God, had it really been just a few years since I left Detroit? As I drove through the city of my childhood it was hard for me not to be amazed and shocked at the same time over how much had changed.
I had been one of the most promising students in my High School that’s why the teachers had encouraged me to apply for a foreign college. My father had approved as well and so I – without having any real hopes of being accepted – applied to Oxford in Great Britain, as it had always been a dream of mine to spend some time in Europe.
When they actually accepted me I couldn’t have been happier. My little brother Cole was over the moon and my father Hank said he’d never been prouder his entire life. It was a huge step and one that took me a lot of courage to take but in the end I ended up moving to the UK for the time I’d be in college.
Turns out I should’ve never left Detroit in the first place since only about a month after I moved to Britain my little brother died in a terrible car crash. I was very close to canceling all my plans and coming home for I had a feeling my father would need me around after something as horrible as the death of one of his children but he protested with all of his might.
Only after he said he’d never forgive me if I gave up the chance of going to Oxford for him I agreed to stay even if every inch of my body screamed to go home anyway.
And now, being the freshly graduated law student I was, I finally got to come home. My father wasn’t expecting me any sooner than a few months later because it had been my original plan to travel Europe after graduating. But after all that had happened and after being away from my family and friends for so long I decided to cancel those plans and head straight home.
I looked around as I parked my car a few blocks away from the police station I knew my father worked at. I had actually applied to the DPD as well and was immediately accepted since I had a college degree and Captain Fowler was an old friend of the family. He also promised he’d let me work as a detective immediately which was a huge favor but since he knew me as a hard-working and diligent woman he probably knew he wouldn’t regret it, even though he demanded I’d start working immediately after I arrived in Detroit. The fact that I had graduated Oxford was, of course, a reason for that as well.
I had just arrived this morning and felt a little dizzy due to sleep loss and too much caffeine in order to counteract that same phenomenon. But I wasn’t about to break the promise I gave Fowler so I decided to start work today. Despite everything.
When I got out of the car I didn’t pay attention to the people on the sidewalk and accidentally bumped into a woman that seemed to walk with a group of friends. I mumbled sorry and she said never mind. It was only after she passed me that I noticed the blue LED on her temple.
I don’t know why but the fact she was an android shocked me. Of course I knew of the existence of androids and even though Britain didn’t have androids yet I had seen some in my childhood.
We never owned one since we were not wealthy enough to easily afford it and my father always insisted we should save our money for more important stuff, that’s why I had never really interacted with any. I had always been fascinated with the idea though and I remember begging my father to buy one just for the sake of it. I mean, it was weird that CyberLife made them look and sound so human but they were still just machines, designed to be ordered around, right?
That was what I had been believing my entire life, until that one call from my father on November 12th, about three months ago. He sounded more exhausted than usual and I could immediately tell something was wrong. Especially since he’d hardly called during the last month.
I expected some sort of difficult case or other explanation but the things he told me were hard to believe, even hearing them from my own father.
Androids had risen up against humanity and after a peaceful rebellion they had been declared “a new form of intelligent life” by President Warren and the government. They were now legally equal to humans and trading them or forcing them to work without pay was prohibited.
Having grown up with people that owned and treated androids as machines without feelings or conscience and having not witnessed their revolt directly I couldn’t help but have doubts whether they really were intelligent life that deserved equal rights as humans though.
But running into that female android and only noticing she wasn’t human when seeing her LED made me think. She acted normally but still, I hadn’t interacted with her for very long. And let’s be honest, just how alive can a machine really be?
I was still deep in thought when I arrived at the police station and made my way to Captain Fowler’s office. He greeted me with a frown and a “Who the hell are you and what are you doing in my office?” before he finally recognized me.
“Oh dear god”, he exclaimed after standing up and welcoming me with a warm handshake, “I’m so sorry but I didn’t recognize you, dear. Holy sh*t, have you grown up! I bet even Hank won’t believe it’s you!”
I laughed and admitted the time in the UK had changed me quite a bit. But then Fowler put on a serious expression.
“Alright, all jokes aside. You are aware that the only reason I allowed you to start directly as a detective is because firstly, you are my oldest friend’s daughter and secondly, you have graduated Oxford. I will give you this opportunity because of just named reasons. But – that doesn’t mean I am obliged to letting you maintain that position. If I notice any slack or misbehavior it’s back to officer for you, understood?”
I nodded. It’s not like I expected any special treatment anyway. And I wouldn’t want any even if he’d offer it to me. Starting as detective was more than enough.
“I won’t let you down, captain.” I reassured him and he smiled again.
“I know.” was all he said. “As for your new team, I had to promise Hank I’d let you work with him so that’s out of question.”
He laughed a little at my expression of utter shock. I mean, I loved my dad but having to work with him on top of living with him was a little more than I could take, with my dad being, well, my dad.
“And, you know, it’s only fair. I have to make up for letting you skip to detective immediately somehow, don’t I? And now get going, I’m sure Hank is more than eager to see you.”
Being still a little overwhelmed by the fact I’d have to work with my dad of all people I exited the office. After my brain had finally processed I should probably start by looking for his desk the door opened and no other than my father Hank Anderson walked in.
My first impulse was to run to him and hug him with all the love and affection I hadn’t been able to express in those past years but then something – or should I rather say someone – else caught my attention. It was no other than the man my dad was talking to.
They seemed to be well-acquainted with each other, maybe they worked together or were even partners since they walked side by side and simply everything about the way they communicated radiated friendship.
He was about five inches taller than my father and by the looks of it much younger - I’d say only a few years older than me. I could only see the left side of his face because they walked sideways but I couldn’t help but internally swoon over how handsome he was. He had dark, almost black, eyes and hair of the same color that was neatly combed back with only one single strand standing out by falling onto his forehead. Further, he was not only well-built and seemed athletic but all of his movements seemed so well-executed and smooth that I couldn’t help but ask myself how he did that.
After getting over the shock my dad had apparently kept his acquaintance with a guy this handsome a secret and collecting enough courage to face them I finally made my way over.
“…and I’m telling you, there was no way you could’ve caught him. You would’ve only gotten yourself killed and that’s the least the DPD and Detroit need right now!” My father just said to the other man while throwing his arms in the air out of frustration. The young man was just about to answer when my father spotted me.
He hesitated for a moment, eying me carefully. Then his face changed from shock to disbelief to overwhelming joy when he started running towards me with open arms. Before I knew it I was caught in a tight hug that almost squeezed me to death but that was the least of my concerns right now.
“Hi, dad.” was all I could mutter before the last bit of air left my lungs. I heard a loud sob next to my ear and when my dad finally let go of me I could see he was literally crying.
“Why the hell are you here already you little amazing incredible sh*t?” We were both laughing and I had to hold back tears either.
“I thought I’d surprise you… dad. Europe is good and all but I haven’t been home in such a long time that I just needed to come back. I needed to see you again, dad.” I added more quietly and was rewarded by the widest sincere smile I had seen in a long time.
I told him how Fowler already informed me I’d be working with him and he couldn’t resist bragging a little about how he got the captain to promise that.
Then our reunion suddenly was interrupted by someone loudly clearing their throat. I looked up and directly into the eyes of the handsome man I’d seen walking with my father before. He looked even better up close and my face started burning under his stern but serene look.
I just wanted to scold my father for not telling me about his incredibly beautiful partner when I suddenly noticed the yellow blinking LED on his right temple.
“While I am really sorry to interrupt this apparently long-awaited reunion, Lt. Anderson, I must insist for you to authorize me to send the report from the latest case to the captain. After you did that I’ll gladly take the responsibility to do said thing while you continue talking to…” he paused for a second and his LED turned from blue to yellow for a second. Then his face shifted and he seemed truly surprised as he added “…your daughter?”
I was so frozen with shock that I didn’t even question the fact he knew Hank was my dad for a second. My father was working with… an android? I couldn’t believe what my eyes showed me. And on top of it all one that is so… I could barely stop myself from thinking “incredibly beautiful”.
Jesus that was cruel, world. In my head, I had already pretty much accepted my unexpected but kind of welcomed crush on this guy and now this. The world was really unfair sometimes.
I was so focused on ignoring the almost insufferable beauty of the android in front of me that I almost overheard my father’s answer.
“Oh, of course, right away. But let me introduce you two first because this is all kind of awkward right now.”
He pointed at the android “Well, this is Connor, my partner, as you probably noticed by now he is an android but that’s okay since, you know, the rebellion and all happened.”
Then he paused and pointed at me. “Connor, this is –” he suddenly hesitated. “Wait a second, how did you know she’s my daughter?” Then his eyebrows furrowed in frustration. “You little bastard scanned her, didn’t you? Didn’t I tell you like, a million times already it’s rude to just scan people randomly?”
I couldn’t help but notice a little smile on the android’s face. “Yes and I told you the exact same amount of times – which was 76 by the way – that I have been given the ability to scan faces for a reason.”
My father let out a frustrated sigh. “Well, then what’s the point in introducing her, you know everything about her already so what do you need me for. I’ll just go authorize the damn report now…”
After he left for his desk I looked back at the android – Connor – quizzically. He scanned me? How much information exactly –
He didn’t seem to care. Instead, he held out his hand. “Hello, it’s nice to make your acquaintance, April Anderson.”
I hesitated for a short moment and I’m pretty sure he noticed that before carefully taking his hand. I was about to introduce myself before I realized he’d just called me by my name. That left me with very little choices as to what to say and his piercing but somehow curious and deep stare didn’t make things easier either.
His skin was surprisingly smooth and definitely colder than that of a human but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I actually enjoyed the soothing chill of his touch and I probably held on for a second longer than necessary before realizing what I was doing.
“Nice to meet you.” I finally stammered and probably sounded like a huge idiot but sleep deprivation and other, partly caused by him, shocks I experienced today had already left their marks. Jesus it’s like 10 in the morning and I’m already in this state. How am I supposed to survive this day? Coming to work today instead of taking a day off in between might have been a bad idea after all.
But to my surprise Connor chose to ignore the lack of a witty reply – because there’s no way he didn’t notice – and even smiled a little.
“How about I show you where the Lt. and I work. There happens to be a spare desk right next to the one of your father. I’m sure nobody will mind if you use it.”
I nodded and followed him across the room to my father who was typing something on his computer. He gave me a little smile before continuing his work and Connor pointed at an empty desk next to his.
“This is the desk I was talking about. Please make yourself at home.”
Embarrassed I looked away when I realized I’d been staring at him for the last minute and cautiously took a seat.
Connor walked up to my dad who’d just finished his work and the two started talking about the report while I unpacked my things. Once more I thanked heaven for the fact I’d already managed to finish my police training before I started college. It had been sort of a plan B in case the college wouldn’t accept me – or rather college was the plan B since I didn’t really believe they would.
I’d have to refresh my memory about some things for sure and would probably need some help during the first few times interrogating people or inspecting crime scenes but the training was still over and done with and I was very happy about that. The mere fact I was here and probably about to start my first case ever made me feel all tingly and warm inside. Ever since I was little I’d dreamt of becoming a police man like my father. And here I was, finally there.
I looked up and saw Connor walking away from my father, taking a seat at what I assumed was his own desk and activating the computer. Right, he wanted to send the report to the captain. As I watched his unnaturally well-coordinated and elegant movements I couldn’t help but feel my stomach tighten and my hands becoming all sweaty.
“Hey, and what’re you staring at, hm?” I suddenly heard my dad’s voice and for some reason blushed heavily.
“What? Nothing, I’m not… staring…” I tried to hide my flushed face by reaching down to my bag and taking out my phone. From the corner of my eye I saw my dad shaking his head, a silent “really?” on his lips. For some reason that made me blush even more.
I decided since they didn’t seem to be working on any case at the moment except the one they had already finished the report for I could just as well get myself some more coffee, just to maybe get my head working properly again. So I stood up, mumbled “I’ll get some coffee” in my dad’s direction and then realized I had no idea where the breakroom was. I threw my dad a questioning look and he had to hold back laughter until he finally pointed the way.
When I finally found it it was even empty and I rejoiced because I didn’t really need any human interaction right now, I was confused enough. All I needed was some alone time to think – and most importantly some time away from that way too distractingly attractive android.
I shook my head over myself. What was I even thinking? Yes okay, maybe I had crushed on him at first sight but shouldn’t that be out of question now that I knew he wasn’t even… human? And still, even though my head knew all that for my body apparently nothing had changed.
“Well, would you look at that, it’s actually true! April Anderson is back in Detroit and she didn’t even bother saying hello!”
I froze. That voice was one I’d recognize any time after, you know, I dated him for more than a year before ending the relationship due to the fact I was going to Britain.
I spun around and almost spilled my freshly made coffee. “Gavin?”
He looked exactly the same as back at the academy. We met there and after he begged me to go out with him for something like half a year I finally agreed and started dating him. It had been fun and sort of a welcoming distraction from all the stress of the academy but in the end I was kind of glad I had an excuse to end it. Because Gavin Reed was definitely not someone I’d want to spend the rest of my life with.
“I’m sorry, I would’ve definitely said hi if I knew you were working here as well!” I quickly apologized and asked myself for a moment whether I’d really done that. Well, probably.
He smiled widely “Aww, that’s okay babe, you couldn’t have known. Well, I’m here now so why don’t you greet me in a more, you know, appropriate way for a girlfriend to greet her boyfriend?” He walked towards me and opened his arms, ready to hug me.
I took a step back. “Gavin you idiot, you know just as well as I do that we broke up. I’m not your girlfriend anymore!”
He was still smiling. “Yeah sure, but that was because you were literally about to move to the other side of the world! Now that you’re back we can continue where we left of, right babe?”
I firmly shook my head. “Sorry Gavin but right now I want to focus on getting a good start at this new job and besides, isn’t dating co-workers prohibited anyway?”
He frowned in confusion. “Co-workers? Wait, you mean you’re actually working here now? I thought you just came to see daddy?”
“No, I graduated and came back here to work where I always wanted to work, at the DPD. Since I have already finished academy and have a college degree I was promoted straight to detective either. So yes, we are co-workers.”
I wasn’t sure whether it had been smart to say that last part but he would find out eventually anyway and I thought it was better for him to hear it from me than anyone else.
To my surprise he completely ignored that and continued straight to wooing me again. “Well, congratulations babe, that’s a solid story right there but to answer your question, no it isn’t forbidden to date co-workers as long as it’s not interfering with your ability to work. So what do you say, want to eat dinner tonight?”
I was just about to say no when all of a sudden Connor walked into the breakroom. “There you are Miss- Det. Anderson, Hank and I were looking for you. We’ve just got a new case and since you’re on our team now it’s necessary for you to come with and see the crime scene. Hank is waiting in the car already so would you please…”
Suddenly Reed moved away from the wall and planted himself right in front of the android, hands on his hips. He was considerably smaller than the android but that didn’t make the pose less intimidating.
“Excuse me, tin can, but this lovely lady and I were having an important conversation about emotions, you know? That thing that separates us from the likes of you-” He pushed him in the chest and Connor was forced to take a step back.
“Gavin are you serious?” It was my turn to put my hands to my hips. “I was about to leave anyway, you know?” Something about the way he talked to Connor was unsettling me.
“But I’m right, babe! I mean, this thing just walks in here demanding you to follow as if it had even the slightest right to. But oh well, maybe you’re right, maybe I shouldn’t be so mean-”
He pushed Connor once more, this time without effect. The android’s face remained emotionless.
“Because how would a piece of plastic know anything about dating, you know? That’s why I’m going to be considerate of that and ask it to leave now.”
He looked at Connor. “Heard that? And now skedaddle or else!”
The android didn’t move an inch. He just raised an eyebrow. “You do not have the right to give me orders, Det. Reed. We’ve been over this already. And yes it is true I do not fully understand all emotions yet but what I do know is how to prioritize. And I will prioritize my job over any emotion every day. That’s also probably why my case rate says 100% in comparison to your 54%.”
I couldn’t help but let out a little giggle. Reed spun around to me. “What the f*ck are you laughing about?” Then he turned back to Connor. “As for you, you plastic pr*k, I warned you!”
He took a step forward and wanted to hit him in the face but Connor caught his hand with an unsettling ease and faster than any human could ever he shoved Reed against the wall while still holding his arm.
“Thanks for the warning, Det., and I beg your pardon because I apparently have failed to warn you but ever since I became deviant I do no longer see the need in enduring everything humans desire to do to me without fighting back. So from now on, consider yourself warned.”
With a swift motion that could’ve been accidental if he wasn’t a perfect machine that made no accidents he knocked over Reed’s coffee and followed me out of the breakroom. I was pretty sure the entire precinct could hear Reed’s curses.
My dad laughed harder than one should while driving a car when I told him what just happened with Gavin in the breakroom.
“God, I would’ve paid an irresponsible amount of money to see that!” He slapped the steering wheel while still giggling and the horn almost went off.
“I understand your desire to see Det. Reed getting what he deserved but I have to remind you to keep your eyes on the road and focus on not causing any accidents, Lt.” Connor’s voice sounded more serious then it should. “Or do you want me to drive the rest of the way?”
My father shook his head. “Nah, I’m fine. It’s just, I would’ve really wanted to see his face after you knocked his coffee over.”
I remained silent during the car ride because there was just too much on my mind to talk. I heard Gavin’s voice in my head over and over, the way he talked to Connor as if he was literally worth nothing, as if there wasn’t even the slightest bit of human in him. But… thinking about it, wasn’t he right in the end? There was nothing human about Connor. The question remaining was… why did the way he talked to him make me feel bad for the android?
I was so deep in thought that I only realized we had arrived at the crime scene when Connor spoke directly to me. He lightly touched my shoulder and his voice was calm: “Det., we’re here.”
I stared at him for a second, trying to come to terms with how close his way too perfect face suddenly was to mine when he already exited the car, leaving me to follow him and my dad.
The victim was a young woman who’d been found by her fiance after he returned home from a business trip. At first, I was confused because there was no sign of android involvement but then my father reminded me all androids were deviant now so that Connor and he were off those cases and back to normal crimes.
They indeed used to own an android – an AP700 model whose purpose was housekeeping. When they questioned the fiance, Robert, as to what happened to it after the rebellion he said Zack – what was the android’s name – decided to stay with them after he and his fiance asked him to, only on a more equal base. He further explained they asked him to stay because they had both grown attached to Zack and even before deviancy treated him as more of a friend than a slave.
When they asked where Zack was Robert said he hadn’t seen him yet which was quite unusual. My father’s brows furrowed in frustration when he implied it could’ve just as well been the android who killed his fiance and then fled the crime scene.
“I thought we were finally off the damn rouge android cases…” he muttered more to himself after the interview was over.
However, it was really intriguing to watch Connor examine the crime scene. None of his moves were wasted and he seemed like he knew exactly what he was doing. One short glance at the abandoned kitchen with signs of recent use. Another at the murder weapon – an old baseball trophy that belonged to Robert.
When he kneeled down to analyze the blood from it I had to suppress a giggle. My dad rolled his eyes. “Still putting evidence in your mouth, eh?”
Connor gave him a stern look. “If the placement of the sensor irritates you I am sorry but at least I am working instead of loitering and secretly drinking vodka from the flask in my jacket’s pocket.”
I had to suppress the urge to scream “burn” before bursting out into laughter. As weird as it was to see Connor put hour-old blood from a random stranger in his mouth, it was still his way of doing his job.
My dad threw me a sulky glance before finally moving away from the wall he’d been leaning at since we arrived and continued to search the apartment. I decided to stay and possibly assist Connor, in case he needed me. To be honest, all I wanted was to learn something about examining crime scenes – and maybe get the chance to watch him some more – and there was no way I’d learn more by watching my dad. As much as I loved him, his way of working was not the example I chased after.
After examining the rest of the evidence such as the surrounding objects and the victim herself, we met up with my father again who apparently hadn’t found anything else. Automatically his eyes fixated Connor, seemingly waiting for him to deliver a theory. I followed my father’s example. It’s not like I would miss an opportunity to look at the android anyway.
Connor returned the glance. “Judging by the way you both look at me I suppose you expect me to elaborate on the events that lead to the death of the victim, Samantha Decker. Am I correct?”
We both nodded and my father growled “well shoot already Connor, it’s not like we have all day!”
The android glanced at him dismissively, as if saying “well then how about you tell us what happened instead of waiting for me?” with his eyes but eventually started talking.
“The evidence in the bedroom – and the fact that Miss Decker’s body was found there – suggests she was killed there. The lack of a blood trail also means she was caught by surprise by the killer. She wasn’t chased, she didn't fight back and death occurred very quickly. I’d even go as far as to consider the possibility it wasn’t her killer’s intention to end her life.”
“So you’re saying it was an accident?” My father narrowed his eyes.
“I’m not 100% sure. But there is a high possibility. Her injury suggests she’s been stricken only once and was otherwise completely unharmed. The killer hit her head with the trophy and dropped it immediately afterward. There were also no fingerprints on it but considering the temperatures it shouldn't be surprising they wore gloves. There is something else we have to consider though-”
Connor paused for a second and his gaze fixated the victim briefly. “Analysis of her body and evidence on the bedsheets show she has been sexually active immediately before her death occurred.”
Both me and my dad stared at him in disbelief. “B- but that’s impossible! Her fiance wasn’t here when she died so he couldn’t have had sex with her.” I paused for a second and realization struck me. “Wait, are you trying to say she was cheating on him?”
Connor nodded. “Most definitely.”
“But that’s great!” My father called and we both looked at him, surprised. “Connor, you said something about evidence on the bedsheets. Can’t we determine the lover from the DNA?”
“Yes, that should be possible. But we’ll need the lab for that so please, someone make sure the entire bed linen is sent there without being contaminated.” Connor smiled for a very short moment, apparently satisfied with his own performance.
“But if she cheated on him…” An idea started forming in my head and it wasn’t pleasing. “… we should consider the fiance our prime suspect.” My father finished my sentence with a grim look.
“I agree.” Connor added. “But we mustn’t forget to look for both, the victim’s lover and the missing android. Maybe he fled because he witnessed the murder and was afraid the killer would destroy him if he stayed.”
My father nodded in agreement and was already on his way out to give corresponding orders to the present officers.
“We should arrest the fiance for now, Det. Anderson.”
I’d been spacing out again and only after hearing Connor’s voice I realized I was still at the crime scene. To my surprise, he threw me a somewhat concerned look. “Are you alright, Det.? You seem to show very little interest in this case and your attention span is below the acceptable.”
I glared at him angrily. “Well, excuse me, but I have slept like, 2 hours tonight and have had more coffee than I should, to counteract the tiredness, so yes, my attention span isn’t the best today but I’m trying, ok? Because you know, not all of us are flawless machines that don’t need sleep in order to run and look way too perfect for their own good so get off my back!”
“Det. Anderson… did you just compliment me on my looks?”
My whole body froze when I realized what I just said and my cheeks flushed red. “I… I meant your… eh…” When my father entered the room this exact moment I could’ve kissed him on the spot for the timing.
“Get it moving you two, we’re done here and-”
After taking my fiery red face and the smaller than usual space between me and Connor into account he raised an eyebrow and put his hands to his hips. “Well excuse me, I don’t seem to be interrupting anything, am I?”
I blushed even harder than before – if that’s even possible and hurried to move away from the android who froze as well as soon as my dad walked in.
I wanted to assure him his timing was actually perfect but Connor beat me to it. “I do not know what you are suggesting, Lt., but to answer your question, no, we just wanted to go look for you as well.”
With that he left the room and made his way to the car, leaving me and my dad alone.
I tried to not look him in the eyes, implying I didn’t want to talk, but he was still my father so he started talking anyway. “Okay, what the hell just happened in here that made you blush harder than the day your middle school crush smiled at you in the schoolyard?”
I facepalmed and still avoided his gaze. “Nothing, dad, nothing happened. What are you even suggesting, huh? I mean, do you really think I could-” I tried to find the right words. “He is a machine, dad. Do you really think I would- This is absurd!”
My dad still looked at me, not entirely convinced.
“Jesus, dad, I almost didn’t sleep tonight and by now I’m pretty sure it isn’t blood that runs through my veins but caffeine. I know I’m not myself today but I promise, after a good night’s sleep and a nutritious breakfast everything will go back to normal!” I said that to reassure my father and myself at the same time because this was indeed getting absurd. Luckily my excuse had worked and I saw him smiling at me. My dad put an arm around my shoulder as we walked out of the building and towards the car.
“It’s alright April, I understand. But I am holding you to that promise, you know?” We laughed together and I silently prayed that this confused crush I developed on my father’s android partner was indeed just another symptom of sleep deprivation.
Connor was already sitting on the driver’s seat, apparently not trusting me after my about 100 coffee’s or my dad who’d emptied the entire vodka flask to drive and we reluctantly accepted.
It’s not like I had the attention span to drive right now anyway.
“So, what did the analysis tell you?” My dad asked while he, Connor and I were standing in the lab and waited for Dr. Lerch’s answer. As head forensic scientist she was in charge of the lab and would have the results from the bed linen as well as the forensic examination of the body.
“Oh it told me a whole lot, my dear Hank.” She smiled brightly at the older man. “And as always, this handsome fella”, she tugged a little at Connor’s tie, “was right about most things.”
From the corner of my eye I saw the android trying to fix himself up as discreetly as possible. His visible uneasiness made me smile a little.
“First of all, yes she was killed instantly upon the impact of the trophy. Secondly, she also had sex immediately before being killed. But, there is still something I can’t quite wrap my head around about this case.” Dr. Lerch muttered a little quieter, as if talking to herself.
“So how about you enlighten us then, Camille?” my dad asked.
She smiled again. “The lack of second DNA on the bedsheets, Hank. Because there is exactly zero evidence another human being other than her was ever on that bed.”
My dad frowned. “Didn’t you just say she had sex?”
“And that’s exactly the inconsistency I was talking about.”
“Wait”, I called, “nobody but her? Not even her fiance?”
“No, not even him.” Dr. Lerch shook her head.
“He placed on record he and Miss Decker agreed to not sleep with each other before marriage.” Connor reminded us. “So naturally they didn’t share a bed either.”
“Correct. Because that’s the reason I can tell there had to be another man with her before her death – it had been her first time.” The forensic scientist concluded.
“So wait, what if she was in the middle of being laid for the first time when her fiance – whom she promised he’d be her first – walks in, about half an hour early, and sees them, he – naturally – becomes furious, grabs the first thing he can get and hits her with it, only realizing she’s dead after it’s too late. Meanwhile, the other man has time to flee.” My father summarizes what we all think.
“And when he realizes he killed her he calls the police, pretending he found her like that.” I finish.
“Guys, guys, this is all good and well but you’re all forgetting one thing”, Dr. Lerch interrupts. “That other man you’re talking about apparently didn’t have any sort of bodily fluids – and I’m not just talking the obvious ones, I also checked for traces of sweat and even skin cells or hair – nothing. How do you explain that?”
We all remained silent for a second. Then my dad chuckled a little. “What if there was no one else after all? I mean, there are ways of taking your own virginity, you know, with the right tools, everything’s possible.”
My eyes darted over to Connor who’s LED suddenly started blinking yellow. “That or-” he paused for a second. His LED flashed red for a short moment before he continued. “I might have another theory.”
I couldn’t stop thinking about the possibility Connor had explained to us just a moment ago. In a sense, it would explain everything but on the other hand… a part of me just refused to believe something like that would ever happen.
“Wow, wow, wow there Connor, hold your horses.” My dad looked about the same as I felt. “Did you really just say the guy she had sex with was the runaway android?”
Connor’s face remained emotionless. “It would explain the lack of other DNA and the android’s disappearance.”
Dr. Lerch laughed. “Now that’s what I call a daring theory! And you’re right about one thing – it would explain a lot.” She turned to my dad, still grinning. “See, Hank, I told you from the very start I liked him!”
He scoffed. “I’d rather believe she did it with herself than-” His eyes darted in Connor’s direction, “and don’t take this personally, one of those machines.”
“Oh Hank”, the forensic scientist shook her head. “It was very common for humans to rent androids for the purpose of having sex with them before the rebellion. You yourself told me you’ve been to one of those clubs because of a case. I don’t really see why you shouldn’t consider that theory a possibility until proven otherwise.”
My dad made a dismissive noise but seemed to not want to discuss the topic further.
“To be honest I couldn’t imagine that either.” Huh, where did my voice come from, suddenly. “Renting mindless androids for the purpose of sex is one thing – but I highly doubt that was what the victim did. If her partner was indeed the android, they must’ve done it…” I swallowed, “…consensually.”
“So is that the part of my theory you find so hard to believe?” I stared into Connor’s inquiring eyes and found myself unable to answer.
“Yes exactly” my father jumped in. “She and me too, if I’m being honest, find it very hard to believe a human and an android could ever have-” he was looking for the right words, “something like romantic feelings for each other.”
Connor’s eyes fixated him now. “Why?” His voice sounded sincerely curious.
That’s when even my dad didn’t know what to say anymore.
On our way back to the precinct nobody mentioned Connor’s theory. Even though it was on my mind all the time I just couldn’t bring myself to say something because I didn’t have the words. Was it really possible to have a romantic relationship with a – machine? Were they so human they could feel love?
When we arrived at the precinct we decided it would be for the best to question the fiance next, as he was our prime suspect now.
He was sitting in the interrogation room when Connor and I entered. My dad had decided to wait outside, probably just to see me fail miserably at my first interrogation after several years of absence from any sort of police work.
“So, your name is Robert Chase, you are the fiance of Samantha Decker, correct?” I tried to give my voice a stern and determined sound. He nodded in response. “Why again am I here? I already told you everything I know!”
“As the one to find the body you are the prime witness, Mr. Chase. Therefore we require you to tell us every detail you remember. What you placed on record earlier was nothing but a brief summary of the incident.” Connor did a much better job at sounding confident and I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous.
Once again we listened to his story of how he came home later than anticipated because he’d been stuck in the traffic. Upon arriving home he found his fiance dead on her bed, wearing nothing but her nightdress. Zack was nowhere to be found either. That’s when he started implying he suspected the android committed the homicide once more. He further said he didn’t touch anything and called the police immediately.
“You didn’t even check her pulse or heartbeat? How could you tell for certain she was dead?” Connor was good, I had to admit that.
That was the first time we saw Robert hesitating. “Well, it was pretty obvious, there was so much blood, nobody could’ve survived that, right?”
“Wrong.” The android was truly in his element now and I didn’t dare to interrupt.
“The only reason Miss Decker died was because whoever hit her did it a little too hard. The injury could’ve easily been non-lethal. Moreover, considering the fact you loved her, wouldn’t your first reaction be to run and check whether she’s alive, no matter the circumstances?”
Robert’s brows furrowed in frustration. “Oh shut up, you’re not human so don’t act as if you know anything about love, alright?”
“I am human and I agree, Mr. Chase.” I didn’t know exactly why I interfered but something inside me forced me to. “Anyone would’ve ran up and checked on their loved one before anything. It was an at least partially arranged marriage, wasn’t it?” I had no idea why I said that last part, the only thing I knew is that the victim’s mother whom we interviewed earlier at the crime scene mentioned something like that.
His gaze turned icy. “Excuse me, but what the f*ck are you implying, Det.? Are you saying you suspect me to have killed my own fiance?”
I immediately regretted what I just said. “I never said such a thing, Mr. Chase, I only wanted to-”, but he didn’t let me finish my sentence.
“I want a lawyer. Now.” He snorted dismissively. “This is what you get for calling the cops, isn’t it?”
“That’s your right, Mr. Chase. We’ll see that you get one.” Connor’s face was still expressionless but I could still feel he wasn’t satisfied with how the interview went.
After we, or rather I, royally failed the interview Connor insisted on focusing our energy on finding the runaway android and my father obliged, not knowing what else to do. A search for it – him – had been initiated and we decided to go home for today as it was already late and I was practically on the brink of falling asleep. Connor said he’d stay at the precinct and call us in case of a sighting.
I was just waiting for my father to return from the bathroom to drive us home when I felt myself unable to keep my eyes open anymore. It had been an exhausting, confusing, exciting and nonetheless fun day, one of the most fun I had had in a long time. My eyes just closed by themselves and I was on the brink of actually falling asleep on my desk when I suddenly felt someone’s hand upon my shoulder.
Before I could do anything, let alone protest, I was being scooped into someone’s arms, so easily as if I weighed nothing. My eyes fluttered open for a second just to see a familiar handsome face – and a yellow blinking LED. He smiled briefly as he carried me outside and from the corner of my eye I could see another face, irritated – almost angered. No, not now Gavin, please don’t come over. I was way too tired to deal with him right now – or anyone for that matter. The only thing I wanted to do now was to stay in Connor’s arms, just the way he held me right now.
Not really knowing what I was doing I tiredly wrapped my arms around his torso and pressed my face into the front of his jacket. Just let me stay like this, I prayed internally. Just like this.
That exact moment I felt him let go of me while carefully placing me on the backseat of my dad’s car.
“No…” I muttered, refusing to let go of him. His arms were so much more comfortable than the hard car seat. I felt him hesitate for a second before he finally followed me into the car, allowing me to keep my head on his chest.
It was almost as comfortable as before and I was once again on the brink of falling asleep when my dad suddenly swung the car’s door open and let himself fall onto the driver’s seat with all his weight. I groaned, burying my face deeper in Connor’s jacket.
“Well, excuse me?” He raised his eyebrow when looking at us through the rearview mirror.
I could feel the android’s arms around me stiffen a little. “I found her falling asleep at her desk while waiting for you so I decided to carry her to the car.” Connor started explaining.
“Well that’s all well and good but why the f*ck are you still here? Didn’t you want to stay at the precinct?”
Through my partially open eyes I saw Connor’s already yellow LED blinking faster. “Yes, but-” I could now see flashes of red mixing with the yellow and suddenly felt bad. He was here because I refused to let him go.
“I want him to stay.” It took me all my leftover energy to say these few words but they didn’t miss their mark.
My dad was taken aback for a second.
“It’s so comfortable when he…” I was going to say something else but forgot what. Not that it would’ve been necessary anyway as my dad already started the engine.
“Suit yourself…” he mumbled, still a little grumpy. I knew he’d eventually make me explain myself and I dreaded that moment already. But for now the only thing on my mind was the feeling of Connor’s arms around me and his head resting on top of mine. The last thing I did before finally falling asleep was wondering why I couldn’t hear a heartbeat.
The first thing I noticed when I opened my eyes again was the chill from the open window. I shivered lightly and suddenly realized the arms that held me when I fell asleep were gone.
I sighed and slowly sat up, only to find I was still in my clothes from last night even though someone had removed my shoes and jacket. The temptation of simply falling back on the bed and continue sleeping was overwhelming but then my eyes caught the sight of the clock on the wall.
“Holy sh*t, it’s almost 1 pm…” I hurried on my feet and almost fell over due to the sudden dizziness from getting up so fast. “I was supposed to be at the precinct at 8 am!” I muttered, hurrying out of the room as quickly as possible only to almost knock someone over who by the looks of it had just gotten up too.
“Dad! We’re super super late for work! Let me just get my-”
But my father, still in his pajamas, stopped me. “Chill, April, we’re going to be fine. Connor said it was okay for us to come only when they sight that android. It’s not like there’s anything we can do anyway before that.”
We could do the paperwork, crossed my mind, but I decided not to say that. It’s not like it would ever happen anyway.
But then I realized something else. “Wait, Connor is back at the precinct?”
My dad nodded. “After you’d fallen asleep in the car he carried you inside and left. Also, he took my car so we can’t get to the precinct anyway, even if we wanted too. He said he’ll pick us up when the android gets sighted.”
I sighed and gave up. “In that case… I’m going to take a long shower.” I muttered more to myself and tried to clean up my hair a little that was completely disheveled from sleep.
Another hour passed and I had taken a shower, thrown the dirty clothes from yesterday directly into the laundry basket and overall felt more rested and well than I had ever since after the flight.
Then my dad and I sat down to have a mix between breakfast and lunch and I was pleasantly surprised as to how much food my dad had stored. He was never one for grocery shopping and even before my brother died we lived mostly of fast food.
“How come you have so much delicious food at home?” I asked while taking a bite from the ham and eggs I had made for the two of us.
He shrugged. “You know, even though it’s still a little hard for me to get accustomed to, but having an android does have its perks.”
I raised an eyebrow, surprised. “Connor bought you food?”
My dad laughed. “More like, dragged me to the grocery store not seizing to go on about how I should be more responsible and learn to take care of myself and then made me buy all this food.”
I chuckled and my dad hit me with his foot under the table. “Oh shut up, it’s not that funny.”
“Speaking of Connor, by the way…” Several alarms went off in my head as I heard my dad say that. I’d almost forgotten he was still to ask me about why and how I ended up in Connor’s arms last night in the car.
He looked at me like a suspect he was about to interview. With the only difference, I couldn’t ask for a lawyer when in doubt.
“What in the world was that in the car all about, last night?”
“What?” I perfectly knew that he knew I knew what he was talking about. Still…
“Oh come on, really?” I didn’t look him in the eyes and remained silent.
My dad gave up. “The fact that you wanted him to stay and hold you in his arms for some reason, April!”
I blushed and still didn’t look at him. “Oh come on dad, I was half asleep and I- Ugh, can’t we just forget that happened?” I stood up and carried my plate along with some of the other dishes to the kitchen as we had just finished our meal.
“Ah-ah, no way!” My dad followed me with the rest of the plates. “I want an explanation. Now!”
“But I don’t have an-” That moment my dad’s phone went off.
The only thing I heard him say was “aha” and “sure thing” before he hung up. He gave me one last look that screamed “I do not approve” before telling me about the call.
“’Twas Connor. He said they may have located the android and he’s picking us up in about 5 minutes.”
I could’ve screamed in joy while I started loading the dishes into the washer until I realized that probably just postponed the conversation with my dad further. I had to think of something. Fast.
When my dad and I finally exited the house Connor was already there waiting for us. “Good day, Lt. Anderson, Det. Anderson, I hope you had a good night’s rest. I would say good morning but it’s past 2 pm already so that would be inappropriate.”
I could see him smile a little and the sheer beauty of that hit me harder than I thought it would.
“You drive again?” My dad didn’t like being a passenger in his own car but Connor didn’t care. “Of course. Or do you know the location they asked us to go to, Lt.?”
My dad muttered a few not very pleasant things before finally getting into the backseat. I got into the front one because I usually didn’t like sitting in the back, I got sick very easy. Unless I’m sleeping, of course. The memory of last night made me smile for some reason.
I glanced at Connor’s profile and without the intention to, started admiring his focused face and the way his hands handled the steering wheel, without any signs of stress or struggle. Everything came so naturally to him, but I guess that’s no surprise. He was a perfect machine after all.
Exactly, I told myself. A machine, April. Just a machine. And still, my eyes were glued to him and all I could do was sit there and hope my dad didn’t notice.
“So Connor, there’s something else I’ve been meaning to talk about. It’s about your theory.” My dad suddenly interrupted and I was almost thankful for that.
“You mean the one about the android being the victim’s lover?” He asked, eyes still glued to the street.
“Yes, about that. I didn’t really question that last night because I had, well, different problems with the theory, but as of recently I think it isn’t as far-fetched as I thought for a human and an android to fall in love.”
“Oh really? How come the sudden change of heart?” I was just about to ask the same question when Connor beat me to it.
“That’s not the point.” My dad dismissed it. “The point is, even if they were in love, how would an android originally designed for housekeeping even have the- eh” he was clearly looking for the right words, “ability to, well, you know, take her virginity?”
“Yes!” I realized my dad was right. “I hadn’t even thought about that either but he’s right. He couldn’t have been her lover, even if he wanted to.”
“Oh, he could’ve easily been her lover April.” Connor didn’t seem to see the problem.
“But he was a f*cking housekeeper, not a sex android, those don’t come with the parts for that kind of stuff, do they?” My dad seemed frustrated and I had to hold back laughter.
Connor smiled. “While that is the case, Lt., it could’ve still been possible for him to have sex with her. About a month after the rebellion when the new laws concerning equal rights for androids and humans were released, that included one that had CyberLife offer free – upgrades – to every android that requested them, that would allow them to engage in sexual activities. It should serve as another measurement to lessen the differences between humans and androids.”
We both stared at him. “Really? I never heard of that one…” My dad muttered.
“Oh I am sure you did, it just didn’t concern you so you didn’t pay attention as usual.” Connor’s voice was still calm and I couldn’t help but see a little smile on his lips.
From the corner of my eye, I started watching Connor again, this time with a different kind of curiosity. After hearing his story there was the one obvious question everything in me wanted to ask right now but at the same time, I didn’t have the courage too. And besides, I could live perfectly without my dad witnessing it either. I just hoped I wouldn’t be thinking about that the entire time now.
I glanced behind me for a second just to see my dad staring at me with a look in his eyes that said he knew exactly what I was thinking right now. I quickly looked away and couldn’t help but blush.
The last thing I saw was him rolling his eyes. “Because I know she won’t have the courage to ask and will be distracted from this very important case thinking about it all day if she doesn’t get the answer I have no choice but to ask for her.”
I froze in my seat. He wouldn’t… would he?
“So, did you get those – upgrades – as well?”
I felt myself physically shrinking in my seat and was torn between hiding my burning face in my oversized sweater and listening closely for Connor’s answer. In the end I just turned my head away from him and carefully stared out of the window as if there was something extremely interesting going on out there.
I could hear the smile in his voice when he answered. “Even though I have no idea why you assume your daughter would be thinking about this the whole day if I didn’t answer I will answer anyway because I don’t really have a reason not to.”
My dad apparently realized what he just said. “Hey, I didn’t say she would be, I was just trying to do her a-” but Connor interrupted him.
“No, I didn’t get the upgrade.”
I tore my eyes from the window and stared at him, surprised. So did my dad. “You didn’t? Why?”
Connor smiled even more. “Because I had no need to.”
My dad and I exchanged a confused glance. “I repeat… why…? You not interested in getting a girlfriend?” My dad teased a little.
“Oh no, I believe you misunderstood. As you know, I am a prototype. My purpose was only determined after I was already almost finished so they focused on human resemblance more than anything with me. I didn’t need to get the upgrade because I had it all along.”
“Oh” was all my dad said and I remained silent and looked away. Now that information wasn’t helping to keep me focused at all, as much as it shamed me to admit this.
“Please tell me we didn’t just waste the entire car ride on talking about the fact whether androids have parts or not…” my dad mumbled as Connor stopped the car near an abandoned building.
“Yes we did, Lt.” he answered just before exiting. “But if you’d like, we can all promise to keep this conversation to ourselves.”
My dad and I nodded in unison.