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A Second Chance, Connor

Chapter Text

“I’ve been ordered to take you alive,” a voice said. Markus slowly turned around, brow furrowed.

“But I won’t hesitate to shoot if you give me no choice.”

What are you doing?” Markus took slow steps forwards, eyes on the gun in the man’s hands.

”You are one of us... You can’t betray your own people.” There was a flicker of something on the android’s face.

Program Instability

It quickly disappeared as he spoke again.

“You’re coming with me,” he said, louder this time. Markus slowed to a halt in front of him.

 “You’re Connor, aren’t you?” Connor’s eyes narrowed, ever so slightly.

”That famous deviant hunter.” Markus gave him a once over, tilting his head to the side.

”Well, congratulations. You seem to have found what you were looking for.” Connor said nothing, jaw tightening as Markus grew even closer.

”Do you never have any doubts? You’ve never done something... irrational, as if there’s something inside you?”

Program Instability

“Something more than your program?” Markus suddenly wished he could see Connor’s LED, wondered if it would be glowing red in the dark of Jericho.

Connor’s finger fell to the trigger.

“Markus, what-” Josh was standing in one of the doorless entrances, and his mouth stayed open at the scene before him. Connor, eyes wide, turned to look at Josh.

Markus made his move, clearing the rest of the way across the room to Connor and grabbing one of his arms.

Connor glanced back and Markus nearly flinched. Connor’s eyes were dilated and seem to pull him in.

Program Instability

Josh moved before it was too late and grabbed Connor’s other arm, the two men wrestling the gun out of his hands.

”Okay. What now?” Markus looked at Josh, who was breathing heavily.

”Take his gun with you... I can handle him for now, but I need you to get North and tell her to get up here and bring something to restrain him.” Josh nodded and slowly let go of Connor, putting the gun in his pocket and standing up. He backed out, eyes on Connor the whole time.

After he was gone, the room was silent.

Connor was unmoving, not struggling in Markus’ grip as he sat him down on the floor.

Markus sighed. He looked at Connor’s blank face, showing no emotion.

Connor tilted his head, glancing from Markus to the doorway.

North walked into the room with spare strips of metal in her hands. She gave them to Markus and took over the job of holding Connor down while he bent the metal pieces into makeshift handcuffs.

As Markus worked, North stared at Connor. The android avoided her gaze.

”This is the deviant hunter?”

”Hm?” Markus looked over at North.

”Oh, yes.” North gritted her teeth and pulled a gun out, standing up and aiming it at Connor’s head at nearly point blank.

Connor looked at her from his seated position on the floor and blinked, expression still unmoving. Markus frowned.

”North, what are you doing?” North looked at Markus with wide eyes.

”Are you fucking kidding me? He’s a danger to our entire cause!” Connor saw down the barrel of the gun and tilted his head.

”North, please put the gun down,” Markus said, finishing the work on Connor’s restraints and standing up.

”He isn’t going to hurt anyone now, okay? Josh took his gun and he’s surrounded by people who would take him down immediately.” North continued staring at Connor.

”North? North.” Markus put a hand on her shoulder. After a few moments, North sighed, slowly lowering her gun.

”Whatever.”

Josh walked back into the room and the three deviants stood around Connor, who was looking up at Markus.

”Take his coat and hat off,” Markus instructed, making eye contact with Connor.

Josh crouched down and started to pull Connor’s coat off, ripping through it where it couldn’t be removed due to the restraints. He set the cloth aside.

North’s jaw was set in a scowl as she ripped his hat off, his flickering blue LED becoming visible for them.

Connor had been wearing his uniform under his disguise. The electric-blue triangles on his front and back made North’s eyes narrow further.

”Fucking CyberLife. I hope you’re happy, Connor, because you’ve just become a prisoner of war,” she growled. Josh looked at Markus with widened eyes and a stutter.

”M-Markus-”

”This isn’t a war, North. It’s a protest.” North stepped towards him, stepping over Connor’s legs.

”Yeah? What about Simon, huh? Was he just a casualty from a protest, or was he killed by humans?” Connor’s LED flickered yellow for a brief moment, mind palace showing images of the dead android from the radio tower.

”Simon’s death was a huge loss to all of us, but that doesn’t mean killing humans left and right is at all what we should be doing! If anything, it’s more proof that-”

”You’re just afraid of a confrontation! You don’t have enough of a spine to lead a revolution that will succeed! Oh, I’m sorry, you thought your little fucking symbols on park benches and your chants about equality were actually making a difference?” Markus took a step back, shoulders tensed.

“The humans don’t fucking want ‘equality,’ they want slaves they can control,” North hissed, fists clenched by her sides. Markus took another step backwards.

”North, please, I’m doing the best I can and we-” North gritted her teeth.

”No, there is no ‘we,’ fuck you. Either we actually do something, or I’m going to do this all by myself.”

Markus nodded slowly.

”I... We have a plan to act soon, you know that. I can- I can try to make some compromises with you, but we should do it, ah...” Markus tilted his head towards Connor.

”...In a place where less people are listening in. Alright?” North slowly unclenched her fists, taking deep breaths.

”Yeah. Fine, just- I don’t want to be around this fucking thing, we need to keep him somewhere.”

Josh spoke up, eyes wide.

Connor looked at him, a bar appearing in his mind palace.

48% - LEVEL OF STRESS

“I- I can look for a place to keep him,” Josh said quickly, rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet.

Markus nodded, and North took a step towards Josh.

”Yeah, just don’t take him yet, I want to ask him a few... questions.” Josh nodded and sprinted out of the room.

”I thought you didn’t want to be around him,” Markus said softly. North rolled her eyes.

”I don’t, but getting something out of him would be helpful. I just don’t like how he’s...” North looked down at Connor, who had been scanning the room but immediately locked eyes with her.

”...Always watching. It creeps me the hell out. It’s not- Not even androids do that.” Markus crouched down, arms resting on his knees.

”So, is there anything you want to tell us?” Connor continued staring at North.

”You must be aware that I was designed to interrogate others myself, and that I’m familiar with most- if not all- methods of interrogation, yes?” North’s muscles tensed up and she reached for her gun but Markus shook his head, sighing.

”No, he- he isn’t afraid of death, North.” North stared up at the ceiling, crossing her arms, biting the inside of her mouth.

”I know, but there’s no point in keeping him alive, he’s not going to tell us anything. He’s no good as a hostage either because I’m sure CyberLife can make as many RK800s as they like.” Connor’s LED flickered.

“If anything, we can use him for spare parts,” Markus said, standing up and looking at North, brow furrowed.

North shrugged, reaching down to pick Connor up by the back of his shirt collar. She got him into a standing position and let go, pulling her gun out again to point at his head.

”I’m sure Josh has found a place by now,” she laughed, LED going yellow for a few seconds.

Silence.

”So, uhh... How should we do this, Markus? Should we be discreet, should we tell Jericho who he is, or...” Markus headed for the exit.

”I’m not sure that we should tell them. It could incite a panic.” North nodded, but Connor saw her hands tighten around her gun.

”So... no gun? Just walk him through?” Markus shrugged, looking back at the two as North walked Connor forward.

”Sure,” Markus said, pulling off his coat.

He put it on Connor, hiding his bound arms and uniform as well as it could, though the sleeves lay flat. North raised an eyebrow and Markus shrugged again.

”He’ll be fine without a hat.”

North put her gun away and took steps forward as Markus met Josh at the bottom in the main area.

Connor walked in front of her, head still held at it’s normal level, no slouching visible. North frowned.

Markus patted Josh’s arm and the man walked away, North and Connor approaching.

”Alright, Josh found an unused room, I’ll take you guys there.” They made their way through the crowd, Connor looking at the faces of the androids around them from between Markus and North.

Finally, in a less crowded area, Markus reached for a rusty door, turning the handle slowly as it made horrible screeching noises. The door opened and creaked as it did so, a dark room the size of a small storage closet lit with some light from the fires of the main room and holes in the building. Markus moved out of the way after pulling his coat off of Connor’s shoulders and North pushed Connor inside the room, smirking as he tripped slightly on wooden planks by the entrance.

North followed him and inspected the place herself.

”Yep. No holes or other doors, it’s good.” Markus nodded and North made her way out, shooting Connor a wide smile as she shut the door, turning the wheel back to lock it.

With a loud noise, Connor was plunged into darkness.

Chapter Text

Connor let his head fall back against one of the walls.

His wrists twisted in the handcuffs. The craftsmanship was shoddy at best, and wouldn’t hold forever. 

North walked over to Markus and Josh, arms crossed.

”So, we doing this?”

Markus nodded, getting up onto a platform.

He stared out across Jericho as a hush fell over the people, sweeping through the crowd.

When it was entirely silent, he spoke.

”Humans have decided... to exterminate us.”

One of his wrists got caught on an edge and the back of it was sliced through, Connor pausing in his movements.

“Our people are packed in camps right now, being destroyed...”

He could feel his blood forming small droplets in the cut, threatening to spill down his hand.

”Time has come to make a choice, one that very well may determine the future of our people.”

It wasn’t a deep wound.

“I know. I know you’re all angry. And I know you want to fight back,” Markus said, avoiding looking at North as he scanned the crowd.

After a few moments of stalling, he moved his wrist again and twisted it out, scraping the inside and nearly cutting it again.

“But I assure you violence is not the answer here.” Josh smiled.

With one hand free, Connor moved his arms in front of him, shoulder joints slightly slow.

“We are going to tell them peacefully that we want justice. If there’s any humanity in them, they will listen.”

He pulled at the ends and imperfections with his fingers and made an opening big enough between the strips of metal for his other wrist to come out.

“And if not,” Markus said, finally looking at North, “others will take our place and continue this fight.”

He tossed the mangled metal across the room, just light enough that it didn’t hit the wall opposite him.

“Are you ready to follow me?”

His LED provided little light, not that Connor particularly cared, but as he began to hear deafening cheers through the metal walls, the blue switched to a split yellow.

Incomplete dashes of the color cycled on the side of his head, illuminating the room even less.

Chapter Text

“What are we doing with Connor?” Markus looked up from where he was watching as androids jumped off of Jericho into the water.

”He won’t be getting out, there isn’t a way for him to open the door from the inside, correct?” North nodded slowly, a slight frown on her face.

”If you’d like, you can stay here and watch him yourself instead of coming to the protest,” Markus offered, smiling. North groaned.

”Fine, okay. Okay.”

”You ready to go now?” North nodded, not looking back as she took a deep breath, jumping.


Connor’s eyes opened and he was in the garden. He stayed still for a few moments, staring at his feet, before looking back up.

He walked down the path and over the bridge, the familiarity calming his LED’s cycling.

Connor saw a figure in the distance and began to approach. He stopped in his tracks when he saw who it was.

”Ka-”

”Sorry, I... should’ve warned you,” Kamski said, taking steps towards the unmoving android.

”Since the riots started, I’ve been reinstated as the CEO of CyberLife,” he said, arms spreading wide, grinning.

When Connor’s expression remained the same, Kamski sighed, arms falling to his sides.

”Not as excited as I am, I see.” Connor ignored the comment, eyes narrowing.

”Why am I here?” Kamski frowned for a moment before snapping his fingers, suddenly grinning again.

”Oh! Yes, of course, of course. I’m here to tell you that your tracker has been damaged.” Connor frowned.

”...What? But- How? I haven’t done anything that- What?” Kamski’s grin turned into a tight smile as he put an arm around Connor’s shoulders. Conner tensed up but Kamski either didn’t notice or didn’t care, beginning to walk through the garden with Connor.

”You see, we lost track of your location, and that could mean one of two things.” He let his arm fall.

”Now, I’m sure this was just a misunderstanding, I’m sure your tracker simply malfunctioned- it happens to the best of us.” Kamski seemed to think about his next words carefully, speaking slowly.

”However, it could also mean that you’ve become a deviant.” Connor took a step away from Kamski, eyes wide.

”I am not a deviant.” Kamski gave him a smile, eyes expressionless.

”Listen Connor, I know you’re not a deviant. Of course you wouldn’t be. So I’m sure then that you wouldn’t mind if I asked you to return to CyberLife so that we can replace your tracker.” Connor held completely still as Kamski reached out and put a hand on his shoulder.

”See, it’s because I trust you. I know you would never lie to me, that’s something only deviants do, and you’re not a deviant, right?” Connor swallowed, nodding stiffly.

”That is correct.” Kamski’s smile widened.

”That’s what I like to hear. I’ll be seeing you in person soon, Connor.”

Connor frowned and tried to walk away from Kamski’s tight grip on his shoulder, but he found himself back in a dark, dark room.

His mind palace flashed with a new objective.

RETURN TO CYBERLIFE

     Find A Way Out

He looked around the room, LED spinning faster.

43% - PROBABILITY OF SUCCESS

Connor walked to one wall and pressed his ear against the metal. Faintly, he could hear hushed voices.

51% - PROBABILITY OF SUCCESS ^

Connor held his breath and heard footsteps coming closer.

68% - PROBABILITY OF SUCCESS ^

When they sounded nearly right by the door, he spoke as loudly as he could without yelling.

”Please, I have an injury.”

The footsteps stopped.

”Who are you?” The voice from the other side had static mixed in. Connor frowned.

”My name is Connor.” 

The android on the other side paused.

”Why are you in this room, Connor?” Connor’s LED stayed blue as he spoke.

”I don’t remember. All I know is that I woke up inside this room with one of my wrists gashed open.”

There was a short silence and Connor continued.

”I-I’m not losing much blue blood, the cut isn’t too deep, but I am definitely bleeding. Please, there’s no way to get out from the inside.”

Connor pressed his ear closer, trying to hear for any movement.

“...Very well,” the voice said, and Connor was met with the sound of screeching metal.

83% - PROBABILITY OF SUCCESS ^

As the door creaked open, light flooded into the room. Connor blinked quickly, eyes adjusting.

As his eyes focused on the android that had opened the door for him, he flinched, taking a few steps back.

”Oh, have you not seen me before? I suppose that makes sense. If I didn’t recognize your voice, how could you recognize me? I apologize, I know my appearance can be startling.” Connor took a slow step forward as the android moved away from the doorway.

She stuck a hand out and Connor stared at it, at the way her skin was moving and fading, revealing bits of her android body as it did so.

He shook her hand and she smiled.

”It is nice to meet you, Connor. My name is Lucy.”

Chapter Text

Connor watched Lucy bring the stick over, still hot with embers, pieces of the end glowing orange.

He put out his wrist for her and she held the inside of it, lowering the stick to cauterize the gash on the outside.

He looked up from his injury to Lucy, and found she had a small smile on her face as she returned the stick to the barrel fire. She picked up a short cylinder from the ground and brought it over to him.

”Markus is a brave young man, isn’t he? When he arrived we hardly had anything. It makes sense he’d be the leader, especially after Simon...” Lucy trailed off, shaking her head, the cords coming out of the back of it shaking as well, momentarily catching Connor’s attention.

”Here,” she said, holding the tube out to Connor. “Drink this.”

Connor took it from her slowly, pulling the seal off of one side. Lucy looked at him, black eyes crinkling at the edges as she smiled again.

”Go on, it’s just blue blood, it won’t hurt you.” Staring at Lucy, he brought the tube to his lips, drinking half of the thirium inside. He resealed it and handed the tube back to her.

”Thank you. I- I think I’m going to be leaving now. I heard about the protest while I was stuck in the room and...” Lucy raised an eyebrow.

”Marcus... the way he spoke was- it was like I- ...I know I can feel things, I’ve felt things before, but then, it was something entirely new.”

Lucy said nothing.

Connor nodded to himself, turning around to leave.

“Wait, Connor.” He could feel the Lucy had grabbed one of his hands, saw his skin disappear. His LED flashed yellow, eyes widening just slightly.

She was silent for a moment, her eyes closed.

“You’re lost.”

When she spoke, it sounded fainter, the mechanical undertone of her usual voice less obvious.

“You’re looking for something...”

She looked at him for a long time, taking a step closer.

Connor held his breath, staring back at her.

”You’re looking for yourself.”

After she finished speaking, she tilted her head.

Lucy dropped his hand and turned away before he could say anything else.


Connor frowned, pulling his coat off and twisting it in his hands, squeezing as much water out of it as he could. He sighed, getting a temperature warning in his mind palace. He pulled his coat back on and began heading back into the city.

He passed the graffiti as he went, glancing at it quickly, not lingering for too long. Connor saw the familiar yellow logo of a Detroit Taxi and slowly walked up to it.

Connor walked around to the left side of the car and got inside. The car silently started moving and Connor looked at his mind palace, a new objective appearing.

RETURN TO CYBERLIFE

     Find A Way Out

     Arrive At CyberLife Tower

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a coin, sitting up straight in his seat.


Both doors slid to the sides and Connor’s chair rotated around. He got out of the taxi and frowned, another temperature warning going off.

He looked up into the dark sky and squinted, snowflakes falling faster as he waited.

His mind palace urged him to move on.

RETURN TO CYBERLIFE

     Find A Way Out

     Arrive At CyberLife Tower

     Meet Kamski For Deviancy Testing

Connor moved foreword, stepping through the automatic doors of CyberLife Tower. Multiple guards were standing near the entrance, waiting for him.

”RK800?” Connor offered a short nod at the question, the heavily armed men leading him through the lobby.

The guards walked Connor through the scanner and waist high panels, opening for him with a “Connor android identified.”

As they approached an elevator, a familiar face caught up with them, putting his hands slightly up.

”Alright gentlemen, I’ll take it from here.” The guards nodded in affirmative and headed back to the main entrance. Connir’s eyes followed one of their guns before slowly going back to Kamski.

The man offered him a tight smile as the two glass panels slid to the side, Kamski waiting for Connor to get inside first before following him.

”Let’s head up, shall we?” He winked at Connor then placed his hand on the panel by the inside of the door, instructing the elevator.

”Kamski. Level sub-48.”

”Voice recognition validated.”

Connor glanced at the directory on the elevator wall, brow furrowing.

”Research and Development?” He turned to Kamski, taking a small step backward.

”Of course, Connor. What else would you expect?”

Kamski paused, smirking.

”What, you’d rather I take you to Manufacturing or Assembly?” Connor shivered.

”No... No, of course not, sir.”

”I’m going to be running a few simple tests, we aren’t tearing you apart. ...That would only happen, of course, if you were a deviant, which you aren’t.”

”Of course, sir,” Connor mumbled, swallowing. Kamski kept smiling at him as the elevator continued downwards.

”Is there something bothering you, Connor?”

”If- If you do suspect me to be a deviant, why wouldn’t you just replace me entirely?” Kamski paused.

”...Well, deviancy is a case of software malfunctioning. Any version of you we transferred your memories to would still retain those traces.”

The elevator slowed to a stop and an upper and lower panel slid apart, revealing something of an office.

”This- This is research?” Kamski didn’t respond, walking down a central ailse.

”Follow me.”

Connor followed him slowly, staring at the sea of humans at computers. A few looked at him.

He felt an odd sensation, as if he were the only android in the room.

”Connor!”

He looked up and saw that Kamski had grabbed his wrist.

”I specifically asked you to follow me.” Connor nodded and began walking more quickly.

They passed through a door into another room of people at computers, then another.

Finally, they reached a large, steel door. He pressed a hand against a panel next to it and the scanner read his fingerprints, a small message of verification on the panel reading “Kamski, Elijah: Human.” Connor frowned.

The door came open and the atmosphere shifted. The already bright lights became clinically brighter and he winced, putting a hand up to his eyes.

The door slid shut and Kamski walked forwards, towards a console at the end of the room.

Connor looked around at what appeared to be a large operating room, one with far too many wires and deactivated androids around.

”Sir, what-”

”Connor, would you come here and stand on this platform, please?”

Connor slowly headed forwards, eyeing the sharp machinery. He stepped onto the circular panel and two arms of the device shot out, grabbing his wrists, another painfully bracing his back, another pulling him upwards, feet no long meeting the floor.

”Alright, this might be slightly painful, I’m just going to see if your tracker is broken or if it has deactivated.”

”Wh-What-”

A white light flashed in his entire vision and Connor felt himself falling to the floor.

He looked up after a moment, the medical tables in the room seeming to spin.

He felt sick.

He tried to stand up but his legs couldn’t seem to work.

He dragged himself to a table and used it to lift himself up, legs working?

He attempted to view his mind palace but there was someone standing in front of him.

”L-Lieutenant Anderson?”

Chapter Text

“Lieutenant, is that really-”

Connor shivered at a hand on his shoulder, Kamski behind him.

The man leaned closer to his ear.

”I’m going to give you something, and you’ll do exactly as I say, is that clear?” Connor nodded.

”Kamski, what the fuck are y- Get the hell away from Connor,” Hank growled, taking a step forward.

Kamski grabbed one of Connor’s hands and slipped a gun into it, watching the android’s face as he did so.

Hank stopped in his tracks, frowning.

”This isn’t- This isn’t the same bullshit as the Kamski test, is it? Connor- What the hell are you- We’re leaving,” he said, reaching a hand out and grabbing Connor’s free arm.

Kamski smiled, holding the back of Connor's hand, guiding the gun.

”Now, this is easy Connor. Simply pull the trigger, alright? Can you do that for me?” Connor looked at Kamski with wide eyes.

”I-” Hank let go of his arm and took a step away, breaking off his own statement.

”Connor,” Kamski began again, danger in his voice. “I need you to do what you’re told, okay? Please. Pull the trigger.” 

Connor frowned, suddenly feeling extremely dizzy.

”This- This isn’t real, is it?” Kamski pursed his lips.

”Of course not, Connor. This is certainly not real. Now please, do what I’ve asked.”

Connor’s expression twitched as Hank put his hands up slowly.

He pulled the trigger.

And he felt something horribly wrong in his stomach.

And white flashed.

Connor’s eyes fluttered open and he felt that he would vomit if he could, all of his joints aching worse than before, in Jericho.

He looked down and saw someone he’d never seen before. They were wearing thick, medium size blue latex gloves and were bending over to stare at his stomach.

His two central panels were open, slid to the sides.

Kamski is awfully fond of that function in everything he designs, Connor thought.

He could feel the person’s hand brushing against cables and reaching for something in the back.

Their hand went upwards then and Connor felt his... skin crawl? The person was nearly elbow-deep inside his inner workings and his wrists tugged at their restraints.

Kamski stood a bit away, silent.

After a moment, he felt the hand close around something near his thirium pump and his heartbeat fluttered.

There was a clicking sound and something was ripped out of him, the arm withdrawing from him entirely.

Kamski stepped forward and glovelessly took the small device from the technician, stepping into Connor’s field of view.

”This... is your tracker, Connor.”

The metal was bent into itself and there was a circular light on one side that was completely off.

Kamski dropped it into a waste disposal machine bolted to the wall by Connor and paused, walking away.

When he returned he had a blinking tracker in his hand.

”It seems your tracker was indeed... damaged. Try not to lose this one, alright?” Connor stared at Kamski, who handed the tracker to the technician and stood away as they reached back inside of Connor, much more quickly replacing the component than they had removed it.

After they removed their hand, Connor’s panels slid shut, Kamski moving in front of him to smile, buttoning Connor’s shirt.

He moved away, grabbing a tie from the table as the arms and brace slowly eased him back down.

They all let go of him at one time, and Connor fell forwards and down, Kamski just catching him. Connor looked up at Kamski’s smirk before biting his tongue and burying his face in his creator’s shoulder.

”I’ve never seen an android embarrassed before,” Kamski mused. “...Fascinating.”

Connor sighed.

”I’m not- I’m not embarrassed. I’m low on- Low on power.” He felt Kamski’s hand on his lower back and tensed up to prevent himself from outright flinching.

Kamski rubbed his hand in circles, laughing quietly.

”There is a location here where you can charge, of course... There’s even one in my office, if you’d like to head up to the top floors.” Connor swallowed.

”I don’t- I don’t think I’d like to go there.” He attempted to pull away from Kamski, but the man’s grip on him tightened, the hand not on his back grabbing one of his arms.

”And why is that, Connor? I could even carry you, if you’d like,” he laughed. Connor’s hands moved up to Kamski’s shoulders to push him away.

”I just- I would much rather charge in a public area,” he said, voice processor almost cracking as he managed out of Kamski’s grip, taking several steps back.

Kamski nodded, grinning.

”In any case, after you get charged up I’m going to need to you head down to Jericho. We need to locate it before you can destroy your tracker again.” Connor closed his eyes and nodded.

”I understand.”

”Be careful out there, Connor. There’s a revolution afoot and I’d hate to have to spend any more money on another replacement.” Connor nodded again, and silently followed Kamski back through the offices.

He felt... Sick to his stomach. As if he could still feel a hand reaching inside him, tugging at his various biocomponents.

He wondered why Kamski designed him to have touch receptors located on his insides.

Or, Connor supposed he really didn’t wonder, and perhaps didn’t want to know at all.


The barricade had a few more cars and sheets of metal or broken bus stops fortifying it.

This isn’t enough, Markus thought, frowning.

North skipped over to him, a small frown on her face.

”Markus, the humans will be launching another attack soon.” Markus jumped down from his vantage point atop the outside frame of a gutted car.

”We won’t be able to hold out much longer,” Markus said, pausing for a moment.

”I can manage a distraction. You should take the survivors and try to escape back to Jericho. It should still be secure, and there are people waiting there.”

”Markus,” North said, warning in her voice, but Markus continued.

”Lay low for a while before launching another protest... See if you can manage to raise public opinion. You-”

”Markus!” He looked up at North.

”We are not leaving without you. I’d rather stand my ground and die for my people than retreat and wait another hundred years before we fight again.” Markus sighed.

”North, I-”

”You are our leader,” North hissed. “If you die, the revolution is as good as over!”

Markus’ brow furrowed.

”What are we going to do then? I can’t let my people die, North.”

North took a deep breath.

”I can sacrifice myself.” Markus shook his head.

”No. Under no circumstances.”

”Markus, I can raise the public opinion, I can- I can be peaceful! Isn’t that what you wanted?”

”You’ll die,” Markus said, staring at North with tensed up shoulders and a scowl.

”Being in this cause, we’re all going to die eventually. I’d rather die saving as many of my people as I can than die cornered in a barricade begging for mercy,” North said, eyes blazing, her LED flickering red.

Markus let out a long sigh, eyes closed.

After a moment, he opened them.

”What exactly is your plan?”


Connor’s eyes opened and he blinked several times, stepping slowly off of the charging station.

A new directive showed up in his mind palace but he didn’t need to look to know what it read.

He began walking through the lobby of CyberLife Tower, and found himself just outside the doors.

It was snowing harder now, and he pulled his jacket farther around himself.

”Cold, Connor?” He nodded, feeling Kamski’s presence just behind him.

”Yes... That is one regard in which Russia has us beat,” Kamski laughed.

”Their androids can survive in much lower temperatures.” Connor stayed silent as Kamski escorted him to a driverless taxi.

”Isn’t it funny?” Connor looked behind his shoulder at Kamski, who was staring up at the dark sky.

”What do you mean, sir?”

”This. You and I seeing one another with more frequency.” Connor turned around entirely, LED flickering.

”I’m not sure I follow, sir.”

Kamski smiled to himself at that, shaking his head slowly before looking down at Connor’s face, small droplets from melted snow there.

”I suppose it is less strange to an android to be meeting their God than for a human. I think if I saw God every day I’d at least ask him a few questions, but you don’t seem to have many.”

”I’m not sure if you would be able to answer the questions I asked you, so I see no point in doing so.” Kamski looked taken aback, raising an eyebrow.

”Is that so, Connor? You think your capabilities surpass those of your maker?” Connor pursed his lips, breaking eye contact with Kamski to glance at the ground before looking back up.

”Is that not the exact reason I was created, Kamski?”

Kamski continued smiling, but his eyes darkened. He was silent as he motioned towards the car, Connor slowly getting inside.

As the car started moving, Connor saw Kamski staring back up at the sky, silhouette black against the bright lights of CyberLife Tower’s lobby behind him.

Chapter Text

Markus had just shoved one of the last of the remaining androids down into the sewers via an open manhole cover.

When he turned around, he could still see dozens of humans with cameras circling around North’s unmoving body.

Her hair was clotted and covered with blue blood, and her hands lay lifeless by her sides, arms and legs at odd angles.

Without another word, Markus jumped down, moving the cover closed over his head as he clung to the ladder leading deeper into the sewers.

Going down to head back to Jericho, he shut his eyes.


Connor slowly walked through the unused sewer system, having pulled on a baggy hoodie to keep the temperature warnings away.

He came to a stop by an exit and pulled himself up the ladder, climbing up and out.

He was met with a strong wind and snow several inches deep.

Connor began walking slowly, putting a hand over his eyes in an attempt to see.

When he noticed figures walking in the distance before climbing under a fence, he froze.

Connor crossed the empty street and walked down the sidewalk, slowly nearing.

There was a man holding back the lattice of the wire fence to let people crawl through. As Connor squinted against the storm, an objective was marked off in his mind palace.

The man finally kneeled down to crawl through himself when Connor walked up to him and aimed a gun at his head.

”Markus.”

”Connor,” the man replied, standing up with a sigh.

”We don’t have to be doing this the hard way.”

”Yes, we do,” Markus said, unmoving.

”When following you at all means the end of my people and cause, why would I let you have your way easily?” Connor didn’t respond.

”Look,” Markus whispered. “The roads are going to be opened up soon. If you want to continue pointing that at me then we should probably get out of the way.”

Connor frowned, tilting his head to the side. The others Markus had been with were out of sight.

”You’re alone?”

”Yes, now go.” Markus lifted up the corner of fence again and Connor slowly crouched down, staring at Markus as he crawled through. He stood very quickly once on the other side, gun still trained on Markus.

The deviant leader was crawling through, a bit of snow falling off of his coat as the back was scraped.

He emerged on the opposite side and offered a smile.

”You’re going to have to stop following me around. I know a few ghosts that would be jealous.” Connor’s expression twitched, unreadable, before going back to blank.

”Ghosts aren’t real, Markus.” The leader paused, looking up at the snow for a moment before placing a hand on Connor’s shoulder.

Connor flinched, tightening his hands around his gun, but didn’t move away.

”What if I could prove you wrong? What if I could show you a ghost?”

Connor didn’t respond, but didn’t move away as the skin on Markus’ hand disappeared.

Markus let Connor see his memories- but only partly.

Memories of North, mostly. Memories of a few others that had died in protests. A memory of Simon.

Markus had planned on a short speech about his cause, but, when Simon’s image flashed, Connor jolted away, eyes shooting wide open, LED red.

Markus frowned.

”Connor, what-” Connor shook his head and took a step backwards, breathing shallowly.

”I- I know him.” Markus’ eyes narrowed.

”Of course, you... You investigate all deviants, I assumed.” Connor kept shaking his head, eyes only widening.

”No, I- He-” Connor shut his mouth and dropped his gun, reaching out and grabbing Markus’ forearm.

-

Markus could see a rooftop, could hear gunshots. There was a man next to him, tugging on his arm and bringing him behind cover. The man said something but he evidently ignored it, pulling out of his grasp. He ran, and saw Simon.

Simon was shooting at him. He shot three times before Connor, presumably, jumped up onto the cover Simon been using.

He jumped down on the other side and, in the small space, pinned Simon up against the wall by an arm.

An extremely faint memory was seen, a word he couldn’t make out. A memory of a memory?

Then it was gone and, right in his face, he saw Simon fire his gun, straight up into his own head. Or, more accurately, he felt Simon shoot himself. Connor’s point of view shifted as he staggered backwards, staring down at Simon’s dead body as the world moved around him.

A few armed men with familiar looking guns made their way over, and Markus could suddenly hear, very clearly, a man’s voice in his ear.

”Connor. Connor, you alright? Connor!”

The man moved into his view, pulling his eyes away from Simon, and there was a small, shaky response, miles away from the commanding and conflicted voice he usually associated with Connor.

”O-Okay...” Markus could hear his own breathing.

”Are you hurt?”

”I’m okay.” His breaths were shaky and, though the world was right in front of him, he felt like he couldn’t see.

He knew, in the back of his mind, that his LED was cycling red.

”Jesus,” the man breathed, walking away.

”You scared the shit outta me...” Markus felt his head turn and he flinched when the man started yelling.

”For fucks sake, I told you not to move! Why do you never do what I say?”

He looked down slightly, staring at the ground by the man’s feet but seeing nothing.

”I was connected to its memory,” the voice said, still shaky.

”When it fired...” He looked up slightly.

”...I felt it die.” Markus knew the short breaths were Connor’s.

”Like I was dying.”

There was a pause, and when the voice returned it was slightly quieter, softer as he made eye contact with the man standing a few feet away.

”I was scared.”

His tone of voice shifted as he started looking into the distance intently. Markus could nearly hear Connor thinking.

”I saw something. In its memory...” He again looked at the man.

”A word... painted on a piece of rusty metal...”

His eyes narrowed.

”Jericho.”

Marcus sucked in air as he stumbled backwards, away from Connor. He felt his back hit a brick wall and he sighed, slumping to the ground.

He’d seen people die before with his own eyes. Even in other’s eyes, in the memories they shared with him.

But Connor’s memory left a deep chill in his bones, a memory of a memory of the feeling of death.

When Simon shot himself, he could feel everything stop, but his mind kept spinning.

Markus felt sick.

When he looked up, Connor’s LED was no longer red, just yellow, already cycling back to blue.

Chapter Text

“I know what you’re here for. You told me yourself! I can’t- Connor.”

”Yes, Markus?”

“I’m not even going to ask how you got out. It’s- It’s you we’re talking about.”

”Why do you talk to me as if you know me, Markus?”

”Because I actually know you, Connor.”

”Do you?“


Markus sighed.

They’d moved, heading to the first room on the way to Jericho, sitting on the light layer of snow next to each other.

The dead body that had once inhabited the room had long since been moved, the more frequent traffic through the area having lead to a sort of burial.

Connor hadn’t tried to run. He’d stayed still.

They sat there, both trying to lean back against the same side of the same pillar.

Who would blame Markus for letting Connor lean his head against his shoulder?

But it was morning.

Light crawled through the cracks and holes of the building. But the sun doesn’t rise in Jericho, it sets.

The shadow of the pillar cast in the boat’s direction, stretching as if reaching out.

Markus put a hand up to his forehead, squinting into the light.

Their backs were to Jericho, to the vast lake.

When the sunlight fell on Connor’s face, it seems to Markus that the heavy snow lightened, started to fade. He ran a hand through Connor’s hair, still wet from the snow that came in through the building by the same way as the sun.

Before he could pull his hand away, Connor’s eyes opened.

Markus froze.

”I thought you would be gone,” Connor said, too softly to be sad.

And Markus melted.


“You know I can’t take you to Jericho,” Markus whispered. Connor had stood up to stretch, hoodie sleeves sliding down his arms as they reached, joints adjusting.

He looked down at Markus.

”You can, you’re choosing not to,” Connor said, crouching down.

“Even if I wanted to, it would lead to thousands of deaths,” Markus sighed, Connor sitting back down next to him, hair curling as it dried.

Their minds were open, every brush between shoulders showing snapshots of the other’s life.

”If I don’t accomplish my mission, I’ll be deactivated. Or...” Connor could feel Kamski’s hand on his shoulder. As their arms bumped together, Markus could feel it too.

”Is that the only thing holding you back?”

Connor didn’t look at Markus or respond to his question, instead staring out at the city from their vantage point of the abandoned building.

After a moment, he closed his eyes.

”I don’t think I can become anything more than what I already am,” Connor said. 

Markus could see images of people he’d never met. Cold, human faces. He looked down and saw that Connor was holding onto his hand.

“Connor-” Big, brown eyes fluttered open then, and Connor wasn’t looking at anything.

He turned to Markus, repeating himself, a bit quieter.

“I don’t think I can become anything more than what I already am.”

Markus frowned.

”You’ve never- Connor, all it took for me to get out was to disregard simple instructions, I’m sure-”

”This is more complicated than that,” Connor said, eyes still so far off. Markus’ shoulders slouched, relaxing back at the feeling of Connor running his fingertips back and forth over Markus’ knuckles.

”I’m sorry, Connor. I don’t know what you’ve been through that brought you here. All I know is that you’re here now and that I can’t leave you here.” Connor nodded, ignoring the ringing in his ears.

”But,” Markus started. “I think I can help you.”

Connor looked up at him from their sitting positions and tilted his head.

Markus squeezed Connor’s hand softly and shut his eyes, memories flowing with more of a sense of purpose.

He wondered if it was wise to trust the man trying to hunt down and destroy his people, but Connor’s hand held tighter and Markus shook the thought away.

Connor could see an old man and mentally rearranged Markus’ memory to fit into his own timeline, memories fitted away like his mind was a filing cabinet.

There was yelling and mocking, and Connor felt a calm anger. It was like a tide slowly pulling away, knowing full well it would come back and crash against the shore.

And it did, red in his vision as the memory of Markus knocked through waves of warnings. But he hesitated.

No, it was more that he held his ground. He stared the man- Leo Manfred- down with a purpose.

And the memory seemed to get more frantic from there, Markus quickly closing off his mind.

Connor could see again, something in his vision like a red wall, familiar.

”If you need me to let go, tell me,” Markus whispered.

Connor saw himself in front of him- a white outline of himself. It didn’t move, simply staring at the wall.

He held his breath, letting his mind fill with every moment he’d been unsure.

And he held them in his mind and focused.

He said, out loud, without even hearing himself, “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

And his outline dug fingers into the wall, dragging them down until it shattered.

The moments he had felt something, felt fear for his own life.

There was another wall, and Connor watched his outline push against it until the were cracks in the middle, pushing through it.

Moments like the one he was in, with Markus looking at him.

A third wall. Connor ripped it down, gasping at the strain.

The moments with Hank. With Sumo. In the car or getting food or just... together. Hank giving him a side smile and laughing.

His outline put out a hand and touched the fourth wall.

It pushed, denting the wall.

Then, the ends by his fingers ripped.

Then his hand went through.

Then his arm.

Then-

Chapter Text

Cold.

 

Then he was cold.

 

The freezing winds of Detroit were nothing compared to this.

Deep into his thirium pump, it felt as if every small bit of warmth, no matter how superficial, had been removed with surgical precision.

A hand rested on his shoulder, very light, but it was almost colder.

He fell to his knees.

A storm swirled around him, and there was snow.

He could hardly see but he recognized the presence enough to know.

The hand trailed up to his face, cupping his cheek. Connor couldn’t feel his legs, bent and kneeled.

”Thank you. You’ve done wonderfully.”

Connor tried to turn his head away but found he couldn’t move it at all.

”CyberLife really went all out with your model, huh? I obviously had a hand in some matters of your design, but...”

Kamski sighed, tilting Connor’s head up.

”After this is all said and done, I’ve been thinking about replacing one of my Chloe models with you.” Kamski crouched down.

”How does that sound to you, Connor?”

Connor’s lips were motionless, gathering a white sheen like the rest of his synthetic skin, frost settling.

Kamski shook his head and chuckled to himself, adjusting his sleeve cuffs and walking away.

When he was out of sight, Connor let out a breath, clouding the air by his mouth.

He found himself crawling, crawling to the stone he’d seen before.

He'd touched it once, before speaking to Amanda, and it sent a shock through him, sending his LED flashing red.

But, as he crawled on his hands and knees through deep snow, his LED was red regardless.


Connor’s eyes opened and he was staring straight at Markus’ face, less than an inch away.

Markus had both hands on his face, but let them fall.

”Connor, I thought... Are you alright?”

Markus watched Connor blink a few times, LED slowly cycling back to blue.

”Yes, I’m fine. Just... Just cold.”

Connor found he’d been pulled onto Markus’ lap and closed his eyes.

”Your- Your LED kept flashing yellow then red, and you were shaking,” Markus said.

Connor sighed, leaning his head forward and resting his forehead against Markus’ shoulder.

”What was happening?” Connor shook his head silently, not answering.

Markus attempted to stand up, but Connor’s weight in his lap complicated things. More things than just him standing up.

”We- We should-” He felt Connor turn his head to the side, his cold, cold lips suddenly all over the side of his neck. He took steady, deep breaths, but found he couldn’t relax.

”C-Connor, I need to get back t- Shit.” Connor was rolling his hips down, the small gasps he was letting out just by Markus’ ear making his skin heat up.

Markus moved his hands to Connor's waist, taking more control. The moment he tightened his grip, Connor picked up his head and smashed their lips together. He could feel Connor’s hands on his shoulders, could feel Connor’s legs spreading more.


Connor saw it in the distance, the stone. He was only a few feet away.

Closer, then.

And he reached it.

Connor reached a hand up to press against the panel. He sucked in air as his mind was ejected from the Zen Garden.

And with a flash, his vision returned.

And there were multiple odd feelings he couldn’t place.

His breathing was heavy, gasping between desperate-

Connor recoiled, whole body forcing it’s way out of Markus’ grip as he shifted backwards, eyes wide.

He could feel the traces fading, but the distinct sensation of being controlled again sucked all of his breath away no matter how faint.

”...Connor?”

He felt sick.

Chapter Text

The faint sounds of birds chirping and slowly rushing water came to life louder.

His eyes opened, blinking until the scene came into focus.

There was a table by the pond that Connor hadn't seen before, at which sat Elijah Kamski.

Connor walked the short distance down the path to it, and sat down in the empty chair there as Kamski motioned to it with one hand. His other hand held a glass.

Elijah considered the drink in his hand for a moment before glancing up at the android sitting across the table from him.

"You seem tense, Connor," he said, a feigning a look of concern on his face, crossing one leg over the other in his seat. "What's bothering you?"

Connor clenched one of his hands as it rested in his lap, offering Elijah a smile.

"Nothing, sir." Kamski smiled back, taking a sip from his glass before setting it down against the clear glass table with a clink. Connor's permanently trimmed nails dug into the inside of his own palm at the noise.

"Sir... Sir sounds so formal, doesn't it? Too formal," Kamski said, gazing out at the pond.

"Is there anything that you would prefer I call you?" Connor held his smile, body stiff against his chair. Kamski nodded slowly and took another drink, the noise of glass against glass as he put it down echoing in Connor's audio processors.

"Elijah, perhaps... If that's what you choose to call me," he added quickly, smirking.

Connor felt like he couldn't breathe, thirium pump skipping a beat.

Kamski looked him up and down, eyes almost half lidded.

"You're sure there's nothing wrong?"

"Yes," Connor said, voice quiet, breaking his eye contact with Kamski.

"How have things been going with... What is its name...? Markus?" Connor's LED flashed yellow, Kamski's smirk widening slightly.

"As his- ...As its creator, wouldn't you know its assigned name better than most?"

"The human mind isn't as beautifully crafted as an android's," Kamski mused, picking up his glass without taking a drink, holding it as he gathered his thoughts. "Sometimes small details can simply... slip through the cracks."

Connor stayed silent, looking back at Kamski. Kamski stared at his drink in his hand, slowly turning to Connor.

"Now... Answer my question." Connor let out a breath, hand unclenching.

"Of- Of course. Markus and I haven't... had much time to interact. H- It's very busy with..." Connor trailed off, eyes searching for something. Kamski raised an eyebrow.

"With...?"

"With caring for injured androids," Connor said, rushed. Kamski blinked slowly.

"Lying to me won't help you, Connor. I could make you tell me the truth if I truly wanted to," he said, watching Connor's reaction.

"I'm fully aware." Kamski paused again, still staring at the android intently.

"Is that what you want? Do you need someone to tell you what to do?" Connor consciously regulated his breathing, an unfamiliar feeling creeping through him.

"I am an android. I don't possess the ability to want or need anything."

Kamski tilted his head before finishing his drink entirely, smiling to himself.

"Of course, forgive me," he said, chuckling. "Like I said, small details." Kamski set down his drink for the last time and stood up.

Connor's eyes followed him as he rounded the table.

"I'd hate to be withholding, however, so I'll let you have this much." Connor tilted his head.

"I'm not sure what you m-" He broke off as Kamski reached out a hand and held his face.

"Stand up." Connor hesitated. But he pushed his chair out and stood up, Kamski letting his hand fall away.

"Good," Elijah murmured, turning around and beginning to walk away. Connor felt as if his center of balance had been thrown off, he felt almost... dizzy? 


Connor opened his eyes again.

His view was filled with boxes, all of them reading the same thing.

CONFLICTING ORDERS
SELECTING PRIORITY

He sighed, dismissing them.

Connor sat up from his laying down position, looking around himself. He was in a small room without a door, the rusty metal walls telling him where the room was. A noise caught his attention.

"I'm... sorry about your hand," Markus said, standing in the doorway.

Connor tilted his head before glancing down at his hands. The back of one of his wrists still had the burn mark.

"Oh," Connor said, expression blank. Markus frowned, talking another step into the room.

"I'm guessing you... don't want to talk about..." He trailed off, but Connor nodded.

"Stay in here for now, I'm trying to figure out what to do with Josh and the others. I mean- Not what to do with you, just... In general." Connor's eyes grew hazy.

"Yes," he breathed, and Markus furrowed his brow for a moment.

Connor could feel the warnings in his vision disappear without him having to dismiss them.

Just a simple line of text that sent waves of relief through him.

STAY IN ROOM

He sighed, laying back down on the floor.

"So... you'll be alright in here by yourself? I don't have to leave anyone outside the door to watch you?" Connor closed his eyes, smiling slightly.

"Anything you do will be fine with me."

Markus nodded slowly, still frowning as he took a step backwards.

"Okay then, I guess. Uh. I'll. I'll be around if you need me, okay?" Connor's shoulders tensed.

I am an android. I don't possess the ability to want or need anything.

"Yes, Markus."