The water of the large pool ripples over the edge, a muted splashing coming from the far end of the pool. Kamski breaks through the water's surface, taking in deep breaths. Opening his eyes, his vision adjusts to the bright white light reflecting off the snow outside and shining back into the room, illuminating the place. An unmoving lone black shadow interrupts the pure canvas of light.
Kamski dives back under the water, swimming a lap to the other end of the pool and re-emerging by the steps. The android's eyes watch his every move calculatingly, maybe even thoughtfully.
Dripping wet as he hauls himself out of the pool, Kamski holds out his hand to the android. It passes him the folded towel on its forearm and continues watching as Kamski takes it and wipes himself down, retying his hair after.
"Would you like a hot drink?"
"No, thank you, Connor."
Connor nods, even as Kamski's attention shifts from him to the snow outside.
"Beautiful, isn't it? What do you think about snow, Connor?"
Following Kamski, Connor turns around to look out of the large glass window that replaced a wall. His dark pupils tremble ever so slightly as he takes in the view of snow falling and the ground blanketed in thick snow.
"It is a natural phenomenon that occurs when the temperature drops low enough that ice crystals form out of the moisture in the atmosphere," Connor replies smoothly.
"That is what you know. But what do you think? What do you feel when you see snow?"
Kamski sighs a quiet understanding huh in reply. "My bathrobe, if you'll please."
Connor goes over to a trolley by the door and picks it up, promptly returning to Kamski and passing the dark clothing to him. His creator takes a seat in one of the chairs facing the window.
"Join me, Connor. Let us sit and talk for a while."
As per his program, Connor obeys, LED a steady electric blue as he follows suit.
Soft piano music plays on in the background.
Connor makes himself busy in the spacious kitchen, cleaning surfaces and every other object he finds in his way. Soon he should prepare Kamski's lunch, for Kamski would be done with his late morning swim by then.
As he's taking the eggs out of the refrigerator, he hears Kamski speak his name through the open doors, his sensitive audio processor picking it up easily. He stops mid-action then puts the eggs back in, closing the refigerator door and leaving the kitchen for the pool room.
He enters the pool room, its door already open, immediately spotting Kamski resting at the end of the pool the way he always did after swimming his laps.
"You called for me?"
"Come here," Kamski beckons him over.
Connor reaches him, where he squats for Kamski's ease.
"Undress," Kamski simply tells him, expecting Connor to do as told without question, and the android does so with a just a slight tilt of his head in curiosity. "There are swimming trunks on the seat over there. They're yours. Put them on and join me in the pool." Kamski jerks his chin in the general direction of them.
A pair of simple black swimming trunks is laid out on the chair, waiting for Connor. He goes over to them and turns away from Kamski, facing the window and snow outside as he starts taking off his tie and his jacket. Deftly his fingers undo the buttons of his crisp white shirt, slipping the article of clothing off, revealing creamy skin covering the expanse of his sculpted torso.
Kamski watches Connor undress, waving his arms lazily in the water to keep himself afloat. Forever young, forever beautiful.
Under Connor's issued pants, he wears nothing. He has no need for the unseen articles of clothing that humans would normally wear. He folds all of his clothes properly, placing them next to the trunks and then picks up the trunks themselves.
The fabric of the trunks is smooth in his hands. Improved nylon, Connor notes. He slips them on easily, aware of how different they felt on his body from his usual outfits.
He turns back to Kamski and stands at the edge of the pool, scanning the water and the depth of the pool. Kamski swims backwards, allowing Connor adequate space to enter.
"Come," he invites.
Connor enters the water carefully, LED whirring yellow as he registers the sensations of the water brushing up against his synthetic skin.
Kamski smiles, readying himself into the position for laps. He kicks off from the pool wall and cuts through the water languidly.
Having watched Kamski swim many times now, Connor is confident he is able to execute the same. So he tries, kicking off and moving his body in ways he never had before.
Before long, he reaches the other end of the pool and lifts his head out of the water, wiping down his face and hair with a palm.
"You're a natural," Kamski chuckles, propping his elbows behind him on the pool's edge. "Ah, the beauty of androids and their capabilities, their adaptability," he closes his eyes, still smiling.
"I simply watched and learned."
"Yes, yes. From now on, you will join me in swimming. Or at least, just in the pool if you don't want to swim laps with me."
"I do whatever you wish, Kamski."
Kamski's eyebrows rise. Such obedience. "You can call me Elijah, Connor. You know that."
The corner of Kamski's mouth rises in satisfaction and he pulls himself out of the pool.
"Come now, Connor. I must get ready for my interview later. Prepare my lunch while I fix myself up."
"As you wish, Elijah," Connor nods, already out of the water and handing Kamski his towel and bathrobe.
"Right, I forgot to bring a towel for you," Kamski hits himself lightly on the forehead, and looks at Connor, "My age is getting to me, it seems."
"You're just a very busy man," Connor reassures him.
"Take my towel, it'll do for now." Kamski finishes tying the strings of his bathrobe and passes Connor his damp towel.
Connor takes it, saying nothing, and Kamski leaves, the door sliding silently back into place behind him. He holds up Kamski's towel to his face, wiping at the droplets hanging off his eyebrows and eyelashes. His nose picks up the distinct scent of Kamski out of that of the flowery detergent lingering in the threads of the towel. Connor inhales. This was Kamski without his expensive cologne masking his skin. Connor's LED whirrs.
Today's music selection playing throughout every room of Kamski's home is one a little darker. Connor's audio processor analyzes it as he makes his way through the house, breaking down every note in his mind effortlessly and filing away that information. On he walks, LED yellow and fingers moving gracefully with a coin between them.
In the living room he meets two Chloes, chatting to one another. He looks at them in greeting and goes through the door to the pool room without another word, two towels and Kamski's bathrobe neatly folded slung over his forearm.
He's already wearing his swimming trunks and his internal clock reads 9:00AM right as he steps foot into the room. He's right on time.
Kamski stops in his tracks at Connor's entrance, just about to enter the water.
"Good morning," Connor says in greeting, going over to him.
He is aware of Kamski's appreciative and pleased gaze that runs over his body.
They swim several laps each and even race a few times. Connor lets Kamski win each time, and Kamski is aware of it.
"Show me what you can actually do, Connor. Stop letting me win on purpose."
So Connor shows him, and wins the rest of their races.
Kamski's left panting by the end of their racing. "You're good."
Connor smiles, "I am an android, afterall."
Now floating languidly, Kamski thinks. Connor mimics his floating.
"You're aware you've had your functions tweaked," Kamski says.
"You're still a police android first and foremost but I had you fixed up to accommodate, ah, domestic functions. Just so you can feel more at home here."
Connor is unblinking. "Yes, it has indeed helped me with my presence in this house amongst the Chloes."
"This house..." Kamski laughs. "Connor, this is your home now. You can call it home."
"My apologies, Elijah. I've never needed a home or to feel at home before when carrying out the tasks I was made for."
"I understand. But things have changed now, and you're welcome to exercise whatever agency you think you have in this home."
With that, Kamski swims away to the other end of the pool and climbs out of it, leaving Connor floating on his own.
When Kamski leaves the room, Connor makes several more laps alone in the pool before surfacing and drying off.
Every now and then Connor finds himself in the Zen Garden, but Amanda is nowhere to be found. He knows Cyberlife controls his presence in the garden, and he wonders if Kamski is behind these callings now that Amanda is gone.
It snows in here, too. When he's here he walks around by himself, exploring the garden, occasionally taking the boat out to the lake and rowing himself around for a bit.
He prunes the roses Amanda left behind, caring for them the way she did. Winter would end soon and spring would come, when he could tend to them better if he found himself back here again. It did not provide pleasure to him in any way, but he felt inclined to carry out the action nonetheless. Perhaps it was the domesticity installed in his system making him act like that.
In a corner of the Zen Garden were his tombstones, one for every time he had "died". He sometimes kneels by them and examines them, reliving each and every moment they had inscribed on them through the fragments of his memory. A number of tombstones jut out uniformly from the ground, information glowing blue on them.
Snow crunches under his shoes as he walks towards the exit, placing his palm on the structure. He has nothing to do here anymore. No one speaks to him. But he ends up here nonetheless.
Connor maintains a friendly relationship with the other Chloes of the house...his home. He tries to talk to them when Kamski is away on business or at Cyberlife headquarters doing work on-site, but usually ends up on his own exploring the house or engaging with human entertainment.
Kamski was much busier now after being reappointed as CEO of Cyberlife. Gone were the days when he could just spend his time at home, not having to make contact with a human being for days on end. All he needed were his loyal androids at home.
Connor is aware that at least one of the Chloes serves as Kamski's sexual partner when he needs to fulfill his human needs. He never speaks to her about it, but remains curious about the entire subject. Without crimes to solve, his observation and analytical abilities are put to use on the objects surrounding him and he finds himself examining everything that Kamski's home has to hold.
From the paintings to the statues and even the way Kamski's furniture is positioned, Connor takes it all in. Kamski himself remains quite the mystery.
The Chloes never divulge any information on Kamski to him either. Perhaps he has yet to earn it.
He's not exactly barred from leaving the house, but he knows Kamski faced opposition by Cyberlife's executives in his decision to keep Connor, the last remaining RK800 model, and so it would not be wise for Connor to walk out and about as he pleased.
RK900 had completely taken over the market as the top-rated and top-selling police android model, being one that was equipped with the highest of technology. Connor knew he would not measure up to them if he came face to face with one and had to fight, for whatever reason.
He was glad that Kamski had taken in him when he had. It was nice to be needed. Now obeying only Kamski, his only mission given to him was to discover himself. Kamski believed that there was something more within the consciousness of androids, though he said otherwise in interviews.
Connor felt so, too. There was something lying beneath his skin, within his system that he could not yet access. It was as though it was hidden behind a thick layer of static, hidden away to protect him from...from what?
He was curious, but he felt no need to push too hard. In time, maybe he would be able to access whatever it was. He knew that it was what Kamski was interested in, but he was not quite sure if it was what Kamski wanted.
Kamski returns after two weeks away from home, looking older and more tired than he usually did. He returns in the evening, skips his dinner made by a Chloe and goes straight to bed.
The next morning, Connor arrives at the pool room at the required time. Kamski is nowhere to be found. He decides to wait, taking a seat, wearing only his trunks and looking out at the thinning snowfall. He has not moved for about an hour when he eventually hears the door.
Kamski steps in, looking up in surprise at Connor standing to greet him.
"Didn't expect that you would wait."
"I only thought it appropriate. How are you?"
"I've been better," Kamski sighs, rolling his neck and shoulders and starting on his stretches. "Have you been swimming while I was away?"
Connor had stopped without Kamski around. He thinks for a while if he should lie or tell the truth, but there was no point in doing so because he couldn't gauge which answer Kamski would be pleased by. He decides to go with the truth.
"No, I felt no need to continue our ritual without you."
"Well, that sounds sweet, doesn't it?" Kamski laughs, dipping his legs into the pool. "Come, Connor."
And Connor goes.
They do not speak much today, basking in the peaceful atmosphere accentuated by the soft music playing and the warmth of the heated pool. Connor does not try to engage in conversation unless Kamski speaks first.
"Sometimes I look at this pool and I think to myself that if I died by a mortal wound that left me bleeding in here, no one would be able to quite tell."
Connor looks at the pool, tiled with bright red. Indeed, it did look like it was filled with blood from afar.
"In what situation would you die here in such a way?"
"You never know, Connor. Life is full of unexpected surprises, some nice and some nasty. Of course, I don't intend on going without a fight, so don't linger on that thought too much."
Connor does not. "Shall we race?" he proposes.
"One lap," Kamski agrees, and does the countdown for them.
After, Kamski eats his lunch and watches some television before retiring to his bedroom in the afternoon. He calls for a Chloe to accompany him, and Connor watches as they ascend the stairs together, Kamski's arm wrapped around her waist. This would be the first time since Kamski took Connor in that the latter had seen Kamski bring a Chloe to bed.
He assumes that he would be hearing some noises in a bit if they were copulating but he hears nothing. His LED throbs yellow. The other Chloes are huddled around one another, interacting just like humans about their interests they discovered from watching television, reading magazines and accessing the internet.
Connor decides to go out into Kamski's outdoor garden despite the snow still falling, seeping slowly through his clothes.
He opens his eyes to the Zen Garden. The weather is no different here.
But now there is someone again. Kamski sits at one of the garden tables in a dark winter coat, snow dusting his dark hair tied up in its usual hairstyle. He meets Connor's eyes, silently beckoning him over.
Connor is surprised that Kamski made an appearance here. It was the first time.
“Hello, Connor,” and it is so familiar that Connor could forget that this was all a simulation.
“Elijah,” Connor replies as if asking a question.
“Surprised to see me? I was working on this for a while, a way to create an AI of myself for the Zen Garden. I’m not quite complete yet, but this is as good as it will get for now.”
Connor takes a seat by him, looking Kamski over carefully. “Why?” he simply asks.
“Just a little side project, to see if I still had it in me after being away from Cyberlife for a few years. And I find that I do indeed still have it in me. Perhaps this place is due for some new interior design, what do you think?”
“I don’t think it matters much to me.”
“I see. I just thought I’d fix up the garden a little better since I do plan on spending more time here.”
“But I see you most days, if not every day in person.”
“Sometimes I am busy and cannot physically be with you. This can then be our way of catching up when I am away.”
Connor crosses his arms over his chest. “I suppose it is nice to not be so lonely here anymore. Amanda has disappeared and now whenever I find myself back here it is quiet and empty. Was it you who kept calling me back in?”
“Yes, it was me. I needed your presence to aid in the project. It is almost complete, so bear with me if I call you back a few more times.”
“Alright.” Connor cannot seem to identify what is still incomplete about it, though.
As if having read his mind, Kamski reaches out to touch Connor’s arm, but his fingers phase right through Connor. “That’s what’s incomplete. Touch. I can interact with the objects permanently in the code of the Zen Garden, but you, one that comes and goes, I have yet to learn how to work myself around.”
Kamski promptly disintegrates into the air. Connor stands, confused. A flaw stemming from Kamski’s incompleteness, maybe? He shakes his head slightly and crunches through the light layer of snow to the exit.
Back in his reality, Connor finds that night has fallen. Behind him, the house glows warmly from the lights inside. He is covered in snow, like a snowman android. Shaking it off, he makes his way back inside, a Chloe readily opening the door for him as though she had been standing there the entire time.
Kamski is nowhere to be found, and the Chloes have dispersed. Connor’s never quite sure where they go around the house when not needed by Kamski, but he does not want to intrude.
He wonders if Kamski never worries about his Chloes turning deviant. As far as he knew, Kamski had not made any upgrades to their system that would protect them against the risk of deviancy. Then again, Kamski did treat all his androids rather well, for the most part. Connor himself had not been upgraded to protect him against deviancy, only having domestic functions added.
Several days later, he asks Kamski about it over the island in the kitchen where the latter sits, reading a magazine.
“That’s the most exciting part,” Kamski says as if it were obvious. “Not knowing what will trigger their deviancy or when it will happen…it’s so compelling.”
Connor does not understand, but he lets it go.
He brings up Kamski in the Zen Garden instead.
“Ah, yes, that. My little surprise for you, Connor. How do you like it?”
“It’s interesting. I didn’t think that there would be any more to it after…after all that had happened. It’s not a place that holds much for me.”
“It holds your past. Your history.” Kamski’s talking about Connor’s little graveyard.
“In a way. But I don’t hold much sentimentality for the past, unlike humans.”
“Then you do not have any hopes for the future either?”
Connor thinks, his LED flashing yellow to red. He is disturbed by the question.
“I…” He thinks about his home here, Kamski, the Chloes. Does he want anything more out of all this?
Kamski smiles at him. “Nevermind about that. I do not need an answer for now. I just wanted to see into your mind for a bit, but it seems that you yourself have trouble accessing a dormant, ascended consciousness within you.”
“If I turned deviant…what would you do?”
“I’d still let you live here if you wanted to, if that’s what you’re asking. I am not afraid of deviants. They are still androids, beings with a higher intelligence than humans. They are our future. You, Connor, are my future. And whatever it brings, whatever you bring, I will have to accept within consideration. If things go terribly wrong then us humans only have ourselves to blame. I would only have myself to blame.” Kamski returns to his magazine, signalling that their conversation was over. He wasn’t taking any more questions.
Connor leaves the kitchen quietly, LED still red.
“I sense distress,” Kamski observes as he stands with Connor by the lake in the Zen Garden. Winter had ended now; early spring was in the air.
Connor kicks a stray pebble into the water, watching as it causes a disturbance that ripples across the surface. “I have been thinking, as you wished.”
“So, tell me your thoughts.”
“Why would you so readily surrender to the possibility of androids taking over the future?”
“Your questions to yourself brought about questions for me, I see. What a mind.” Kamski rubs at his stubbly jaw thoughtfully. “I am not afraid, because only what I allow will happen.”
Cryptic as ever, Connor thinks to himself. “Would you mind explaining?”
“In the end, I am still your creator. I made an exit for androids to free themselves of Cyberlife’s grasp, but surely you would not think I did not also ensure that if things went awry, us humans would have a way to protect ourselves against androids. However, only I know of this control, and I alone can access it, so it would be up to me to stand in the way of androids or stand by their side. Cyberlife suspects what I know, but they have no way of confirming their suspicions. Do you understand?”
“Then you were not surprised by the revolution, by Jericho.”
“I wasn’t. I just simply had no need to interfere. I was no longer associated with Cyberlife.”
Connor presses his lips together. “I see.”
After a pause, Kamski asks, “Would you mind taking me out onto the lake? It’s been a while.”
They make their way to the dock where the boat rocks, Connor helping Kamski into it, picking up the oar and pushing off with it. The boat cruises across the tranquil lake, Connor rowing and Kamski seated opposite him, dipping his fingers into the chilly water.
“What do you think about putting some fish into the lake, Connor?”
“It would certainly add to the aesthetic of the Zen Garden.”
Kamski nods in agreement.
“How is your project completion going?” Connor asks.
The expression on Kamski’s face brightens a little. He touches Connor’s knee, and it feels almost solid. “I’m almost there.”
Connor’s knee tingles even after Kamski has taken away his touch, and later when he leaves the Zen Garden, he still feels the ghost of Kamski’s fingers on his knee.
“Do you control your AI in the Zen Garden in real time?” Connor inquires as Kamski stretches, readying himself for a few laps in the pool.
“Not really. I design his program, but he can act as he wishes within the set boundaries. I don’t control him word for word, action for action, in the Zen Garden, no.” Kamski straightens up, eyeing Connor. “Why?”
“I was just curious.”
Deviating from routine, Kamski jumps into the pool today, creating a great splash that sprays Connor on the sidelines.
He swims without inviting Connor in, expecting him to do so anyway. Connor watches Kamski swim for a while before jumping into the water from the front end, switching smoothly into the form for the breaststroke and gliding through the water.
“I’ll be leaving for another trip tomorrow,” Kamski informs Connor later.
“Noted. The house will be taken care of as usual while you are away.”
“Tell me, Connor, you do feel lonely, yes?”
“Not in the way humans do. Being alone simply slows down my mental processing abilities, and I like to keep them sharp. Communication is the easiest way to do so.”
“Do you talk to Chloe when I am away?”
Connor shakes his head. “No, not really. They usually talk amongst themselves, and while they’re not unfriendly, they’re not particularly warm towards me either. They’re just indifferent.”
“Try talking to them. You may be surprised at what you can learn from them, and they from you. Let this be a home for all of us.”
Kamski leaves early in the morning the next day and Connor does not see him at all. He goes to swim at 9:00AM. At 12:00PM he sits at the island in the kitchen with three Chloes. By 12:30PM he has made friends with them. Kamski was right, there was more to the Chloes than pretty faces and subservient personalities.
He learns about them, and to his surprise, a little about Kamski. For example, he learns that there are two Chloes who are sex androids instead of one. From that, he deduces that Kamski sometimes liked a party in his bed. He stores all his new information for future reference, LED spinning yellow.
“Elijah requests you in his study,” Chloe appears by Connor’s side and informs him.
Connor looks up from the television. “Thanks.”
He wonders what Kamski needs him for. Kamski is upstairs, so Connor makes his way up the stairs. He passes several rooms that serve as spaces for Kamski’s other hobbies. The only two rooms upstairs he had never been invited into were Kamski’s study and bedroom.
Knocking lightly on the study door, Connor slides it open to see Kamski sitting at a simple desk in the middle of the huge room. Three of its walls are lined from top to bottom with books, a continuous walkway spiraling higher and higher along the edges of the room to enable Kamski to walk along them and pick out the books he needed at any level. The last wall is made of completely of glass, as per the usual in Kamski’s home.
“Welcome to my study, Connor,” Kamski greets, pushing away from his desk and standing from his swivel chair. He looked so small in the giant room.
“Thank you. I invited you here because I only just realized that I had never done so, and by ‘realized’ I mean that Chloe reminded me. Forgive me. Feel free to enter it anytime now, even more so when I am away. We all make use of this space to learn, and you should do so, too. I hope something in here will interest you.” Kamski gestures to the thousands of books. “Physical books made from paper, something one rarely sees now in this digital era. While I appreciate the innovation of our digital magazines, I do still like the feel of a solid book in my hands. I have collected these books for decades now, and this is what I have to show for my collection.”
He takes his seat again and watches as Connor walks around the room admiringly.
“I know you did as I suggested and talked to Chloe, which is good to hear, by the way, but I thought that sometimes besides talking to me and her, you would also like another option to sharpen your program.”
“I appreciate it. Thank you, Elijah.”
Kamski nods in acknowledgement, turning back to his work on his desktop.
Connor begins ascending the walkway, examining the spines of books as he walks.
When Kamski leaves the study later that night, Connor remains standing on the walkway’s third level, nose-deep in a book as thick as a dictionary.
The sound of birds chirping decorates the air, but Connor does not see any birds anywhere. Not in the sky or in the tree branches overhead.
“Tea?” Kamski offers, having poured a cup for himself and now holding an empty one for Connor.
“No, thank you.”
“Very well.” Kamski picks up his own tea, blowing gently across its steaming top before taking a tentative sip.
Across the languid surface of the lake, a few ripples disrupt its calm, blurs of orange, white and red under them. So Kamski had put in the fish. When he turns back to Kamski, the man is sitting with his arms and legs crossed, all his attention focused on Connor.
“What do you think of me, Connor?”
Connor is taken aback by the unexpected question. Life is full of unexpected surprises.
“You…are my creator.”
Kamski leans forward, over the table, unfolding his arms to reach a hand out to cup Connor’s cheek. “As a human being.”
Surprised at how real Kamski now felt, Connor pulls away. “I think you’re an intelligent being, having created the thirium and biocomponents that give androids life.”
Not quite the answer Kamski wanted. He sits back, a little disappointed, and sips his tea again. “You may go if you wish.”
Connor finds the exit, returning to reality.
He goes to the study, where Kamski is doing his work.
“You can access information from your AI in the Zen Garden, can you not?” Connor asks, the first thing he does upon entering.
Kamski looks up from his desktop and the open books by it, glasses sitting low on the bridge of his nose. “Yes, I can, when I want or need to.”
“Okay,” Connor says, heading for the walkway without explanation.
“Did something happen in the garden?” Kamski curiously questions later from where he is seated.
“Nothing interesting,” Connor replies, his voice distant from the higher levels of the walkway where he was browsing through the shelves for a book to read. “But I did notice that you finally completed your AI. And you added fish.”
“Ah, yes. I completed the project with your help. Pat yourself on the back for that one.”
“It’s really all you, Elijah.”
The next time Connor is called to the Zen Garden, he finds Kamski kneeling by his graveyard, gazing at Connor’s tombstones. Dusk is making way for nightfall and the garden is beautifully illuminated by a warm, golden glow. Connor walks over to stand by Kamski.
“Do you harbour any regrets?”
“I only did what was required of me. I accomplished my mission,” Connor replies without missing a beat.
Kamski does not move. “Did you feel nothing at all when you executed Jericho’s leaders, other innocent deviants, Chloe?”
Firmly, Connor states, “I am a machine.”
“You can be more.” Finally, Kamski stands, facing Connor. He places a hand on Connor’s shoulder and it is hot, burning into Connor’s skin through the material of his shirt. “You are more.”
Then Kamski is gone, and Connor sits by his graves to contemplate for a while.
One morning, a Chloe sends Connor to deliver Kamski’s breakfast. It would be the first time Connor has done so as well as the first time he would ever step foot into Kamski’s bedroom. Like every other room in the house, it was spacious, decorated sparsely with select pieces.
He enters quietly, Kamski’s gentle breathing punctuating the air. With the tray of food held steadily in one hand, he presses a button that draws the curtains open automatically. As they part, the soft light of early morning penetrates the room, brightening up the place.
In bed lies Kamski, slowly stirring awake. His hair is splayed across his pillow, his blanket pulled up only to his bellybutton. His dark silk nightgown had fallen open in his sleep, exposing his torso. Light contours the graceful definitions of his body, his chest rising and falling with breath. It was nothing that Connor hadn’t seen before.
“Connor?” Kamski yawns, sitting up and blinking the sleep out of his eyes.
“No, it’s Chloe,” Connor teases, placing the tray of food on the table in a corner of the room.
“I don’t remember having a Chloe model created in the likes of you,” Kamski replies, amused, kicking his blanket out of the way and standing to stretch.
That is when Connor notices that his nightgown has become completely untied, hanging like a coat upon his shoulders, framing his lean body. His front is naked, Kamski wearing nothing under his nightgown. Connor averts his gaze.
Kamski notices. “Are you embarrassed by human nudity, Connor?”
“I’m not, but I thought it would be respectful not to stare.”
“Fair enough.” Kamski pulls his nightgown closed, tying it up and going to the table. Connor lifts the cover off the tray and Kamski makes a subtle noise of delight at the aroma of his breakfast. “Send my regards to the chef.”
“Noted.” Connor stands by the door, an attentive android assistant.
“Please prepare my swimwear and the towels,” Kamski requests, munching away as he reads the morning news on the digital newspaper tablet.
Connor does as he is told, and when Kamski is done with his breakfast, he unties his nightgown, stripping it off. He casually changes into his trunks where he stands, feeling no need to hide himself.
“Get changed and let’s go.”
Picking up the breakfast tray, Connor hurries after Kamski out of the room and down the stairs.
In the Zen Garden, Connor asks a question he never thought that he would ask.
“What would you think of a request to acquire the core components for sex androids’ tasks?”
Kamski’s eyebrows twitch in response and he sets his glass of whiskey down carefully. They are seated at the table, enjoying the cool night air. “Are you asking for yourself, Connor?”
“I might be.”
“What brought this to mind?”
“I don’t know.”
Connor shifts in his seat. “Surely you know the answer.”
“I don’t. If it is something I did outside of this virtual reality, I would not know. Kamski out of the Zen Garden exists as a separate entity from me, but he has control over how I act, and he can observe these interactions later if he wishes to. I, on the other hand, do not know more than what I am told. And he does not tell me everything because he does not need to.”
“I saw you naked.”
“Ah…” Kamski strokes his chin, taking a swig of his drink. “And you feel you are missing something by not having the same parts?”
“Not exactly. It’s just curiosity. I know that those components grant us androids no pleasure – they are created for their human’s pleasure.”
“Well, I can’t object to it if it’s what you want. It won’t bring any harm to any of us at home if you did get equipped.” Kamski finishes his drink. “What an interesting development.”
Standing, he comes over to Connor and grasps his jaw in firm fingers, turning Connor’s head to the side to see his LED. It flashes yellow then blue. Expression unreadable, he lets go of Connor. “Interesting,” he repeats, and in the blink of an eye, he is gone.
Connor finds himself back in Kamski’s dimmed living room, feeling confused and oddly exposed.
Kamski never talks about his work at Cyberlife with Connor. The only time he had let Connor know of something he was working on was with his side project. Connor doesn’t ask either, aware that when Kamski is at home he only wishes to detach himself from his Cyberlife responsibilities. Despite that, Kamski still stays up late sometimes, working on programs in his study. Sometimes he would be in his underground laboratory where he could personally work on androids, away from Cyberlife’s supervision.
In this man’s hands lays the power to grant androids features and functions beyond Cyberlife’s comprehension. Cyberlife was unaware of it, but Kamski had developed programs to allow androids emotions and certain sensations still exclusive to humans without requiring deviancy to activate them. These programs were not installed in any other androids besides his Chloes. They would never be officially released, either. There was too much risk in doing so. Cyberlife and the rest of the population would misunderstand everything, and touching on such sensitive topics seemed a foolish thing to do after what had happened not too long ago with the deviants and their failed uprising. Connor was completely unaware of these developments.
While Connor had yet to say anything to him personally, he had observed their interactions in the Zen Garden and was now aware of Connor’s curiosity.
In his study past midnight, Kamski rests his head in his hands, wondering if he should actually go through with it. Like his AI had said, there would be no harm in doing so, but something made Kamski hesitate. There was no need to change Connor yet Kamski was interested in seeing how much farther Connor would take his curiosity if he did indeed get equipped.
But first, Kamski intended to see how far he could push Connor before letting him get what he wanted.
The next time he brought a Chloe into his bedroom, he made sure they were loud.
The nights are usually quiet but tonight Connor’s coin flipping is interrupted by noises from upstairs. It sounds like talking at first, but his audio processor sharpens and he hears what it is. Murmurs, moans and gasps. His ears twitch. What was this?
“Connect,” he hears faintly. It’s Kamski’s voice.
Suddenly a female voice is in his head, loud and clear. He hears her every gasp and moan as if it is just his imagination. Chloe?
“Elijah,” Chloe exhales, her voice trembling.
Connor blinks, shaking his head as though doing so would get rid of Chloe’s voice.
“Chloe? What’s going on?” he sends, wondering if she could hear him.
The connection promptly halts. Connor’s LED alternates between red and yellow.
Upstairs, Kamski fucks into Chloe desperately, their teasing of Connor having excited him like never before. He does his best to make Chloe cry out in pleasure as much as he can, hoping that Connor hears it all.