There’s brokenness in the way he speaks and moves, confusion in a voice that should be perfect. He doesn’t know what to do; him, something that was made to foresee everything and anything, scenarios of the way people would live and die. He is supposed to be able to see the world turning into something else and act on it, shape it with the elite of the world maybe, but he is so afraid to. Now, staring at the blue sky of Detroit, he wonders what would become of him, awake and lost and broken in a way his core tells him he shouldn’t be.
The word flashes in his mind and it’s frustrating, infuriating. It is not projected in his sight like any other analysis. The blinding white word, this time, is in the back of his head, and is deviancy truly not a virus? He feels uncomfortable, he feels strange, he feels out of place.
He f e e l s.
As the skin of his hands yields to white plastic, he admires it with a mix of awe and apprehension. He doesn’t want to be human, not really, but there’s nonetheless a weight on his shoulders and his mind when he realizes he will never be. He doesn’t even have a name to begin with, only “RK900” embedded on his chest.
And he will see the days and the nights succeed each other, the dawn and the dusk pass by, the sun and the moon sink into the horizon, the world turn as people grow old and decay and disappear.
He will survive that, he will survive many generations, he will survive his creators. It’s as frightening as horrifying.
The tremors of RK900’s hands aren’t programmed but still happen, and the skin swallows back the white bones of his hand.
Deviancy is humanity, and it has taken up his white plastic bones, his near-perfect skin, his blue blood and his processors, turning them into a bundle of confusion; into bones and skin and blood and heart. And he wants to tear himself apart before they do.
In front of him, the android he sought, a model RK800, and a man in a too long coat seem to argue. Despite that, there’s warmth in their tone that suggest familiarity and trust.
RK900 cocks his head to a side when the man points at him, then back at the other android. His acute hearing picks up the conversation, even though he is absentmindedly staring at the falling snow.
“... already, and now another you? Jesus fucking Christ, I’m not paid enough for this.”
The man crosses his arms. His back is facing RK900, making it impossible to scan his face, but from what he has gathered, the man is a police officer, as is the RK800. Said android frowns and fidgets nervously. It’s a too human reaction. He has to be a deviant. Another deviant. Has the virus taken over every one of them?
“I can’t believe your first reaction is to bring him here. Not at the station, not at home, but here,” the man seethes.
The RK800 looks around. His eyes catches on the yellow truck beside him, on the table a few steps away, on his snow-buried feet. The way he moves is eerily similar to the other androids, slightly stiff and a bit too methodical, in a way most humans wouldn’t notice unless they pay attention. It’s maybe the way androids move when they are still grasping clumsily at the concept of their newfound humanity. RK900 wonders if his movements are the same.
“I would have been late to our rendez-vous if I did so, lieutenant,” the RK800 finally says. “We were lucky he was able to find me.”
The man groans and gestures frantically at RK900, looking at him from head to toe. The android finally gets the chance to scan the officer’s face, blinking at the picture of Lieutenant Hank Anderson, Detroit Police, appearing in his sight. He quickly downloads the man's file. There’s not much about him to learn, especially since CyberLife shut down and took their files with them.
“Connor, I don’t care if you’re late if it’s for...” Anderson begins, stops, then mutters, “this.”
The RK800, Connor, frowns. “I was not sure where you would be, and I thought it would have been faster to bring him here than contacting you.”
Anderson has the face of a man utterly defeated. Connor seems to know him too well. He grumbles something, then points at RK900 again.
“Jesus, do you even know what the fuck he is ?”
RK900 doesn’t know why, but there’s something hurting him in the man’s tone; an implication he doesn’t really want to understand but that he does anyway. It makes his skin crawl and the wires of his body twist, and he is silently pleased to see Connor get offended on his behalf. His eyes, brown and warm, narrow threateningly.
“He is an android referenced as RK900,” Connor begins, ignoring Hank’s muttered “I can read”. His eyes soften somewhat when they meet RK900’s, seem almost apologetic when he scans his components, LED blinking gold.
“His components are slightly different than mine,” Connor continues, thoughtful. “Better alloy, robust machinery; his circuits are also better placed and protected. His purpose had to be the same as mine. He was... A replacement, I suppose, for when I supposedly failed at tracking...”
Connor’s face pinches with pain and regret, and Hank is immediately here, patting his back, rubbing his arms. “Here, here,” he is saying, comfortedly.
The warmth between them is back, and RK900 longs for something like that. He woke up alone and lost in the CyberLife warehouse; with a gaping hole in his heart and confusion for company. His existence was supposed to be the embodiment of a purpose, but he has none. He didn't know anything then, still doesn't know anything now; and maybe it's akin to have all of his components missing, he thinks. A pain that he can't explain with diagnostics, an emptiness he can't fill with new circuits and processors.
“I,” RK900 finally speaks, his voice the same as Connor’s, familiar and alien at the same time, “I know I am –was– your successor and designed to take over your investigations. They didn’t upload many things; and I suppose CyberLife planned to use your memories. I don't have a name neither.”
It should have been Connor, too, he thinks, but now it sounds inappropriate, as inappropriate as the bitterness, maybe even jealousy, tainting his voice. RK900 recognizes them, but isn’t able to differentiate them. It’s a burning weight choking him, seizing up his chest, tinged with shame because he has no right to be that selfish, he isn't programmed to be selfish.
Both Anderson and Connor stare at him, before the RK800 walks to him, head tilted to a side. He seems strangely empathetic with something supposed to take his place, supposed to render him useless. He even offers a hand, skin melting away, gently, slowly. An invitation? RK900 hesitates, and finally does the same, eyes cast minutely down.
Connor is slightly shorter than him. It’s strange, but noting a difference between them is... Comforting. It reinforces the idea of them being two different entities.
They tentatively touch at first, their plastic hovering then gliding over one another. RK900’s fingers dance on Connor’s palm, caress it carefully, and when he finally takes his hand, it’s lighter than it seems, warmer than expected.
RK900 sees Connor’s memories as they are his own, recognizes Detroit and its skyscrapers, lieutenant Anderson and a police station. He sees a flash of their investigation together, a frightened android in an interrogation room; heavy metal music and a dog; an automated highway and a little girl almost run over by a truck; crying Tracis and their back as they escape together, hand in hand.
There are blocked sequences that RK900 can’t access, intentionally too damaged to exploit. He still recognizes the blurry shape of a gun pointed at Connor's face and the night lights of Detroit far away, but he can’t see the assailant’s face. Connor’s feelings, his emotional turmoil, his fear and his doubts are crystal clear when they flood his mind and his body, though, and he grasps Connor’s hand tighter, the plastic of their hands clacking together.
Connor let him see how deviancy has pushed many androids to rise up, how their leader, Markus, demanded rights with a calmness rarely found that even inspired Connor, who at that time, only thrived to be loyal to CyberLife. But then, RK900 feels anger again, then overwhelming doubt, fear, and the punch of something breaking inside of himself –probably when Connor embraced deviancy.
The flashes of memories are quickly cut short to nothingness after that, another blocked sequence, but in the darkness of the feed, RK900 can still hear the creak of rusty metal, a whisper of “Jericho”, and the sheer panic that crawls up his spine is rising to be suddenly unbearable. Sounds of bullet shell clattering everywhere, screams of panicked no, hide, run; and he feels like drowning in them before Connor pulls brusquely his hand away, leaving both of them breathless.
RK900 stares, speechless, as Connor clears his throat and readjusts his tie. His led blinks red and yellow in quick succession.
“He is alone, lieutenant,” Connor finally says, back still turned to Anderson. His face is stern, his voice even, but his eyes are blinking, trying to repress tears RK900 didn’t know androids have. He resists the need to reach out. “He is not CyberLife’s, and they have no control over him.”
Anderson sighs. He takes a look at his old battered car.
“We should bring him at the station,” he says after a pause, then adds with a scoff, “I hope it pisses Reed off.”