Chapter 1: Starting With the Base-ics: Part 1
At the Mecha-Chuchets University of Science and Technology, the sun was starting to set. Some students were socializing, some had plans off-campus, but one was working on a private project. He was hunched over his desk, a pale hand in his oak brown hair as he focused.
The green metal that would become the body of the watch laid on the desk as Henri dipped the pipette into the concoction of chemicals he mixed together. Said chemicals seemed to glow a neon green. It bubbled as it made contact with the metal, and two lines of the same color traced the watch, giving it a bright glow.
“Interesting,” Henri muttered. Shame the glow would soon be covered.
A light haired person with green eyes watched him from the computer screen, and Henri adjusted the camera and pointed it so he could see the progress. The other scientist, Michael, looked on in amazement; he never seen the inside of a watch glow so brightly before.
“Is the metal supposed to do that, Henri?” Michael asked, confused but curious.
“I tested this metal earlier, but it seemed normal when I used any other chemicals on it,” Henri explained.
Michael nodded, still unsure about it. Maybe it was just a simple reaction.
“HEY HENRI, I BROUGHT SOME FOOD!” His roommate’s voice boomed from the other side after he banged on the door.
Henri winced but recovered. “Just leave it on the kitchen table, Ace,” Henri groaned. He could hear a loud sigh.
“Fine… just don’t fall asleep at your desk. Again,” Ace called from behind the door.
Henri rolled his eyes. 'I may finally be able to put this watch on a test run.’ He thought to himself as a grin grew on his face. He adjusted the camera, “Again, I can’t thank you enough for helping me out with this, Mike.”
Michael smiled, “It’s nothing Henri, just happy to help,” he sighed and thought to himself, 'Mostly for science, but, hey, it'd be nice for a new superhero to be around.'
“Anything to help a friend out. I would’ve asked Dr. Light, but…” Henri replied.
“You scared of the Santa Claus lookalike or are you just too nervous to ask?” Michael joked.
“Shut up,” Henri sighed as he drilled in holes for the exterior. He had prepared the metallic, white shell a couple weeks ago, using Michael’s own watch as a reference. Henri gently placed it on the watch, and one by one, he lined up the holes and placed in the screws as he talked to Michael, “Besides, you’re the only one I know who’s good with things like this.”
“Awww, you’re gonna make me blush,” Michael joked again, laughing at his own dumb tease. “In all seriousness though, I could have gotten Dr. Light for you.”
“...I know,” Henri grabbed a screwdriver and started to attach the shell. He became lost in his work. Even with the clock on his screen, he wouldn’t have known how much time passed.
“Hey Hit Points, have ya eaten yet?” Ace’s voice snapped Henri back to the present, along with a loud knock on Henri’s door.
Henri internally groaned, “Can you leave me be?”
“Hey, maybe if you ate, you wouldn’t sound like you got a stick up your-”
“That’s enough, Ace,” Henri retorted.
“Fine…” Ace groaned, as he walked away.
“Hate to agree with him, but it’s almost 10 PM,” Michael spoke up.
Henri looked up stunned. He checked his computer clock, and Michael was right. His stomach growled, ‘Ghh, and I was making good time, too.’ He looked at Michael, “I’ll be right back,” He sighed as he pushed out his chair and unlocked his door, 'I'll heat something up and go straight back to work.'
“Alright,” Michael said as he watched Henri leave the room. A loud crash caught his attention. 'Oh, for God’s sake!’ Michael thought as he bolted away from his computer as he wondered what broke.
While both scientists were gone, the watch began to fully react to the chemicals. The watch glowed and pulsed, like a heartbeat. The surrounding area around it began to bubble and melt, as if the watch was made of acid itself. It kept pulsing, as the green glow intensified. The sound of sizzling wood could be heard as it ate away more of the table. Before long, the watch fell to the floor. The pulsing stopped. The acidic reaction, gone. It just laid there, quiet as a mouse as it glowed gently.
When Henri came back, the watch on the floor. He walked over and picked it up, only to drop it. “OW!" He looked at his hand to see traces of a burn mark. 'How did that happen?' He went to the bathroom to run cold water on his hand. Maybe a small reaction happened? No, it was possible the metal simply got too hot. He didn't know how, but it didn't matter. He walked into the kitchen to grab an oven mitt.
“Jeez, what happened?” Michael asked after Henri aimed the webcam at the damaged table.
“The watch fell on the floor and it burned me when I tried to pick it up,” Henri responded as he wrapped his hand in the gauze from his first-aid kit.
“It burned you?” Michael asked, “How did that even happen?”
Henri held up his wrapped hand as he asked, “It ended up on the floor somehow,” He gestured to the table, “and it burned through the table, too,”
“Henri, are you sure you tested the metal thoroughly? Because metals aren’t just supposed to burn through tables!”
“It didn’t do anything when I tested it before. Maybe the mixture I was working with was more volatile than I thought…” Henri guessed.
“Yeah... maybe finish the watch in a lab. With safety equipment,” Michael suggested.
“It’s not doing anything now, though. It seems normal, just hot.”
“Hot? Like, 'burning' hot or like 'warm' hot?”
“I don’t know!” Henri shouted. He let out a sigh, as he ran a hand through his hair. “It’s fine. The watch isn’t doing anything weird now. I’ll just tough this out and finish it.”
“Suit yourself, but maybe you should wait until after the watch cools off.”
Henri shook his head. “No. I’m almost done.” He could hear Michael groan from the screen.
“It’s your hand, Henri. And your room. Just don’t burn your place down,” Michael said.
“I won’t; I have you to help me out!” Henri responded.
Michael didn’t seem convinced, but nodded, “Yeah.. just wait a little bit and maybe take a nap. It’s almost midnight, Hen.”
“You sound like Ace,” Henri commented, going back to the watch as he thought, ‘Besides, I’ve stayed up later.’
“I'm so sorry for worrying for your health,” Michael’s voice dripped with sarcasm.
“Besides, I don’t have classes tomorrow,” Henri added.
“You mean ‘later today’?” Michael asked, rubbing at his eyes.
“Yeah, later today,” Henri said quietly.
Michael yawned as he watched Henri finish the watch. He keep dozing off, 'God, I’m not used to this,’ he thought, leaning back in his chair.
“FINISHED!” Henri shouted with joy, as he smiled brightly and startled a half-asleep Michael.
“Whuh? Oh, uh… Congrats!” Michael shook his head as he tried to look like he was awake.
“Finally...after three months…” Henri tried to hold back his tears of joy.
“Well, if you're so happy about it, put it on,”
Henri nodded and put the watch on. As soon as he did that, the watch burned him again. He yelped in pain, and tried to pull the watch off. When he got it off, he looked at his new wound. Something green laid among the blood of his new wound. He place the watch on the desk, studying his injury.
“Did it burn you again?!” Michael shouted.
Henri nodded and showed Michael, “It doesn’t look that bad.”
“‘Not that bad’?! Henri, you’re bleeding!” Michael yelled.
Henri winced, and ran off to go treat his wound. This time it caught Ace’s attention.
“Do I even wanna know why?” He asked.
Henri kept quiet as he washed away the blood and the green junk on his wrist.
Ace walked over and grabbed his wrist, visibly cringing as he looked at it. “Yikes. How'd you get a burn that bad?” he asked, walking to the bathroom’s first aid kit.
“Um… An accident?” Henri half-lied. It was an accident, well, he thought it was, “I’ll be fine.”
Ace looked back at him, studying the injury. “Are you sure? It looks bad,” He said, grabbing the gauze and alcohol.
“Yeah…” Henri tried to smile to convince him.
Ace just shook his head, and went to work on patching up his roommate. ”It’s late, dummy. You should sleep to avoid another accident.” Ace said.
“I don’t have-”
“I DON’T CARE IF YOU DON’T HAVE CLASS!” Ace shouted, startling Henri. He had to take a deep breath to calm his nerves. “Just… please rest.” Ace said as he finished up.
Henri kept quiet. He didn’t know what to say. ‘Stop being so worried for me' was all he thought.
It didn’t take long for Ace to patch him up. After he was finished, the two said good night to each other and left for their rooms.
Henri studied the new watch. It had a white, metallic shell on the face, with a neon green sensor outlined with a purple trim that halved the white shell. In the trim, the same green glow peeked out. Once he made sure the watch wouldn’t burn him, he secured the purple strap around his left wrist and clasped it on.
“So, how does going into that super form work?” Henri asked as he eyed the glow.
“Oh, you mean Robot Master mode?” Michael replied, “It’s simple: you just put your fingers on the sensor and say: ‘Magnet: Power Up’!”
He did the actions as he described them, and after a bright red flash filled the screen, it faded and left a red Robot Master in its place, “Like that.” Magnet Man then placed his right hand on his left arm, “Magnet: Power Down.”
Another flash later, and Michael was standing behind the screen again, “Of course, you have to use your Robot Master mode’s name to change.” Michael sat down so he was at the screen’s level, “Speaking of, did you think of one yet?”
Henri eyed his table. Specifically, the hole burned into it, “How about Acid Man?”
Michael leaned back in his chair, “That seems fitting for it.”
“Yeah…” Before he could do a test run, he had to check on something first.
After they said their goodbyes, Henri closed the video chat and left his room. Even in the hallway, Henri could hear snoring as he made his way to the door.
In another part of Mecha-Chuchets, red energy blasts flew through the streets, being shot from the arm cannons of a group of green armored robots, as well as a handful of black robots with yellow hard hats. A yellow-colored Sniper Joe, who seemed to be the leader of the group of the other Sniper Joes and Metalls, shot at a dark-colored Robot Master with a red scarf covering his mouth.
“Gack!” The red scarf robot slid underneath, not only dodging an energy blast, but also a burst of fire that hit one of the robots’ shields, “Watch where you aim that, bro!”
“Stay sharp, Oil Man!” A gray and red Robot Master replied as he shot another burst of fire at the Joe, prompting Oil Man to duck and roll away.
'I'd ask why Wily decided to attack so late at night, but it is Wily we're talkin' about here,' He took the opportunity to kick a Joe in the chest while he got up and shot oil in its face, “Let’s just get this over with so we can go back to sleep.”
"You could say that again, partner. FIRE!" Fire Man shouted as a Metall got engulfed in the flames.
Henri’s guard wasn’t down until he set foot on the concrete in front of the dorms. ‘Wait...I could still get caught standing out here…’ He thought as he ran behind the building. Once he was sure the coast was clear, he placed two fingers on the sensor of his new watch:
“Acid: Power Up!”
Chapter 2: Starting With the Base-ics: Part 2
Just a simple test run of the watch.
“Acid: Power Up!”
Once he said the chant, a bright green light flooded from the sensor and consumed him. Whether his eyes were open or not wouldn’t have made a difference, as he still saw the light through his eyelids. It started with weightlessness and a burning warmth as metal crept up his extremities, and he could feel his hands ball up into fists before he lost feeling in his right hand. He felt a mouthpiece materialize and cover his mouth as the metal finally spread to his head. He was then shaken up by what felt like an adrenaline rush as the warmth normalized itself.
The changes took place over a split second, and the green light faded, leaving a green-and-purple Robot Master in its place.
Acid Man tried to put a hand up to his head to reorient himself, only to be met with the muzzle of his arm cannon.
“What-?” He paused at his own raspy voice and thought to himself, ‘I guess there were some vocal changes involved, too.’ His eyes shifted--he noted the yellow-green tint everything had--and he saw that his arm cannon seemed to be made with toughened glass; inside it a green, bubbling liquid. If there was a way for it to switch to a normal arm, he couldn’t see one.
He couldn’t just stand out here, though. ‘What if someone is still awake?’ Acid Man thought, and he started to run to the nearest exit. ‘Besides, I should train in a place that’s...less…’ His thoughts trailed off as he stopped in front of a building.
'The chemistry building...' Henri had gone there for classes every day of the week, and he knew the building well, but he never put much thought into it until now. He unconsciously took two steps toward the building.
He remembered there was a lower floor that the more volatile chemicals were kept in. As he mused, his inner voice became more comparable to his current voice and the adrenaline rush feeling became stronger. His shaky hand reached for one of the handles, 'Maybe one peek wouldn't hurt...'
He did a mental double take and jerked his hand back. He couldn't just walk in; the area was closed off for students for obvious reasons. Even then, the building itself wouldn't open until 6.
His inner voice went back to normal, 'Why would I think-?' His thoughts were interrupted by an energy blast, which slammed him into the door.
“Huh?!” Acid Man turned around. The culprit was a Sniper Joe, who shot at him with two more shots.
He blurted out, “ACID BARRIER!” Just like that, a green, bubbly liquid formed a forcefield around him, which blocked the shots as a blast of fire hit the Joe from behind. Before long, a few more Sniper Joes (some of which carried the Metalls along with them) jumped in. He took the opportunity to shoot a nearby Metall with the liquid in his arm cannon, and the acid ate through the hard cap and destroyed the small robot.
He saw the two Robot Masters, one clad in grey with a blazing inferno and the other one with a bright red scarf.
On impulse, Acid Man shot acid at the door, which ate through it. He called out to the other two Robot Masters, “I’ll try and lead some of them in here!” He shot out acid, which hit a Sniper Joe and got its attention as it ran after him.
Acid’s thoughts ran rapidly through his head, as he dodged the shots of the Sniper Joe. One barely scraped his shoulder, but left a small sting. He bit his tongue and turned to shoot back. The Sniper Joe jumped out of the way when he shot the acid, shocking him.
“TERMINATE: HERO.” The Sniper Joe’s voice left shivers down Acid Man’s spine.
Acid Man jumped towards the door to dodge a few shots before he returned some of his own at the Sniper Joe. “A little help?!” He called out, getting Fire Man’s attention as he went inside.
He blasted a wave of fire at the Joe. The Joe tried to fire back, but it was consumed by the wave. A few Metalls ran past him and jumped through the hole in the door, intending to go after Acid Man. The few turned into a dozen, and a dozen turned into a swarm as they flooded through the hole into the chemistry building.
Acid Man got on shaky feet and ran for it. The swarm of Metalls’ feet echoed through the halls as he tried to figure out an escape. What part of him thought he could take on this many Metalls on his own?! His shooting became increasingly frantic as he brought the Acid Barrier back out and damaged the linoleum floor. There had to be a way to escape from them, even a quick hiding spot would work.
An idea struck him, 'The basement area!’ Although it was a risk, it would be better than being dead. Besides, who would know he was the one who was in there? Without a second thought, he ran to find the entrance to the closed-off area, the Metalls following him closely.
When the doors to forbidden area loomed over him, he threw them open. He rushed to the chemicals, his only thoughts were, 'Chemicals, safe. Chemicals, safe. Chemicals, safe. Chemicals, safe...'
It played in his head like a broken record until he came to the edge of the chemical tank. 'Wait!' He stopped dead in his tracks, 'This is dangerous! Oh God, this is so-’
Something cut that train of thought quickly, ‘JUST JUMP!’ It screamed out at him and left him stunned.
Before he knew it, an invisible force pushed him. A loud splash echoed through his ears as he closed his eyes. When he opened them, they were clouded by pure green. He looked around his new surroundings. Time stood still until a Metall came crashing in and almost disintegrated at contact of the chemicals. He reeled back, it looked at him. It tried its hardest to swim over before the chemicals corroded it away.
Even when the energy blasts died down, he found it difficult to leave the vat. Or more accurately: to want to leave the vat, ‘What if it’s still not safe?’
He resurfaced after he heard the sound of something being scorched. He looked around and tried to find the source of the noise. He made his way to the solid floor, and a thought went through his head: ‘I should do that again sometime.’ He tried to shrug off the thought as he walked to the double doors.
Upon going outside, a fire blast nearly hit. Luckily he was quick enough to dodge it, but it startled him.
“Sorry there, partner.” a warm Southern voice spoke, grabbing Acid Man’s attention.
There stood the grey cladded one. The fire on his head burned brightly, yet his eyes seemed gentle and inviting. “Hope I didn’t scare ya too badly.” he apologized. Acid Man could only shake his head no. The other robot master reached up to touch Acid. He reeled back, earning a strange look.
“I don’t believe touching me would be a good idea.”
“Why?” Fire Man asked.
“I, uh, jumped into the harsher chemicals here to escape them...”
“Really?! How’d ya, like, not die?” Oil Man asked.
“Uh…” That was a good question, how DID he not die after jumping in?
“Yo, Earth to green bot! Ya gonna answer or...?” Oil Man asked, waving a hand in front of Acid Man.
He narrowed his eyes--talk about impatient, “Acid-proof metal.” What else could it be?
Oil Man looked at him, tilting his head. “Acid-proof-?”
“Good thing you have it, or you would've been toast!” Fire Man interrupted.
“Y-yeah! Good thing I...did…” Acid Man replied. He chuckled nervously as he averted his eyes from the two. He was so thankful for his eyes being clouded by the actual acid in his helmet, “Sorry I got in the way of your fight.”
“Ah, don’t be. You actually helped quite a bit.” Fire Man explained, trying to comfort him.
“Yeah, dude!” Oil Man interjected as well.
Acid Man felt some pride in that matter, but still felt bad. The two could have handled it without him. He tried to shake that thought away, but it stayed ingrained in his head.
“Oh yeah! Uh, hey dude, do you have a name? To, like, call you by?” Oil Man asked.
“A-acid. Acid Man,” he slightly cringed at his own voice. It came out too weak in his opinion.
“Nice to meetcha Acid, I’m Fire Man.” Fire Man put one of his arms on his chest.
“And I’m Oil Man, nice to meet ya, dude!”
Acid Man went through his head trying to figure out where he heard those names, but all he got were blanks. He shrugged it off; it probably wasn’t that important. When they got outside, he looked down at the ground. It finally dawned on him when he saw the scorch marks and oil stains, that the other two finished up the rest.
“You’re pretty brave for a new hero, Acid,” Fire Man’s words caught his attention. Him, brave? That was rich--he ran from the fight. “You know,” he continued on, “we could always use for more heroes. We could even train ya!”
“No, thank you. I could train myself.”
Fire Man nodded. “That’s understandable. Seems likes it's workin' anyway, seeing as you already have a grasp on your weapon!”
“Ha, yeah…” Acid Man mumbled.
“Aww, you would have been a fun HiT member,” Oil Man whined. Fire Man gave him a look that shut him up. Acid Man looked at the two. They seemed to act like brothers, or were just really close. He shrugged it off, it was none of his business, “Either way, see ya 'round, newbie!” Oil Man teased before sliding away.
Fire Man sighed and waved Acid Man bye, “See ya, partner. Hope to see you soon on the field.”
With that, he was left alone. He looked around outside and saw ash, oil stains, and even some embers in the grass (luckily, the last two were nowhere near each other) and got a cold feeling in his stomach. He tried to shake the feeling off, but it didn’t work. 'Maybe a shower would help. ’ He thought. He just had to put out the embers first.
After he took a longer-than-intended shower, he dried himself off and went to his laptop and opened a word document.
>First run w/ watch: Success…?
The next morning, Henri smiled, semi-proud of himself. He looked at his laptop, and noticed a second word document open. ‘Did Ace get on here? I told him he shouldn’t touch my stuff!' He thought. Henri checked the document to make sure it wasn’t one of his that his roommate decided to ruin.
>Switch watch arm. You’ll thank me later.
Henri paled. How did someone already know about his watch?
Chapter 3: Oxidants Happen
Another night using the watch. Things don't go as planned.
Warning: Mild gore near the end of this chapter.
I thank bluegamerchick again for helping me get through writing these.
“Why did you call me so late at night?” Michael yawned as he leaned back in his chair.
“I wanted to make sure Ace was asleep first,” Henri looked over to the door, reassured by Ace’s snoring, “I realized I never got to show you the Robot Master mode.”
“I ended up switching which wrist my watch was on because of complications,” Henri clicked on the document on his computer and read the sentence again.
>Switch watch wrist. You'll thank me later.
“You mean when you burned your wrist?”
“Y-yeah, that’s it,” he eyed his right hand, which was still wrapped in gauze. Maybe Michael was just looking out for him and he wrote that. Then again, how’d he type it on an offline document?
“So, what does it look like?”
“Oh, right,” Henri put his fingers on the sensor of the watch, “Acid: Power Up!”
One bright flash of green light later, the adrenaline rush feeling hit like a truck, and Acid Man was standing in Henri’s place. “Well, ah…” Acid Man pointed at himself with his arm cannon, “This is it.”
Michael’s eyes went wide, “What’s up with your voice?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, sometimes there are minor voice changes in Robot Master mode, but…” Michael put a finger up to his chin, “I never heard a voice change so, you know, drastic.”
“Must’ve been how we made the thing,” Acid Man guessed, prodding his arm cannon with his hand, ‘It stayed in the same place? Huh.’
“Aren’t you right-handed?” Michael asked as he watched Acid Man.
He was snapped out of his thoughts by the question. Acid Man shook his head to clear it, and answered, “Of course I am.”
“Just thought I’d ask,” Michael said as he leaned back in his own chair.
As Michael thought to himself, Acid Man stared, entranced by the bubbling liquid in his arm cannon. He looked at the table, then back at the arm cannon. He got an idea: 'Maybe one drop…' Acid Man thought as he concentrated on it. As if on cue, a small drop of green formed and dripped onto the table. He watched in fascination as it ate through the wood.
Michael watched this and only had one question: “...What was that for?”
Michael got no answer. “Henri?” He snapped his fingers. When that didn’t work, Michael called out his name and raised his voice, “Henri!” Like before, he didn’t respond. Michael’s eyes narrowed as he yelled, “HENRI!”
Acid Man looked up, “What is it?”
“Do you want to put more holes in your table?” Michael asked, annoyed.
He tilted his head, “What do you-?” He looked back down, “Oh...Right.”
“Were you testing the acid or something?” Michael joked.
“I don’t know...?” He trailed off.
“What do you mean you don’t know? How long did you stay up last night?” He asked.
The other shrugged, then thought, ‘Why would I do something like that? It was already bad when I was making the watch. Why make it worse?’
”For science, of course!” Acid Man spoke out.
“Wh-? How is that science?”
Acid Man looked at him and chuckled. ”Anything can be science!” He noticed Michael’s baffled expression and added, “I’m...testing to see what this can burn through.”
Michael was unconvinced. “You should go to bed; I think you're getting a bit loopy from sleep deprivation.”
He sighed, “If you insist, Mikey… Good night.” With that, he closed out of the video call. He had something else he wanted to do, anyway.
Acid Man got up and began to look around. “There has to be some kind of container I can use...” he thought out loud. He scanned the room and searched through it, trying to find a beaker or a test tube of some kind. Once he was done, his room looked as if a tornado went through it. He rummaged through the desk to see if he'd have any luck. When he looked on top of it, he noticed a small, thin test tube resting in a holder. He picked it up without a second thought. The lamp’s light reflected off more and he scooped them up, smiling down at his small bundle of test tubes.
Now he just needed a way to carry them. Acid looked for a bit, and he noticed a bag hanging on the closet door. He grabbed it and flung it around himself after he placed the test tubes inside. “Safety. Safety first...” Acid Man went to grab some kind of safety gear. Anything would do, in all honesty. He threw open the closet door and looked inside. A brilliant white lab coat was smack dab in the middle of all the other clothes, and he grinned as he snatched it off the hanger.
“I can’t just walk out of the door. What if someone wakes up and hears me?” He looked around, and his gaze settled on the window.
Ace woke up to the sounds of clinking glasses and raspy mumbling. He groaned as he rolled out of bed and reached out for a pair of sweatpants. 'Henri, I swear...’
He knocked on Henri’s door: no answer. With a sigh, he said, “Hey Hit Points, go to bed,” No response. He knocked again as he turned the knob, “Don’t make me come in there,” He groaned at the silence and pushed open the door. “Dude, I don’t care if it’s a weekend; I’m trying to-.”
Ace only caught a glimpse of something go out the window. While most people would have been panicking, Ace was more confused. ‘Is he sneaking out to do more work?’ He thought. He looked out the window, but he could only see a glimpse of green. He rubbed his eyes as he walked to the front door, and he grabbed his coat as he opened it.
Acid Man walked across the campus, the clinking of the test tubes were his only company. He hummed, not to anything in particular, as he made his way to the chemistry building.
As Ace trailed behind the person, he saw that the dim lights of the street lamps on the campus reflected off a large glass tube that hid the back of the person’s neck. If he didn’t know any better, he would’ve questioned what kind of person in a lab coat would wear a bright green boa. The light also reflected off of some kind of pointy mask--also green--that had some kind of liquid inside of it. Once Ace made note of the propellers the man was walking with, as well as the green tubes that stuck out from the sides of his legs, it became clear that the person he was following looked nothing like Henri.
He followed the robot as he ducked through a hole in the door of the chemistry building.
“They wouldn’t even know I was here,” a raspy voice echoed through the hall inside, along with a chuckle.
Ace pulled one of the doorknobs: locked. Of course. Ace heard a gasp, and the robot’s footsteps and the clinking of test tubes became faster. Ace turned and ran in the direction of the noise.
Without a second thought, Acid Man threw open the doors, ‘So many possibilities for samples, so little time,’ He stopped in front of the tank of green and pulled a test tube out of the satchel as he knelt down. The red of his eyes were a stark contrast against the green of his reflection as Acid Man placed the tube in the concoction. His hand was shaky, but he maintained his grip as he allowed the chemical to creep in. He brought the test tube back out as he switched out his arm cannon with a free hand, and the chemical in the tube was soon capped.
As he slipped the test tube into the bag, Acid Man heard fast footsteps. He looked at the chemical vat and slipped off the lab coat. ‘Wouldn’t want that to get damaged,’ he dived in as the footsteps got closer.
The man noticed the bag and lab coat on the floor and walked towards them. Through the green, Acid Man could tell he had light hair and dark sunglasses. He watched as he grabbed the satchel, the clinking of test tubes muffled by the chemicals Acid Man was in. He stared at the man.
‘Be careful with that!’ Acid Man thought as his blood started to boil. He wasn’t even wearing any safety equipment! Acid Man felt his heart skip a beat as the bag slipped out of the person’s hands. He fantasized jumping out of the concoction and shaking some sense into the man in a “WHAT ARE YOU DOING” type of way, his hand balled up into a fist as he mused. Acid Man relaxed as the man caught the bag by the straps. When he knelt down to pick up the lab coat, Acid Man got a good look at the man’s face.
‘Ace?’ Acid Man’s eyes widened, ‘What’s he doing here at this hour?’ Maybe he couldn’t tell it was him right away because he was in chemicals...or because it was...dark.
Wait, why did he decide to go into the chemistry building? It’s not like he was fighting anyone!
“Henri?!” Ace called out as he got back up and ran out into the corridor. “Where are ya?!”
There it was again: he handled the sample so carelessly. Acid Man’s blood boiled as he launched himself back onto the platform. “GET BACK HERE WITH THAT!” He yelled as he ran to the exit.
Ace turned his head and paled. The green robot was running right at him. He took a step, and then another, then bolted.
“GIVE THAT BACK!” Acid Man yelled as he tried to grab Ace.
Ace didn’t look back; he only focused on running. He could feel his heart pound in his rib cage. Questions swarmed through his head, but he slammed right into the door and heard an audible crack from the bag.
Panic shot through Acid Man, fearing for the sample and Ace’s well-being. He grabbed Ace by the shoulders, and turned him around to face him. The college student’s nose was bleeding and he looked at Acid Man with fear.
“P-please don’t kill me, Mr. Scary Robot Dude!” Ace begged as he backed up.
He gave Ace a weird look. He shook his head and pointed to the bag. “I would like to have my things back,” He said simply.
“What? No way! This is Henri’s junk!” Ace argued.
Acid Man’s hand tensed up as he blurted out, “It’s not junk!”
Ace looked up at him in confusion. Acid Man wondered why; was it something he said? Then again, he might just be confused about a lot of things-
“Henri, are...are you a robot?” Ace blurted out.
He soon realized what was going on, and between his own questions and Ace realizing he was a robot, Acid Man quickly found himself unable to form a sentence, “I, um, yeah…, about that, uh, I...”
“Better question, how did you become one?” Ace asked, “Was it some kinda freak lab accident or something?”
“What? No,” he responded. That was only in comic books, anyway.
“And how are you walking on those propeller thingies?” Ace asked as he pointed to his feet.
"What prope-?” He finally looked down, “I've been running on THOSE this whole time?" Acid Man asked as he looked at his feet and lifted one leg up before he stamped with it. Surprisingly, he kept his balance.
“Yeah, you have been, dude,” Ace responded. Acid Man looked at him in confusion as he took his hand off Ace’s shoulder.
"Alright..." Acid Man asked, “How’d you know it was me, anyway?”
“You being defensive over your junk mostly. Plus, I know you. You are the only person in the world who would do work when they have something like a really cool robot mode,” Ace answered.
“Right… Ah…” Acid Man walked ahead of Ace, “Let’s just get out before somebody knows we're in here.”
“Alrig-ACK!” Ace yelled, and Acid Man looked at him.
Ace had dropped the bag and grabbed his shoulder.
Acid Man yelped as he snatched the bag and lab coat mid-fall, “Give me those!” After he crawled outside, he placed the bag on the ground as he pulled out individual test tubes. “Where is it? Where is it? Where is it?” He muttered to himself as he frantically pulled out more test tubes.
Ace watched as he was clutching his shoulder trying to hold back a scream. He didn’t even realize Acid Man's touch had melted through his jacket and night shirt.
“THERE!” Acid Man pulled out a test tube of green liquid and placed it on the lab coat. “Phew,” he looked over to Ace.
Ace at this point had taken off his jacket and rolled up his sleeve. He was lucky the acid itself was slow, having only now just reached the skin. It was clear his injury still bled, though, as blood dripped from the wound.
Acid Man gagged, “ACK! Ah, uh…” He looked around for something he could use to stop the bleeding. If only he hadn’t been diving in chemicals...
Ace let out a strained laugh. “God, I should have just…stayed in bed... Heh.”
He looked over to Ace, “Le-let’s just get back to the dorms and get you patched up…” He gestured Ace in the direction of the dorms as he picked up the bag.
Ace’s steps were wobbly at best. At moments he would have to stop, and regain balance. When that happened, Acid Man gently nudged him with the bag.
Ace closed the door behind them as Acid Man apologized. Again. He stammered, “I don’t know what I was thinking when I grabbed you! I mean, I was in acid. What made me think I was able to…?”
Ace gave him a weak smile. “Calm down, HP. I was the idiot who got up to see what you were doing,” He shook his head.
With all the worried thoughts swarming in his mind, Acid Man mentally trailed off, and in his haze, the thoughts faded altogether as he spoke up, “Ace… Could I try something?”
Ace nodded, “Sure, HP.”
Acid Man slightly chuckled at the nickname, and he got a weird look from Ace. “What?” He asked.
“You never laugh at my nickname. Heck, I always thought you hated it,” Ace responded, surprise written on his face.
The response made him burst out laughing, “Aw, Acey, how could I hate it? It’s adorable, in a way.”
Ace stared. Did Henri just use a nickname?
“We should hurry up, though. I would’ve used my lab coat as a form of bandage, but that also has acid on it,” Acid Man opened the door as he muttered to himself and then turned to face Ace, “There’s a first aid kit in my work area if you can’t find the other one...”
“G-got it, HP,” Ace said as he walked to the Henri’s room.
Acid Man watched him go. ‘First, shower. Second, use the neutralizer on Ace’s injury. Third, Patch up Ace. Should be easy.’
Acid Man made sure the shower was a quick, yet effective one. “I’ll be right there!” He called out as he made his way to the hallway. He walked up to his room’s door and could hear Ace grumbling and swearing. Acid let out a sigh and entered.
There he saw Ace semi tangled up in gauze, and eyes red. Acid Man knelt down to Ace, and looked the injury.
Both were very lucky the acid was taking its time. He untangled Ace from the gauze, and set to work on the injury. First came to neutralizing the acid itself. Acid Man gagged, but he tried to keep calm as he got to work.
Ace watched in wonder as Acid Man worked.
“Hold still, I’ll be right back,” Acid Man got up and walked to the kitchen. When he came back, he was a holding a bowl, baking soda, and some other things.
Acid Man sat down next to Ace and began mixing the baking soda with some kind of liquid. The liquid reacted almost immediately to the baking soda, creating a weird soupy mixture. Acid picked up the bowl and scooted closer to Ace.
“Question, how good is your pain tolerance?” Acid asked.
“I’ll take my chances. I made it this far, haven’t I?” Ace winced.
He nodded and dipped his hand in the mixture. “I think we both know this is going to sting a liiiittle bit, but it’s better than your arm falling off or something,” before Ace could react, Acid Man applied the mixture to Ace’s wound.
Ace let out a high-pitched scream, biting his tongue quickly. Acid Man blinked and looked at him, “OK, so, maybe more than just a little sting...” Acid Man put down the bowl as he got to work on the gauze.
Ace was in a daze at this point, and before he knew it, his wound was washed, and Acid Man approached him with the gauze in-hand. “It’s a good thing the acid was slow on your skin,” He wrapped it around the wound, “Just...try to take it easy with that arm for a few weeks.”
Ace nodded. He rested his head on Acid Man’s shoulder. “Thanks, dude.”
“It isn’t your dominant one, is it?” Acid Man asked.
Ace shook his head. “Nah. Even if it was, I can still write good enough with the other”
Acid Man sighed with relief, “Good,” He eyed the computer, “I need to go write some things down,” he walked over and typed as he looked at Ace.
Ace was on the floor, asleep.
‘I ought to get some rest, too,’ Acid Man thought. Tonight had been more hectic than he had planned. Before that, though, he had to put away the sample. He pulled the test tube out of the bag as he looked around, and his gaze settled on a small cabinet that had a small layer of dust on it.
It'll have to do for now.
Chapter 4: Odd Reactions
Chapter by Areulto
Things start getting odd with Henri's Robot Master mode. (As if things weren't already.)
This is what happens when I try to write a thing by myself: it takes weeks and in the end, I'd need someone's help anyway.
Anyway, I thank @theonlyrobotmasterwhoisgay on Tumblr for helping me write some of this.
Henri groaned as he reached for the alarm. He was surprisingly groggy as he attempted to lean over. Rather than silence, Henri’s hand missed the button and the clock fell on the floor. One of his legs was hanging off the bed, and he felt the tube that stuck out from the side of it bump against the night stand.
Henri glanced at his arm on the nightstand. Everything had a yellow-green tint, but his arm was normal. Or at least it was “normal” in the way that it wasn’t an arm cannon.
He groaned, ‘Ghh… I need to make sure I actually change back before I go to sleep…’ He thought to himself as he put his left hand on his other arm, “Acid: Power Down!”
One bright flash later, and he was back to normal. He got up and placed his alarm clock back on the nightstand as he walked into the kitchen.
“Mornin’, Hit Points,” Ace was drinking coffee as he read out of a textbook.
“You’re not going to stop calling me that, are you?” Henri asked in a deadpan manner.
“Good to see you’re back to normal.” Ace put his mug down, “Hey, so, do ya have to say that thing every time, or…?”
He ignored the second question as he saw Ace’s wrapped-up shoulder under his sleeveless shirt, “I see you got your shoulder fixed.”
“Yeah. Thanks, man! I owe you one.”
After a pause, Henri responded, “What do you mean you ‘owe me one’? All I did was bring you to the dorms.” In hindsight, he should’ve brought him to the infirmary. He mentally groaned at his mistake.
“You did, though! You came in with gauze and other stuff and patched me up after you got probably-acid on me!”
Henri squinted as he went over the events that happened last night.
“C’mon, man! I’m serious!” Ace responded, “You even ended up walking to your computer before I fell asleep. Or maybe I passed out, I’unno.”
Wait, he did? Henri walked back into his room and gasped.
Everything was strewn around on the floor, and the window was open. Any drawer that could’ve been opened had been opened, and his lab coat was in a pile on top of his bag. The bag’s straps were in two, and upon closer inspection, one of the sleeves of the lab coat looked as if it had chemicals splashed on them; volatile ones, if the damage was any indication. Was there a break-in? How could that have happened if the dorm was locked the whole time and the window was on the third floor? Questions buzzed through Henri’s head as he got to work and grumbled, “Ghh, this is appalling.”
“Hey HP, there’s a report on TV!” Ace opened the door as Henri was reorganizing his bookshelf. Through his window, they could see a giant mass of yellow a few streets away.
“I think I see it, Ace,” Henri sighed as he put two fingers on the sensor of his watch and chanted, “Acid: Power Up!”
With that, Ace shielded his eyes from the green flash while Henri was shaken up by the surge of adrenaline. When the light faded, Acid Man was in Henri’s place. He walked a few steps towards the doorway before he turned around and found himself falling out of the window.
“Henri, wait!” Ace called out.
After he landed, Acid Man blinked, “...I meant to do that,” he muttered to himself as he ran in the direction of the attack.
Three more Robot Masters ran into the area: one green with a snake-like helmet, one red with a horseshoe magnet on his forehead, and one blue with spikes on top of his head. The green one pointed his arm cannon at Acid Man as he approached them.
Before he could fire it, the red one stopped him, “Snake, wait!” He looked at Acid Man, “Never thought I’d see you this quickly.”
The blue one asked, “Magnet, you know this guy?”
As Magnet Man explained to him, Acid Man walked past the blue robot. Now that he was closer, he could see the mass had arms and legs, and a red eye that stuck out from its yellow body. As he looked at the robot, he only had one sentence on his mind, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
The blue robot, Needle Man, glanced at Acid Man, “Yyyyeah, I’m gonna pretend I didn’t hear that.”
Crap. Did he say that out loud? In an effort to save face, Acid Man asked, “Heard what?”
He ignored Acid Man, but Snake Man responded, “You probably never thought of it because you never sssaw the Yellow Devil before now.”
“Yes, ah…” Acid Man responded as he averted his eyes, “that’s what it was.”
Before he could join the two Robot Masters that ran towards the Yellow Devil, a thought got his attention and made him freeze:
‘I should get a sample of that.’
Acid Man shook his head as he followed after the three, and another thought surfaced, ‘I think I still have an extra test tube on me.’ He shook his head, “Ghh…”
Just then, a large needle flew past the side of his head. The needle passed through a glob of yellow. Said glob was hurtling towards Acid Man, and it felt like he was hit by a ton of bricks. Before he could get his bearings back, he felt himself being dragged away by an invisible force.
As he was being dragged away, he heard someone shout, “Magnet Missile!”
As soon as he was dragged behind cover--or at least as much cover an alleyway could provide--he saw it was Magnet Man who saved him. The latter asked, “Are you sure you’re up for something like this? It’s kind of a huge leap for your first battle. If you want, you can le-”
“No!” Acid Man’s blood went cold at the prospect of leaving, and he exclaimed before he could wonder why.
If he wasn’t in Robot Master mode at the time, his face would’ve been as red as Magnet Man’s armor. His hands clasped to cover the mouthpiece as he forced himself to look at the red Robot Master. How could he have been so rude? To Michael, no less?! “Sorry! I, I mean, I wouldn’t want...” He stammered and struggled to find words as a thought went through his head, ‘I’m not being rude, I just don’t want to leave them to fight this thing alone.’
“Ghhh…” Acid Man groaned and put a hand to his head.
“Are you sure you’re okay, Henri?”
“I’m fine! I just-”
‘Plus, when will I ever get a chance like this again? I HAVE to know what that robot’s made of!’
There it was again! Acid Man shook his head and smacked his hand against it like it was a broken flashlight, “How many times do I have to tell myself to get my priorities straight?!”
“I mean fighting the...the…”
“The Yellow Devil?”
“Yes! Thank you!”
“...Just take it easy,” Magnet Man got up, “You’re more than welcome to leave,” and with that, he ran back into the fight.
“I’ll be fine!” Acid Man spoke up as he got up and ran back out with him, ‘It’s just stress, Henri. That’s what it is.’ Great, he was talking to himself. What was wrong with him today?
As he stepped back out, he stumbled backwards after a small robotic snake zoomed past his face, “Gah!”
“That time wasss an accident--no need to turn your weapon on me.”
Acid Man opened his eyes, and he noticed the green bubble he was in, “Okay…” After he recalled the weapon, he followed Snake Man to where the Yellow Devil was.
As they ran in, Acid Man heard a yelp as a red blur flew past in the corner of his eye. Snake Man ran towards the yellow robot as Acid Man called out, “I’ll go get Magnet Man! You two can handle it, right?”
‘Michael, where are you?’ Acid Man thought to himself. The environment became a blur as he ran in the direction Magnet Man was thrown. He swerved at several points as various people, robots, and other such obstacles got in his way. Whether he bumped into one or not, he always followed it with a loud and quick “Sorry!” without missing a beat.
He slowed down a bit as he noticed the ground he was running on became softer, and he got a sinking feeling as he noticed the expanse of blue right in front of him. Despite the feeling he got, he didn’t stop; if anything, he started to run faster.
‘Wait wait wait, what am I doing?!’ As the gap between him and the dock shortened, he scanned the area for things that could trip him up.
‘This is stupid! I’m just going to end up being another person the help has to-!’ His thoughts were cut off as he skidded on the dock and his arm cannon changed back into a normal hand. To his dismay, he slipped as he was unceremoniously dumped into the water, and his eyes squeezed themselves shut.
Thoughts swarmed through his head as he felt himself sink. Should he have been flailing to get back up to the surface? Should he have tried to make as much noise as possible? Why was he letting himself sink?
His inner monologue was interrupted as a quiet whir got his attention. His eyes opened, and he realized something, ‘I’m...okay? How am I swimming?’
‘It must be because of my robot mode,’ it made sense, but even with his rationalization, he couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off.
‘But I know I’m not able to,’ Along with his own confusion, the panic of being underwater started to catch up with him.
‘I was able to last time. Why would that be any different now?’
He flashed back to when he fell in the chemical vat the other night, ‘...How did I not notice that when it happened?!’
‘The important thing is that I’m swimming now, and I have to save Mikey.’
His confusion and panic skyrocketed, ‘Mikey?!’
With that, he slowed down, ‘...Maybe I should take things into my own hands for a bit.’
‘Wait wait, wha-?!’ His thoughts were cut off.
‘Oops,’ Acid Man’s turbines spun faster as he saw Magnet Man, and he grabbed him and pulled him back up to the surface.
Magnet Man opened his eyes, “Acid Man? Not that I don’t appreciate the help, but… Can’t you, you know, not swim?”
“‘Not swim’? Nonsense! I’m doing it right now, aren’t I?” Acid Man waded himself and Magnet Man ashore.
“Well, yeah, but…” Magnet Man asked, “You finally decided to learn how to swim?”
“...Let’s just get back to the fight.”
They set foot on shore, and Acid Man started to run, “With pleasure!”
The Yellow Devil had been destroying buildings and in doing so, injuring the Robot Masters that were trying to attack it, He only shouted the word “Bumo!” once he had heard Acid and Magnet run in. He slammed a fist in their path in hopes of squishing one of the Robot Masters, but it missed, causing him to get angrier.
“Now H- Acid, are you sure you’re up for something like this?” Magnet asked in a stern tone.
“Oh, I think I am…” Acid Man responded with a chuckle as he was looking for a spot to close in on him. He kept the test tube in his possession in mind as he ran, ‘Now, which angle should I come in at?’
“BUMO!” The Yellow Devil spotted the bright green Robot Master and sent its arm hurtling towards him. Perfect. Acid Man prepared a barrier as he jumped backwards and saw the concrete and asphalt crack under the yellow substance. As he saw the mass quiver and rise, Acid Man jumped on it, and he was sent flying up along with it.
Needle Man shot another needle at the Yellow Devil’s optic as Magnet Man shot his weapon at it, ‘Henri, you better know what you’re doing…’
Yellow Devil had taken the needle and Magnet Missile to the eye. His optic started to spark, and oil dripped as he held it. It had stopped attacking as it tried to remove the needle from its optic, “BUMOMOMO!”
Acid Man stumbled and struggled to keep his balance. He had to make this quick. He put one hand on the Yellow Devil’s quivering alloy as he knelt down and pulled the test tube out.
‘What’s he doing?’ Needle Man thought.
‘Just a bit more…’ Acid Man had to be careful to make sure the test tube didn’t break. He saw the spot he was under quiver, and he snatched up what he could fit in the test tube as he capped it. Excitement welled up in him, “HAHAHAHA!”
Snake Man went over to Magnet Man and muttered, “With a voice and laugh like that, I wonder what he looksss like.”
“I swear, he’s not normally like this!” Magnet Man responded as he watched Acid Man cackle like a hyena, "He's normally much more tame..."
“I HAVE IT!”
‘And I thought I was weird,’ Snake Man thought.
As Acid Man jumped off, a voice came on the Yellow Devil’s signal, “Come back to the fortress for repairs!” With that, the Yellow Devil turned into a formless blob as he slithered back to who-knows-where.
“I should get tipsss from him,” Snake Man muttered to himself.
Acid Man walked away, “Hehe, at least it’s gone.”
"And I'll make sssure of that," Snake Man leaped and ran in its direction.
Needle Man walked away, “I have plushies I need to make.”
Magnet Man walked up to Acid Man as he was looking at his prize, “Hey, I need to talk to you about something.”
“Oh!" Acid Man’s eyes lit up, "So do I, but,” he looked around, “I’d rather not talk about it in a public place like this.” With that, he ran off as he waved with his left hand.
His eyes went wide, “Hey, wait!”
“I’ll talk about it with you on the computer!”
“...” Magnet Man stood, ‘He better mean it...’ He thought as he teleported with an audible BOO-WIP!
Acid Man made a beeline for his room as the door slammed shut behind him. After he placed the test tube on its rack, his hands became a blur on his keyboard. Several giggles escaped him as he opened the chat and clicked on Michael’s name.
One minute. His leg bounced as he waited.
Three minutes. Maybe Michael was busy? He was probably busy.
Five minutes. Time felt like it was moving at a snail's pace.
Before another minute could pass, a ping interrupted his train of thought as Michael’s face popped up on the screen.
“Michael! I’m sorry to have called you so soon after the fight, but this couldn’t wait!”
Michael narrowed his eyes, “You’re still in Robot Master mode?”
“That’s not important,” Acid Man shrugged, “What is important, however, is this!” Acid Man picked up the test tube and held it up to the camera. He barely held back a grandiose hand gesture as he brandished the material. It looked as if it was trying to escape its containment.
“Where did you get that?!” Michael asked as his eyes widened.
“When we fought that Yellow Devil. Where else?” Acid Man shook his head, “I’m getting off-topic. The point is, I need your help with something.”
“And that is…?”
“During the fight, I was thinking: we should put our heads together!”
“Uh...huh,” Michael responded, “Define ‘put our heads together’.”
“We make our own Devil!”
Michael’s mouth went agape as Acid Man rambled while he placed the test tube back onto the rack, “It won’t be yellow, though; can’t have it getting mixed up with that one. Before you ask, I’ll be sure to give you the appropriate credit,” he muttered, “Maybe we can make it green…”
Acid Man turned his head back to Michael’s screen, “What is it?”
“Our. Own. Devil,” Michael pinched the bridge of his nose, “Please tell me you heard that the same way I did.”
“What same way?”
“What part of ‘make our own DEVIL’ didn’t tip you off as evil-sounding?”
“...So I take it that you’re saying no?”
“No, we’re not stooping to Wily's level!”
“I see,” Acid Man looked down and sighed as he got up and placed the test tube rack in the small cabinet. He finished as he sat down, “The sample’s in there if you change your mind.”
Michael changed the subject, “What’s gotten into you, Henri? This isn’t like you!”
Acid Man’s eyes lit up, “Oh!” How could he have forgotten to tell him? "Thank you for the reminder; I have something I need to tell you!”
“I’m not Henri.”