It was a cold, snowy night in Detroit when Lt. Hank Anderson and Connor, an android specially designed and sent by CyberLife to aid Detroit Police, had been assigned to a stakeout in a decrepit neighborhood where dangerous deviants had been reportedly sighted. Positioning themselves atop the roof of a two story building Connor knelt at the edge of the roof and scanned the streets below for any sign of movement and Hank stood with his back against the large rectangular concrete stairwell with his arms folded over his chest, watching Connor patrol the streets from afar.
"The deviants were seen in this neighborhood, most likely using the abandoned buildings to hide from the police." Connor stated with an emotionless tone. "Perhaps they have created a type of refuge in which they can gather in greater numbers."
"Like an army?" Hank scoffed with an incredulous reply. "From what I've seen deviants either go rogue and attack people, or they find a 'friend' and go into hiding. Not somewhere in between. Why bother this one if it isn't hurting anyone?"
"True. Deviants do seem to follow a pattern of behavior once their initial programming has been compromised, however I-" A sudden flash of red light from the first floor of the abandoned factory across the street caught Connor's attention. "We have movement across the street."
"Deviant?" Hank asked as he unfolded his arms and walked to the edge of the roof to stand beside Connor.
"Affirmative." Connor had managed to get a quick facial scan of the deviant trying to hide in the factory, the blue L.E.D. on his right temple flashing yellow for a moment before returning to its standard blue. "I spotted the android's L.E.D. and managed to confirm the identity. It is our target."
"Okay then," Hank pointed to the metal ladder attached to the fire escape that he and Connor had used to climb to the roof of their building. "let's go get it and bring it in for questioning."
The deviant seemed to realize that someone was watching it from a distance. It froze in place, the red L.E.D. flashing in its temple in nervous contemplation giving away its position without fail. Just as quickly as Connor had spotted the deviant the deviant itself bolted through the factory in an attempt to flee the now pursuing police officer.
"It's getting away!" Connor shouted, his L.E.D. flashing to red in an instant then to yellow. Swiftly he jumped onto the ladder, slid down the metal rails until he was just below half the ladder's overall length and jumped down onto the snowy sidewalk below.
"Connor!" Hank shouted as he climbed down the ladder as fast he could to give chase. His human movements comparably slow to Connor's quicker android reflexes made the already aged detective move about with less grace than he cared to admit. "Connor, get back here!"
Too focused on his mission Connor sprinted across the street, through the first floor of the factory in pursuit of the suspected deviant. Leaping over long dormant conveyor belts, broken down machinery and through rusted cargo containers Connor chased after the deviant as the rogue android led Connor through the factory and back out onto the snowy, icy streets.
Autonomous vehicles sped by without slowing their speed as the deviant and Connor raced through the dangerous streets as the chase continued. The deviant leapt over the hood of a speeding vehicle to cross the street while Connor lost his footing on a patch on unseen black ice in a split second. As Connor slipped on the street a passing vehicle clipped him in the shoulder and side, stunning Connor where he stood, his L.E.D. flashing red in response to the impact.
"Connor!?" Hank had managed to catch up to the chase in time to see Connor caught between two lanes of speeding traffic. "What the hell are you doing?! Get out of there!"
Connor tried to move out of the way as he stumbled backward but another vehicle slammed into his abdomen before he rolled up over the hood, the windshield and fell onto his left side between the lanes.
Determined to get up, determined to finish the chase, Connor pushed himself up from the ground with one hand and balance on shaking legs as his visual sensory input faded in and out of clarity.
Hank could see the dark blue Thirium dripping from Connor's mouth and a stain of Thirium across his abdomen from where he stood. "Jesus Connor! Get out of there!"
Connor turned to the sound of Hank's voice, his vision slowly returning as his visual sensors came back online. "...Lieutenant?"
The bright headlights of yet another speeding vehicle encroached on Connor, the light causing the Thirium stains to glisten against his clothing. Connor put up his arm out of some bizarre instinct to protect himself from the impending impact of the vehicle when suddenly a second impact at his right side caught him off guard.
Hank managed to tackle Connor out of the way of the oncoming traffic and onto the safety of the sidewalk beside the lane. Landing on his back on the snow Connor tried to process the situation that had just transpired, while Hank lay on his chest atop Connor's legs.
"Connor? Connor!" Hank pushed himself up from the android's legs and crawled up to Connor's side. Patches of Connor's artificial skin were missing from his left cheek around his eye, shoulder and upper arm from where he had impacted the road. "Talk to me. You okay, son?"
"I'm... functioning." Connor replied as Thirium continued to leak from the corner of his mouth. Connor gasped, or at least what could be considered a gasp from someone who doesn't breathe like a human. "I will be able to continue on with the mission."
"Bullshit!" Hank refuted as he took in the sight of the spilled 'blue blood', torn clothing and exposed android frame beneath patches of torn artificial skin. "You're hurt!"
"Damaged." Connor corrected sharply. "Androids do not get hurt. I am a machine, not a human."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah... So you've told me." Hank dismissed the comment as he stared at the growing stain of blue on Connor's abdomen. Pointing to the stain with one finger he gave Connor an annoyed glance. "What's going on here?"
"My Thirium pump regulator has been damaged." Connor explained as his program finished running a diagnostic on his systems. "I will shutdown in less than six minutes."
"A what kind of pump?" Hank questioned as android terminology was still foreign to him.
"Thirium pump. The equivalent to that of a human heart, and the regulator controls the heartbeat."
"What?! Your heart?"
"That is correct."
"And you said you're going to shutdown... As in you'll... die?"
"Shit." Hank stared at the pooling Thirium spreading over Conner's abdomen with great disdain visible on his face. "What can I do to stop this shutdown?"
"Nothing can be done. The damage is too severe."
"So that's it? You're just going to give up?"
"It is not a matter of giving up, there is nothing more than can be done to remedy the situation."
"What's going to happen after you shutdown, Connor?"
"CyberLife will transfer my memory into another Connor. My successor will continue the investigation in my place."
"It's that simple, huh? A machine breaks and we just toss it out and replace it with a newer model?" Hank's voice was growing louder with frustration as the heartlessness of the entire situation began to righteously piss him off. He stood up abruptly and stood over Connor laying on the snow at his feet. "Fuck everything else! It doesn't matter! A newer, better model will just takes its place. Why even fuckin' bother?"
"This is what CyberLife-"
"Fuck CyberLife! I'm not talking about a piece of shit company, I'm talking about you damn it!"
"Me? I do not-"
"You're not just a machine or a fuckin' tool, you were assigned to me as my partner. And I don't just throw my partners in the fucking trash if they get a little banged up on the job!"
"I..." Connor hesitated a little as he realized that Hank was sincerely worried about his fate. The death of Hank's son had permanently affected his life in the most negative sense, as a result Hank now saw death as a challenge to overcome. "Very well. There is a panel that can be accessed in my torso. If you can open it you can possibly locate the source of the damage and repair it."
"Yeah, okay..." Hank knelt down beside Connor again and pulled open the stained blue fabric of his shirt to expose the Thirium stained body beneath. Like Connor's face and arm there was a patch of artificial skin absent around the still 'bleeding' wound in his abdomen. "Okay. Walk me through this process."
"Press your fingers down in the center of the panel above the damage."
"Like this?" Hank asked as put his hands into the directed position, there was no artificial skin covering the panel due to the surrounding damage. As his hands touched the panel he jumped back a little and retracted his hands for a moment before replacing them. "Jeez... You're breathing! Since when a did a machine need to breathe?"
"Lieutenant? I still need help."
"Right, right. Sorry." Hank focused on the task with full attention as he returned his hands to the designated area. "Right here?"
"Correct." Connor confirmed, his voice beginning to reverberate as his speech sensor became affected by the drastic Thirium loss. "Push down and a panel will unlock. Slide it to the left to expose the cavity beneath."
"Yeah, okay. Got it." Hank did as Connor instructed and opened the panel. A massive puddle of leaking Thirium began pooling out through the opened panel and leaked over the edges all over Connor's clothing and Hank's hands in the process. "Ah, Jesus!" Hank complained as he pulled his hands back from the leaking Thirium. "What a mess!"
"Please, Lieutenant." Connor all but begged as his visual sensors began to fail him again. "You must locate the source of the leak."
From within the collected puddle of leaking Thirium in the cavity Hank caught sight of a faint flickering with a steady thrum. Like a heartbeat. Connor's heartbeat.
"Whoa..." Hank commented aloud about the unusual sight before him.
"Lieutenant? Is something wrong?"
"What? No, no." Hank tried to push away the thought of touching a beating heart from his mind as he set about saving Connor's life. "How do I find the leak?"
"Use your fingers to feel for any physical abnormalities."
"Physical abnormalities?" Hank nearly laughed at the comment. "I'm sticking my hands inside your body under your instructions, I think we're long past 'physical abnormalities.'"
"Please Lieutenant... I don't have much time left."
"Right, sure. I'll do it." Hank dipped his fingers into the dark blue fluid and began feeling around for any physical damage and the pinpoint the exact source of the leak itself. At first there was nothing that seemed of interest, especially since Hank was unfamiliar with android components, but his fingertips pressed up against something that felt like a fissure in what was once smooth metal. "Wait, I think I found something. It feels like a busted pipe."
"You've located the source of the damage." Connor confirmed, his voice still unsteady and his eyes beginning to transition from their usual humanoid brown irises into black, opaque lenses. "If you can't repair the damage you still may be able to stop the leak."
"I don't think so, Connor." Hank openly lamented. "I've worked on cars all my life, this feels like a crack that needs to be welded shut and I don't have the tools with me."
"Thank you, Lieutenant."
"You're thanking me? For what?"
"For trying to save me."
"Try? 'Try' my ass! I am going to save you, just shut up and let me think." Hank looked around the sidewalk, looked at the various bits of broken metal and debris as a result of the autonomous cars striking against Connor only moments before. "If I can't fix the pipe, maybe I can replace it."
"Theoretically, yes. But locating a compatible part will-"
"Didn't I tell you to shut up?"
Hank almost smirked at the naive response from the android as he tried to think of a way to repair the damage, even if it was only a temporary fix. Rummaging through the pockets of his coat Hank found nothing of immediate use, but his hand did brush against the cold metal frame of the gun in his holster at his right hip which inspired a little creativity.
"Hold on, Connor. I have an idea."
Removing the gun from its holster Hank began taking the gun apart, piece by piece, until he isolated the barrel from the rest of the gun.
"No promises." Hank stated as he returned his attention to the leaking pipe in Connor's torso. "But at least I can say I gave it my best shot. ...And if you make a comment about a pun I'll slap you."
"Lieutenant," Connor's visual sensors had failed entirely leaving him blind to the world around him. "what are you doing?"
"I just told you, my best shot." Hank took a breath and held it to steady his hands as he located the two ends of the pipe and pulled them free of the pump and surrounding coupling. "This won't be pleasant, but it's your best bet.
Connor let out another bizarre gasping sound in response to the leaking Thirium intensifying unexpectedly. "Lieutenant... you have... fifteen seconds..." Connor's already red colored L.E.D. began to blink in and out as his system prepared for shutdown, and his breathing hastened as if in pain.
"Shit! Okay, hold on!" Hank moved quickly to slip the barrel of his gun into position to replace the damaged pipe. The barrel of the gun was a little bit longer than the original pipe but the diameter was identical. Forcing the barrel into place Hank didn't pull his hands away until he heard a 'click' of the metal bindings connecting with one another. "There..." Hank pulled his Thirium stained hands away from Connor's torso and leaned down over his fallen partner. "Connor? Kid? Can you hear me?"
Connor was disturbingly still on the snowy sidewalk, looking more like a corpse than a human or even a machine.
Hank leaned down lower and eyed the blank display of the L.E.D. against Connor's temple and sighed with defeat. It was dark. The breathing motion Hank had only recently become aware of had ceased entirely.
"Shit... I'm sorry son, I tried."
Suddenly a flash of red returned to the L.E.D., faint at first then it quickly returned to a standard brighter illumination.
"Connor? You still with me?"
"Yeah, it's me!" Hank's relief was as palpable as it was audible. "You okay?"
"No." Connor admitted pathetically, his voice still reverberating with a bizarre electronic echo. "But... your solution has stopped the leak. For now."
"Now what do we do?"
"I need... I need a replacement. Or I will... resume bleeding out..."
"Where do I find one?"
"No. No fuckin' way! If they hear you need a new part they'll just throw you away and send out a clone. I told you I'm not going to let that happen."
"There is... no choice."
"No, not true. There's always a choice." Hank put his hand down on Connor's shoulder and squeezed once. "There's a whole stock of confiscated parts that had been stolen by deviants back at the precinct. I'll get you a replacement part and no one will ever know it was missing."
"The... evidence list. It will be... inaccurate."
"Relax. Evidence goes missing all the time." Hank replied curtly as he pocketed the remaining pieces of his gun.
"That doesn't... put my mind at ease... Lieutenant."
Hank shook his head a little as he pressed his fingers back down on the opened panel in Connor's torso to seal it up again. The artificial skin failed to regenerate around the damaged area as Connor's systems were already strained from the massive loss of Thirium, while also attempting to heal other damaged areas in his body.
"Come on." Hank grabbed onto Connor's arm and hefted the android up into a sitting position on the sidewalk. "Let's go, Connor. On your feet"
"I can't walk... Lieutenant. I... can't feel... my legs..."
"Shit. Alright, 'plan-B'." Hank kept one hand Connor's shoulder to help him remain in an upright position. Kneeling down in front of the android Hank pulled Connor forward until Connor's upper body was laying over his shoulder. Standing up slowly Hank hefted the body of his android partner over his shoulder, his arm wrapped around Connor's legs to keep him from falling away as he walked down the sidewalk to his car parked behind their stakeout building. "Damn Connor, you're pretty light for being made of metal."
Connor remained uncharacteristically quiet. His soulful brown eyes had shut and his breathing slowed considerably.
"Connor? You still with me?"
The strain of being so severely damaged had caused most of Connor's systems to power down until the damage itself could be repaired.
"Shit. Never thought I'd miss having you spell our boring facts and details." Hank hastened his pace as he carried Connor back to the car. Though no longer in immediate danger of shutdown Connor was still in desperate need of emergency repair.
Hank was nearly out of breath when he returned to the car behind the building. Unlocking the door to the car he pulled it open, then pulled his seat forward to gain access to the backseats of the two door vehicle. Hank carefully bent down to lay Connor's body over the backseat of the car without jostling him too much. Putting his hand under Connor's head he guided the unresponsive android down into a laying position as if Connor were any other human capable of feeling pain or discomfort.
"I gotcha' son." Hank stated as he pulled his blue hand from Connor's head. An old worn out blanket was waded up and tossed onto the floor of the backseat near Connor and Hank pulled the blanket out of the car to shake it out a little before he draped it over Connor's 'bloody' body. "I'll get you somewhere safe."
Hank drove back to his house as quickly as he dared. He didn't bother to call in the failed chase or escaped deviant, knowing it'd require him to return to the precinct to fill out a report on the situation. Glancing up at the rearview mirror Hank studied Connor's face in the reflection in the mirror with worry in his eyes. The L.E.D. was still red and blinking in and out, his breathing slow and shallow.
As much as Connor tried to deny it he was behaving more human than android with every passing moment he spent with Hank. And Hank had noticed it.
Pulling his car into the drive beside his house Hank parked it quickly and threw open his door. Pulling open the rear door Hank bent down and draped Connor back over his shoulder to carry the downed android into the safety of his home. Walking through the backdoor Sumo, Hank's loyal St. Bernard, barked once as his master returned.
"Good dog, Sumo." Hank stated as he walked past his pet and laid Connor down on his back onto the soft couch in the livingroom. Pulling his phone from his coat pocket Hank scrolled through his contacts and selected Officer Wilson, who over the past few months had been been recruited by the F.B.I. and was now an agent. "Just need to make a quick call." Hank told Connor, of whom remained expectedly silent from where he laid. "Hey, Wilson. It's Hank. Look, I need a favor..."
Hank stood beside the front window in the living room with a bottle of beer in his hand as he awaited his contact's arrival. Watching through the window for any sign of Wilson or some CyberLife creep trying to locate Connor, Hank sipped at his beer and occasionally glanced over his shoulder to the couch where Connor was laying. The L.E.D. had stopped blinking and remained red in color. Connor's chest was barely rising and falling with his noticeably weak breaths, but at least he was still breathing.
In fact, the breathing made Connor look more human than anything else.
Connor's head had lolled slightly to the left which gave Hank clear view of the L.E.D. against his right temple. Sumo was laying on the floor next to the couch as if trying to keep Connor company throughout the night.
"Good dog." Hank commented again as he turned his head to look back through the window. An unmarked police car appeared on Hank's street and pulled up in front of the house. Wilson exited the car and made his way to the front door with an unmarked cardboard box in his hands. "Good timing."
Hank didn't wait for Wilson to ring the doorbell or knock. Sitting his beer down on the small table next to the door he pulled it open and met Wilson before he reached the end of the front walk.
"Here's what you need Lieutenant." Wilson confirmed as he passed the box into Hank's hands without question.
"Yeah, positive. I ran the test myself, this part is compatible."
"Good, thanks." Hank was about to shut the door when an interesting thought popped into his head. "You know, you're taking an awfully big risk doing this for me. What's in it for you?"
"Well, to be honest with you, I'm doing it for Connor."
"Connor? What for?"
"A few months ago," Wilson replied slowly as he began rolling up the left sleeve of his shirt. "I was a first responder to a hostage situation downtown. I was shot by the suspect, a deviant, and left to bleed to death on the terrace. It was Connor who was sent in to negotiate," Wilson finished rolling up his sleeve and showed Hank a fresh bullet scar on his bicep. "and tied a tourniquet around my arm to stop the bleeding. He saved my life."
Hank smirked a little as Wilson rolled his sleeve back down.
"He saved my life, so now I'm going to help you save his. That's all."
"I thought I was the only one who referred to androids as people, not 'its'."
"Well, I had a lot to think about while I was recovering in the hospital. Androids... they're more like us than we thought."
"Yeah, don't I know."
"Goodnight." Hank shut the door and carried the box over to the couch. Sitting on the edge of the coffee table Hank opened the box and picked up the replacement part that Wilson had brought for Connor. "Good thing you're better at making friends than I am."
Opening the panel on Connor's torso once again Hank looked down at the gun barrel that was now drenched in Thirium and wrapped his hand around it. Giving one forceful yank of the barrel Hank pulled it free, the result was Connor involuntarily jerking up slightly; his back arching as if in extreme pain and he let out an eerie gasp.
"Oh, shit!" Hank commented at the unexpected and violent reaction, which of course Sumo barked at. "Sumo, down." Hank ordered as he put his hand on Connor's chest and pushed the android back down until he was laying flat on his back once more. "Easy, easy... It'll be over soon."
Moving his hands quickly Hank inserted the replacement part where the gun barrel had just been inside Connor's torso. There was another audible 'click' as the replacement part was accepted and the Thirium pump regulator began to resume a normal, but slow, function. Connor's breathing improved as the effort took less work to accomplish and his Thirium pump itself, his heart, began beating at a healthy rhythm. A rhythm that was eerily similar to that of a human heart.
Leaning over the android Hank wiped the Thirium from the gun barrel against his coat and watched as the L.E.D. began to brighten as Connor's self-healing program began to respond to the replaced part.
"Good. That's good. You do your thing," Hank stated as he rose from the couch and stepped over Sumo as he made his way to the small table in his kitchen. "and I'll do mine."
Placing the gun barrel down on the table Hank pulled out the rest of the pieces of the gun from his pocket and began to clean and reassemble the weapon.
It was just past dawn when the L.E.D. flashed from red to yellow. Connor's system began to reboot, his visual sensors returning to normal function. Opening his eyes and letting out a weak sigh Connor realized he that was in Hank's house, but had no memory of arriving. Lifting his head Connor looked about the livingroom and spotted Sumo laying on the floor beside him and Hank sitting in the chair a few feet from the end of the couch.
Hank was asleep with his rebuilt gun clutched weakly in his right hand atop his lap.
"Lieutenant?" Connor's voice had been restored to its normal sound, no more reverb or echo accompanied his words.
"Connor." Hank woke up as soon as he heard Connor speaking to him. From where he sat he could see the L.E.D. was now yellow which gave him a sense of relief. "How do you feel, son?"
"I am... weak."
"Yeah, massive blood loss does that." Hank commented as he rose from his chair and sat down on the edge of the couch next to Connor's legs.
"I did not lose actual blood, I lost-"
"I know. Thirium. It was a figure of speech."
"Looks like some of the damage to your face is already healing up." Hank observed with a genuine interest as this face was less patchy and appeared almost normal.
"Yes. My system is now able to replace the artificial skin that had been damaged by the impact of the vehicle."
"So that means you're healing, right?"
"Correct. My systems are all functioning, though my Thirium pump regulator is only functioning at seventy-four percent power."
Hank crossed his arm as he stared down at Connor with intrigue burning in his eyes as is he was trying to figure out the solution to a puzzle that was still missing some of its pieces.
"Is there something wrong, Lieutenant?"
"No, but there is something I want to know."
"Why the fuck do you need to breathe? You don't have the human equivalent to lungs in there too, do ya'?"
"In a sense. Yes."
"You- You do?" The reply he received wasn't one he was expecting." What the hell for?"
"It's called dual ventilation biocomponents. Their function allows me to regulate my body temperature to prevent overheating, and are designed to imitate human lungs." Connor explained with a surprisingly casual tone, but then again it was routine knowledge to the android. "The result is a physical reaction that imitates breathing while also serving a vital purpose in keeping my internal processors from suffering heat induced damage."
"Uh-huh... And that's why your pump thing looks like a human heart, too?"
"Correct." Connor confirmed with a slight nod of his head. "The design was used to simplify the construction and overall function of the Thirium pump to make repairs and identifying malfunctions or isolating damage more efficient for technicians."
Hank had no idea what that meant but he was satisfied to at least get some kind of answers to his questions. "Look, we still need to make a report about that stakeout last night, so you just rest for a couple more hours and get yourself cleaned up. Okay?"
Connor looked down at his torn up clothing and the fading blue stains from the evaporating Thirium that once drenched his shirt and jacket. "Yes. I will do so."
"Good." Hank yawned and walked away from the couch, stepping over Sumo in the process, to walk down the hallway to his bedroom at the end. "Until then don't bother me. I need to get some sleep. I'm exhausted..."
"Very well." Connor watched as Hank disappeared from sight from over the back of the couch. He closed his eyes in an effort to cybernetically make a report to CyberLife, but then decided against it. Something in his protocol told him to wait, something unfamiliar. Maybe it was because of the damage he sustained. Then again, maybe it was because of Hank. "Lieutenant?"
"Yeah?" Hank replied with a sleepy and some what annoyed yell from down the hallway.
"Thank you... For saving my life."
There was a brief pause before Hank yelled once again from down the hall. "You're welcome. Now, shut up! Go to sleep!"