action!" Kuno looked up and was slightly confused to find the Norrisville reporter and Howard's sister, standing beside her. "I'm here with the new girl, as some of you know as our Female Ninja Singer, and Savior of the Ninja. Twice! What was your name again?"

If Kuno knew how to deadpan, which she did, she would've done it (which she was). Did they seriously not know her name until now? "Kuno Ichi. My name is Kuno Ichi."

"Well Kuno, how does it feel to save the Ninja a second time? You're a hero of a hero!"

"I do not see myself that way. I only help him whenever he needs it."

"I'd love to ask you more about your music or when your next performance would be, but my viewers want to know! What is your relation with the Ninja?"

Kuno hesitated, as she looked up at the town's hero fighting the robot. He surely had the hang of it now. "Believe me. We do not know much about each other, I'm sure. But surely soon, I will be able to know him a little bit more…"

"There you have it! That's all we'll be hearing from the new hero girl for now! This is Heidi Weinerman signing off!"

"Ninja Slice!" With those final words, the robot dog was cut in half, and collapsed on the floor. The Ninja jumped onto it like a stage, as he waved to his cheering fans.

He then glanced over at Kuno, who seemed to be running back towards the school. A sudden thought came to his mind, and it worried him.


When Randy reunited with Howard at the halls, he looked around frantically. "Have you seen Kin?"

"I dunno. She took off the moment Heidi was done interviewing her."

"Oh, this is bad!"

"Look, I tried to stop her, Cunningham, but I promise I'll do better next time!"

"No, Howard, I shoobed up! The Ninja is supposed to know that she's trying to help him. But we know she's trying to find his identity! I gave that fact away!"

"Whoa! You're right, you are shoobed."

"Randy. Howard."

The two froze and turned to the source of the voice to find Kuno by the janitor's closet. Half her body was inside, as if she was a figure lurking in the shadows. It was hard to tell if she was trying to be mysterious. "We need to talk."

Randy tried smiling. "Suuure, Kin! We were just looking for you."

They reluctantly entered the room with her, and the door slowly closed.

Kuno turned the light on and faced the two boys. Underneath, her blank expression looked slightly more intimidating. She had called them both in, but she seemed to be looking at Randy more. "I was given some very important information today."

"Y-You did?" Randy looked at Howard nervously. The boy only shrugged.

"The Ninja seems to have known that I was trying to find his identity. And I know for fact that this detail was only told to you two."

"O-Oh, well, maybe or maybe not I told someone or—"

"The Ninja's blood was spilled onto the grass earlier by that robot attack, and I took a sample. Based on comparison to the last, most recent scan I performed, I found a match. The most recent scan was yours."

"Pfft, really? Th-That's, well—"

"It is not just this. Secretly, I record every conversation I have and scan the voices as well. And you would not believe that when I scanned yours and the Ninja's, I have, yet again, found another match."

"Wow! Cool, we must have…the same voices…" It was too late now. He was shoobed.

"Randy Cunningham…you are the—"


Randy stared in horror when the pixels in Kuno's eyes rolled to the back of her head and she collapsed on the floor. "Howard!"

The ginger-haired boy stared at the robot on the floor, a mop in his hand held up high, as he blinked for a few moments and let go of it. "It was her fault! She should never have been involved!"

"Why'd you do that?!"

"Come on! She was probably gonna blab your secret!"

"We could've asked her not to! She's our friend!"

"Information from robots can be taken easily! You can't help I wanted to protect this secret!"

"Even so! Oh, she's gonna kill us!"

"Well…she won't have to if she never knew anything."

"What are you talking about?"

Howard quickly turned Kuno over and unzipped her jacket. "Dude, what are you doing."

"Just work with me, Cunningham!" He opened up her heart panel and took the wire from inside her out. Then he brought his phone out as well and connected them. "OK, I just have to look for the Ninja information and delete all of it."

"Howard, do you not understand how insanely brucetastic that is? You're a genius, we should have done this before!"

Howard grinned proudly. "I know, I'm amazing."

He scrolled through his phone, looking through the files, pressed a few buttons… "Aaand, done! You, are welcome."

"Howard, you are so bruce." The two did a quick bro slap. "You think she'll be all right."

"Yeah, pretty sure. She said it herself, she's just a robot."

Randy still frowned at that. He disconnected the wire, closed her heart panel, and zipped her jacket back on. The gears turned again, and Kuno quickly sat up in her seat. She blinked the darkness away and looked up at the two boys. "Randy? Howard?"

"Oh, good, you're fine."

"…Watashi wa doko desu ka?"


"You don't think you deleted her English mode, did you?"

"Ah, gomenasai. Where am I?"

"Oh, um…funny story," Randy chuckled nervously. "Howard sort of hit you at the back of your head with a mop."


"There was um…a spider in your hair!" Howard forced a smile. "Yeah! Don't worry, I got rid of it!"

"…You should have just told me. Spiders have no effect on me."

"Haha…sooo, Kin…what's the last thing you remember?"

"Hmmm," the robot girl hesitated. "The last thing I remember is saving the Ninja again. After that…nothing."

Randy and Howard quickly did a brofist at that.

"Is there a reason I was on the floor in the janitor's closet?"

"Yeah, we had to wash the spider dirt off you," Howard said, taking her shoulder and waving a hand. "No biggie. Now, come on, let's get to class!"

"Strange. You are usually not either to get to class."

"I know right?!" Once she was out the door, Howard glared at Randy. "Cunningham! This cannot happen again."

"You just have to keep her away from me every time the Ninja comes," Randy explained. "We'll tell her the truth when the time is right. Give her a few more weeks 'til we can really trust her."

"Ugh! You had better be right about this. I do not like doing work for nothing."

"You don't like doing work in general!"

"Your point?"

Randy rolled his eyes as they exited the room.

Kuno did not return to McFist Industries for one full month.

Because she had no information of the Ninja, she couldn't. Randy was willing to let her stay for as long as she wanted to (especially when she paid with gravy fries). Nothing really changed since that day: Kuno continued to perform, she helped with the boys' homework, and they hung out. But now with robots and monsters coming back, Howard had to keep Kuno away from Randy so she couldn't see him being the Ninja. The more days that passed, the more Kuno actually worried. It was worse for Viceroy. There seemed to be something that blocked Kuno's signal. He never knew where to find her. And he couldn't contact her. The very fact practically angered him. But the fact that the Ninja kept winning angered a very old mystical being more.

"You assured me you would find the face of the Ninja!" the Sorcerer howled. "And yet I have not come to see it yet!"

"Ah, don't worry!" McFist said nervously. "My invention is doing it's best to do that."

For once, Viceroy had to say something. "It's my invention. And Kuno is trying. I told her to not come back until she had an answer."

"You are trying my patience!" Annoyed, now, the Sorcerer let out another howl before disappearing.

"VICEROY!" McFist yelled. "Your invention is taking its time! How much longer until we know who the Ninja is?!"

Viceroy sighed as he turned to the window. "To be honest, even I do not know…"

At Norrisville High, Kuno was just closing her locker after bringing something out of it. She still had her blank expression on, but now she was staring at the ninja star necklace around her neck. She had exactly one good memory about it, and it was the only good one she had with her creator, Viceroy.

"Wear this ninja star and carry it with you, in reminder that you will be the one to kill the Ninja!"

"The irony is very evitable in your description, Master. But I will wear this necklace for you."

"That's my Kuno!"

"Hey, Kin!"

Kuno almost instantly looked up to see Howard and Randy walking up to her. They seemed to have big grins on their faces. "Hello. Are we ready to leave?" Classes had just ended, and now it was time for them to go home.

But they didn't seem to be ready for that. "Actually, Kin," Howard started, still grinning. "Cunningham and I have been talking about it for a really long time, but now we're positive."

"I do not understand."

"I mean, yeah, it took a whole month, but we just weren't so sure. After some vigorous planning and take-backs and many arguments—"

"Would both of you please explain to me what is happening here."

Randy smiled proudly and put a hand o her shoulder. "We have decided to officially make you a member to 30 Seconds to Math!"


Kuno blinked at the two boys, unsure of what to say. She knew very well 30 Seconds to Math was their band, but she'd always assumed it was their thing. She never once thought of being a member, but now all she could do was stare.

The two boys half-expected her to say something. They just continued to look at her and grin. "…Are you gonna…?"

"Oh. Um…yay?"

The boys hooted in cheer and brofisted.

"And our first order as a three-member band," Randy started. "We have to write a song!"

Kuno stared again, but it was much longer than the last one. "…Write? Compose?"

"Yeah!" Howard pumped his fist. "It's gonna be the cheese!"

"Guys…I have the incapability to rhyme. Rhyming is not in my database."

"Then we're gonna add it!" Randy said. "Come on, Kin, this is our big break! With the concert coming up and adding you to it, we need to up our game! What do you say?"

The two boys looked at her with pleading eyes. Kuno stared into them for a good hard while. Usually, it was easy for her not to break. But when she stared at the two, she couldn't help not agreeing.

"I say yes."

"OK!" Howard exclaimed, as he cracked his knuckles. "First step to song-writing: composing the tune."

Randy lay across the music room floor on his stomach, drumming his fingers as he stared at some sheet music. "We want this new song to be catchy. Something epicly bruce! Something everyone would like listening to…"

"Guys," Kuno spoke up. "I have told you. I am not good at rhyming. Nor am I at composing songs. It would be ineffectual to have me help."

"Don't worry, Kin! I'm sure you can help out with something. All songs don't need to rhyme."

"I highly doubt that."

"Hey!" Howard suddenly exclaimed. "Here's a thought. Why don't we make this song without a tune?"

Randy raised an eyebrow. "What the juice are you talking about?"

"You know, like some of those real rockers do! They just sing to the tune of a beat and that's it."

"Hmm, not sure I follow you."

"I understand," Kuno said. "It is simple, but I think I have thought of something…"

The robot girl took her blue guitar and strummed a few notes repeatedly. The two boys listened intently before a smile came on their faces.

"Kuno, that's good! See, you can make music!"

"OH, wait! I got it, I got it!" Howard took his beats and drummed away on the same beat Kuno did. And with that, Randy was nodding now.

"Now that is the cheese!" He snapped his fingers and hummed the beat as he quickly wrote it down on some sheet music.

Howard continued it with a faster series of drumming to addition to the beat and repeated the sequence. "Man! I have never felt so alive."

Kuno nodded slowly, appearing to understand now. "Now that we have our beat…"

"Time for lyrics!" Randy took a blank sheet of paper and tapped on it. "I say we let our thoughts flow in our brains and see what we might come up with."

"Would that give us some lyric initiatives?"

"Sure, I guess. I mean, we did it for DDD."


"One of our songs," Howard explained. "~Detention Deficit Disorder~"

"All right, there is no need for singing yet."


"So, guys," Randy said. "What should this song even be about?"

"School? I mean, that is who we're singing for."

"What about the Ninja?"

The two boys slowly turned to Kuno, eyes slightly widened as they stared at her, apparently serious, blank face. "The Ninja?" Randy echoed. "Why him?"

"I do not know. Everyone loves the Ninja. If you want this song to be 'epicly bruce', do you not want to sing about something everyone loves?"

"She's got a point there, Cunningham," Howard said.

"Hmmm…yeah, yeah! The Ninja! We could sing about the Ninja!" Randy smiled, at the thought of singing a tribute to himself. "Maybe this will be bruce. Now we can focus on the lyrics."

The three of them just sat in the middle of the music room, thinking of words that would go with the beat. But everything they thought of was just an epic fail. They sat there for a few more moments before Howard took a piece of paper, crumpled it, and threw it at his best friend's face.

"What the—Hey!"

"Come on, Cunningham!" Howard complained. "Think of something!"

"How about you think of something?" Randy glared. "Are you seriously letting us do all the work again?"

"Eh, pretty much."

"What the juice, Howard."

"Chotto," Kuno suddenly said. "Randy, Howard. I think you already said our lyrics."


"Some of your words…it is foolish, but I think it could work."

"Kuno," Howard said. "Just what the juice are you talking about?"

The robot girl took the paper and scribbled some words she'd recognized from Randy and Howard's conversation. After a few seconds, she handed it back and Randy read them aloud.

"What the hey
Come on, you
What the juice"

"Kin, these are bruce and all, but what does this have to do with anything?"

"Play your beats, Howard."

Howard was confused, but he played the beat from earlier again, putting stress on the last note. Randy was confused, but he followed.

"What the HEY
Come on YOU
What the JUICE"

"Ha! That was amazing!" Howard grinned at the robot girl. "For an intro."

"We need more!" Randy grinned. "See, we just have to let it all flow!"

"Might I suggest," Kuno spoke up again. "If this is going to be about the Ninja, the next few lines should be about him."

"Yeah, right…! Quick, quick, think of a fourth line that rhymes with you."

"Sue?" Howard suggested.

"Nah, not enough funk."

"We must think first," Kuno said. "What does everyone think about the Ninja?"

"I dunno, he's so bruce?"

At that, all three of them froze.

"He's so BRUCE!"

"Howard, that's the cheese!"

"Randy, you have done it again." It was hard to tell, but was Kuno smiling?

"What?! Aw yes!"

"Please repeat it."

"Nah, we're good!"

Howard laughed. "Awesome! This rocks!"

"Don't stop!" The two boys doubled over laughing when they realized all three of them had said it together.

And suddenly, Kuno giggled.

Everything was frozen for about a full three seconds, before the boys looked at each other and grinned at the robot girl. "Nani?"

"Did you just laugh?" Randy teased.

"I do not think so. I am incapable of showing such emotion."

"You did!" Howard laughed, patting the girl on the back. "You really laughed! Man, that was priceless!" Kuno only stared back at him.

Randy was chuckling as he scribbled down the words. "I think we should take it from the top. Let's let the words flow!"

"What the HEY
Come on YOU
What the JUICE
He's so BRUCE
That's the CHEESE
Ninja, ROCK

Randy grinned. "What the—"

"HEY!" Howard shouted out.

"Come on—"

"YOU! Do it Ninja!"


"He's a hero," Kuno added, making the boys smile wider.

"Come on, fighter!"

"Just a freshman!"


"What, what we were just on a roll here, Kin."

"The Ninja is…just a freshman? How is it do you know of this fact?"

Randy and Howard froze as all they could do was stare at her. "Way to go, Cunningham," Howard whispered.

"Oh, um…we just assumed, you know?" Randy chuckled nervously. "I mean, when you look at him from closer inspection you would think he was a freshman, right? I mean, he certainly looks that way. I don't think anyone's gonna know about this it's n-not like all the lyrics are important I mean should we change it?"

Kuno stared at Randy as he tried stammering through his explanation. It was severely suspicious, and the robot stayed in that position for a good long while.

"…He's a..."


"Yay, we have our song!" Randy forced a smile while doing jazz hands. "I'm thinking Kuno and I do an epic keytar and gui-tar solo after the whole thing. Other than that, this song is brucemazing!"

"We're gonna rock everyone's socks off!" Howard cheered. "Just think! Only three more weeks left!"

"It is very exciting," Kuno nodded, not even showing enthusiasm. But the boys didn't mind.

"Slap it up!" As they did their bro slap, Kuno continued to sit and watch. Howard chuckled nervously as he held his fist out. "Brofist it up!"

Kuno bumped it with her own and the two boys let out cries of joy.

"Let's pack it up, you two," Randy said, still grinning. "We still got school tomorrow."

Howard could pack his beats up easily, and he made an excuse that he had to get home right away. If not, as quoted, "he'd miss dinner." Once Howard was gone and left Randy alone with Kuno, a new person came into the room.

"Oh! Randy, hi," Theresa stood by doorway, smiling sweetly when she saw the purple-haired boy.

Randy looked up from packing the lyrics and his eyes widened. "Th-Theresa! H-Hey! What's up?"

"Well, I was looking for Miss Wickwhacker. I didn't think you'd be here…oh, and with Kuno?"

"Hajimemashite." The blue-haired girl turned away and bowed to Theresa. "Dozo yoroshiku."

"I don't know what that means…"

"Believe me, I don't either," Randy chuckled. "I try not to ask."

"Where's Howard? Isn't he usually with you?"

"Yeah, but he had to take off. Claiming he'd miss dinner if he didn't. The man's always hungry."

Theresa giggled. "I noticed." When she laughed, Kuno looked up and saw Randy's face when he looked at her. She tilted her head in confusion, as if scanning the situation.

"Sooo…what are you guys doing?"

"Ah, um, we were just writing lyrics for our new 30 Seconds to Math song!"

"Oh. Kuno's a member now?"

"I find it hard to believe myself," Kuno spoke up.

"We call her Kin now," Randy said, smiling proudly. "And were just about to leave. She kinda lives with at my house already."

"Whoa. Really? How come?"

"It's a long story. But I don't suppose you have the time to listen?" He smiled at her innocently, as if hoping it would get through to her or something. And with this, Kuno noticed.

Theresa only smiled back. "Nah, that's cool. Good luck again with your band. Again. See you guys around!"

As she left the room, Kuno heard Randy sigh dreamily. After closing her guitar bag, she walked up to him. "May I ask what that was about."

Randy jumped slightly, a bit surprised as a blush came on his face. "Wha-What what was about? I don't know what you're—did Howard tell you anything?"

"It is in my data, but I have not seen it actually happen. But based on research, this is normal for two teenagers in your age."

"I do not like where you're going with this, Kin."

"Does the term 'crush' refer to you? Because I am almost certain from based upon your actions, that is what you have on Theresa Fowler."

"Crush? Pffft." Randy scoffed and waved a hand. "That's wonk, I don't h-have a crush on Theresa!"

"You have stuttered. That means you are in denial."

"I'm not in denial!"

"Randy, I can hear you sweating."

"Get off my case, Kin!"

"It is normal for teenagers like you to be feeling this way for a person of the opposite gender. There is no reason to hide this fact. I would like to conduct an experiment on this as well."

"OK, one, what fact? And two, there is no reason to go experimenting on me, Kin. I've had enough of that already…"


"Nothing! And three, just don't tell anyone, all right? I'm trying to keep it from Howard, but even he's not convinced."

"Why would you want to keep it from Howard? Is he not your friend?"

"Of course he is! But sometimes you just gotta keep secrets from friends too. I mean, look we keep some things from you not just because we're not friends, but we're guys and we can't tell you."

It was still confusing to hear, but Kuno made out one statement out from it. "Are you…implying that I am your friend?"

When Randy tilted his head at her, he had to frown. "Uh…yeah? Don't you think so?"

Kuno could only stare. She never really had a friend before. Robots didn't need them. They had their creators and robot partners. But no friends.

It was nice to hear.

"Yes. Yes, of course."


Kuno nodded briefly. "I do not think I have a reason to tell of your secret for I do not have anyone to tell it to."

Randy almost sighed in relief, but he instead smiled at the robot girl. "Thanks, Kin. You're the cheese."

"I am still not made of it, though."

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