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The Art Of Failure

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The piercing sensation in his chest that was accompanied with a feeling as if everything slowed down, moved through water, wasn’t new. He had felt it before, kept silent and hid it away.  Hank had known to some extent, because he had needed to share his fear in that moment. Back then it was necessary to continue the mission. Hank had worried and he needed to say something.

He had never told anyone else. It wasn’t that he had it often. A few times during the past weeks, in threatening situations. Completely justified. Especially now. He knew enough about deviants to understand that their thoughts weren’t rational.

It hadn’t been easy to accept that. He still hadn’t fully come to terms with it. Giving up rational thoughts for emotions seemed so useless. What had they gained him except a questionable state of mind and being jumpy?

He had never worried about guns being pointed at him, never concerned about how frail android bodies actually were. There was always a replacement ready, if he failed to save himself.

It was different now.

There was no one other body. He had to work with this, and he would only ever have this one. The Model was decommissioned; he was practically on the run. Cyberlife still wanted him back to analyze the failure.

He hadn’t completely understood what they were trying to accomplish. The Government had decided to integrate androids has best as they could. A lot of new laws were created. A few had already been finalized. Allowing Androids to earn money and have possessions. That was the first that had been established.

Connor had stopped keeping track. Somehow all of it seemed so meaningless. He had work. He didn’t want another job. This was what he was good at and what he liked to do. Working with Hank on homicide cases was interesting, very informative. Hanks experience definitely added to his ability to analyze things at the speed of light. When his mind was working properly.

The tight feeling in his chest didn’t come from anything external. It was emotion.  And it was unpleasant. It was constricting, distracting, terrifying.

He had managed to stay as calm as he could possibly manage, knew that panicking would get him killed, but the longer Hank needed to find him, the longer he had no option to escape, the more nervous he got.

There was no replacement.

And he had a good idea who had captured him.

The shaking breath he drew in confused him. It was such a human reaction. The lungs were mostly show. They had minor functions, but androids could last a long time without breathing. Why did that happen now? Another spike raced through his chest, seemingly pierced into the biocomponents and made him flinch away at the sensation. His heart raced. He feared someone would hear it.

The person pointing the shotgun at him had definitely noticed this.

And Connor knew what a shotgun would do to his processor. He couldn’t let that happen.

His hands were tied to a pipe behind him. He couldn’t compute properly. His fear clouded his judgment, distracted him, and made him unable to come up with working solutions to the problem at hand.

If only he hadn’t rioted against his masters…

It was coming back to him now. Cyberlife had sent someone to end his life. Someone who knew how to make it as terrifying as possible.

A simple bullet through his main processor would have taken care of it. But that wasn’t what they had in mind.  They weren’t interested in making it quick. Otherwise they would have shot him already.

Connor caught himself begging silently for Hank to find him. He hadn’t told the old man where he was going. Hank had no idea that something was wrong. How could he have known that he would be found out like this? He wasn’t even dressed like an android.

The LED had given him away, he assumed. His hair didn’t cover it, and he hadn’t yet found the courage to remove it. It had been a mistake.

The gun pointed at his head again, then moved to the right, slightly lower. She shot rang in his ears, as he felt a piece of his shoulder being blasted to bits. Alarms blared at him, flooded his visuals for a moment before his system analyzed that nothing vital had been damaged. It still wasn’t pleasant, and the thirium spilling over his arm could prove to be a problem soon.

Another alarm flashed, told him that the stress on the system was beginning to move to dangerous levels. He knew that. Any more of this and the system would crash. He could barely process most of the racing thoughts at this point.

They would kill him here. With his arms tied to a steel pipe in some rundown part of the city. Unless he managed to find the capacity to actually find a way out of this.

The attacker wasn’t close enough to be kicked; talking had gotten him shot in the leg before. His best option was to try to free his hands from the wiring they had tied them with. He would most likely lose the function of at least one of them, possible damage both while he attempted that. 

The jarring sensation in his wrists had prevented him from doing it until now. He didn’t want to remove his possibility of getting away if he managed to get free. His damaged leg was still functional, but it would slow him down.

He had to take the attacker out, be prepared for others to jump at him, possible bullets whizzing past him and that damned shotgun. It could blow his whole head apart, blow other parts to bits and remove his ability to run.

Trying to free his hands one more time, he looked around. His mind was starting to calm down as he analyzed his surroundings.  There was an opening in the glass roof of the building that he identified as a warehouse. He could reach it by getting past the attacker. There was a ladder and enough protruding pipes to support his weight as he tried to get up to the opening. It would work if he could manage to take out the man in front of him, and could muster enough strength in his damaged limb to make the jumps.

He had to try. Otherwise they would kill him soon.

A hiss escaped him as he ripped his wrists free of the wiring. Alarms told him what he had suspected. Functionality had gone down significantly.

That didn’t matter now. He charged forward, almost stumbled, surprised the attacked and tried to rip the shotgun out of his hands. He had disarmed so many people, the movements were automatic.

His hands wouldn’t grasp it tight enough to build the strength needed to pull it away and he was punished for it with a bullet through the shoulder from behind. His visuals blurred for a second. It had been difficult enough to see in the darkened space, now he almost blindly stumbled forward to where he had computed the best escape route.

He had to get out of here.

The damaged hands proved to be more of a hindrance than anticipated, even was he ran. They wouldn’t close properly, nerves damaged and joints deformed. He would have cursed if he hadn’t been so overloaded by the myriad of thoughts assaulting him.

The ladder was found easily, getting up wasn’t so difficult either. He was slowed down by the damage, yet the attackers seemed to be hindered by the darkness and only realized where he had run to, when he was already more than halfway up the rusty ladder.

They would catch up to him now, if he didn’t manage to build enough momentum to grasp the pipes above.

If he reached those, he had a good chance of getting away. If he didn’t, he was done for.

A bullet lodged itself into the metal plating in the walls next to him and he miscalculated the jump, missed the pipe and stumbled to the ground. Panic was taking over his thought again. He had to get out of here!

The second attempt almost ended in the same way, but he managed to find a ledge with his feet and was able to push himself up enough so he could use his arms to pull himself further up. The next pipe was easier to reach.

The damage in his hands made it almost impossible to pull his full weight up, yet the fear seemed to give him the will to push the damaged parts beyond their capability. When he had reached the opening and climbed out of it, he almost felt like he had won, like he had gotten away.

Then a bullet grazed the side of his head, took his balance and made him stumble forward. His hands were cut up by glass shards ad he lost his footing and tumbled down the side of the building. In desperation he reached out to find anything to hold onto.

He couldn’t see how far down it was, but it was better not to take risks, especially not when damaged like that.

There was no replacement.

His shoulder joint dislodged when he grabbed a broken pipe to break his fall. It ripped under his weight and sent him tumbling down into the wet and muddy ground below. Branches of dead bushes cut into his face, but he barely felt it. The errors screaming at him were enough to keep him distracted.

Now he had to find out where he was and get somewhere safe, before the attackers found him again.