CHAPTER 1: RIFT
A WOMAN sat in the passenger seat, next to her husband who drove through San Fransokyo. A news report was on the radio about the Cello Act instated as law, banning matter transportation experiments in Amersia. The man changed the radio station.
"Why'd you change that? It seemed important," The woman said.
"Well, I don't want to listen to that stuff," The man said, "Lost my job because of the Silent Sparrow accident and I don't want to hear anymore of it,"
"Don't worry, honey," The woman said, placing her hand on his lap, "We'll get through this,"
"I sure hope so; driving people around the city's not a great pleasure," The man said.
The woman gave the man a warm smile and he turned at an intersection.
The man parked the car in front of his house and he got out with his wife. They entered their apartment and found a man seated comfortably in their living room.
"We've got to talk, Charles," The man said.
Charles's eyes nearly popped out of his head as he got the gravely unpleasant surprise.
"Who is this?" The woman asked.
"It's nobody, I –,"
"Nobody, huh?" The man said as he got to his feet, "Well, maybe I should remind you who my boss is,"
The man grabbed Charles by his collar and the woman tried release his grip.
"Let go of him," The woman said.
"Where's the money?" The man asked.
"I – I don't have it yet," Charles responded.
"It's been over a month; you were supposed to pay us two months ago!" The man said, "Where is the money?"
"You know I lost my job," Charles said, "I need more time,"
"You should've thought of that before you borrowed from us," The man said.
The man drew a gun from his pocket and pressed it against Charles' neck.
"Drop the gun," A voice said calmly.
The man turned to see a man in a black mask with two vertical crimson lines on the sides of his face, a brown jacket, black jeans and sneakers standing at the corner of the room wielding a gun.
"You think you can shoot me first? I've got the gun to his neck; you drop the gun," The man said.
"Drop the gun," The masked man said.
The man cocked the gun and the masked man shot him in his ribs. The woman screamed and Charles stepped back. The man stumbled back, holding his ribs in pain and the masked man punched him out.
The masked man grabbed the man before he fell over and shouldered him. The masked man picked up the gun the man dropped and headed out the back door of the house.
Charles breathed heavily and his wife was dumbfounded.
A RESTAURANT door opened, smacking against bell above it. Hiro and GoGo entered a busy restaurant and sat at a table near a window. A waitress came to their table and took their orders.
"Joe and Sachiko's? Real fancy," GoGo said.
"Hey, it's the best I could find," Hiro said.
"No, I was being serious; this is my favourite joint in town," GoGo said.
"Well, sorry," Hiro said amid an uneasy laugh, "Still deciphering between sarcasm and actual compliments,"
"Well, we're here so let's talk," GoGo said.
"Right," Hiro said.
Hiro nodded and GoGo raised an eyebrow. He shrugged and she folded her arms.
"Why do you make me do this? You start talking first," GoGo said.
"Right, got ya," Hiro said.
He nodded repetitively, feigning seriousness and she suppressed a laugh. They burst out in laughter.
"When're you ever gonna be serious about this?" GoGo asked.
"My lady, your voice is sweet, your face is lovely; the beauty of your eyes is more precious than a sea of gold," Hiro said playfully.
"Oh, your words are flattering, your speech is but the fullest of crap," GoGo said, stifling laughter.
"Then why are you blushing?" Hiro asked with a smirk.
"You can't prove anything," GoGo said, feigning anger.
Hiro sat back and sighed.
"Man, we suck at this," Hiro said, chuckling.
"Yup," GoGo said.
The waitress served their orders. Hiro and GoGo talked for a while over lunch and were amid laughter.
"Hey, why've you suddenly changed the usual?" GoGo asked, "You always get hot wings,"
"Well, since I got something hotter in my mouth, I realized I can't go higher," Hiro said.
"Well, that was dirty of you," GoGo said with a smirk.
"Blame age," Hiro said, "Fifteen and I've already got the messed up voice,"
"Don't let Justin Bieber hear that," GoGo said, "What, it took him like 16 years?"
"Probably longer," Hiro said, "Wonder how I'm gonna be in a month? Probably get a moustache. You'd like me in a moustache?"
"Wouldn't tell the difference; you still look like a little kid to me," GoGo said sarcastically, "God, this is weird; it's like dating my little brother or something,"
"Well, hello, Cerci," Hiro said with a smirk.
"Yeah," GoGo said with a chuckle then sobered up, "Don't do the moustache thing,"
"Then you quit the whole being sexy thing," Hiro said as he stood up, "You're making my life difficult,"
"Really?" GoGo asked as she stood up as well.
"Yeah," Hiro walked passed GoGo, "It's getting harder and harder –,"
"Dude!" GoGo nudged Hiro.
Hiro chuckled as he opened the door for GoGo.
HIRO AND GoGo walked arm in arm on a sidewalk.
"Love me harder," GoGo sang playfully.
"And they call that a song? It's kinda lazy," Hiro said.
"Said the guy who has her album," GoGo said.
"I still wonder how you know this stuff," Hiro said.
"You need ESP to figure out such stuff," GoGo said, "I mean it's so hard to tell when a guy wears pink all the time,"
"I don't wear pink," Hiro said.
GoGo raised an eyebrow and pointed at Hiro's shirt. He looked at his shirt then back at her.
"I'm not wearing pink," Hiro said.
"They were right; you are uneasy around me," GoGo said.
"I am not," Hiro said, "Wait, who was right?"
"Cass and Honey," GoGo said.
"I'm not," Hiro said.
"You know, you're really good at this whole dating thing," GoGo said sarcastically, "Been on many dates?"
Hiro's eyes darted around uneasily.
"Hey, look; ice cream truck," Hiro said, pointing behind him.
"There's no ice cream truck," GoGo said.
GoGo closed her eyes halfway and looked at him with a smirk. He looked behind him.
"Uh …," Hiro said, "Okay, you got me,"
GoGo laughed and walked on.
"You know I –," Hiro tried to say when he saw GoGo suddenly stop, "GoGo?"
"What's going on here?" GoGo asked rhetorically.
GoGo turned into an alley and Hiro followed her. There was a large crowd gathered around something. They got closer and froze with shock.
A man's corpse hung from a lamppost in a noose and people murmured in horror. The corpse wore a black mask with two vertical crimson lines and spray-painted logo was on the wall behind it.
"Kore wa, kore ga okotta no wa konkai ga hajimetede wa arimasen," A woman beside Hiro said.
"Kore ga hajimetede wa arimasen," The woman said, "Watashi wa, kono teiden no asa mimashita. Chairo no jaketto o mi ni tsukete iru hito wa, watashi ga burasagatte shitai o mita nochi, roji o tsukaihatashi,"
The woman explained that she had seen this happen the night of the blackout. She said that she saw a man in a brown jacket run out of the alley before she saw the corpse hanging. Hiro's eyes widened with shock as he his mind drifted back to that fateful night.
GoGo walked toward the corpse and looked closely at it.
Hiro dropped his head and clenched his fist. Images of the criminal he murdered flashed in his mind. No matter how much he tried, the memory always had a way of sneaking back into his mind.
The voices of the people around him began to muffle and the horrific sound of bones breaking echoed in his mind.
"Hiro, Hiro," GoGo's voice called faintly, becoming louder each time.
GoGo held Hiro's shoulders and looked at him concernedly.
"Hiro, are you okay?" GoGo asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Hiro said in a hoarse voice.
GoGo looked back at the corpse then at Hiro.
"Wanna get outta here?" GoGo asked softly.
Hiro did not respond and breathed tremulously.
"Let's go," GoGo said.
GoGo turned Hiro away from the corpse and they walked out of the alley.
HIRO STOOD in front of a table in his workstation. On it was a headband and four small disc-shaped devices. GoGo worked on a motorcycle engine at her workstation which was opposite from his.
The door swung open and Wasabi, Fred, Honey Lemon and Cat entered the room.
"Morning, Hiro," Wasabi said.
"Morning," Hiro said.
"Ah, I love Saturdays," Honey said.
GoGo glanced at her friends then back at the engine and she raised an eyebrow. She looked up and frowned at them as they entered.
"You've gotta be kidding me," GoGo said.
Honey and Cat wore matching pink cat ears and pink handbags.
"Hi," Cat said to GoGo excitedly.
"What the hell are those?" GoGo asked.
"Cat and I went shopping," Honey said.
"And what the hell are those?" GoGo repeated.
"Well, we thought these would be cute," Honey said.
"Aren't they so cute?" Cat said, holding up the bag.
GoGo looked at them disapprovingly then went back to her work.
Wasabi walked up to Hiro.
"What're you working on, little man?" Wasabi asked.
"I got an idea while working on the micro-bots," Hiro said and held up the headband, "Telekinesis,"
"Whoa! You can control stuff with your mind?" Fred asked excitedly.
"Well, I –,"
Fred ran up in front Hiro, bumping into Wasabi.
"Ooh, ooh, send me into the moon!" Fred said.
"I can't, the –,"
"No, just do it; I'm tired of hearing him blathering all the time," Wasabi said.
"Preach," GoGo said.
Hiro looked at her then chuckled.
"It's still in the Beta phase and these discs are my starting point," Hiro said, lifting one of the discs, "I place the discs on an object and they enable me to control the vibrations of the atoms in said object. Once the neurotransmitter is able to translate my thoughts into the movement of the atoms, I will be able to move atoms without the aid of the discs,"
"Okay, now send me to Pluto," Fred said.
"Even if this device was in its final phase, I wouldn't be able to send an object to a place that I can't see," Hiro said.
"Have you ensured that the neurotransmitter is made of fibres that do not harm your skin?" Baymax asked.
Cat squealed when she saw him standing in the corner of the room.
"There's my Bayby," Cat said.
Cat ran up to Baymax and hugged him.
"Baby?" GoGo asked.
"Yeah, Bayby," Cat said.
GoGo raised an eyebrow.
"Bay … bee," Cat enunciated.
GoGo looked confused.
"Anyways," Cat said then turned to Baymax, "I got this for you,"
Cat pulled out cat ears from her handbag and handed them to Baymax.
"What should I do with these?" Baymax asked.
"Put them on your head like this," Cat said, pointing at her cat ears.
Baymax placed the cat ears on his head.
"Aw, he looks just like a cat," Honey said.
Hiro chuckled and GoGo frowned.
"Hell no, take that off his head," GoGo said.
She walked up to Baymax.
"Why?" Cat asked.
"He's a nurse bot, not a cat," GoGo said.
She took the cat ears off Baymax.
"Oh, come on, he looked good in them," Cat said.
"Well, he's not gonna wear them," GoGo said.
"He liked them," Cat said.
"I am a robot, I do not have emotions," Baymax said.
Cat looked at Baymax worriedly.
"Bayby?" Cat said.
Baymax patted Cat's head.
"There, there," Baymax said.
Cat giggled. GoGo tossed the cat ears away and went back to her workstation.
Wasabi chuckled and nudged Fred.
"Heh, seems you've got some competition, Fred," Wasabi said.
"Nah, it's nothing," Fred said.
Cat hugged Baymax.
"I think," Fred said.
"You sure? It doesn't look like nothing to me," Wasabi said.
"Leave him alone, Wasabi," Hiro said, "It's not like Baymax has feelings or anything,"
"If only you were human," Cat said, "I would hug you and kiss you and never let go,"
"That's it," Fred said.
Fred walked up to Cat and pulled her away from Baymax.
"Hey," Cat said.
"Are you cheating on me?" Fred asked.
"Come on, he's just a robot," Honey said.
"He's just so adorable," Cat said.
"Oh, really? So, if he was human, you'd take him over me?" Fred asked.
"I dunno," Cat said, "Depends on how he looked,"
"What about the love we shared?" Fred asked.
"It's only been a couple weeks," Cat said.
Fred walked away pouting.
"Oh, come on, I was only joking," Cat said.
"Well, you've crushed my heart," Fred exaggerated.
"Oh, please tell me you're breaking up," GoGo said.
Fred walked up to her, shock in his expression.
"How can you say that? Don't you understand how I feel?" Fred asked.
"I understand that you piss me off and I understand that she pisses me off even more," GoGo said.
"She just said 'off'," Cat echoed.
"It'd be great if she broke up with you and left," GoGo said.
"How can you be so heartless," Fred said.
GoGo blew a bubble in Fred's face.
Fred stuck out his lower lip and headed for the door.
"Come on, Fred, I was just kidding," Wasabi said.
"Fred," Cat said.
Cat followed Fred as he left the room.
"Phew, thought It'd turn into a Tele Novella or something," Hiro said.
"Yeah," Wasabi said.
GoGo continued her work and Honey stood near her, pawing her cat ear like a cat. GoGo looked at her disapprovingly.
"What?" Honey asked.
Hiro put on the neurotransmitter and stood across from Wasabi with a box in between them.
"Okay, let's see if this works," Hiro said, "I'll levitate the box over to you,"
"Got ya," Wasabi said.
Hiro looked hard at the box and it slowly levitated into the air.
"Great, it works," Wasabi said.
"Okay, now I'll just move it over to you," Hiro said.
Wasabi held out his hands. Hiro focussed on him when he saw blood on the floor.
His eyes widened as he followed the trail of blood up to the wall to his right. A man in a red hood sat limp against the wall, blood oozing from his nose and mouth.
Hiro heard a crash and jerked. He looked around and the blood and the man had disappeared.
"Hiro are you okay?" Wasabi asked.
"Huh?" Hiro squinted.
The box was back on the floor and sparks flew from beneath it.
"Why'd you drop the box?" Wasabi asked, "You just broke the disc,"
Hiro looked around and frowned. GoGo looked at him concernedly.
"Hiro, are you okay?" Honey asked.
Hiro shook his head and walked out of the room. The guys shared confused glances.
"What happened?" Honey asked.
"Hiro's adrenaline and cortisol levels have elevated," Baymax said.
GoGo left the room and Baymax followed her.
BAYMAX AND GoGo followed Hiro as he walked down the halls. He bumped into a student and did not notice him as he continued.
"Jerk," The student said as he walked on.
"Hiro, wait," GoGo said.
GoGo held Hiro's shoulder, stopping him. She turned him to her and he was looking at the floor.
"Hiro, what's going on?" GoGo asked.
"It's … it's nothing," Hiro said.
"Is it because of the recurring nightmares?" Baymax asked.
"Nightmares? What's Baymax talking about?" GoGo asked.
"It's nothing, I'm fine," Hiro said.
He looked up at her and tried to force a smile. He could not.
"Hiro, what's the matter? You can talk to me about it," GoGo said.
"It's nothing, GoGo, I just need a breather," Hiro said.
He walked away from them.
"Do you need my assistance, Hiro?" Baymax asked.
"No, just stay here, Baymax," Hiro said.
GoGo watched Hiro leave and she knew that something was wrong.
A BRUNETTE-haired man entered his apartment and put his briefcase near the front door. He walked passed a picture of a woman set between two smouldering candles on a table.
He unfastened his tie and groaned as he entered the living room. He slumped onto a couch and turned on the TV.
"And that's it for sports," The anchorman said, "In other news, Krei Tech Labs CEO, Alistair Krei, has been summoned to court after the San Fransokyo Police Department discovered an electromagnetic pulse bomb at the quarantined ruins of its former head quarters. Police have identified the electromagnetic pulse bomb to be a product of Krei Tech and they claim that it is responsible for the huge blackout that has crippled a large part of San Fransokyo till this day. Police investigations are in progress as employees of Krei Tech face interrogation for what may amount to an inborn terrorist attack the likes of former Advanced Robotics Expert and Physicist, Robert Callaghan,"
The man sat up and furrowed his brow as he concentrated on the report.
"To explain things further, we have renowned Robotics Expert, Eiji Daisuke," The anchorman, "Mr. Daisuke, welcome to the program,"
He frowned and put the program on pause. He stroked his chin and began to worry. With employees facing interrogation, he would probably become a suspect because he resigned after the Silent Sparrow accident.
He turned off the TV.
DR. CELLO, HIRO, GoGo, Honey, Wasabi and Fred sat around a table in the 'Nerd Lab'.
"As you may have noticed; we have a vigilante in the city," Dr. Cello said.
Dr. Cello pressed a button on a remote and a slideshow of newspaper headlines came on a TV screen. Each one had an image of a criminal hanging from a noose with the same spray-painted logo behind them.
"Oh my God," Honey said, "Who would do something like this?"
"Didn't I just say we have a vigilante in the city?" Dr. Cello said, "This is great,"
"I'm gonna agree with Honey here," Wasabi said, "This is kinda sick,"
"I will admit, this vigilante's methods are questionable, but he is getting the job done," Dr. Cello said, "This'll definitely get the word out to criminals that they aren't safe,"
"Well, how do we know if it's a vigilante?" GoGo asked, "What if it's just some vindictive criminal?"
"Yeah," Wasabi said.
"It is possible; it could be anyone," Dr. Cello said, stroking his chin, "What's your take on it, Hiro?"
Hiro did not respond and looked at the table blankly.
"Hiro?" Wasabi said.
"Yo, Hiro," Fred said as he shook Hiro.
"Huh?" Hiro said, snapping out of it.
"You okay, Hiro?" GoGo asked.
"Yeah, I –,"
Dash kicked the door open and walked in, clad in a suave suit.
"The Dash is in the building, so Elvis better get stepping," Dash said as he sauntered to the table.
"We've been waiting for two minutes," Dr. Cello said, "Where were you?"
"Two minutes? Well someone's impatient," Dash said.
"Not for someone like you," Dr. Cello said.
"I was in an interview, got a job," Dash said as he took a seat.
Honey smiled at Dash and pushed hair behind her ear.
"Hey, babe," Dash said.
"Hey," Honey said, "You've seen the news?"
"Oh, yeah, the vigilante," Dash said as he looked at the TV, "When's he joining the team?"
"He's a criminal," Wasabi said.
"Yeah, such great heroism should be criminal," Dash said.
"Murder is no joking matter," Wasabi said.
"Heh, not the way I do it," Dash said, placing his feet on the table.
"You've killed people?" Honey asked.
"Eh, when you're fighting for the lives of others, you do what it takes," Dash said, "Got over it a long time ago. Wonder how you guys are gonna fair out; you couldn't hurt a fly,"
GoGo frowned at him.
"Yeah, looking at you, raven," Dash said, pointing at her, "But, sorry, the Dash's off the market, unless you're up for swinging, 'cuz I'm down with anything,"
He sat back and Honey frowned at him.
"Hey! I'm right here," Honey yelled.
"That way, you know that I don't mean it," Dash said, touching her chin lightly.
"So, what're we gonna do about it, chief?" Dash said, looking at Dr. Cello.
"I thought Hiro was the leader of the team," Wasabi said, pointing at Hiro who was downcast.
"Well, he can't be the leader if he's moping around and stuff and besides; Dr. Cello is better for it," Dash said.
Hiro stood up and headed for the door.
"Yo, I was just kidding. Geez, I didn't even bring up your bro or anything," Dash said.
"Hiro, what's wrong?" Dr. Cello asked.
"I just need some air," Hiro said.
Hiro left the room and GoGo became worried.
"So, what're we gonna do about this guy?" Fred asked.
"Well, I'll be keeping track of the police investigations," Dr. Cello said, "You guys do some digging around; we'll figure out what to do about him if we get to him before the cops do,"
"Alright, as long as we aren't letting him join the team," Wasabi said.
"If you need me, I'll be in the lab," Dr. Cello said.
Dr. Cello headed for the door.
HIRO SAT at a table and cupped his chin in his hands and looked at the setting sun morbidly. He sat in Tadashi's old lab.
GoGo came into the room and he turned to her. She sat across from him.
"Hey, GoGo," Hiro said in a hoarse voice.
"Hiro, what's going on with you?" GoGo asked.
"I'm just a little distracted," Hiro said absentmindedly.
"Too distracted to notice that I've got new lipstick on?" GoGo asked sarcastically.
"You do?" Hiro asked.
"No," GoGo said, "What's the matter with you? Can't catch sarcasm anymore?"
"Heh, yeah," Hiro said, forcing a chuckle.
GoGo frowned as she noticed the misery in his eyes.
"Something's wrong; spill it," GoGo said.
"What?" Hiro asked.
"You've been gloomy the whole time since you saw the corpse in the alley," GoGo said, "Did it screw you up that much?"
"No, no," Hiro said.
"What? Little baby's too young to see corpses?" GoGo said mockingly.
Hiro did not respond.
"Okay, bad joke," GoGo said sincerely, "It messed me up a little too, but, you should not let it ruin your whole life; it's not like you killed him or anything,"
Hiro looked at GoGo and mentally laughed at the miserable irony.
"Okay, fine; I don't know what your problem is, so I'll let you handle it," GoGo said.
She got up and walked up to Hiro. She placed her hand on his shoulder.
"Cheer up, Hiro; get over it," GoGo said reassuringly.
She kissed him then looked at him concernedly.
"See ya tomorrow," GoGo said as she headed for the door.
Hiro did not respond.
GoGo left the room and became concerned. Sure, he kissed her back, but he was completely out of it and it felt flat.
"What's going on?" GoGo asked herself.
GOGO RODE up to her house and parked her motorcycle in the garage. She entered the house and walked passed her dad in the living room.
"Hi, Dad," GoGo said.
He waved at her and continued reading his book.
"School?" GoGo's dad asked.
"Fine," GoGo said.
"'Kay," GoGo's dad said.
GoGo walked up the steps and entered her room. She and her father had a unique relationship that she could not compare to anything else.
She normally said little to people, except for Hiro, but her dad, Kaien, said even less. Sometimes they would have entire conversations with as little as ten words, but it would mean the world to her. She loved her father very much and they showed it without ever saying it.
GOGO LAID on her bed and looked at the ceiling. It was around 6:40pm and it was getting dim.
She blew her hair from her forehead and began to miss Hiro. His sudden cold shoulder for the past two days was making her glum too.
She sat up and pulled out her phone.
She dialled Hiro's number and listened to the tone. He did not answer her call.
"The hell," She said to herself.
She redialled Hiro's number and he did not pick up. She decided to wait a little and began to redial.
The masked man with a brown jacket stepped out of the shadows behind GoGo and walked towards her.