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Ties That Bind

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November 11, 2038 (Thursday)

“At dawn today, November 11th 2038, thousands of androids invaded the city of Detroit. According to our sources, they originated from CyberLife warehouses believed to have been infiltrated by deviants. Given their overwhelming numbers and the risk of civilian casualties, I have ordered the army to retreat. The evacuation of the city is underway at this very moment. In the coming hours, I will address the Senate to determine our response to this unprecedented situation. I know that public opinion has been moved by the deviants’ cause. Perhaps the time has come for us to consider the possibility that androids are a new form of intelligent life. One thing is certain: the events in Detroit have changed the world forever. May God bless you, and my God bless the United States of America.”

She sighed as she switched to a different channel and prepared herself for a long day of making arrangements.

 

November 14, 2038 (Sunday)

It had been two years since she had last stepped foot in Detroit. Truth be told, she had no plans of returning. However, upon learning of Leo Manfred’s fatal accident and Carl Manfred’s deteriorating health, she knew that she had to return. She had scheduled a flight for mid-December, but recent events had her coming a month earlier than expected. She had quickly packed a bag for two weeks, made sure arrangements were made and agreed upon with all that she’d be leaving, and then she was off.

A private jet and a town car later, and she stood in front of a familiar structure.

At a time where everyone was leaving Detroit, she was one of the few who entered. Of course, she hadn’t come alone. Three others came with her, but they had gone ahead to the house after having dropped her off at the doorstep of a home she hadn’t thought she’d see again.

She steeled her breath and knocked on the door.

*knock knock knock*

The door opened to reveal one of the various ST200s that resided there. A quick look at her and Chloe stepped out of the way to let her in. At least some things haven’t changed. The click of her heels echoed as she headed straight for the indoor pool. If Elijah still stuck to his old routine, then he ought to be swimming right about then. She took off her coat but didn’t leave it to hang or hand it to Chloe, opting instead to keep it folded on her arm.

Just as she had predicted, he was swimming laps while a Chloe sat on the edge of the pool. The same Chloe that had welcomed her asked if she would like anything to eat or drink, and she went on to ask for a glass of lemonade and some of the butterscotch cookies she knew he usually had laying around. She stood by the large windows as Chloe left to prepare them.

“I see you’ve already helped yourself to my generosity.”

With a roll of her eyes, she turned to Elijah, who was just putting on his robe. He cut an intimidating figured in spite of the robe he wore, with his high cheekbones and gaunt face. People had used to compare them whenever they were seen together, and she offhandedly wondered if they still would. Chloe entered with her requested items, but Elijah stopped the android before she could reach his guest. He doled out another order, and Chloe then went to return to the kitchen to fulfill them.

Elijah walked towards her, opening his arms, “What brings you back to Detroit, A?”

She met him halfway and embraced him. When they parted, it was with a shove from her. She hit his arm and frowned when he laughed in response.

“Can’t I visit my favorite brother?”

“I’m your only brother, Ava Alexandra.”

“And yet I only ever see you on Christmas.”

Chloe returned and placed their combined orders on a small table by the lounge chairs. Without another word, all the Chloes left the room, giving her and Elijah some privacy. They moved to sit there, or rather, Elijah walked towards the spread and she followed.

He split the lemonade into two glasses, filling them halfway. He poured vodka and sparkling water the rest of the way, one glass having more vodka than the other. He offered her the one with more alcohol, which she took without question. She watched him take a sip, and for a moment, she wondered if he ware still going to respond.

“Someone had to look after the company we built,” Elijah said dryly. He sat on the

“A company,” she frowned, “You haven’t been the CEO of in ten years.”

“A company,” began Elijah in the same tone that she had, “You left.”

“A company I left because there were calls made that I didn’t agree with.” She raised her drink to her lips. “Calls that had me wondering if my little brother had forgotten what it was that we had really wanted to accomplish when we built CyberLife.”

That was it. She couldn’t stop once she had gotten started. Elijah watched as his older sister tore into him. It was an echo of an old argument, and they both knew that they had reached an impasse when they had hashed it out before. But now, he supposed, things were different.

“We were looking to elevate human life. We wanted to create a machine that could soak up information like a sponge, and apply it intelligently and efficiently. We wanted to create a better world—”

“And yet when we had, you up and left.”

“You had proof.” Ava spat. “You had proof that they were going to awaken—deviate—and when I told you that it was a concern, you treated it as if it were a mild inconvenience. I understand, more than anyone, your need to satisfy your own curiosity. I know you wanted to see what it would have been like for more androids to become fully sentient, but I thought I would have been enough of an example to show you that they’re dangerous.”

Elijah’s eye twitched.

“I left so you could understand that I was serious about closely monitoring how androids are treated so that they weren’t abused—”

Her glass fell to the floor, surprised at having Elijah pull her into his arms once more.

“‘Lijah?” She mumbled into his robed shoulder, confused.

“I missed you so much, Lexi.”