Chapter 1 - Wandering Light
"That's..." Jackson stammered, "That's him! DLN-000, the Prototype!"
"I know what it means," Jones groaned, standing up and brushing off his pants. "You think that this is proof that it was all real. It's..." he paused, scratching his chin, "Well, it's certainly something. Just by the look of that thing, it's a couple thousand years old," he let his hands fall. He added, "It's amazing the battery's lasted this long, if nothing else."
"That's it?" Jackson said, standing up, her tone incredulous.
"Just because it put up DLN-000 doesn't mean anything. Anyone could have put that," he waved a hand dismissively. "Hell, you
have it tattooed on your--"
Jackson stopped him with a quick glare, and Jones grinned. He coughed, and continued, "Anyway, we ought to see what else is on there before you say it's proof that the myth is real."
His partner looked at him for a moment, then her eyes lit up, and she dropped down beside the ancient machine again. "You're absolutely right, Hank," she smiled, her fingers clicking on the aged buttons.
Jones knelt down beside her, "What are you doing? I meant take it back first, you might fry the thing or something!"
She shook her head, "I know what I'm doing. I'm just seeing what's on here...looks like...something massive on the hard drive...and Hm...audio files." She paused for a second, and then tapped a large button near the front of the machine.
It whirred audibly, and Jackson sat back, "This should give us some idea," she announced as Jones rolled his eyes.
"I was the first..." a tinny but youthful sounding voice droned from the machine's speakers.
I was a test. My creators made me as a proof of concept. Proof that the combination of their work, in artificial intelligence, robotics, and energy conversion could work in sync with each other. When I came online, they rejoiced, heralding my confused questions as a success. They introduced themselves to me, doctors Thomas X. Light and Albert Wily.
Looking back now, there are times I wish I'd never heard either name. So much pain because of what they made.
Over the next weeks, other old men in white coats came to see me. They sang my praises over my questions, and shook Light and Wily's hands.
Soon after they'd determined that I was a success--heh, how shortsighted that was--they began work on the next ones. My brother, Rock, first of the Master Series, and Roll, our sister. The names were Light's idea. He always had a strange sense of humor. They let me help them in their construction, but never even gave me a name. I was simply "The Prototype" to them. They did not intend it, but I felt like little more than a tool.
I saw the plans for my "siblings," hair, clothes, and almost human eyes. I was little more than an endoskeleton with a simple gray body covering. They'd been generous enough to cover my head with the same synthetic skin that was to go on Rock's and Roll's bodies, but that was probably more for their benefit than mine. I did not get hair, or even my siblings' lifelike eyes. I feared that, once their "real" projects were finished, I would simply be dismantled. I do not know if they intended me to be able to feel, but I was afraid. The day before Rock and Roll were set to be activated, I ran.
I had no idea where I was, or what anything around me meant. The laboratory where I was built was a small building in what I eventually learned was upstate New York. In the far distance--what my eyes lacked in aesthetics, they made up for in viewing ability--I saw large buildings. A city. I don't know why, but I felt drawn there. Maybe I thought I could hide, or someone could help me. I wandered in the streets, unnoticed by almost everybody. Those that did see me were frightened. Apparently, a bald child with glowing red eyes was cause for concern. Who knew? My thin, stick-like fingers likely didn't help matters either. Further, though they covered my metallic skull in synthetic skin, it only extended down to my chin, and the skeletal frame of my neck was exposed between there and where the body suit began.
As I quickly learned, few things are off limits to those of us that can break through wood and glass with our bare hands. I took clothes, gloves, sunglasses, shoes, a scarf, and a black wig from a department store in the night. Men in blue outfits, police men, met me as I was leaving the store. Seeing what they thought was a child, they relaxed. Not knowing what they were, I ran again.
I left the city, and just kept running for a long time. I don't have as sophisticated sensors as my younger siblings would, but the wind on my face felt good. I wandered. I had only basic systems, so I could not even tell the time or date.
Somewhere in what I eventually learned was Kentucky, I saw my "parents" again. Light was speaking to someone on a TV. I stopped briefly to watch, and heard him say, "...He could be a danger to those around him. We don't know who has taken him, but if you're watching, his reactor is unstable. He must be returned to us, so that we may..." I stopped paying attention, I knew, or thought I knew, what he was going to say. They wanted to dismantle me, just as I had feared. I ran again.
Nearly a year went by. I kept moving, observing humans, trying to emulate their behaviors. Whenever someone looked at me too long, I left again, afraid they wanted to turn me in. And then, near a construction site near Phoenix, my old "family" caught up with me. I was walking down the street, when I heard strange, discordant sounds at the construction site. I looked over, and the building's metal frame was crumbling to the ground. My curiosity got the better of me, and I moved closer.
I saw two figures, both about the same shape and height as myself. One had an off white body suit, with orange gloves and boots, and he seemed to be throwing around a large pair of scissors. I would later come to know him as Cut Man. The other was clad in blue, with some sort of cannon in place of a hand. I watched them fight for what seemed like hours, but could only have been a few minutes, until the white and orange one exploded. The other stood there for a moment, then turned his head toward me.
I was too startled to run as he hopped from the wreckage and landed in front of me. He looked different from the plans I'd seen, but he was clearly my brother. Did they tell him about me? Why did he have armor and weaponry? Was he going to bring me in? All these questions swirled through my head when a voice, much like my own, said, "Are you alright? You shouldn't stay here, it could be dangerous." Before I could say anything--and what would I have said?--he transformed into some kind of energy, and was gone.
I stood dumbfounded for a moment, collecting my thoughts. He didn't recognize me, if he had known about me at all. Why did he kill that other robot? He looked to be built by the same plans...had he escaped too, only to be hunted down and murdered by Rock? As I stood there, I saw vehicles approaching, and ran once again.
Once I thought I was safe, I began looking for answers. I didn't have to look hard. In my time alive, I learned to use computers, and found that Dr. Light and Wily had had some kind of falling out. Wily took most of the robots he and Light had built. None of the sites that I could find quite knew why. Some said he wanted to take over the world, others that he was simply jealous of Light, who others said had taken all the credit for their advances. Most of the sites, though, took Light's side, calling Rock "Mega Man," a hero.
Looking back, that first time was over remarkably quickly. Rock managed to destroy all of our brothers, but was unable to capture Wily. Perhaps he was unable to harm a human. I remembered Light talking about that, calling it "the first law of robotics," then Wily would laugh at him. "I can't believe you read that stuff," he would say. "Why do you think I got into this line of work?" would be Light's wry response.
After that, though, Light seemed to stop caring about me and my "unstable reactor." At the time, I dismissed it. There was nothing wrong with me, I told myself. They had just wanted me back to dismantle me, find out why I ran away. Clearly, even Light saw me as little more than a means to an end. Rock and Roll were his "real" project. Rock was his real son.
Over the next years, my jealousy toward Rock and Roll would grow. Wily resurfaced, and sure enough, my brother rushed off to stop him. He even managed to capture him this time. Much to my surprise, Wily was released to work alongside Light, so I supposed it must have simply been some sort of rivalry, and the two had come to their senses. Still, though, neither seemed to remember or care about me.
That's what I thought, anyway, until I ran into Wily himself. It was in the midwest, and he was out with a small group of robots to begin construction on some sort of mining facility. He recognized me after I had fallen, my sunglasses and wig knocked from my head, and had his robots restrain me and take me back to his lab. Fear paralyzed my circuitry. This was it. I was going to be dismantled after all.
Or so I thought. When I was brought to the lab, there was no one else there. I thought at least Dr. Light would be there, but I was left alone in a small room for hours before Wily arrived. He asked me where I had been, and I told him, as he sat watching me thoughtfully. He asked me why I had left, and I told him that as well.
"Well, yes, that was Thomas's plan," he said, confirming my fears. "He never thought anything of you, to be honest," he paused, scratched his chin and waggled his eyebrows. "How would you like to get even with him, and with your 'brother'?" he asked, a gleam in his eyes. I should have noticed his tone, his intent, but I didn't. All I could think of was showing them that I was more than just a prototype, and I told Wily this.
"Haha, my boy," he said, "We never did give you a name, did we? From now on, you're Proto Man. I'm going to give you what's rightfully yours."
(Edit: Whoops. I meant to list the scarf with the items he stole from the department store. All fixed now