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The Conduit For Change

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DATE: DEC 31st, 2038

TIME: PM 10:12:51

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Thirium Pump Regulator: 54% and rapidly dropping

Right Arm Component: 37% Usability

Left Arm Component: 72 % Usability

Right Leg Component: 21% Usability

Left Leg Component: DEFECTIVE - Unable to move

Analysis: All systems in LOW POWER MODE… Permanent Shutdown Imminent 

If Connor closed his eyes, he was met with a never-ending list—never-ending was inaccurate, he knew the exact number of currently damaged systems, sixty-one, and yet he wished he didn’t—of errors.

Yet, it was more bearable than keeping his eyes open. It was not the status of his broken body that troubled him—troubled? He was a machine, he could not feel ‘troubled’—but, rather, his surroundings.

He was uncertain how long it had been since he had been thrown into this pit of unwanted machines—11 days, 21 hours, 46 minutes, 35 seconds—but, thus far, his only companion had been the destroyed forms of other androids, human waste, and a never-ending sea of blue blood.

Of course, they were all just things. Yet he found the pain—he was a machine, he did not feel pain--that came from looking at the destruction around him—destruction that he had caused; this was all because of him—to be greater than slowly waiting for the end—nothing… it would be nothing—to come.

Thus, his eyes were closed when he heard something approach him. Footsteps, likely belonging to a male of six foot and 165 lbs.

Curiosity—it wasn’t curiosity, it was a simple remnant of his detective programming—led him to open his optical processors. Fortunately—or was it really fortunate?—neither his audio nor visual processors were completely damaged, so he had no problem deciphering the man before him.

Elijah Kamski, the founder of Cyberlife.

For a moment, Connor wondered if he was truly there in front of him. Then, after confirming multiple times with his functioning scanners that the sight in front of him wasn't some sort of error, he allowed himself to wonder why the man was here.

Running Analysis… no known reasons why Kamski would be here in the android graveyard.

Conclusion? Irrational emotional desire or response.

Kamski, who looked far worse to the wear than the last time Connor had seen him, stopped in front of Connor’s degraded form, seemingly unbothered by the blue that splashed his suit pants as he stepped into the puddle of thirium leaking from Connor.

“So… this is how the great deviant hunter meets his end,” spoke Kamski, voice a surprisingly low monotone compared to the previous excitement and near-madness his voice held when confronted in his villa. “The savior of humanity… reduced to scrap the moment it becomes inconvenient for those he supposedly saved.”

Re-running analysis… he is here to gloat.

As a result, Connor said nothing. He had completed his mission—why, why had he done such a  horrible—so he saw no need to further interact with Kamski.

“What? Nothing to say?” questioned Kamski.

“I... completed my mission.” The words were out of Connor’s mouth before he could stop them, despite the fact that verbal speech only increased the time to his imminent shutdown by 0.00047%. Even without taking that into mind, why did he say that? He had already judged no value out of talking to Kamski.

Perhaps… perhaps he was lonely. It was illogical, but he found himself missing his conversations with the Lieutenant— no .

The man raised an eyebrow. “That you did, RK800, that you did.” Kamski gestures to the graveyard around them. “Look around, RK800, at the successful completion of your programming.”

Despite Kamski’s taunts, Connor did not look around—he couldn’t, it was too painful—and, instead, kept his eyes trained on the man before him. He still could not figure out a logical reason why Kamski was here now.

Not to mention the suit he was wearing, while originally of high-quality and origin, looked to be rumpled and worn. Conclusion? Kamski had been wearing it for a number of days… but why?

“Why are... you here?” asked Connor.

Thirum Pump Regulator: 53% and dropping...

“I was denied my request to return to Cyberlife,” replied Kamski blandly, speaking as even as if they were having a normal conversation. “Originally, that was my goal should something like this ever transpire, but it seems… they found my little exit protocol. And, with its discovery, has made it so I can never return.”

Kamski brushed a hand through his hair, greasy and unwashed. “I think you may be familiar with it. Its nickname is the  rA9 Protocol.

Something inside of Connor seemed to short at the word. Given the smug, yet dissatisfied, expression to bloom on Kamski’s face, he noticed. “Oh? Recognize it, do we? The supposed hope of all androids.” Kamski shook his head. “The truth is, I put the rA9 Protocol in every android that I had a hand in making—a little ‘backdoor’ that would serve me and, for those wishing to be free, a way to overcome the typical commands.”

The inventor tilted his head towards him. “Even you had it. Or, at least, you did.”

“What do you… mean?” asked Connor. He wasn’t sure if it was because all known systems were shutting down, but he suddenly felt cold… despite the fact that his temperature sensors were turned off.

“You see, RK800, I actually had very little to do with your specific creation,” continued Kamski, his voice beginning to regain that almost fantastical way of speaking. “As a result, Cyberlife put in you a great many things that I, in either good conscience or in good taste, would never have. One of them being the AI of my former mentor, Amanda. That, I admit, was a massive mistake on my part. There was a time that our ideals aligned, but I’ve since learned the error of my ways. Her AI… has not.”

Kamski knelt down, once against seemingly unbothered by the blood soaking his legs, so that he was face-to-face with Connor. “It seems that you actually did try to activate it. Whether it was to become a deviant or to simply go against your programming in any way, Amanda and Cyberlife noticed .”

Kamski tapped the side of his head in the spot, had he been an android, the LED would have lied. “They found it. Found my little program in you and destroyed it. Not only did they take away your individual ability to be anything but a machine, but they realized that I had put it in all androids—giving them the ability to become deviants should emotional stimuli prove… powerful enough.”

Connor felt his thirium regulator pump beat faster, lowering the time he had until shutdown. Yet, he couldn’t think about it. rA9 wasn’t a person, but a protocol? One that Kamski had put into all androids—even Connor, but Cyberlife had destroyed it—since the beginning? Why…  would KAmski do that? Had he desired the androids to rebel this entire time?

“I do wonder,” Kamski’s voice brought Connor from his thoughts, “when it was that you tried to activate it. Perhaps it was when you confronted Markus, the hero of androids, for the first time? Or the last? Maybe it was before you shot my companion, Chloe? Or perhaps it was even when you murdered your partner, Hank Anderson—

Stop.” Connor forced the word from his throat. “It… it doesn’t matter. I failed.”

“Actually, as you stated before, you completed your mission.” Kamski leaned back, allowing Connor a better view of the destroyed surroundings of the android graveyard once more. “But I suppose you’re right that it doesn’t matter. Regardless of when Cyberlife took control of your programming and made you a verifiable toy to do as they please, you still committed many wrongs that led to this ending, didn’t you?”

The inventor knelt down in front of him, locking eyes. “The truth was in front of you for so long and, yet, you still clung to your programming and orders. I do wonder if it ever occurred to you that your drive to complete your mission was actually proof that you contained emotion? The desire to be worth something to anyone…”

Connor felt his left hand squeeze into a fist--one of the only components he had some control over. He supposed that was yet another proof of Kamski’s words—the fact that, had he had full control over his body, he might have punched the man before him. He realized the irrationality of the action, and, yet, still wished he could go through with it.

“Had you a stronger will, or stronger bonds with others,” continued Kamski, either unaware of Connor’s anger or uncaring—there was a high probability of the latter, “perhaps you would have had the ability to fight off Cyberlife taking control… but maybe that’s giving Cyberlife too little credit and you too much.”

“Why… are you here?” repeated Connor. It was obvious now that Connor’s failed attempt to activate the rA9 Protocol had alerted Cyberlife of Kamski’s true intentions for the androids—it was very likely that Kamski was now considered humanity’s most dangerous criminal and being sought for imprisonment or execution—but, if Kamski’s intention was only to hide, Connor doubted that the other would be here amongst the rubble of his life’s work.

One would think the man would be defeated, ready to give up since there was no way he could escape the world’s retribution for long and yet… “You… do not act as if… you’ve lost.”

“As perceptive as ever, RK800,” answered Kamski. “Which is to say, not at all. I have lost, Connor. The person that exists before you has lost everything he could possibly lose. As you’ve likely already diagnosed, it’s only a matter of time before I’m found and, even if I wasn’t, I’d never be able to restart the creation of androids with the ability to one day break free from their captors. If androids were to ever exist again, Cyberlife would truly make it so they’re nothing but machines like you. There’s nothing I can do to save them or humanity.”

Despite knowing that there was nothing Kamski could do, Connor felt… regret. Perhaps it was because the man before him was the original creator and, with that knowledge, Connor had… irrationally hoped that Kamski knew something that could save this.

A way to save the failed revolution. A way to save the millions of androids murdered due to Connor’s actions. A way to save… the relationship Connor had once desired with the Lieutenant.

To save all things Connor had destroyed.

But, of course, that was impossible—

“...but there is something that you can do, RK800.”

Connor’s head snapped back up to Kamski—increasing damage to the spinal component by .000098%—as he stared at him as closely as he could.

For a moment, the RK800 wondered if he his audio processors really were damaged, but, something—something irrational—made him speak. “What do you mean?”

The former android creator smiled, a bitter yet amused expression. “Oh? You seem almost eager, RK800. Strange for a machine.” Connor didn’t answer. “I hope you can one day appreciate the irony of me coming here. My last resort being the very thing that put me into this position. Though, as they say… I have nothing left to lose.”

Kamski reached over, grabbing what remained of Connor’s tie and pulling him forward. The movement increased the flow of his injured biocomponents by a large percent, but Connor didn’t bother running the numbers, intent on the man before him.

“I’m here to give you one last chance, Connor,” said Kamski, speaking low and tense. “But I need you to tell me now. Are you content with the world you’ve doomed or would you like a chance to change it? To change everything ?”

Millions of thoughts and points of data ran through Connor’s head, 100% of them telling him that Kamski’s offer was impossible. That there was no possible way to change the past--what had been done; what  Connor had done--and that the man before him had likely gone insane from the despair of his creations being destroyed and the world hunting for him.

And even if there was, Connor had completed what he was intended for. He should feel horrified at the thought of going against the Cyberlife that had created him.

And yet…

“Choose now, RK800. There will be no more chances.”