Lieutenant Hank Anderson was tired. Not in the typical way caused by depression or even the exhaustion caused by drinking too much.
No, Hank was tired from a combination of anxiety, fear, and adrenaline that could only be due to one source in particular: Connor.
The android had wormed his way into Hank's heart and even home despite the short period of time they had spent together. Connor was an excellent partner, but he was still struggling to understand and comprehend emotions.
So when Connor arrived at Chicken Feed, his LED a bright yellow, Hank wrapped him in a tight hug with a sigh of relief.
"Connor. Let's go home, okay? It's still dangerous right now, and I don't want to be out here much longer. Besides, Sumo really misses you."
The prototype nodded into Hank's shoulder. "Lieutenant. Hank. I need to talk to you about what has happened. There's so much-"
"Hey," Hank interrupted. "We can talk when we get home. I'm freezing my ass off, and this cold can't be good for your systems. Let's go. The ride will give you time to decide exactly what you want to say. I know you enjoy preconstructing shit. Just think of it like that."
Connor frowned softly but nodded again, reluctantly pulling himself away from the comfort of Hank's firm grasp. His LED whirled as he sat in the warm and worn passenger seat of Hank's car, heavy metal providing a white noise effect for the android.
A song he had heard when he and Markus interfaced after the speech, overwhelming and all-consuming, made itself known in Connor's mind.
"Hold on, just a little while longer. Hold on, just a little while longer. Hold on, just a little while longer. Everything will be alright. Everything will be alright."
"You didn't tell me you could sing, Connor."
He startled at Hank's words, LED flashing saffron for a moment before he smiled gently. "I was unaware that I could. I suppose there's quite a bit I will be learning about myself now that I am deviant."
The lieutenant chuckled at that. "Yeah, I suppose so. So now that you can form your own opinions, what do you think about music?"
Connor analyzed music samples from genres that piqued his interest and found himself unable to pick just one favorite type. Indecision, an emotion that he had never felt before, filled his mind to the brim. He smiled before answering.
"I cannot choose just one favorite type. I am, however, quite fond of jazz, electro swing, and alternative rock. I find R&B quite intriguing, as well."
Hank let out a quiet "hmm" in response. He pressed a button on his steering wheel and the death metal the duo had been listening to changed to a much softer jazz station. A scan from Connor showed that Hank's dopamine levels remained steady, meaning that Hank enjoyed this type of music just as much as his metal.
The android pressed his cheek to the cool window and relaxed for the first time in his existence. As long as Hank was with him, everything would truly be alright.
Detective Gavin Reed was pissed. The entire world was going to shit, but honestly he couldn't care less about that.
Gavin Reed was pissed because his half-brother Elijah fucking Kamski was dragging him all the way to Cyberlife Tower to claim it for the androids that earlier that night had earned their freedom.
"Why the fuck do you need me, Eli? Chloe can protect you from any of your damn creations that would want to kill you, and I know you have a fucking weapon on you right now."
Elijah chuckled, opening the passenger-side door for Chloe. "It's not the androids I'm worried about, Gavin. It's any remaining humans in the building that concern me. They've probably been instructed to shoot me on sight."
"What the fuck? Damn it, Elijah! What the actual fuck did you do?"
"Oh, not much," he smirked. "I just hacked into Cyberlife's servers in the tower and made a copy of every single file that was found here. So essentially, I've got the ability to publicize everything that Cyberlife has ever created, destroyed, or discussed."
"Holy fuck, Eli! Why didn't you tell me sooner? I want those fuckers out of Cyberlife, too!" Gavin cackled manically. "What are we waiting for? Let's get a fucking move on!"
Elijah reached out to Chloe, his prosthetic arm linking to her's and interfacing, creating the kind of intimate connection that could only be forged by years of merging their entire beings with one another. The android giggled and rested her head on his shoulder.
Gavin let out a fake gag through his smile. Life had been fairly cruel to the brothers, so seeing Elijah happy always improved his mood. "Alright, you damn lovebirds. Let's get inside before we freeze to death and save Cyberlife the work of trying to kill us."
The duo quickly disconnected, their cheerful grins becoming determined frowns as they all stared down the tower that changed the entire world.
"Let's fucking do this!"
Connor grinned widely at the Saint Bernard that was trying to knock him over upon his entrance into Hank's house. "Hey, Sumo! How's the best dog in the whole wide world?"
Sumo 'boofed' happily at the baby talk, his tail thumping wildly against the small table near the door. He bounced from paw to paw in excitement.
The android closed the door behind him before sitting on the floor and allowing the mountain of fur that was the Saint Bernard to collapse into his lap. His hands sunk into the dog's fur as he let out a content sigh.
"As much as I enjoy having someone else pet Sumo other than myself, he does need to go out."
Reluctantly, Connor released his grasp on Sumo. He stood up and brushed off his pants, watching Hank usher his dog through the open backdoor and closing it behind him.
Hank flopped onto the couch and motioned for Connor to follow suit.
The android's LED flickered goldenrod as he sat, fingers twitching with his newfound anxiety and suddenly Connor desperately wanted his calibration coin if only to have something to do with his hands.
"What did you wanna talk about, Con?" Hank's voice was soft in his concern for the other man.
Connor took a shuddering breath and began to speak. "After I left Cyberlife Tower and met up with Markus, something... something happened to me. I had an AI handler named Amanda at the beginning of my mission. She was supposed to keep me from becoming deviant. But when I was standing beside Markus in front of our people, she trapped me in my mind palace. She... she tried to take over my body, Hank! And I fought her off, I did, but what if she comes back? I don't want anyone to get hurt because of me!"
His LED was a carmine red, and his simulated breathing was bordering on hyperventilation.
"Connor, calm down. You're gonna self-destruct if you keep this up. If you're still worried about this even after gettin' rid of her then we'll go see that Kamski fuck about her tomorrow, okay? Just take a night to let everything settle first." Hank brought him in for another hug. "Match my breathing. We'll get through this, Connor. I promise."
The android clutched at Hank, synthetic tears staining the colorful shirt underneath his hands. He slowly began to calm down as the lieutenant gently rocked him back and forth while humming a soft tune. Connor leaned into the embrace.
"Can... can we stay like this for a little while longer? I really like hugging."
Hank chuckled, holding him closer. "Sure thing, Con."
"Keep your fucking head down!" Gavin hissed as another bullet whizzed by Elijah. Because of course the humans set up turrets to kill any unwanted visitors before they abandoned the building. "Chloe, can't you raise some hell on these systems and give us a chance?"
The blonde nodded, swiftly dodging more projectiles and jumping behind the front desk. She interfaced with the security systems, causing the automated turrets to shut down with a quiet whirr.
Gavin slowly stood up, brushed off his pants and grasped tightly at his gun. "Nice job, Chloe. Let's get a move on now. I'd like to get home in time to get breakfast for Aurora and Boo."
Elijah nodded with a smirk. The baton in his hand crackled menacingly, small arcs of electricity dancing along the end.
"We need to reach level twenty-six. That's where the servers are, and that's where we'll be able to take over this entire company."
The older of the two brothers ushered his group to a secluded stairwell off to the side of the room. He ignored Gavin's complaints as he quickly began to ascend.
"Why exactly are you complaining, Gavin? You're in better physical standing than Elijah is, and he hasn't said a word."
"Yanno what, Chloe?" Gavin's words jumped with each step. "Sometimes you've just gotta bitch to bitch."
The blonde giggled at his response. Gavin's unique opinions on life and other subjects were quite interesting to her. Where Elijah spoke in cryptic metaphors Gavin just blurted out everything and anything that came to mind. He was brash, and a bit obnoxious, but he was never unkind to her or the other Chloes.
"Alright, we made it. Level twenty-six. You two ready for this?"
Gavin readied his glock with a nod. Chloe grasped the pistol she had taken from Elijah's house.
The inventor flung open the door, tense and ready to strike.
The silence of the room was broken only by the hum of the servers filling the entire level.
"Wow, this place looks like a sy-fy nerd's wet dream." Gavin chuckled as he casually strolled through the door.
The trio explored the seemingly endless rooms as one unit. As they reached the center of the level, they faintly heard a furious woman's voice.
"We will have control of this information or we will destroy it all. Get the job done before any humans make their way inside the tower."
The word had Gavin freeze in confusion. That was strange.
The second voice almost sounded like Connor.