“Most impressive, Miss Mizuki,” the scientist said as he approached Hotaru Mizuki. He applauded once, twice, before holding out his hand to shake hers. “Or should I say ‘Dr. Mizuki’?”
The young woman chuckled. “It’s unusual being addressed by my father’s name.”
“He’s a brilliant man in robotics, and you’re clearly meant to walk in his footsteps.” He motioned towards the holographic model display from her presentation. Three robots who could combine together to form a giant, each configuration with its own set of unique powers.
“Dr. Kusama! Have you designed robots with my father?” Hotaru asked, who had just glimpsed his name tag.
“Indeed! Would you like to see my newest plan?”
She nodded her head eagerly. He led her past rows of presenters and attendants at the Annual Robotics Expo.
A large banner by the entry archway greeted them with the words “Cultivating Young Creative Minds”; the photoshopped image of a person with their mind interfacing with a robot glowed eerily green. Underneath the banner lay Dr. Kusama’s own presentation table.
“This one’s not for general public knowledge,” Dr. Kusama explained as he pulled his briefcase from under his table. Unfastening the tiny latches, he tucked out some documents and laid them out on the table. He motioned for her to come closer so they would not be overhead by any passersby.
Hotaru leaned closer, examining the blueprints of the magnificent giant robot. It would measure about three stories taller than her own proposed design. The giant robot’s shoulders stood out broad and round, and his handsome face would be chiseled into a hard metal head designed after the Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs.
“Interesting! Why Ancient Egypt as inspira—oh!” her eyes glanced over the notes—all the powers this mighty beast will carry! And whoever commanded him will have all that might wired right around their wrist.
“This is amazing!” she said, breathless and suddenly feeling foolish for her own three little robots.
“I’ve…already begun production,” Dr. Kusama said, “despite not being funded.”
She questioned him silently with one quirked eyebrow.
“Let’s say…it’s a complicated matter. The organization I work for wishes to have this robot for themselves, but they are not a company I agree with.”
Suddenly the reason for huddling together and speaking in hushed voices made sense.
“I will make this robot fight against them.”
She nodded and thought of her father, the threatening letters he had received from this very company.
“I could very well not see the end of its production. They have eyes everywhere.”
Swallowing thickly, Hotaru faced him. “Dr. Kuasam…would you like me on your committee?”