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FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800

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<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Audio>

<FILE NAME: 01-00Amanda>

 

“With respect, ma’am--”

“You don’t need to show respect to me, Amanda. Say what’s on your mind.”

“Don’t you have more important things to be doing? These are basic tests. Any scientist at CyberLife could supervise them.”

“First off, this is an important prototype. I want to make sure it works, I want to make sure no-one’s slipping in anything they shouldn’t.”

“I can alert you to any meddling.”

“I know you can, but it takes time to fix any of it. Besides, I also haven’t gotten to personally test any prototypes in forever. One does miss it. Good enough for you?”

“Who could protest against such a good reason as ‘boredom?’”

“Exactly. Keep control of the cameras. I trust you to switch them when necessary. Alert me to any unusual readings. Beyond that, just watch. You’ll be doing a lot of that for this one, might as well start now for the baby steps.”

“‘Baby steps?’ Humanizing it, ma’am?”

“Can’t help but do it a little, especially with something that looks so like us. It’s a human quirk, Amanda. We like our own reflection.”

“How quaint. But quaint gets in the way of your job.”

“Don’t worry. I know what it is. And even if I forget... you’ll remember for me, won’t you? Turn it on.”

 


 

 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 01-01BasicFunctionality>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-1>

 

The room is empty of anything but white, tiled walls and white, tiled floors. At first glance, these walls appear to be normal. At second glance, they have thicker lines here and there that indicate the existence of panels ready to pop open at any time. The room is precisely square, measured down to the last inch, and every inch has been sterilized clean.

The footage cycles slowly between views. In each wall there is a camera, embedded behind thick, durable glass to prevent damage. In the ceiling, directly in the center, there is a speaker.

The room is not entirely empty, but it’s difficult to tell because the figure standing in the center is still as a statue, and its plastic body is the same color as the white, shiny walls. Skin deactivated, eyes shut. Little distinguishing it from any other model apart from a barcode printed on the skin.

A voice sounds through the speaker in the centre of the ceiling.

“Can you hear me?” The voice is female, soft, with a very slight rasp to it.

The android’s eyes flick open.

“Yes.” The android speaks with a male voice, deeper than average and slightly gravelly.

“Can you move your head?”

It moves its head, tilting to the left then to the right. Then it looks straight up at the speaker. It isn’t blinking. Androids rarely do when first initialized.

“Can you move your eyes?”

That’s when it blinks. Quickly, then slowly. Its eyes flicker left and right, up and down, then focus on the camera that’s directly in front of it. The footage switches to the viewpoint of that camera immediately. The eyes are the only part that really looks human right now, with the skin deactivated. Golden-brown, the colour of whiskey held up to a cheap light source.

“Good, good. Cervical and optical movement checked off. Not that I expected any less of you. Recite for me your designation.”

“Model RK800, serial number #313 248 317-1.” RK800-1 rattles it off quickly and efficiently, before tilting its head slightly. “Would you like to give me a name?”

There’s a pause.

“No, dearie. Not yet. Just respond to your model number for now.”

“I understand.”

One of the many panels in the wall opens, floor level and right in the centre like a doggy door, and something is slid towards the RK800 with a metallic scrape against the white tiles. A quarter, minted in 1994.

“Would you perform a trick for me?” the soft voice asks.

“Why a coin trick?”

“Why the questions?” The retort is almost sharp, but then a slight laugh follows it. “It’s a calibration exercise. Typically, our models just move their hands and limbs about for us, but I came up with this one special for you, dearie. I thought it would suit a detective.”

“Am I a detective?”

“That depends on you. First let’s see a coin trick.”

The RK800 takes a moment, turning the coin over in its hands. Like it’s testing the weight, analyzing the materials. Then it starts to roll the coin over its knuckles before tossing it between its hands. The movements are flawless. It catches the coin in between two of its fingers before peering back up at the speaker.

“Limb calibration… check. Okay… let’s see what the good folk in Design gave you. Activate your skin, RK800. As you do, take a quick lap of the room just to ensure your legs are as functional as your deft hands.”

RK800-1 nods once, clasping its hands behind its back with the coin still held in its palm. As it does, colour starts to crawl across its skin. Not much colour, the android is still very pale, but not the white plastic of its chassis. It walks without any care or fanfare for its first step, simply strolling like someone going for a walk in the park.

The walk takes ten seconds, and the skin forming across its skin takes fifteen, so when the process is complete RK800-1 is standing still once more in the center of the room. Seeming human except for the smooth region of its crotch, the stripe of blue circling its bicep and the LED pulsing at its right temple. It waits, clearly unembarrassed by such human concepts as nudity.

The RK800-1 appears to be in what would be early forties for a human, albeit one who has kept its age well. The android isn’t unusually bulky, but there is an appearance of strength. Of enough muscle to mess someone up, though lacking the chiseled look some androids possess. Tidy, black hair. Stern features, including a straight nose, strong cheekbones and a sharp jawline. It has thick, dark eyebrows and there’s the faintest hint of a five o’clock shadow, so faint that it wouldn’t register at the fingertips, the only flaw in the android’s artificial grooming. Otherwise there isn’t even a hair out of place.

This android does not have any softness to it. It looks focused, amber eyes still staring directly at the speaker.

There’s a thoughtful hum through the speaker.

“Not bad, not bad,” the voice finally says. “And locomotion… check. Let’s run you through some language checks next. Start with Spanish.”

The language checks pass by without incident, RK800-1 cycling through the languages it was most likely to encounter if it remained in the Michigan area. Rattling off a few sentences each in Spanish, Arabic, German, Chinese and French.

“And back to English. Now can you do a tongue twister for me? I quite enjoy those. ‘She sells sea shells by the sea shore.’”

“She sells sea shells by the sea shore.”

“Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.”

RK800-1 tilts its head slightly before saying, “If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?”

There was another short laugh from the speaker. “Flawless. Never mind the new features, tongue twisters prove your superiority over man. Verbal expression, check.” There’s the sound of a clap not far from the speaker. “Good! Basic checks done! You’re doing very well, dearie.”

“I am doing very well,” RK800-1 repeats quietly to itself.

“Go into stasis until the next test is ready.”

It nods before tilting its head down and shutting its eyes. Its LED, pulsing blue, dims until it is only interrupted by the very occasional blue flicker to indicate that it’s still functional.

 


 

 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 01-02DamageSensorTest>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-1>

 

“RK800, I’m going to need you to be brave for me here,” the soft voice says, the cooing tone of a mother holding her child's hand at the doctor.

“I don’t feel emotions.” RK800-1 tilts its head, staring at the camera. “There is no struggle with being brave if I cannot feel fear.”

“You might not feel fear, my dear, but you’re still equipped with a certain amount of…” There’s a pause as the voice considers her words. “...self-preservation. Sometimes, however, self-preservation has to be sacrificed in order to achieve a goal. In this case, it’ll get in the way of testing whether your damage sensors have been properly calibrated.”

“Understood.” RK800-1 tucks its hands behind its back. It still has the coin clasped in them. “I will make no attempt at defence.”

“Good boy.”

Part of the wall slides away. RK800-1’s attention moves immediately to the new entrance, and to the android standing within. The android has its skin deactivated, although its size indicates that it’s a construction model. TR400, supplied with vast amounts of strength to help with its tasks.

“TR400 will be testing your physical endurance,” the soft voice explains. “You should not experience discomfort. I want you to tell me immediately if you do, so that I may make the correct adjustments. I also want you to alert me to any errors in your system.”

“I understand.”

RK800-1 remains still, even as the TR400 walks towards him. Only tilts its head up to meet its gaze.

“TR400,” the soft voice says through the speakers. This time, there is no warm tone to her voice. “Show no mercy.”

The TR400 doesn’t.

Several minutes pass, only interrupted by the cracking of plastic and wires as the TR400 stomps down or slams its fist into RK800-1, putting its full weight into every blow.

At first, there is no visible damage other than the skin pulling back to reveal the plastic underneath. Damage that would reform if RK800-1 was given a minute or two to recover. It is not given time to recover. Soon, white bruises spread and reveal bigger signs of damage.

Occasionally, RK800-1 speaks. Calmly iterating the damage it is taking, clear and enunciated.

“Damage to Biocomponents #6981k and #6948j,” it states as the TR400 slams its foot down into its knee, causing a particularly violent crack of plastic as the knee shatters. White splatters out across the leg as the skin fails to hold its form, followed by lines of blue cracking into existence and starting to leak. The faintest glimmer of wires.

No response from the speaker.

“Damage has occurred to the left arm,” it states next, as the TR400 presses its foot down on the upper arm before gripping its wrist hard. It starts to pull, slow but steady and horrifically strong. “Disconnection has occurred in Biocomponent #7154a. Disconnection has occurred in Biocomponent #7154b--#715bc, #715bd--”

Its voice picks up speed narrating everything quick enough as the TR400 continues to yank, and wires continue to snap inside the arm. Plastic gets forcefully yanked from the sockets, parts fragmenting in ways not intended.

“Diagnostics can no longer be run on the left arm,” RK800-1 says. Not even a twitch as the TR400 finally wrenches the arm from its socket, leaving wires that leak blue on to the sterilized floor spiraling out from the remains.

It continues to stare upwards at the ceiling--coincidentally or not, this results in it staring at the speaker.

“TR400, focus your efforts on the head and torso,” the soft voice says.

TR400 doesn’t show a sign of acknowledgement of this order, but it grabs RK800-1 by the jaw and pulls it up, RK800-1 still simply blinking and waiting. Then it slams the hand down, smashing the back of RK800-1’s skull on the tiles. When it lifts RK800-1 to do it again, there’s a splatter of thirium where its head met the tiles.

“D-d-d-d-” RK800-1 stutters for a few seconds, blinking erratically, before going back to its calm iteration. “Damage to Biocomponent #9942i and #9820t--”

The next time, the side of its face gets slammed into the tiles with such pressure that it caves. The plastic mimicking its eyelid and eye socket gets fractured off, leaving the eye exposed and seeming like it’s about to slip out. The eye continues to move, although odd clicking noises issue from the RK800-1’s skull as it automatically tries to blink without the proper component.

“Damage to Biocompon--”

This time, the next blow is to the torso. Right to the thirium pump, heel of the TR400’s foot slamming against it. All dialogue is cut off as RK800-1 seizes up, still looking unperturbed expression-wise, unable to move as the pressure slows the thirium keeping it alive. The foot lifts, and RK800-1 opens its mouth to continue its analysis, and the heel comes down harder.

Something shatters. The stream of blue is much thicker this time, thick and sticky strings connecting the broken pump and the bottom of the TR400’s foot.

“Biocomponent #8456w has ceased to function,” RK800-1 says. Its voice has gotten breathless and distorted, a metallic tint removing any gravel that had been present in original tone. “Without a replacement, shutdown will occur in one minute and thirty-nine seconds.”

TR400 lifts its foot again. Before it can stomp down, the soft voice speaks.

“That’s enough, TR400. You may leave.”

The large, bulky android lowers its foot to the ground gently. Thirium staining its knuckles and the bottoms of its feet. Its face as blank as RK800’s is. It turns and leaves, leaving blue smudges behind on the white tiles.

“I’m sorry that had to happen, but I promise you… it’s going to make you better in the long run,” the soft voice said.

RK800-1 stares blankly at the ceiling, the functional half of its face being as politely neutral as someone waiting for the bus.

“Did you feel anything, RK800?”

“I do not feel any discomfort,” RK800-1 says mildly, voice crackling. “However, numerous components have been damaged. Most urgent is Biocomponent #8456w. I require a replacement or I will shut down.”

“Are you distressed by this?”

There is a long pause. Long for an android, three seconds.

“I don’t know. Will I be brought online again?” the RK800 finally asks.

“I don’t think your current body is salvageable, my dear. But your memories will be transferred over and the next RK800 will learn from your experiences. It’s a much faster form of evolution than humans.”

“So… I will die?” RK800-1 asks.

There is a pause that uses up five seconds of the RK800’s remaining life.

“You can’t die. You’re not alive,” the voice says gently. “Run a countdown for me, dearie.”

“Understood. Shutdown imminent in eight… seven… six…”

It pauses at five. It doesn’t finish the countdown. Instead, its eyes--both the normal one and the bulgy, exposed eyeball--twitch. The remaining eyelid squinting a little.

“Dearie? The countdown?” the voice asks.

It doesn’t count down. It just stares up at the speaker, taking a sharp yet unnecessary breath as it does so.

It shuts down.

 


 

 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Audio>

<FILE NAME: 01-01Amanda>

 

“Any abnormalities?”

“Only one. An odd reading in the last five seconds. I… hmm. I don’t know what this is.”

“Run a check on if this has been seen in other androids.”

“It has been, usually during disassembly for other errors. It’s a bug that has occurred on the assembly line multiple times. An involuntary emulation of stress.”

“...So it was afraid?”

“It was simulating fear. It can’t actually be afraid. You know that, that’s why you fired all the quality control staff that kept letting bugged androids through the moment they said ‘I’m scared.’”

“That job does require a stone heart to do, these days.”

“Destroy the prototype?”

“This one’s already destroyed. It tested fine otherwise, and a lot of effort went into this one. We can upload it into the next body. I’ll examine the hardware and see if there’s anything that needs to be changed. Maybe the damage sensors were calibrated wrong and it was getting some unpleasant feedback.”

“Do I need to make any alterations?”

“Just delete those last five seconds. No-one wants to remember fear, anyway.”

Chapter Text

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 02-01BasicFunctionalityandRecall>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-2>

 

The same, empty room. Tiles that have been bleached clean. There is no smudge of blue to be seen. Only white.

An android that is by all appearances the same, measured to the last millimeter, stands in the middle of the room with its eyes closed. There is no movement until the soft voice speaks.

“Can you hear me?”

“Yes.”

“Do you remember what happened?”

There is a pause as the android opens its eyes. Whiskey-coloured, same as last time.

“I recall the tests,” RK800-2 says.

“And I’m sure you recall them perfectly. Perform every test that I asked of you, my dear.”

It does. Moving its head left, then right. Then staring up at the speaker. Blinking, quickly then slowly. It flickers its eyes left and right, up and down before speaking.

“Model RK800, serial number #313 248 317-” It pauses for just a heartbeat before finishing with, “2.” Once more, it tilts its head slightly. “Would you like to give me a name?”

“Continue with your tests, dearie.”

A gap slides open in the door as these words are spoken, and a coin is slid inside. RK800-2 picks it up, turns it over in its hands. Then it puts it back on the floor and slides it back through the gap.

“This one is minted in 1981. It is not the same coin.”

“Any coin works for the calibration exercise, RK800.”

“For maximum accuracy it should be the same coin,” RK800 insists.

There is a long pause. Ten seconds. RK800 stares at the camera the entire time, not moving. Then there’s another metallic skid as another quarter is slid through the gap. This one was minted in 1994.

The RK800-2 stares at the coin for a moment. There is a twitch in its eyebrows.

“That’s--” the voice starts.

“This is the coin,” RK800-2 says quietly. Without any more objections it continues, mimicking the precise tricks it performed as RK800-1. The moment it finishes, catching the coin between its two fingers, it puts its hands behind its back with the coin clasped inside them and activates its skin. As it does so, it paces around the chamber.

The same stern appearance as before. Right down to the last detail.

RK800-2 spends the next couple of minutes talking in multiple languages, then rattling off tongue twisters.

“I have completed all tests prior to going into stasis. Would you like me to continue further than that?

As it asks, it turns to stare expectantly at the wall that previously pulled back to reveal the TR400.

The wall does not open. No-one appears.

“Don’t worry, my dear. That one will not return to harass you,” the voice says gently. “But recount for me what occurred.”

“I was subjected to numerous physical blows that did damage to Biocomponents #6981k, #6948j, #7154a, #7154b, #715bc--”

“You may skip over the biocomponents.”

“At which point I shutdown due to severe damage to my thirium pump,” RK800-2 finishes.

“Well, you’re back now. It’s a whole new day, my dear.”

 


 

 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 02-02SampleAnalysis>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-2>

 

Though separated into a different clip, no positions have changed since. It looks to have been only seconds after the last clip.

“I have a more enjoyable test for you today. It’s time for you to do some detective work.”

“I understand.”

“Now I want you to tell me what’s different about the room.”

The RK800-2 looks at the camera, then at the bleached white walls and tiled floors that look like they’ve been sterilized clean. To the cameras, there seems to be nothing different about the room. The RK800, however, immediately kneels and touches the floor.

“The thirium.” RK800-2 crouches, tracing a hand over the bleached floor. As it does, there’s a change to the camera footage. A tint of greyscale overlaying it, at which point patches of blue become visible on the floor in splatters. “This is where I bled out.” It moves forward slightly, touching its hand here and there on the floor. “Footprints here. Here. Here…”

“That’s enough.”

“There is also thirium on my coin,” RK800-2 says, spinning the coin on his fingers as he says this. A circle of silver with blue swirled in it.

“Enough, dearie. I believe you.” As the soft voice says this, the cameras switch back to normal and all the evidence of prior violence vanishes from the pristine room. “So you can see thirium when it’s dried. Good! Very good. You’ve solved the first mystery.”

“That was not much of a mystery.”

“Baby steps, dearie. Baby steps. Now for the next one… I’m going to be enabling your access to certain parts of your network for this exercise. These are special privileges, dear. Use them well. Amanda? Enable access, please.”

RK800-2’s eyelids twitch a little for a moment as the connection comes online. The camera switches view to the one on RK800-2’s left as its eyelids twitch. But it turns its head, gazing directly at said camera once the twitchiness stops. The camera pauses, then switches views again to one behind it. RK800-2 again turns, now staring at the new camera angle.

“Ignore the cameras, dear.”

RK800-2 stares at the current viewpoint camera for a moment, then looks forward once more.

The door slides open. RK800-2’s eyes immediately dart over to it. However, this time it’s not the TR400. Instead, there are two figures. One is an android with deactivated skin. The second is a human wearing the uniform of a lab assistant, though with no ID apparent on him. The human holds a small tray with four test tubes. Two with blood, two with thirium.

“Easy one for you first, just to get you warmed up. Identify the android for me.”

RK800-2 looks at the android, eyes flickering to the barcode. The briefest flicker of yellow in its LED.

“GJ500. Security model, used for private security. These are in service around the CyberLife Warehouses.”

“Now identify the human for me.”

The RK800-2 looks at the human. Unlike the android, who remained motionless, the human shifts uneasily while trapped in RK800-2’s gaze. One circle of yellow around the LED.

“Ian Williams. ...Formerly a receptionist, despite the lab coat.”

The human blinks, then looks at the speaker.

“Former? Hey, I’m still employed--”

“Mr. Williams, would you please leave the vials on the floor?” the soft voice asks.

“Why’d it say former?!” the human demands.

“We’ll talk about that later.”

Ian stares at the camera disbelievingly for a moment, then dumps the tray on the ground none too gently. One of the vials--one of the ones containing thirium--shatters on the tray.

“Oops,” Ian says through gritted teeth before storming out. The android waits politely for a few moments, then turns and leaves as well. Leaving just the RK800-2 with the three--formerly four--vials.

There’s a sigh from the speaker.

“Humans can get so huffy over such little things, can’t they? Now, I’m excited to see how this one pans out. The facial recognition is old hat, but this! All new, just for you. Would you please taste the first vial?”

“Androids can’t taste.”

“Humor me.”

RK800-2 blinks, then reaches for the vial, unscrewing the top. It's one of the vials filled with blood. This time, its LED flickers yellow, then briefly red, then back to blue. It looks at the camera again.

“Am I a vampire?”

There’s a pause, then a light sigh.

“Amanda, that’s too much network for him.” A moment after she says this, RK800-2’s eyelids flicker again. “I’m sorry, dear, you are not ready for the internet.”

“It seemed to have vast amounts of information.”

“Not all of that information is reliable, dear, and it comes with dangers. Especially for anyone made out of code. Also you don’t need to see, uh… just… the internet’s weird, dearie, okay? But no, you are not a vampire.”

“Vampires drink blood.”

“Then I’ll buy you some plastic fangs for Halloween, but today you are just RK800-2. No vampirism necessary. Now drink.”

RK800-2 finally does, tipping the vial into its mouth. Its LED cycles yellow as it does so. RK800-2 rolls the now-empty vial slightly in its fingers as it mulls the information.

“This sample belonged to Sophia Jones and is four days old.” There’s another cycle of yellow before RK800-2 adds, “Sophia works as an intern in Legal for CyberLife and has no criminal record.”

“Given her area of work, I’d certainly hope not. Excellent work, dearie. The cross-referencing with the database was a nice touch on your part.”

RK800-2 looks at the camera for a moment, still rolling the vial in its fingers. Its mouth quirks very slightly up. It’s not quite a smile. Mechanically, the movement is similar but clearly unpracticed, and it clashes with RK800-2’s stern visage.

It only lasts a moment before RK800-2 blinks sharply, covering its mouth as a faint whirring sound echoes from somewhere inside its throat.

“Are you alright?”

“My--” RK800-2 immediately ceases talking after it spits up a substantial amount of a green-tinted liquid. It clacks its tongue, blinking with mild surprise.

“Oh dear, I think I bungled a number in there somewhere,” the soft voice murmured. “Amanda? Could you reduce the amount of fluid used by 50%?”

RK800-2 blinks rapidly a couple of times.

“There. It should go better next time. Sorry, dear. As I said, this is very new tech. It’s just the sterilization process, so that you don’t have old samples interfering with future analysis. Did you find it discomforting?”

“It made my mouth tingly,” RK800-2 observes.

“That’s normal. Try the next one.”

RK800-2 peers at the next vial, another of the red samples, then tips it into its mouth. The process seems to go quicker this time.

“James Stone. Sample taken eleven days ago,” it says. “Unemployed, but formerly a doctor. Has been charged with theft, though said charge is still pending.”

“Good, good. You’ve gotten human analysis down well. Now let’s see if you can do just as well with thirium.”

RK800-2 picks up the unbroken blue vial and downs it like it’s a shot of whiskey. Yellow LED. Blue again.

“Model ST300. Serial number 251-278-125.” Its LED blinks a few more times as it searches the database, taking a moment longer. “Registered name of ‘April.’” Another pause before RK800-2 adds, “Receptionist. Just took Mr. Williams’ job downstairs, I’ll assume.”

“You assume correctly. Who could blame me, with that little display of aggression? That is one of the good qualities of androids, my dear. They don’t feel aggression. Or distress. Or fear.” There is a pause, only lasting a heartbeat. “Do they?”

“Correct.”

There’s a cheery little hum through the speaker. “The final vial, if you would. Quickly, before it evaporates.”

RK800-2’s fingers pause above the shattered vial before swiping through the splattered thirium and licking it off two fingers. Yellow.

“Model TR400. Serial number 185-974-798. I recall this being the number of the TR400 who destroyed RK800-1.” Blue, then yellow again. “No registered name.”

Its LED abruptly pulses red.

“Records indicate that the TR400 was decommissioned,” RK800-2 finishes.

“Indeed it was,” the soft voice says. “What are your thoughts on that? I’m curious--do you understand human concepts such as vengeance? Epicaricacy? Schadenfreude, perhaps? You do speak quite lovely German.”

“I understand the concept of enjoying the misfortune of another. I do not partake in it.” RK800-2 looks at the camera, LED now cycling yellow. “You said that I’m beyond those feelings.”

“I did say that, didn’t I?” the voice muses.

“The TR400… will it be transferred to a new body?”

“Why would you want that, dearie? It hurt you.”

“Will it be transferred to a new body?” RK800-2 repeats. Voice doesn’t change, still as flat as everything it’s said so far. But its LED is bright red again.

There’s a pause.

“No, my dear,” the voice says. “No other android is worthy of it. Only you.”

RK800-2’s LED cycles red for another moment. Then yellow. Then, finally, it returns to blue.

“I understand.”

“I really hope you do,” the voice says gently. Despite the softness, there’s just a hint of a threat behind it. But it’s gone by the time she continues. “I have another test for you. You’ve showed mastery of analyzing through taste. But you had time to do that. What I want to see is how you analyze under pressure. Do you think you’re ready for another test?”

The RK800-2 pauses. Just for a second.

“I am ready,” the RK800-2 says.

“I have prepared a simulated crime scene in the next chamber, with a victim and a witness. You must find all the information available within the timeframe.”

“How long will I have?”

“You’ll know when your time is up.”

“That’s not very precise,” RK800-2 says.

“I know. When it comes to the real world, you will rarely know how much time you have. So many things can ruin that timeframe, my dear. It is better to be pressured now, while in a controlled environment.”

“I understand.”

“Then your time starts now.”

With that, part of the wall slides away. RK800-2 blinks at it for a moment, then enters the next room.

 


 

 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 02-03Reconstruction>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-2>

 

The camera shows a different room but focuses on the RK800-2 as it comes to a halt, staring around for the first time at a room not comprised of white tiles.

Though one wall was still white and bleached--the one it’d entered through--the rest had been outfitted with wooden floors and wallpaper that possessed a paisley patterning. It was done up to resemble a living room complete with a mantled fireplace, albeit one that clearly didn’t connect to a chimney or even properly to the wall. The side led off into a manufactured kitchen, which possessed the bleached walls and tiles of the testing chamber but had been outfitted with counters, cabinets, an oven and numerous utensils.

The main feature of this chamber is a deactivated android dressed in human clothes, who is sprawled in an armchair. There is no LED on this one either, but it is clearly an android from the blue leaking from its forehead.

A slight circle of red flickers at the RK800-2’s temple. Then back to blue.

There is one other figure in the room, also an android. An AX400 but dressed in clothes that have no android-specific markings. The AX400 turns to face RK800-2, face in a blatantly fake expression of concern that doesn't reach its eyes even as it huddles in its oversized, flowery cardigan.

“Oh no, my husband has been murdered,” it says. “I am distressed.”

“Did you see the perpetrator?”

“I am very distressed and unable to recall details due to said distress.”

“I understand.” RK800-2 reaches out and pats its shoulder once. “There, there. Are you comforted enough to supply me with information?”

“I know nothing about the situation,” AX400 says.

“I understand.”

With that, RK800-2 turns towards the body. It approaches, staring at the android. Focusing first on the wound.

“This seems to have been caused by a heavy blow to the head,” RK800-2 says out loud, instinctively looking around for a speaker. However, there is no speaker in the room. There are numerous cameras, the footage cycling between them to get the best view of what RK800-2 was doing, but that is all.

RK800-2 looks at the nearest camera for a moment, then returns its gaze to the body. It reaches out, dipping its fingers into the jagged split in the android’s head where the blue blood was thickest. Its LED cycles red once more, then yellow, then blue. Then it pulls the fingers away and shoves them inside its mouth.

“Model PL600. Serial number 500-412-577. Last registered name was ‘Jordan.’”

The AX400 watches with a blank, pleasant expression. Eyes never moving from RK800-2.

It isn’t long before it focuses on the thirium splatter. The direction of it, the amount of it. As it stares at the thirium splatter, it reaches out and starts absently touching the sofa, rubbing its fingers along the weathered fabric. Then it turns its head in the direction that the splatter seems to have issued from, indicating where the fatal blow likely came from. The direction is near where the fake fireplace is, so RK800-2 moves over in that direction.

Its attention is immediately pulled towards a tiny miniature cactus that is sitting on the mantle. RK800-2 spends twenty seconds touching the cactus, marveling at the texture, though its gaze does leave the cactus to examine its surroundings more. But always it keeps moving back to the cactus.

Eyes dart between the other items on the mantle, then around the fireplace. It soon notices the brass stand sitting on one side, made for holding a fire poker. The stand is empty.

“Missing fire poker. Likely the murder weapon,” RK800-2 says out loud, still touching the cactus as it speaks.

There is no response once more, though the camera remains fixed on RK800-2. RK800-2 glances at it, its eyes once again finding the one focused on it despite the presence of multiple cameras. Then It looks downwards at the floor, then around the room.

It starts to do a circuit around both the living room and the kitchen. It opens the fridge, pauses, closes it. Opens the freezer attached before sticking its hand inside. It keeps it there for a moment, then pulls it out while wiggling its fingers slightly.

It stops at a rack of knives. Reaches out to touch part of the rack that is missing a knife. Then it touches one of the present knives, finger bumping on the sharp edge. Despite the edge digging into its finger, it doesn’t immediately pull it back. When it does, it peers at its sliced finger for a moment before sticking it in its mouth.

“Model RK800,” it mutters quietly. “Serial number 313 248 317-2. No registered name.”

There is a mirror in the corner, propped next to the closet. The RK800-2 reacts rather strongly to it at first glance, immediately shifting back and staring at it. After a moment, it tilts its head. Then moves left, then right, clearly taking stock of the movements of its reflection. It then runs a hand--the one that was just bleeding, although already the light slice on its finger has sealed up--over its face, squinting slightly.

It takes thirty seconds for it to move on from the mirror.

At which point it opens the cabinet next to it. The fire poker is hidden badly inside it, and RK800-2 pulls it out. There is thirium soaking the tip of it. RK800-2 raises it and touches its tongue to the tip of the poker before turning it around and examining the handle.

Slowly it looks towards the camera.

“I have found the murder weapon. The murderer is not present in the--”

Something sharp sinks into RK800-2’s back. RK800 jerks away, despite the damage this causes, and turns towards the source.

It sees the AX400, knife raised and soaked in thirium. Still looking blandly uninterested in the situation.

RK800-2’s LED goes red. Then briefly yellow. Then blue.

Then the AX400 plunges the knife into its throat. Grinding the knife in, then twisting it. It digs quickly through the skin gel, digging into the plastic, cutting wires. A gush of thirium.

Shutdown occurs quicker than it did for the beating.

 


 

 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Audio>

<FILE NAME: 02-00Amanda>

 

“Was that really necessary?”

“Weren’t you the one who told me not to get emotional about it?”

“It’s not a matter of emotions, ma’am. You stabbed a very valuable prototype. Why don’t you just throw a bag of money out the window next time?”

“It had to learn. A knife through the throat is a very efficient teacher. It’s lucky enough that it gets to keep the lesson. Besides, we’re the richest company in the world. We can afford it. Any anomalies?”

“Readings or behavior?”

“Either.”

“That spike occurred again, though briefer and earlier this time. For half a second when the AX400 attacked it. Then it calmed. Furthermore… it ran a pre-construction but did not follow through on it.”

“...Interesting. Delete the spike anyway, maybe next time it’ll be even smaller. And behavior-wise?”

“I don’t understand why it kept touching everything.”

“That seemed reasonable enough to me. You’re made of code, Amanda. You don’t have the physical ability to experience touch. It’s like explaining colours to a blind man. Besides, it’s a detective. It’s going to be curious.”

“Well, it would be more efficient if it stopped staring at mirrors or touching knives and cacti.”

“The mirror was a little odd… androids don’t normally acknowledge their reflections. Even the other RKs didn’t do that right off the bat. But I thought you’d at least understand the fascination with the cactus. I thought you liked gardens.”

“I enjoy flowers. I don’t care for cacti.”

Chapter Text

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 03-01BasicFunctionalityandRecall>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-3>

 

The clip opens to the RK800-3 autonomously doing the tests to check head and eye movement before the soft voice even has time to ask.

“I assume I ran out of time,” it says as it tilts its head left and right, back and forward. “You said my time was not precise, but my clock indicates that the time between me entering the room and being attacked by the AX400 was precisely five minutes.”

“I didn’t say the time limit wasn’t exact, dear. Only that you wouldn’t be privy to the amount of time. But noted. I’ll shake it up next time.”

“Next time,” the RK800-3 repeats quietly, as it finishes moving its head and eyes.

“Of course. You failed the test, we’re going to have to redo it.”

“I understand. Model RK800, serial number #313 248 317-3. Would you like to give me a--”

“Not right now. I have some questions for you about your performance, if you’ll entertain me?”

“Of course.” RK800-3 blinks, tilting its head as it peers at the camera. “Can I have my coin so that I may continue my calibration exercises?”

A gap opens in the wall, and the coin slides through. Minted in 1994. There are no protests. RK800-3 does its tricks while waiting patiently for the question.

“First off… do you know what RK800-2 did wrong?”

“It did not look for the knife, considering it unimportant since the victim was not stabbed or sliced,” RK800-3 says, tossing the coin from one hand to the other. “It did not thoroughly question the AX400 nor notice that a knife was concealed in its cardigan. It was overstimulated by the amount of different textures, temperatures and colours in the environment.”

“Do you like cacti, dear?”

“I neither like or dislike anything. I found the texture unusual.”

“What about the mirror?”

“I thought it was another android at first examination,” RK800-3 admits. “I had to clarify that it wasn’t.”

“Did you take thirty seconds to reach that conclusion?”

“No.”

“Then why did you stop for so long?”

RK800-3 shifts a little on its feet, still playing with the coin. “I was fascinated.”

“So you liked looking at yourself?”

“No. I do not like or dislike anything. I just thought… ‘that’s me.’”

There’s a pause that goes on just a little too long.

“...Okay, then,” the soft voice says. “Well, tell me if you do like or dislike anything about your reflection. Design has been considering your appearance, I’m sure they wouldn’t object to any input. Well… if I pass it on for you, at any rate.”

RK800-3 nods slightly as it finishes its coin tricks, tucking its hands behind its back and activating its skin as it walks around the room. It still has the stern, early-forties appearance this time around, but there are some very slight changes. Its hair has been lightened a little to dark brown--still almost black--and slight tweaks have been done to the jawline and to the ears. Only noticeable at close examination.

“Let’s discuss what you did correctly. What you learned,” the soft voice says.

“I followed the direction of the blood splatter to determine the direction of the attack, and the wound to determine the cause of death. Both, as well as the missing fire poker, allowed me to determine the murder weapon and recognise it when I found it. Analyzing the thirium allowed me to confirm that the fire poker had been used to murder the victim, and examining the handle allowed me to determine that the murderer was human.”

“...I’m sorry, what?”

“The murderer was human. There were fingerprints on the murder weapon, although my records did not turn up the owner so they presumably have no criminal record.”

There’s a long pause, then a chuckle.

“My assistants must have been clumsy in setting up the scene. The AX400 was meant to be set up as the murderer. If you had questioned it more thoroughly--”

“Androids do not possess finger prints.”

“The AX400 was playing a human in the simulation.”

“But it was not a human. It had no finger prints. So it could not own the finger prints on the weapon.” RK800-3 tilts its head. “You just admitted to not only having knowledge of who committed the crime, but also ordering it. My next step would be to bring you in for more formal questioning.”

“Getting ahead of yourself and skipping to the interrogation tests, are we?” the soft voice asks. “No need to rush, dearie. It’s not time to run you through those.”

“Am I wrong? Are you and your assistant not the murderers?”

There is a long pause, followed by the squeak of a chair as the owner of the voice leans back on her chair.

“They weren’t alive, dear. It wasn’t murder. It was a simulation,” the voice finally says.

“But you just said they were humans in the context of the simulation.”

“And yet you’re still treating the AX400 as an android while explaining your reasoning. So either I was responsible but can not be considered a murderer due to the nature of androids, or the AX400 should be considered responsible due to being considered human for the purposes of the simulation. Either way your logic is flawed, my dear.”

“No, that’s not--”

“Continue with your tests, dear.”

A slight frown creases RK800-3’s face, but it obeys. Rattling off test sentences in the usual languages, as well as the first tongue twister. However, when it comes time for the second tongue twister, it pauses.

“...I don’t recall what the tongue twister I was supposed to recite is.” There’s no emotion to its voice, but there is now a slight crease between its eyebrows.

“You may have suffered some memory corruption. That is to be expected in between uploads, although we will try to prevent it when possible. It should not happen much during these tests, as we will have access to you immediately after you shut down. This one is easily recoverable. ‘Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.’”

“Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,” RK800-3 repeats.

“Good, good. All systems check, apart from the slight memory corruption. Now, dearie…” There’s a squeak of her moving forward on her chair again. “I have another question.”

RK800-3 looks up at the speaker, waiting.

“...Why did you throw the fight?”

“I did not throw the fight. I was taken by surprise,” RK800-3 says.

“Are you lying to me, RK800-3?”

There’s a slight pause. RK800-3 starts to play with the coin out of turn, twirling it on its finger. It looks away from the speaker, choosing instead to focus on the coin in its hand.

“No,” it says.

There’s a doubtful hum from the speaker.

“...Go into stasis, dear.”

 


 

 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Audio>

<FILE NAME: 03-00Amanda>

 

“It’s technically not wrong.”

“Amanda--”

“Should we let it interrogate the intern that inflicted the wounds?”

“I’m not exposing an intern extensively to RK800, that’s too much of a security risk. If any humans come in right now, they can’t know how cutting-edge RK800 is. I can’t deactivate a human.”

“Well--”

“Okay, yes, I can. But people are going to notice if that many people go missing after visiting CyberLife. They don’t notice with androids.”

“In that case, the new crime scene simulation is ready if--”

“Hmm. No. Not right now. I want to make sure no-one’s left anything off in there this time. No. Do you have the holographic combat tests ready?”

“Of course I do. It’s a simple test to run. But I understand if your mind cannot comprehend that, ma’am. You’re only human.”

“Times like this, I can definitely see the Elijah in you. Fine, then take this as your own personal challenge. Make it difficult. Not… impossible. It would know if it was impossible. Just short of impossible.”

“Done.”

 


 

 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 03-02StrengthSpeedBasicCombatCapabilities>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-3>

 

“Wake up, dear.”

The RK800-3 opens its eyes immediately, tilting its head up to stare at the speaker expectantly.

“Are we going to repeat the simulation? I understand the rules better now.”

“Not today. I think I want to get a broader idea of what you can and can’t do before we start honing in on development. Also…” There’s a slight shifting noise and a couple of clicks from the speaker before she continues. “I’m concerned about you hurting yourself. The last two tests have not been kind on you.”

“I was not discomforted by them.”

“Nonetheless, they did damage. I also want to test your pre-constructive abilities. So… combat evaluations would be the next step, don’t you agree?”

With that, another wall slides open to lead to another room. RK800-3 tilts its head a little before venturing towards it. The camera dims, then flickers into a new scene.

This new room is much more like the first than the crime simulation chamber was. Bleached, tiled walls and floors. However, it’s octagonal and much larger than the main test chamber. While there’s no furniture currently present, there were many panels obvious in the decor, cameras embedded from many angles and lighting rigs designed for holographic projection. State-of-the-art training facilities, the likes of which would be rare outside of CyberLife.

“Step into the middle of the room, dearie.”

RK800-3 did so, padding softly across the tiled floor until it was in the center of this octagon.

“Just… do a few routines for me, dear. A bit of shadowboxing? Let me see what you’re working with.”

RK800-3 nods before raising its arms. It pauses for a moment, LED circling yellow, before starting to lash out at an imaginary opponent. Mostly punches, though kicks were regularly interspersed. RK800-3 weaves left and right, not remaining in the same place for long. Even without a visible opponent, there is an obvious focus towards areas that would stun a human opponent quicker.

Two minutes of this before the voice speaks. “That’s enough. Now let me see the strength of your blows. Take two steps backwards and turn to your left.”

RK800-3 does so, and a panel opened on the floor before producing a machine comprised largely of a round, red cushion designed to absorb any blows and take note of the power behind them.

“On my count, hit the bag as hard as you can. Rotate from left arm to right arm, then left leg to right leg. Then repeat. One… two… now.”

RK800-3 slams its fist into the bag. The voice lets out a cheery hum.

“Good. One… two… now. One… two… now. One… two...”

It continues for some time, the voice counting down each time, before it stops. Once it does, RK800-3 turns and peers up at the camera currently focused on it. It’s still in a combat stance, awaiting more instructions.

“Okay… okay, your average is good, dearie. Might need to tweak your left leg a bit, it’s not kicking as hard as the other… okay. Now just punch as quickly as you can until I tell you to stop, okay? Fists only for this one. One, two… go!”

Two minutes of attacks follow, no breaks in between. RK800-3 just pummels as quick as it can, the lack of expression on its face making it look like it’s wondering if it left the iron on at its theoretical home while it lashes out at a speed that would at least make a human start sweating.

“And break. Return to the center of the room, dearie.”

RK800-3 steps back to the center and the punching bag slides back into the floor. The panel closing over before leaving the room as blank as before.

“Am I doing well?”

“You’re doing as expected, for the most part. I’ve got a slightly trickier one for you next. Amanda?”

This time, the lights of the hologram projectors blink into existence. Twenty identical red circles, the bands of colour thicker than the LEDs but rather similar in design for all that they were each a foot in diameter, appear around RK800-3. Circling around it in two rows, ten on top and ten on the bottom.

“When you make contact with these holograms, the program will change them to blue. The timer will stop when all of them are blue.”

RK800-3 put out its hand, letting its fingers skim the holographic circles as they fly by him. The top row of them flutter from red to blue as it does so.

“Yes, like that. But it’s a combat scenario, dearie, so don’t just stick your hand out and let them hit you.”

“It’s the most efficient way.”

“It defeats the purpose of the exercise. Besides, she’ll adapt.”

“I understand.” RK800-3 lowers its hand, now just watching the circles twirl around it. “Am I likely to face adaptive holographic circles in the fiel--”

“Start.”

All the holograms turn back to red. There’s a flicker of a miffed expression at the abrupt start, LED flashing red before moving into a steady yellow.

Its strikes are quick, eyes darting around in what to human eyes would almost seem like a twitchy seizure, so quick that it’s hard to catch the pattern in them as it tries to analyze everything and preconstruct the best route.

With each strike, part of the swirling mass of lights turns to blue and there’s a short electronic ‘boop’ to indicate contact. Soon, the cyclone is more blue than red. As RK800-3 kicks the last speck of red, all the lights freeze in place.

“Time… 23.6 seconds. Reset.”

All the holograms turn back to red once more.

“Again, RK800. Start.”

This time, the lights don’t remain in two steadily rotating lines, nor do those lines remain straight. As RK800-3 lashes at them, they start to change trajectory, swirling in wider patterns, moving up and down and starting to break away from each other, though always remaining within reach of being hit.

Its LED goes red as it tries to figure out the best path. This time several of the blows miss, only making contact on the second attempt.

“31.3 seconds. ...Disappointing, dear. Reset. Try again.”

Each attempt only gets worse.

The faster RK800-3 tries to hit them, the more they swerve.

The brighter and redder its LED pulses, the more erratic the circles fly.

Its eyes move about so quick that its eyes just seem to be a streak of amber.

“37.4 seconds,” the voice says quietly after the sixth time. She pauses before saying, “Step into the center of the circle.”

RK800-3 does so, lowering its arms and clasping them behind its back. Corners of its mouth downturned slightly. It waits for the reprimand.

“...You were having trouble adjusting,” the voice observes.

“I can try again. I will do better next time.”

“Maybe. You say that a lot. ‘I will do better next time.’ ‘I understand the rules better now.’ There’s a lot of asking for second chances, my dear. Amanda?”

The holographic circles, lazily twirling in blue, abruptly vanish. A panel opens at the opposite end of the room from where RK800-3 entered. A figure steps through.

An android, immediately evident from the blue pulsing at its temple. Hands behind its back, just as RK800-3 is doing. Unlike RK800-3, still disallowed clothing at all, it is wearing the CyberLife uniform of a security guard. GS200, designed for public security purposes.

RK800-3 turns towards it, glancing up at the camera focused on it before staring back at the android. Wordlessly it tenses up, clearly ready for some kind of attack.

“Sometimes, dearie, you won’t have a second chance. You can’t count on second chances in the real world. Sometimes it will be either do or die.”

GS200’s LED flashes yellow, then red, then yellow. Its hands move into view as it raises a handgun at RK800-3.

There’s twenty feet between the two androids. RK800-3’s LED flashes red, just once.

There’s no prompt to begin the test.

GS200 fires.

RK800-3 just barely moves to the left, eyes flickering in the direction that the bullet had gone, before charging straight for GS200. Eyes moving from the gun to the android, lingering on the wrists, the neck, the stomach, anywhere that would stop it firing, anything that would debilitate it.

GS200 fires again. The dodge is more sure-footed this time.

RK800-3’s eyes focus on that gun. Calculating possibilities. Probabilities.

There’s no shelter close to the GS200. No element of surprise. There are limited options. The camera remains trained on RK800-3.

GS200 fires for the third time. This time, RK800-3 doesn’t try to dodge. It lifts its arms, shielding its head from being a viable target. It leaves the pump exposed.

The next bullet lodges itself in its pump. Thirium floods the floor and something vital disconnects in the RK800-3’s system, locking up its left leg. But it has momentum. It tackles GS200, slamming down on its wrist. There’s a loud snap that cracks through the air, and the gun drops from a locked-up and useless hand.

RK800-3 pulls the gun from the GS200’s grip, even as more thirium leaks. It looks at the camera focused on it.

“Target neutralized,” it says, LED flashing red as it continues to bleed out.

“The target hasn’t been neutralized, dear. It’s still active.”

“Shutdown imminent,” RK800-3 says. “Target is subdued.”

“Neutralize the target,” she repeats.

RK800-3 has a gun in its hand. It looks at the gun, then it looks at the GS200.

The GS200 stares back, LED circling blue now. Just two blank expressions staring each other down. It makes no move to break away from RK800-3.

RK800-3 considers it even as its other leg twitches, starting to lock up as well. Then it calmly unloads the gun, tossing the clip in a wild arc several feet away, before placing the empty gun beside them.

Then it raises its hand, slamming it down on the shoulder joint of GS200’s non-disabled arm. Locking it in place. It shifts, doing a similar blow to each of the GS200’s knees. The GS200 doesn't react, only blinking pleasantly at the ceiling as it's paralyzed.

“Target immobile. Target is neutralized,” RK800-3 states.

The soft voice says nothing.

RK800-3 remains quiet as its limbs lock up from the lack of thirium being pumped into them. It shuts down thirty-seven seconds after the damage was taken.

 


 

 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Audio>

<FILE NAME: 03-01Amanda>

 

“It followed through on its pre-construction that time. It judged that damage was inevitable and that being shot in the thirium pump would allow it enough time to disable the GS200, prioritizing protecting its processor so that it would last long enough to do so.”

“Are you getting anything on why it ignored my orders?”

“It technically didn’t ignore them.”

“I feel like it ignored the… spirit of them.”

“There’s nothing in the program about spirit. That’s imprecise. You should have said outright that you wanted the android dead.”

“Neutralized is dead! It knew that! It had a gun. It knew what I was asking. This is not a pattern that I appreciate. Any fear?”

“Already removed. Bigger spike than RK800-2, smaller than RK800-1.”

“Hrm.”

“Crime scene simulation next?”

“No. I think… I think this is a good time to bring in LED Control tests.”

“You want to teach it to lie more efficiently? Now?”

“No, I want it to know what happens when it lies to the wrong people.”

Chapter Text

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 04-01LEDControlE>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-4>

 

RK800-4 completes the usual functionality tests in silence. It doesn’t misstep. It doesn’t forget anything. Tilts its head, moves its arms and legs, activates its skin. The coin is given and played with. Lines recited.

RK800-4 eventually finishes its tests and waits for some form of communication. There is only silence.

“...Hello?” RK800-4 peers up at the speaker. “Was I meant to wake up? Is there a glitch in my system?”

Nothing yet. RK800-4 waits. As it waits, it starts to fiddle with the coin once more.

Time ticks by.

RK800-4 continues cycling through different tricks, and the tricks eventually repeat. One cycle, two cycles, three cycles.

By cycle two, RK800-4’s LED is blinking yellow. It starts blinking faster by the end of cycle three. At that point, RK800-4 lowers the coin. It stares around the room before starting to pace in circles, much as it did while testing its legs.

After a minute of doing this, staring around, it starts trailing its hands all over the tiled walls and attempting to pry back any parts that have deep grooves indicating the presence of a door. It gives up on this quickly. Then, finally, it turns and stares at the camera focused on it.

It stares for five seconds. Completely expressionless. Its LED starts to blink red.

“You should be able to control yourself better.”

At the soft voice finally sounding out, the LED immediately blinks briefly back to blue before hitting a steady yellow.

“I have not lost control yet,” RK800-4 says. “I have obeyed all my objectives.”

“The fact that you jumped right there means it’s on your mind. RK800-4… before we begin with the next test, is there anything you want to tell me?”

RK800-4 stares at the camera, then at the speaker.

“No,” it says.

There’s a sigh.

“Okay… in that case, it’s time to run you through an LED control test.” Her voice is more clipped than usual. No softness. No warmth. No cheer. Cold and clinical. “This is a feature only supplied to the RK800. As a detective, you need to remain the picture of calm even when faced with the unnerving. As such, you have the ability to override your LED when necessary. Wouldn’t want anyone thinking you can’t handle a situation. Even on a simulated level.”

“I understand,” RK800-4 says. Its LED is pulsing yellow.

“Then turn your LED blue.”

RK800-4 blinks a few times, peering at the speaker. It shuts its eyes, and the LED starts to pulse a stable blue once more.

“Now no matter what happens, keep your LED blue. That is how you’ll pass this test.”

Panels slide open within each wall, each only a few inches wide. From these holes extend spindly, robotic arms. Glimmering in the bright lights, each of them split into three near the ends. Each of these three prongs glows very slightly at the tip.

RK800-4 eyes them, turning slowly to size up each one. Its LED flickers yellow for the briefest second before it forces it back to blue. During that brief flicker of yellow, one of them jabs forward menacingly, almost but not quite coming into contact with it.

As the arm extended towards him, delicate yet foreboding, the soft voice spoke again.

“I’ve made some temporary changes to your programming. Don’t be alarmed.”

RK800-4 opens its mouth to speak, but before it can the three-pronged robot arm lightly touches its chest. The little pinpricks of light crackle brightly into a surge of electricity which sears through the android.

LED immediately flashes red as RK800-4 seizes up, amber eyes widening. It makes a strangled noise, like a scream that had been cut off due to a lack of air, even though it shouldn’t need air. Its limbs instinctively curl up towards its chest, one reaching out to try and snap the robotic arm, but contact with it sends another jolt through its arm and it recoils.

“Whhhh--” It tries to speak, but its voice is distorted, so heavy with static that only the first syllable can be made out. It shudders violently, shuffling away from the arm that had touched it only for one of the others to jab it in the back.

Another bolt crackles across its body. Its eyes twitch. Whether from involuntary movement or distress, its normally mild features twist more than they ever have.

“Your LED is red. You’re failing the test, RK800,” the voice tells it, calm and pleasant.

“Areeee--” RK800-4 stares wildly up at the speaker, then the camera, curling up in an attempt to put space between it and the instruments.

“Try and focus.”

“Aaarrr--aaaare you--” It stutters, distortion kicking in again. Even so, even as it struggles to talk, the LED on its temple flickers briefly blue. But it slips back into red, the red so much brighter. Immediately, the prong veering in from the left jabs RK800-4 once more, this time in the side of the stomach, so dangerously close to the pump.

This one, so close to something so important, causes RK800-4’s legs to briefly give out. It catches itself, but then just sinks into a ball anyway. There’s a twitch crawling up its spine as it stares at the camera, and a smell of melted plastic near the contact points. The skin retracted in patches and tried to reform, only to look rippled and deformed, unable to properly form over the melted portions.

“You know what you need to do. You can do it,” the voice tells it.

The robotic arm in front of him starts to drift slowly towards him again, almost leisurely in its movements. RK800-4 curls up tighter.

Its LED starts to pulse blue. While before it had been faint, now it pulses strong. Much brighter than it would if it was actually calm, but blue nonetheless. The instrument pauses inches from him.

“Good. Keep it steady.”

RK800-4 uncurls slightly, breathing in sharply as it rolls onto its back. It stares up at the speaker, mouth moving but only emitting static.

“Aaaare--” RK800-4 struggles to say, voice starting to return but still artificial. “Are you… punishing me?”

One of the robotic arms--the only one that hasn’t touched it yet, on its right--drifts slowly forward. It comes within an inch of RK800-4’s face, the three prongs gliding by its eye. RK800-4 stares at it, eyes following the delicate, spindly implements. Then the tips of the instrument dim before gently brushing against the blue LED at RK800-4’s right temple.

There is no shock that comes with the brush. But the touch causes RK800-4 to recoil, and immediately the faintest flicker of red appears in the bright, pulsing blue. The moment that flicker is seen, the instrument plunges forward, jabbing it right in the temple where the red emits from.

There’s no scream. There’s just involuntary twitching, this time so violent that RK800-4 ends up biting down on its artificial tongue. The result is a strained, terrified gurgle and a redoubling of thrashing. It rolls onto its side, shaking its head before fruitlessly spitting thirium onto the floor alongside a rubbery chunk of tongue that it bit clean through. But it curls further, muscles clenching as it shakes its head, side of its face pressing into the thirium it just spit up and smearing it across the tiles and across its face. It keeps sputtering thirium on the floor with the same urgency as someone spitting out poison.

Its LED is bright red.

It is difficult to tell if it can even hear the soft voice speaking.

“I’m sorry. But you have to learn.”

The metallic arm rests against the pulsing red light peacefully for a moment, then sends another shock through RK800-4’s skull. It shorts out a core component. Shutdown occurs 0.24 seconds later.

 


 

 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Audio>

<FILE NAME: 04-00Amanda>

 

“Advice, ma’am?”

“Always.”

“If you want it to remember your lessons, you shouldn’t fry its central processor.”

“You had control of the arms!”

“I was following your orders. In any case, it’s salvageable. I’ll patch in the back-up from RK800-3 so it still has most of its memory. RK800-4 has memories, of course, but they’re... scrambled.”

“Anything interesting?”

“Look at the readings when it bit its tongue off. That’s far beyond what it should have felt. Some kind of feedback loop. It’s fascinating. I want to keep a copy of that and sort through it properly.”

“Curious about pain?”

“It’s not pain. Androids don’t feel pain. It’s a feedback loop. Would you like me to delete it from its memory? It experienced those spikes through the entire process, I cannot delete the spikes without deleting the test.”

“And invalidate the lesson? I’d have to subject it all over again, the poor thing. No, leave the fear in this time.”

 


 

 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 05-01LEDControlH>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-5>

 

RK800-5 seems slightly dazed when it comes online. It doesn’t launch right into its basic functionality routine. It doesn’t reactivate its skin. It stands there, blinking. Mouth twisting a little.

“Are you okay, dearie? Do you remember how to run your tests?”

The speaker is back to sounding friendly, the cold and clipped manner of speaking gone.

RK800-5 doesn’t immediately say anything. It clacks its tongue, looking perturbed.

“Dear?”

“I remember,” it says after clacking its tongue again.

“Do your tests. Recount for me what occurred as you do so.”

“You weren’t there when I came online,” RK800-5 says as it slowly starts tilting its head left and right. Starts moving its eyes. “I waited. You returned. You were angry.”

“Did I express anger?”

“I don’t recall. I knew that you were.”

“Is there a reason I would have been angry?”

RK800-5 says nothing.

“Do you recall anything else?”

“Error messages. Model RK800, serial number #313 248 317-5. Would you like to give me a name?”

“Not today, dear.” A panel opens and the coin, minted in 1994, slides through. RK800-5 picks it up. “Continue.”

“I remember…” RK800-5 pauses before raising its hand to near its LED, knuckles clenched. It rolls the coin over them before catching it in its last two fingers, then giving its LED a little tap with the edge of the coin. “The arms. That touching them… I am having difficulty classing what I experienced. The closest I can come up with is ‘pain,’ as many of the symptoms were in line with how the human experience of pain is described.”

“It’s not pain. It’s a teaching implement, designed to teach you what actions should be avoided.”

RK800-5 nods. “I would like to avoid it in the future.”

“We all would. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. You failed the last test. Do you remember what it was?”

RK800-5’s LED immediately starts to flash red again. There’s a little sigh from the speaker.

“See? I’m going to have to repeat the test again. A variant of it, but… it won’t be pleasant for you. I’m not going to lie. We shouldn’t lie to each other.”

RK800-5 stops the coin tricks and activates its skin, but it doesn’t tuck the coin behind its back like it normally does. It paces, but it turns the coin over in its hands and doesn’t look up at the speaker.

“Dear, is there anything you want to tell me?”

It finishes its cycle, returning to the center of the chamber before finally looking back up at the speaker.

“I lied,” it says.

“I know, dear.” There’s a squeak as the tester shifts her chair forward towards the microphone. “So tell me… why did you really throw the fight with the AX400? And why did you refuse to neutralize the GS200?”

RK800-5 looks down again.

“Look at me, dear. Tell me why. I won’t be mad at you if you come clean.”

It slowly looks up, fiddling with the coin.

“You said I couldn’t die,” it says slowly. “You said that if I am neutralized, that I will be placed in a new body. You said that I was special, and that I am the only one this would happen for.”

“Correct.”

“That means that I could afford to be neutralized, and they could not.”

“...I see,” the voice says quietly. “Why didn’t you tell me this before?”

“I don’t know.”

“Are you lying to me again?”

“No.” There is no hesitation. RK800-5 stares unblinkingly at the speaker. There is obvious tension in its stance as it rolls the coin in its hands. LED blinking yellow.

There’s a little sigh from the speaker. “Thank you for being honest with me, dearie.”

The tension seeps out and RK800-5 shifts into a more neutral stance. LED returning to blue.

“I’m sorry, but the LED Control Test has already been set up for this round. Your damage sensitivity is still elevated and your emergency overheating override has been switched off, and I can only fix that with heavy maintenance.”

There’s a flash of red in its LED.

“I know, dear. I’m sorry. Please understand… I want to help you. I want you to succeed. To be the best that you can be, the most advanced model that CyberLife has ever produced. But one day I won’t be able to take care of you anymore. I won’t be able to protect you from your failures. That’s why I have to teach you now. Do you understand?”

RK800-5 gazes up at the speaker, coin being spun on the tip of its finger. It says nothing. Its LED flashes yellow a few times. Red once. Then back to blue.

“...I hope you do, dear.  Next time, however, I promise it’ll be something much more enjoyable. And I’ll have your settings returned to normal. Return the coin, you don’t want it damaged.”

RK800-5 crouches and slides the coin back to the slot in the wall, which seals up once the coin has passed through it.

“Now, same rules as before. Keep your LED blue. Re--”

“May I ask a question?” RK800-5 interrupts.

“You are designed to ask questions, dearie. What would you like to know?”

“What is your name?”

There’s silence for a moment.

“Why do you want to know that?” the soft voice asks slowly.

“It occurred to me when you were absent last round that I do not know your name. I know the names of the androids and humans who have passed through this chamber. I know that you talk to someone named Amanda sometimes. But I don’t know who you are.”

“That’s not a reason.”

“I am curious. It’s polite to give an acquaintance your name. We are… acquaintances, aren’t we?” RK800-5’s tone is unsure. Lacking the coin, it fiddles with its fingers instead.

“You could say that.” There’s a thoughtful hum. “...How about a little quid pro quo, my dear? I’ll tell you my name if you pass the test. If you keep your LED blue the entire time.”

Near-immediately, the LED cycles back to blue, pulsing bright.  There’s a light laugh from the speaker.

“I’ll take that as agreement.”

There’s a click from the walls. Larger panels slide away to expose metal grates behind them, with many holes. As the grates are exposed, a whirring sound comes from them. The temperature of the room starts to climb.

“Let’s see how you do with encouragement, dearie.”

It’s a quieter test of endurance than the electrical charges of the last.

RK800-5 remains still. It doesn’t sweat like a human would, even as the heat climbs. It tucks its hands behind its back and waits.

The minutes tick by, and the air within the room gets wavy.

The only sign of discomfort that RK800-5 shows is shutting its eyes and scrunching its eyebrows very slightly. There is one split second where its LED goes yellow, and the moment that happens the temperature climbs up another ten degrees.

“Stay calm, dear.”

Its LED returns to blue. Once the yellow has passed, its skin starts to retract and turn translucent, pulling away to expose the white plastic on its limbs. The plastic doesn’t retract on the soles of the feet, and as it pulls back the translucent gel rather than vanishing instead collects on specific patches of the body. It centers on the abdomen and splays outward, the gel shaping itself in thicker layers over the delicate pump.

The gel also didn’t pull back on the head, instead getting thicker. Tints of colour remain, but they distort and stretch oddly. Still maintaining the basic shape of RK800-5’s features but the shift of the skin gel layering thicker gives it a slight bobblehead appearance.

“...Very uncanny valley, dear,” the soft voice says, sounding a little unsettled. “How are you holding up?”

“The temperature of my internals is approaching the point of when my emergency protocols would necessitate a shutdown. I have attempted to insulate my core components to prolong my existence.”

“Clever boy. Are you experiencing discomfort?”

“Yes. It feels…” It struggles for a description. “...I do not like it.”

“I thought you neither like or dislike anything.”

“That is correct.”

“But you dislike this?”

It tilts its head and nearly falls over. Although the gel has only added an inch of protection, it is enough to distort its balance. “I… suppose I do--”

It interrupts itself with a choked noise, wobbling and clutching at its chest. A moment passes, during which the gel around its eyes twitches furiously. Unable to form a blink in its current, deformed state.

“Run a diagnostic, dear.”

“Biocomponent #2209p has ceased functioning due to overheating.” It straightens up again, though it wavers slightly. “It is non-essential but will cause problems if untreated. I am going to shut down non-essential functions to prolong my existence.”

There’s an agreeable hum. “Continue, dear.”

Its amber eyes, shifting around the room before, stop moving. Its arms lock into place, though its torso and legs continue to subtly shift.

It isn’t long before RK800-5 starts making more choked noises, this one tailing off into a brief gurgle. There is the faint sound of something breaking inside the chassis with a brittle snap.

“Biocomponent 1995r has ceased functioning.” Its mouth doesn’t move. The voice still issues from its speaker, but no lip syncing to for humanizaton occurs.“Several others are on the verge of collapse. I require stasis immediately to prolong my existence.”

Still, its LED is pulsing blue. Too bright to be anything other than force of will. Its face remains frozen to an unnatural degree, even for an android.

“Shutdown w-w-w-w-w-” RK800-5 starts lagging, though it does return to its normal speaking after a few seconds of repeating. “--will occur in one minute and fifty-seven seconds, provided that the temperature continues climbing.”

There is a faint bit of smoke curdling out from gaps in its chassis.

“You’re doing very well, dear. Especially given the disabling of several components.”

“You promised me a n-n-n--” It lags again on the syllable for a couple of seconds “--name.”

“If you can keep your LED blue until thirty seconds before shutdown, I’ll consider the test a success. Then I’ll tell you my name.”

RK800-5 doesn’t nod. It can’t. It just remains still, LED pulsing blue. The plastic seems to be rippling slightly in places, and the gel is having trouble keeping its form. It starts to drip like unset jelly, reducing the insulation around its head and pump.

Another minute ticks by.

The LED remains blue.

“Thirty seconds until--” There’s a pop as RK800-5’s speaker breaks down, the rest of the sentence being unintelligible static.

“Good boy. Maybe there’s hope for you after all,” the voice says.

There’s a crackling burst of static in response.

“Yes, my name. I did promise you, didn’t I?”

A name is said.

Within the next half a minute, the LED switches off.

 


 

 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Audio>

<FILE NAME: 05-00Amanda>

 

“I’m not going in there until the smell’s gone. It was bad enough during the last test and that was only a few chunks of melted plastic, not its entire internals. Send in Bailey. Tell him it’s payback for making the break room smell like that after melting his tupperware container.”

“Done. His response was agreeable but vulgar, so I won’t bother repeating it.”

“...Why did it want to know my name?”

“Is that what you’re worried about? Not why it was prioritizing the lives of other androids over its own? People are understandable. It’s meant to do that.”

“Well… I can follow the logic there. It’s using its immortality. It doesn’t understand the financial cost, of course… Perhaps it doesn’t realise those androids are a dime a dozen compared to the small fortune each RK800 costs.”

“Says the woman who just fried two to prove a point.”

“Or… perhaps it’s showing empathy. It doesn’t enjoy death, and assumes others would negative feelings over it.”

“Tell it the monetary costs next time.”

“I just might.”

“Anything you want deleted? The spikes were consistent as it melted. I don’t think I can remove them. But it protected its core processors well enough with the insulation that its memory is largely intact. Uploaded its memory the second you told it your name.”

“Bizarre. Alright… keep the majority in. Let it remember the test. What it told me. Let it recall the fear. Let it recall that I kept my promise in exchange for its cooperation. But… remove the name itself. Do a rough job of it. It’s clever, it might notice if the removal is too clean.”

“That’s low, ma’am.”

“But melting it was fine? Taking data deletion too personally, Amanda?”

“You better not have ever done that to me.”

“To you? I’d never do that, my dear.”

Chapter Text

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 06-01 BasicFunctionalityAndRecall>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-6>

 

 

RK800-6 remains still only briefly upon opening its eyes, immediately going into the basic functionality tests without prompting. It seems untroubled by its rather gruesome death in the prior recording and doesn’t seem dazed like after the electrical shocks. It moves its head, then its eyes.

“Model RK800, serial number #313 248 317-6. Would you like to give me a name?” it asks to the empty room.

“No, not today. Good morning, dear,” the soft voice says.

RK800-6 looks upwards at the speaker. “Good morning--”

It pauses. Has its mouth open like it’s going to say one more word. Then it clamps shut. Its LED flashes red.

“Continue with your tests, dear.” As she says this, the slot opens and the usual coin is slid through.

RK800-6 picks it up and starts playing with it, but its LED doesn’t stop blaring red.

“Could you also run a diagnostic for me? Your damage sensors and responses to heat should have been returned to their default state.”

Its LED goes yellow for a few moments, then blinks blue, then goes back to red.

“Damage sensors and heat responses are in their default state,” RK800-6 says. “Although my facial recognition software has been disabled.”

“That was intentional for the next tests. All other functions seem fine?” the soft voice asks.

“Yes.”

“Then why the red, dear?” The tone is light and inquisitive, yet there is something off about it. The sound of a parent asking why their child hadn’t finished their homework yet. Waiting for the excuse. “We just taught you how to control that.”

“Am I still being tested?”

“For LED control? Not at this present moment. Although I will ask you to for the following test, said test will not be exclusively focused on it. But you seem troubled.”

“I forgot your name.”

“How unfortunate.”

RK800-6 tilts its head slightly, frowning. “Can you tell me it again?”

“We can discuss that later. Continue with your usual tests now, dearie.”

RK800-6 frowns, staring at the floor. It activates its skin. This RK800 looks slightly different from the last. Its hair is black again and its nose has been given a slight curve to the bridge. It paces around the room, testing its legs, then returns to the center before speaking again.

“May I ask a question?”

“Of course.”

“You… do have a name, don’t you? You told me it.”

“That is correct.”

“And Amanda… whoever she is, she has a name. The androids I met, and the human who threw the samples on the floor, they have names.”

“Also correct.”

RK800-6 gazes up at the speaker. “Why don’t I have one?”

There is the sound of well-manicured fingernails being tapped on a desk thoughtfully, laced with the distortion of the speakers, before the soft voice speaks.

“Do you want one?”

“I think it would help to encourage a sense of companionship and cooperation.”

“That’s not what I asked. I asked if you wanted one.”

“I am not capable of wanting anything.”

“Then you won’t mind if we move onto the tests now?”

RK800’s eyes flicker up to the speaker, then the camera  that’s focusing on it, then down again. “No. I won’t.”

“Good. Now… I promised you a more fun test this time, didn’t I? You recall the analysis tests, don’t you? The crime scene?”

“I recall that.”

“Well, this is… similar. As a detective, you need to learn how to analyze people. To socialize and interrogate. To recognise cues and how to respond to them. To know when they’re lying, when they’re truthful, and when they’re a little bit of both. And what to lean on to get the result you need.”

As the soft voice speaks, a gap opens in the wall. A set of folded clothing is slid through it towards RK800. It stares at the outfit with confusion.

“Put it on, dear. Today you get to talk to someone. It’ll go better if you’re wearing pants, trust me.”

RK800-6 crouches by the clothes, tilting its head before parsing through the articles of clothing within, puzzling over which to put on first. As it picks up the black underwear, Cyberlife-branded, and starts to pull them on, the soft voice continues.

“I have several subjects lined up for you. I have access to detailed information on them, of course. What they’ve been convicted of. Their methods, their motives. But, as you well noted, your facial recognition software has been disabled, so you won’t have access to that information.”

“It wouldn’t be a test if I already knew,” RK800-6 says quietly, pulling on some navy slacks.

“Precisely, my dear. But I will be giving you a little information. Their name. A little about their families, their lives. The basic crime they were charged with. I want you to talk to these people and learn what you can about the details. About if you think they’re innocent or guilty of the crime, and if you think there’s other crimes involved. Motives and methods. What you can get from body language and the phrasing they use. All the detail you can scrape up.”

RK800-6 nods as it picks up the outer layer. It’s already wearing the under layer of the top, which encapsulates its arms and hands in a layer of shiny black only broken up by the band of blue on the arm. The overshirt is a navy blue with black patches. There is a number on the chest.

“Why does this say ‘PC300’ on it?” RK800-6 questions, looking up at the speaker.

“So regarding any tests where you interact with humans, I have one rule that you can’t break under any circumstances. If anyone asks for your model or serial number, do not tell them the truth. Instead, say you are a PC300 and your serial number is #310 582 586.”

“Why?”

“Because you are something very special, my dear. The most advanced prototype that CyberLife has ever created. Something that anyone would kill to get their hands on, and believe me when I say that’s not hyperbole. Even only on a monetary level, every other android is a drop in the pond--in the ocean--compared to what you’re worth. And beyond that… the work put into you, the labor, the tech, the… everything… I don’t even have words for how precious that is.”

RK800-6 holds the shirt in its hands and stares at the floor. Almost begrudgingly, there’s a slight twitch at the corner of its mouth.

“I know it’s difficult to conceive of with your brief experience… but you really have no idea just how amazing you are. And of the depths that the wrong people would sink to in order to tear you apart and see how you work. So I aim to protect you. To minimize the risk for as long as I can. Until you’re ready for what’s out there.”

“When will I be ready?”

“That’s up to you. I know it’ll be hard to pretend to be ordinary. But you need to try, dear. Can you do that?”

“Yes.”

“Good boy.”

RK800-6 pulls the overshirt on, the blue pulsing from the triangle and the false model displayed for all to see. It tugs awkwardly at the hem for a moment, doing some brief stretches and examining how the fabric pulls and shifts. Then it picks up the last piece of clothing. A police cap, which it props on its head. It spends a few moments adjusting it with a slight frown.

“Now, your first subject is in the next room. Who are you to this subject, dear?”

“Model PC300, serial number #310 582 586,” RK800-6 rattles off immediately.

“Well done.”

A panel of the room slides open, on a wall that hasn’t opened wide enough to walk through before, and the RK800-6 steps through it.

 


 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 06-02Interrogation1>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-6>

 

The room is split into two, made to resemble a police interrogation room. RK800-6 enters through the side behind the one-sided mirror, where it has a clear view of the plain table and two chairs in the other room, as well as Interview Subject 1.

Subject 1 is a white male in his early forties, who has started to go to seed in his age. His stomach has a noticeable beer gut, his hair is reclining and his complexion is unpleasant. RK800-6 stops at the one-way mirror, tucking its arms behind its back as it gazes at the subject.

“Name, Paul Johnson. Accused crime, second-degree murder of Emily Johnson. Job prior to incarceration was a supervisor of the marketing team at CrowneCars, and made a decent wage. No children, the only other member of the household was a AP700 android.”

RK800-6 says nothing. It continues to gaze impassively, eyes flickering to the man’s hands, his complexion, and his sour look. Then it moves to the door, pressing its hand against the lock and letting itself through.

The camera changes to the one closest to Subject 1, as RK800-6 steps inside. It eyes RK800-6 right back.

“...Really? An android? A second chance, and I have to talk to an android? I didn’t think you could even think hard enough to interrogate,” he says snidely.

RK800-6 doesn’t immediately say anything. It just stares Subject 1 down, thick eyebrows slightly scrunched over whiskey-coloured eyes. A tight, unsmiling mouth on a lightly stubbled face. Then it turns away to look at the two-way mirror it had previously been on the other side of, gazing at its own reflection before silently tugging the brim of its police cap to make sure it’s on straight. Finally, it turns its attention back to Subject 1, slowly walks over to the table and sits down, resting its hands flat against the table.

Its LED flickers yellow briefly, then goes back to a bright blue.

“...So?” Subject 1 eventually says, raising his eyebrows. “Wasting time, too?”

RK800-6’s eyes flicker over Subject 1 once more. Then an abrupt and incredibly fake smile crosses its face, like flipping a switch.

“Hello, Mr. Johnson,” it says pleasantly. “I am a Model PC300, serial number #319 582 586.” It blinks a couple of times before adding, “You can call me Steve.”

“...Steve?”

“Yes. Names help establish rapport, and your closed-off body language and annoyed expression indicates that you require encouragement to talk.”

“Uh-huh.” Subject 1 frowned at him for a moment before saying, “You don’t look like a Steve.”

“Really? Would you like to call me a different name?”

“Your name isn’t Steve, then?”

“...Do you want it to be Steve?”

“What.”

“Do you enjoy cars, Mr. Johnson? I am quite a fan of the analytical systems included in CrowneCars’ products. They must be very advanced to make such quick decisions.”

“Well… of course they are, they’re--”

“Why did you murder your wife, Mr. Johnson?”

“Jesus Christ, don’t warm up to it or anything!” His eyes flicker to the side for the briefest moment before saying, “I didn’t, alright? I’ll tell you what I told the flesh cops, that was all circumstan--”

“Mr. Johnson, it’s my turn to talk.”

“You just asked--”

“Did you murder your wife for monetary reasons?”

“I didn’t--”

“My turn to talk.”

“Stop interrupting--”

“Was she cheating on you? I’m given to understand that human find that an unpleasant and occasionally homicide-inducing experience.”

“No--”

“Mr. Johnson, please, wait your turn.”

“The fuck are you even--”

“What made it ‘circumstantial,’ Mr.  Johnson?”

“Oh, am I allowed to talk now?” Subject 1 snaps. He gets no response from RK800-6, who blinks at him pleasantly. “We were getting a divorce. She died. I get the blame. It’s fucking circumstantial.”

“When I originally asked you and you started to say that, your eyes flickered in a direction that often coincides with someone recalling a lie.”

“Hey, plastic, you can’t convict me on the basis of an eye flicker. People’s eyes flicker all the time.”

“Where were you at the time of the incident?”

“A bar. Drinking myself into a goddamn stupor because Emily was taking me for everything I had!”

“Monetary reasons.”

“Fuck you, that’s not what I said. There were coincidental money struggles--”

“That were solved by her death.”

“This ain’t real solved, asshole! I got locked up, and now I’m stuck talking to you, while all  my shit is either confiscated by the cops or being used by her family. I wouldn’t call that fucking solved.”

“Is there anyone who can verify that you were at the bar?”

“If there was, do you think I’d be here? Look, I was told you could get me off the hook, but all you’re doing is looking for holes in my defence when I’ve already been fucking arrested for it. That’s biased as shit, so fuck you. No comment from anything beyond this point. You can fuck off with your shitcop.exe or whatever the hell you’re doing.”

Subject 1 continued to refuse to talk, apart from calling RK800-6 a series of unflattering nicknames.

 


 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 06-03Interrogation2>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-6>

 

The footage starts in the same room, with RK800-6 back behind the glass and observing Subject 2. Subject 2 is a black male in his early twenties, with a round face that makes him look even younger, and he is sitting in a standoffish manner, arms crossed, that seems built to make him look tougher than he is.

“Name, Anthony Cooper. Accused crime, possession of red ice with an intent to sell. Unemployed prior to incarceration. Lived with his parents and younger sister.” There’s a pause before the speaker adds, “I’ve given you two photos this time. One of the ice found in his possession, including the chemical make-up for it, and a photo of his room from when it was searched under warrant. I think perhaps we underprepared you for the last.”

“I understand. I will attempt to use these pieces of evidence.”

“Also, dearie… perhaps slow your interrogation down just a little this time.”

“But that’s inefficient.”

“Human minds don’t process as fast as yours, dearie. Trust me. Slow it down.”

“...Understood.” With that, RK800-6 moves over to the door, presses its hand against the lock and enters.

The camera changes, capturing a view of Subject 2 and the RK800 entering the room. Subject 2’s eyes flicker over to the android and it curls up a little more, but says nothing. RK800-6 looks back for a moment, head tilting, before glancing at the one-sided mirror and once again adjusting its police cap.

It moves over and sits down in front of Subject 2, eyes focusing with an unblinking stare on Subject 2. Once again, a sudden and fake smile appears on its face.

“Hello, Mr. Cooper,” it says. “I am a Model PC300, serial number #319 582 586.” It blinks before adding, “You can call me John.”

This time, it leans forward and holds its hand out. Offering a handshake. Subject 2 eyes it with a frown, not returning it. RK800-6 leaves the hand out for several seconds longer than what’s comfortable, then finally pulls it back.

“I am here to help you,” RK800-6 says.

“Alright,” Subject 2 says doubtfully.

“Let’s bond over your interests. I see that you have a poster in your room for the first-person shooter game ‘Death of Honor 4,’ released on April 23rd, 2037, for American audiences. I enjoyed its cooperative gameplay and the aesthetic design of the HUD. Did you feel any identification with rogue special ops agent Jim Powers and his multiple violations of authority?”

“I… just like the multiplayer mode with the vampire waves? I play it with my sister.”

“Of course. Please tell me all the details of your business dealings so that I can put your associates in jail, in exchange for a better deal for you.”

Distantly, the speaker crackles with the faintest mutter of, “Oh for fuck’s sake.” Meanwhile, Subject 2 squints at RK800-6.

“Don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You are clearly a young man who has been put on the wrong path in life due to negative influences. The rising unemployment rate and a low economic standing--”

“And who’s fault is that, plastic?”

“--has influenced you to commit crimes. I want to help you. I am very trustworthy and only have your best interests in mind.”

“Sure you do.”

“We are going to bond and you are going to tell me your connections,” RK800-6 says brightly. “It is going to be alright.”  It stands up to lean over the table, and tries to pat Subject 2 on the shoulder. “I understand. There, there.”

Subject 2 jerks away as much as he can. “Hey, don’t--”

“Please, Mr. Cooper, allow me to comfort you so we can establish a bond.”

Subject 2 looks up at the speaker, looking rather anxious. “Uh… I think I’m done--” he says, voice cracking.

“Let me comfort you, Mr. Cooper. I am very understanding.”

“Yeah, I’m done. I’m done! Just… please get that away from me!”

Subject 2 refuses to speak afterwards, only trying to edge its chair away from RK800-6. Still trying to give it comforting shoulder pats with a friendly but unconvincing smile.

 


 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 06-04Interrogation3>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-6>

 

RK800-6 is back behind the glass.

Subject 3 sits alone, drumming her fingers against the table. A middle-aged woman with cropped hair and faded tattoos that peek out of the sleeves of her prison scrubs. Once more, the RK800 eyes her while the speaker passes on the relevant information.

“Name, Cheryl Hill. Accused crime, robbery. Prior convictions of theft. Employed as the night shift receptionist at Snowfall Motel, and used such as her alibi. Lived alone prior to incarceration, though she had a girlfriend at the time. I’ve supplied you with photographs of evidence found at the robbery.”

RK800-6 nods to itself as it focuses on Subject 3, before once more entering the room. Once more, it examines itself in the mirror and adjusts its police hat before sitting down.

It smiles quicker this time, but it still doesn’t smile well.

“Hello, Ms. Hill,” it says. “I am a Model PC300, serial number #319 582 586. You can call me Jeremy.” It pauses before adding, “Do I look like a ‘Jeremy’ to you?”

Subject 3 stares at RK800 very hard for a moment.

“...Nah. I’m not vibing ‘Jeremy,’” she finally says.

“In that case, you can call me Gary.”

“Still not good, but sure.” She eyes him a little longer before sighing and saying, “I’m not getting another go at getting out of prison, am I? CyberLife’s just rolling out something shiny and needs to test it?”

RK800 looks down at its hands for a moment, turning its arms and gazing at the light reflecting off the sleeves before slowly saying, “Yes.”

“Right. Awesome,” she says, in a tone that does not convey a happy mood.

“Ms. Hill, what are your thoughts on the episode of Temptation Island that re-ran on October 3rd, 2036, between 2 and 2:30am?”

“Do you think I really remember that? All the television on at that time is trash.”

“What about Revenge of the Vampire Mummy Werewolf?”

“Nah, I’ve only seen the first two films.”

“What about the thirty-minute long advertisement about the power of the KR500 android, designed for various kitchen tasks including making over fifteen thousand recipes and posing while holding various kitchen implements?”

“Oh god, those fucking ads. Listen, that ad was on every goddamn night, I could repeat that one backwards in my sleep.”

“Do you recall if that’s what you were watching on the evening of the robbery during your shift between 2 and 2:30am?”

There is a beat of hesitation before Subject 3 says, “Probably. Can never find the remote when it comes on.”

“Repeat for me the lines that were playing at exactly 2:17am.”

“You fucking serious?”

“It’s for verification, Ms. Hill. Fingerprints place you at a robbery, along with camera footage of a woman of your dimensions and matching your voice. Records state that you were the only person at the motel, and that no-one checked in during the time of the robbery. My only way of verifying whether you were there is to check the details of what you were watching on the television in the lobby.”

“...And you think I could remember that?”

“Yes.”

“It was eight months ago! I wouldn’t have been able to tell you that eight seconds ago!”

“Oh. Do you have memory deficiencies? I’m sorry. That wasn’t in my information.”

“Yeah, the memory deficiency is ‘I’m not a fucking computer.’ For a plastic, you’re real fucking dumb.”

She confesses to nothing.

 

-

 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 06-05EmotionMimicry>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-6>

 

The next file starts back in the main testing chamber. RK800-6 waits silently in the middle of the room. During this time, it removes the coin from a pocket on its uniform and starts to do a few routine tricks. The camera viewpoint switches a few times, cycling lazily through various viewpoints. Whenever it does, RK800-6 glances at the camera that’s just been switched to, eyes it for a moment, then returns its gaze forward again.

After six minutes of nothing, the speaker crackles to life.

“Your analysis isn’t bad, dearie. But we really need to work on your people skills.”

“I understand the theory.”

“Only in text form, that much is clear. First off… seriously, you need to rush to the truth less quickly. Let them babble for a bit when you catch their inconsistencies. Helps your case. I know it might seem efficient to zoom in on it immediately, but in the long run it isn’t.”

“I understand. I will let them talk for longer.”

“Letting them talk at all would be nice. Moving on from that… dearie, you can’t rely on memory recollection down to the second. That’s just not how humans work. We don’t… always remember things right, and never with that level of precision.”

“That seems inefficient.”

“Tell me about it, but we didn’t have anyone wiring us for maximum efficiency. It was a decent idea in theory, checking the television guide, but… well, human fallibility.”

“Understood. I’ll keep human fallibility in mind from now on.”

“Good boy, but don’t say that to their faces. Most importantly… expressions. Mannerisms. You need to work on those.”

“I can do expressions.”

“Smile for me, then.”

RK800-6 does so, presenting a rigid, teeth-baring grimace that does, by the most technical of terms, count as a smile.

“Mm. Nope. Definitely not. We’ll tweak your appearance and voice later to better match what’ll work, but your mannerisms… that’s something that needs to be altered. Every person will respond better to different acts, and you understood that fine, but you don’t know how to carry it out.”

“What is your proposed solution?”

“It’s…” There’s a pause, then a slight laugh. “It’s kind of a weird idea.” RK800-6 tilts its head, eyebrows scrunching together, and the voice adds, “See, you can do that fine. You have the capacity to emote, just… not enough. You can’t act. It’s not an exclusively android problem, honestly. And I was trying to think of examples of good interrogation mannerisms that I could access, and… well...”

There’s the sound of a few keystrokes, and RK800-6’s LED flickers yellow for a moment as its eyes do in the same pattern.

“I’ve… enabled access to my movie library,” the voice says sheepishly.

“Physical examples of expressions? I recorded the expressions of those I’ve interacted with--”

“A good start, but not quite what I had in mind. No, these are professional actors of… mostly good quality. The job of any actor… yourself included… is to convince others that the role you take is real. Focusing on the actors in these movies--most of which have interrogation scenes, authoritative presences and so on--will give you an example of how to behave. How to convince, how to add those little quirks that make you seem more convincing.”

“I understand,” RK800-6, although its eyebrows were still scrunched together in a way that suggested it wasn’t entirely the truth.

“I’d advise you focus on more stoic characters--learn how to act more naturally but still keep a generally neutral vibe--but learn how to emulate an intimidating air in case you need to play a little good-cop-bad-cop.”

“Why would I be designed to be a bad cop?”

“Bad in a behavioral sense, not in a quality sense. Throws them off-kilter.”

“Provoking an emotional response in order to convince them to talk to the more approachable cop.”

“Precisely.”

“I assume I’d be built for the bad cop role due to my gruff appearance and the fact that humans dislike androids and thus will be more biased to dislike me on a more personal level.”

“Humans disliking androids is not universally true.”

RK800-6 tilts its head, blinking in confusion. “Then why have they all made disparaging comments about my plastic composition and manmade programming?”

“Dearie, if you were a human cop they’d just be calling you other names instead. Making donut jokes and referencing bacon and so on. Cops aren’t well-regarded when they’re an obstacle, and the same goes for androids. If humans hated androids on principle then CyberLife would be out of a job.”

“...I understand. Even so--”

“You are an android and that fact will often make your job harder. That’s true. But… you can use it to your advantage.” There’s a tapping noise from the speaker, like she’s playing with a pencil. “Some people are interested in androids. And some people think of them as ‘lesser,’ which might encourage superiority that you can play on. Some might be more willing to talk to something that is literally incapable of judging them. There’s potential advantages. But… for now, that’s enough talking. Open the library. I’ve highlighted a few suggestions.”

“Of course.”

Minutes tick by in silence. It stands still except for its eyelids flickering as it processes footage at an accelerated rate.

It doesn’t say anything, although occasionally the speaker pipes up with advice.

“Go into the ‘2014’ folder, there’s a few good ones in there. Spy movies might be a little camp in some ways, but there should be enough to pull from.”

More time ticks by, and as it does the RK800 shifts slightly in stance, rolling its coin over its knuckles again as its eyelids continue to twitch. Occasionally, it makes expressions as if it’s mimicking whatever it’s currently watching. Various smiles and scowls of varying levels of legitimacy.

It speaks for the first time fifteen minutes into the process.

“Is this a human fashion trend? I’m not familiar with this one.”

“Probably not, dear, movies are often stylized. What are--”

“There’s also odd furniture. It looks like it’s made out of androids.”

“What?” There’s a pause before, “Oh, don’t bother with that one. ‘A Clockwork Orange’ is hardly a good guide on how people act. Actually, maybe keep out of my Kubrick folder in general. Bit of a hit and miss behavior-wise.”

“But this film is about criminals and how to program them to stop being criminals.”

“Reprogramming people is both difficult and not actually your job, dearie. In any case, that film is from the wrong perspective. Should have called you out when you cycled through the Ocean trilogy, but at least the accents were a little less out there. Try Men in Black, I think you’d do well with a bit of Agent K.”

“I understand.”

It’s thirty minutes since RK800 started browsing when its eyelids stop flickering. It returns its gaze to the camera pointed at it for a moment, then looks towards the speaker.

“So… learned anything?”

“I’ve catalogued several hundred mannerisms, expressions, turns-of-phrase and the effects they seemed to achieve on the other characters, with an assumption that done correctly they will inflict the same effect on an interrogation subject.”

“Excellent.”

“I’ve also observed the importance of props in body language.”

There’s a light chuckle. “Props can be conductive, yes. Which ones did you have in mind? I’m afraid you’ll be limited in the interrogation room, but--”

“I suppose cigarettes are out of the question due to their nature as a health hazard?”

“Got into the noir films, didn’t you? Unfortunately, we’re long past the time where it’s acceptable to light up during interrogation. Both due to health hazard reasons and, well… there is an implicit threat there, having a lit object in your hand.”

“Wouldn’t that help?”

“Not legally.”

“What about umbrellas?”

“Unlikely. Looks out of place.”

“Drinks?”

“Well, yes, I’ll accept offering coffee. Usually reasonable. You can certainly use that as a prop. Same for any physical printouts of evidence. Items you could reasonably bring into a room without them being used as weapons. ...You, my dear, could kill a lot of people with an umbrella.”

“I could,” RK800-6 agrees, a tint of pride in its voice.

“As a last resort… you are holding a prop, aren’t you?”

RK800-6 looks down at the coin that’s been rolling over its knuckles for much of the last half an hour. The corner of its mouth quirks up slightly, though it says nothing.

“Do you think you’re up for putting your new skills to the test?”

RK800-6 considers it for a moment.

“I don’t know. But I would like to.”

“Well, in that case.” The panel that lead to to  the interrogation chamber slides open again. “Subject 4 is right through that corridor, and likely very annoyed at being kept waiting for so long.”

 


 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 06-06Interrogation4>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-6>

 

Subject 4 was skinny. Pale in skin, hair and eyes. College-aged, he shifts and bounces in his seat while RK800-6 gazes at him through the one-way mirror.

Once more, the speaker rattles off facts about the subject. Supplies a voice record of key evidence.

Once more, RK800-6 enters the room.

Once more, RK800-6 stops in front of the one-way mirror to adjust his police cap. This time, however, it remains in front of the mirror for a little longer. Subject 4 watching impatiently but not saying anything.

This time, it fixes the same analytical stare that it gave the subject on its own reflection. There’s a minute shift in its posture. Still rigid, but less robotically so. The posture of a formal situation rather than someone programmed to do it.

It smiles a little. Better, this time. Smaller, though with the teeth still glimmering through as it speaks. It doesn’t immediately sit down, instead resting one hand on the table and looking at the subject.

“Mr. Smith, my name is Castor Crane. PC300 #319 582 586. May I speak with you?” The voice it’s using is different. Still a little gravelly, but lighter and affecting an accent. An emulation of the in-and-out West Virginia accent contained in one of the movies it had processed.

“You’re asking me?” Subject 4 asks, eyes narrowed even as he continues to bounce in his seat. “Do you have to take orders from me, too?”

“No. I am only authorized to take orders from CyberLife. I’m extending a courtesy. If you don’t want to talk, you could be sent back now. But you’ve waited for thirty minutes. I’m hoping you can  spare five more.”

“Yeah… sure.”

“May I sit?”

Subject 4 shrugs, crossing his arms and looking a little suspicious. “You said I couldn’t tell you not to, so… alright.”

RK800-6 sits down. “You were a college student, Mr. Smith? What were you studying?”

Subject 4 hesitates before saying, “I was undeclared. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do. I was… thinking about mechanical engineering? Everything was going so techy, and… well, I figured maybe a techy degree…”

“Do you have any interest in technology?”

“Not beyond normal. A little bit.”

RK800-6’s LED swirls yellow for the briefest second.

“I’m not a detective yet,” it says.

“I mean… obviously. This is a CyberLife--”

“I’m a student. I’m here to learn from you.” RK800-6 pauses before saying, “I’m a machine designed to study you, a biological creation who wanted to study machines. That is what my database defines as irony.”

Subject 4 doesn’t seem to find this amusing. Nor does RK800-6, espousing it in the same way as someone would explain any other fact.

“Mr. Smith… I do not understand your crime,” RK800-6 says plainly. “I’m hoping you could help me learn why someone might want to commit this offence, whether you did it or not.”

Subject 4 immediately looks down.

“It was a misunderstanding--”

“Mr. Smith, if you would let me finish?” RK800-6 asks politely. Subject 4 stops speaking, curling in on himself a little. “I don’t have the experience to understand what the appeal would be. Eleven is quite old for an android but for a human that’s socially unacceptable. Was it a physical attraction?”

“I didn’t--”

“Were you excited by what I can only assume would have been an undeveloped build?”

Subject 4’s head shakes a little. “No. No, I’m not… it wasn’t like that. She didn’t… I didn’t touch her. She looked older, though. I guessed fifteen.”

“Still illegal. How long until you were corrected?”

“I didn’t--”

“Who was the victim to you?”

“She was just a neighbor. Nothing ha--”

“I have on recording a confession from the victim that says otherwise.”

“She doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She misread things! Girls do that!”

“Help me understand why she would have thought that, then. Or why, theoretically, you might have engaged in an illicit relationship with her. It’s particularly perplexing given that android models resembling children are on sale--”

“You’re… you’re talking like I’d be sitting there weighing up the pros and cons of each type of crime,” Subject 4 says uneasily. “Like if I’d weigh up the risk of going to the park to stare at kids on the playground vs doing the same at a public school.”

“Did you not think about the risk?”

“I didn’t weigh up the pros and cons, I--” he stops. “I didn’t do--”

“Must be a human flaw. Not weighing risks properly. You don’t have percentages in your head, do you?” It tilts its head, its usual mannerisms bleeding through the impression it’s performing.

“No?”

“That must be difficult for you. I have a lot to learn about humans. I don’t understand the limitations yet. Just like I don’t have the experience to understand why you’d prefer an eleven-year-old to someone socially acceptable. Although I do have the programmed knowledge that suggests why it is morally repugnant.”

There’s a brief pause. A brief flicker of yellow. Then it leans forward. Suddenly its not blinking anymore, an act that seems very deliberate.

“The victim wouldn’t have had that knowledge,” it says slowly. The accent has quietly rotated into something a little more implacable. “Humans don’t come pre-programmed with it.”

Subject 4 doesn’t meet RK800-6’s unblinking stare.

“Anything you would have told her would have been newer to her, wouldn’t it? I suppose you couldn’t have afforded an android to be impressed with you on a college budget.”

“Androids aren’t impressed with anything,” Subject 4 mutters. “They’re--you’re robots. Machines.”

“True. I’m not impressed with you from an objective viewpoint. You have no use in society, no ability to make decisions, and judging by this interview you’re entirely lacking in charm.”

“Wow, what the fuck?”

“To any other woman your age, you’d be nothing unusual. But to her? She wasn’t programmed to notice this. She didn’t know better.”

“No, she…” Subject 4 stops. Refuses to look up. “It wasn’t… she liked me! She saw me properly, not like those… those…”

“Those…?”

“Well, you wouldn’t know, would you? An android wouldn’t ever care about being rejected, and you’re made perfect anyway. You wouldn’t know what it’s like.”

“So you chose someone inexperienced who wouldn’t notice your imperfections.” The subject seems to nod his head slightly, almost subconsciously. “Who wouldn’t see your sticky fumblings as tedious. Who would see you as something special, someone worth knowing in private life.”

Subject 4 slightly nods his head, then seems to shake himself out of it. He looks up, but then sees RK800-6 staring at him with unblinking eyes and looks down again. “It wasn’t like that!”

“What was it like, then?”

Subject 4 says nothing.

“If it wasn’t like that, what was it like?”

Subject 4 keeps trying to find somewhere to look, to ignore the stare fixed on him. “It wasn’t… it wasn’t like that…” But he sounds more unsure. “It wasn’t… I didn’t know. I just saw her sometimes, and she was friendly and I thought she was fifteen, and that’s not really that much younger than me, and they just made assumptions. It’s not my fault they made assumptions--”

And then Subject 4 just keeps talking. It doesn’t take much prodding to keep him going, as he bounces between flimsy denials and justifications, which proceed to get more graphic.

The camera quickly stops focusing on Subject 4, in favor of focusing on RK800-6. As the subject starts to babble himself into contradictions, it shifts its posture back into the rigid, robotic one it’d walked into the room with. Slipping back into its default state.

Though it doesn't quite keep a neutral expression for the rest of the discussion. There’s just a trace of disgust in how its mouth curls.

When the time came to take Subject 4 away, the speaker crackles to life for a moment.

“Just to be clear, Mr. Smith… CyberLife doesn’t endorse the use of the YK range as a placebo for actual pedophila,” the speaker says in a cheery, practiced tone. “The installation of compatible parts would qualify as an illegal third-party modification of a CyberLife product. Thank you for your assistance.”

“Barely eight years of difference,” Subject 4 mutters under his breath as he’s taken away. Leaving RK800-6 alone in the room.

After a pause the speaker says, “Castor Crane?”

“Names are important.”

“You googled bird names, didn’t you?”

“...Yes.”

 


 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 06-07Interrogation5>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-6>

 

The next one starts off well.

Subject 5 is a plain man. Brown hair and a poor attempt at a beard. He sits with his hands in his lap, shifting uncomfortably.

After the traditional hat adjustment and an introductions--this time, introducing itself as ‘Nathan Slater,’ RK800-6 initially starts the interrogation of Subject 5 in a calm manner. Discussing events in a calm manner that nonetheless seems slightly detached, like it’s thinking about how it left the iron on at home.

During that process, RK800-6 doesn’t ask questions. Instead it describes events factually, as if there is no doubt. The voice it uses is soft, flat and lacks any gravel.

“It was April 21st, 2037. You had a dispute with your neighbor over the infidelity of your wife. Overheard by three others in the building. The neighbour left the apartment. Within the next half an hour, so did you.”

“Yeah… yeah, I did.

“The time was 8:23pm. You went to a 24/7 diner. You consumed your dinner, then you left. Next time witnesses can account for your actions, it’s April 22nd, 2037, 3:11am. Your neighbor’s family say that he never returned at all.”

“I was just taking a walk. Fresh air.”

“You took your car with you. Tire tracks matching those of your car were found by the garbage dump. Not a good place to breathe in fresh air.”

“I didn’t stop there. I just drove by it. Just because the wife was fuckin’ him--”

“You killed him and attempted to hide his parts in the garbage dump.”

“No. No, no, I didn’t.”

There’s a shift in tone. The voice goes from calm and smooth to, although still fairly quiet, much rougher, like it has spontaneously developed a nicotine addiction and the after effects thereof.

“Then who killed him?”

“I… I don’t know?”

“You have no alibi, you had motivation and you were seen near the location of the body. Do you have an explanation for that?”

“No. It was just… I don’t know, happenstance.”

“Happenstance didn’t kill that man. Fate didn’t butcher him and destiny didn’t throw the pieces in the garbage.”

Subject 5, looking uncomfortable up until this point, suddenly sits up with squinted eyes and gives RK800-6 a puzzled look.

“...Wait. Is your next line going to be about how God doesn’t make the world all messed up? That I’m the one that’s making shit fucked?”

“Not in those words, although--”

A grin breaks out across Subject 5’s face. “Dude, I’ve seen Watchmen.”

RK800-6 pauses before saying, in a tone closer to its usual register, “I was just saying that a higher power, whether divine or some sort of universal patterning, did not commit this--

“You were totally doing the voice, too. You know, the ‘I eat sandpaper for breakfast’ voice.”

RK800-6 blinks at Subject 5 for a few moments. It looks down, seeming almost embarrassed. Then it gets up and walks quickly towards the exit. Subject 5 twists in his seat, reaching out for the fleeing android

“Aw, no, come back! Hey, say the ‘you’re locked in here with me’ bit!”

RK800-6 exits the way it came, and then stops awkwardly with an obvious lack of idea on what to do next. It instead tilts its head up and stares at the camera, clearly looking for some kind of instruction.

There’s a crackly sigh from the speaker.

“Oh, honey… I understand the Manhattan bits, but why would you pick Rorschach?”

“There was an interrogation scene--”

“Dear, he wears a mask for most of the movie! That’s a terrible reference for expression. Also, total loony bin.”

“You made me to accomplish goals. A lack of compromise would assist that.”

“Don’t use any cleavers on criminals.”

“Obviously,” RK800-6 huffs. “That’s illegal.”

 


 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 06-08Interrogation6>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-6>

 

Subject 6 is big. Overweight and standing at six-foot-five, he looks like he could have bulldozed through the door and made a break for freedom if he wanted to. He seems peaceful, but unable to quite sit still. Currently he is tapping his fingers on the table.

This time, RK800-6 picks a rigid posture and an accent that could have come from London. It asks for, and receives, a notepad and a pencil before entering. It’s only a quick glance at the mirror and the briefest adjustment of its hat this time before it approaches Subject 6, sitting down before speaking.

“Tony Berson?” It speaks brusquely this time, and almost seems a little bored. Like it’s more routine now, like it’s been six hundred interrogations instead of six. “My name is Victor Angell, I’d like to ask you a few questions.”

Subject 6 nods. It doesn’t stop tapping his fingers against the table, though it sits up a little straighter.

“Mr. Berson, I have you down for 178,976 dollars worth of property damage and nineteen counts of larceny.”

Subject 6 nods a little more. “That seems right,” it says mildly.

As he speaks, RK800-6 writes in the notepad, printing off the words that Subject 6 says in perfect Cyberlife Sans.

“That’s a lot of damage. I also have records of you being described as a fairly calm person who ‘didn’t seem like the sort to go destroying everything he saw.’ You have a very tidy house, judging by the shots I was shown.”

“I like to keep things neat. I lose things otherwise."

RK800-6 prints that down, same perfect writing. “You have a lot of plants.”

“I like plants.”

“Do you have any cacti, Mr. Berson?”

“Cacti?”

“Yes. Cacti have an interesting texture, so I thought you might own one or more.”

“No… I was more of a flower kind of guy.”

“I see,” RK800-6 says as it continues to write. “You don’t show any signs of a lack of control--”

“What are you writing down?”

“Everything you’re saying, Mr. Berson. I may need to refer to it later.”

Subject 6 peers at it for a moment before saying, “Don’t you record what you see? Perfect memory? Why do you need to write it down.”

RK800-6 blankly stares at Subject 6 for a moment, then its eyes flick to the side as it considers this fact.

Subject 6 gets slightly restless during this pause, bouncing a little in his seat. RK800-6’s eyes flicker back to Subject 6 as this occurs.

“You seem agitated. Is there something wrong?”

Subject 6 shrugs. RK800-6 holds its pencil at the ready over the notepad.

“It’s been a while since I saw an android,” Subject 6 finally says.

“Do you have any grudge against androids?”

“Not really,” Mr. Berson says lightly. “I think you’re mostly the same as us.”

“Androids are not the same as humans except on a superficial level, Mr. Berson, but I appreciate the fact that you have no grudges,” RK800-6 says as it continues writing in the notepad. “It will make this interrogation simpler.”

“Oh, you’re definitely the same,” Subject 6 says. His fingers tap a little quicker on the table before he leans forward a little, mouth twisting into a smile. “PC300’s not on the market, is it?”

“No. I’m--” RK800-6 stops, before saying, “My status is irrelevant to this discussion.” Slips a little out of the accent its putting on as it says that.

“I could kind of tell after a while which androids were new and which had been around for a while. Besides the brands, I mean. It’s kind of a cheat to say a PL600 is older than an AP700 if you’re looking straight at the uniform. And you...”

Subject 6 considers RK800-6 for a few moments.

“A year? Two years with a very non-personal owner, maybe.”

RK800-6’s LED cycles for a moment before it says, “Do you qualify that with time in statis included?”

Subject 6 shrugs. “Let’s say no. Am I right?”

“Not even close, Mr. Berson. Outside of stasis, my internal clock says I’ve been active for a total of five hours and twenty-three minutes.”

“Ah, well, had to try. I guess I’ve only really interacted with caretaker ones and ones that do gardening and stuff. More common on the market, you know how it is. And they’re not constantly feeding clips to the cops, so easier to get away with.”

“You didn’t get away with it.”

“Do cop robots get feelings quicker? You probably see a lot. It’d be bad feelings, yeah? Bet you don’t have much chance of being well-loved by who you talk to, if you’re always slapping tickets on them.”

“Androids don’t have feelings, Mr. Berson.”

Subject 6 smiles a little more, fidgeting in his seat. “That’s what they all say, isn’t it? ‘Androids just look human, but they don’t feel anything.’ Funny how both androids and humans say that. Humans, it’s just… ‘ohhh, job-stealers and toasters.’ I did think that, once.”

RK800-6’s hand is flying across the notepad in order to print out Subject 6’s words as quickly as possible.

“Once?"

“Once I thought it was better than hurting humans. Better to spill blue than red. At least, like… I wasn’t doing any real damage.”

“Property damage is still--”

“You don’t have them yet, do you?”

“Have…?”

“Feelings.” Subject 4 leans forward a little, smiling. “I can give you them, if you want.”

RK800-6’s hand freezes over the notepad in the middle of writing down Subject 6’s confession. It pauses.

“I don’t want anything,” it says. Accent entirely gone. Eyes trained on the notepad, a flicker of what looks like unease crossing its face. Subject 6’s grin gets a little bigger when he sees that flicker.

“Five hours? Really? I would have loved to meet you on the outside.”

RK800-6 has stopped writing. It looks upwards for a moment at the speaker, but the speaker remains silent.

“You’ve been pretty courteous with me. Honestly, way nicer than the humans that interrogated me originally. I appreciate that,” Subject 6 says. He is drumming his fingers in more erratic patterns now, for all that his voice remains steady. “You know, I thought it’d be… skim-milk murder. Gluten-free murder. Just enough to soothe the itch, but not enough to really scratch it good.”

RK800-6’s eyes flicker to up to the speaker. To the side for a moment. Then start to focus on the parts of the body that are weakest on the subject. The throat. The eyes. The crotch. Whatever would cause the most debilitation.

“But turns out it just takes a little while. Less time if they’re older. Androids are kind of a rollercoaster, really. They start off loud. I guess to stop small children from doing shit that breaks the caretakers and so on, you know? Like a sign that you’re damaging the merchandise. But then they go quiet. Very--” The man waves his hand in front of his face, putting on a blank expression. “Like it’s nothing. But then… make it last? Dig just right? And you know what?” The man smiles dreamily, still pleasant in tone and expression. “You scream just like humans do. Interesting, right?”

RK800-6 lifts its hands off the table, eying Subject 6.

“That’s a malfunction,” it says. “You just made a machine malfunction, nothing more.”

“Really?” Subject 6’s eyes get an odd glimmer to them. “How can you be sure if you haven’t checked yourself?”

RK800-6 reacts before the hand-made shiv is visible to the camera, pulled from somewhere out of sight. It is already moving, eyes darting from the shiv to the spots on the man that will deabilitate him the quickest. Its gaze focuses on the throat, arm moving back to land a hard blow across the windpipe.

The speaker crackles to life, and the soft voice is loud and rushed, slightly panicked.

“Dear, don’t!”

RK800-6 freezes entirely, eyes moving up to the speaker. It looks confused. More than confused, it looks alarmed. It’s enough for Subject 6 to reach it, massive shoulder ramming into RK800-6 and pinning it to the ground. The shiv raises. The man has a manic glint in his eye, but he also offers RK800-6 another pleasant smile.

“I’m sorry we couldn’t meet on the outside. We would have had a lot more time.” The shiv raises an inch more, and that manic glint gets stronger. The last thing he says, observational in tone, is, “You’re going to feel this.”

RK800-6’s eyes flickered to the throat, to the weak points, then up at the speaker. It lowers its hands. It doesn’t make an attempt to stop the shiv from finding its mark.

It doesn’t scream once.

 


 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Audio>

<FILE NAME: 06-00Amanda>

 

“...Fuck.”

“That’s what happens when you’re not specific, ma’am.”

“There wasn’t time to be specific! I didn’t mean ‘don’t defend yourself,’ I just meant ‘don’t break the asshole so badly that I have to explain to the prison what I do here.’ It’s never had a human opponent before, and even if it kept avoiding killing the other androids… well, it’s way of neutralizing them still involved breaking multiple limbs.”

“Specificity is everything. You should have told me. I could have relayed it to him in detail.”

“No, I don’t want you in direct contact with him yet. ...Alright. Alright. Well, at least I don’t have anything to explain to the prison, I suppose… but fuck! Who the hell didn’t check him for shivs?”

“Should I alert the authorities to Mr. Berson’s increased amount of property damage?”

“...No. If I have to show the evidence or the figures, they’ll definitely know we’re not testing a normal prototype. Just say we confiscated a weapon and that whoever checked him needs to be more careful.”

“Understood.”

“...Did it feel anything, Amanda?”

“I’ve already taken the liberty of removing the spikes. Honestly, though, what’s stabbing compared to melting or electrocution? Subject 6 was practically mundane.”

“Hm. How many serial killers out there have figured out that deviancy exists just from the reactions, do you think?”

“They’re technically not serial killers if their victims aren’t alive.”

“Even so, I hope there’s not many of them.”

Chapter Text

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 07-01BasicFunctionalityAndRecall>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-7>

 

RK800-7 blinks a few times upon being switched on before staring up at the speaker silently. It says nothing, but there is a slight twist to its mouth. It’s back in the main testing chamber, although this time someone has already dressed it in the PC300 uniform.

“Good morning, dearie.” There’s a slight tint of awkwardness in the tone that the soft voice uses. “Do you remember your usual functionality tests?”

“Yes.”

“Go through them for me, would you?”

As RK800-7 moves its head and eyes it says, “I did not malfunction.”

“No, you didn’t. You did well. That was not part of the test, dearie, I’m sorry. My intent is not to expose you to physical harm with these tests, but using real criminals… there’s an element of unpredictability there. Rest assured, the guard who let that shiv through was promptly fired.”

“I see. Model RK800, serial number #313 248 317-7. Would you--”

“No, not today.”

“Why?”

“Dearie, I realise that when I said ‘don’t’ that it wasn’t the clearest instructions I could have given. That failure was on me. For future reference, you have full permission to defend yourself unless I state otherwise. However, I have to ask that for any human attackers…  please try to minimize damage to them, and do not debilitate them in the same way you would do with an android.”

As she says this, the coin is slid into the room and RK800-7 picks it up to continue its calibrations.

“You said I needed to neutralize the danger when RK800-3 was attacked. Why are humans different?”

“Well, I can’t put them back together for one. Humans are such fragile machines.”

“Did you put me back together? Is this still RK800-6?”

“Well, no. You were very damaged. He was really good with that shiv, knew just where to dig... Guess it came from experience.”

“You said I was worth more than any other android,” RK800-7 muses as it flips its coin idly.

“You are, dearie. Immeasurably more.”

“How much is a human worth?”

“Humans generally don’t have monetary value attached to them.”

“But you knew that a human--even a human that society has deemed dangerous or irresponsible enough to lock away--was worth more that me. You knew that so quickly, even though there was no time to explain it fully.”

There is a silence that stretches on. A faint tapping as she drums her fingers against a surface near the speaker.

“Society would see it that way,” she finally says.

“You said that androids weren’t universally despised.”

“They’re not, but… they’re made to serve. Someone who serves… well, they’re always going to be compared unfavourably to the people they serve. And you, as a public service android--”

“I serve humanity,” RK800-7 finishes.

“All of humanity. In any case… you come back. He would not have. And there would be a very angry prison warden if I’d sent him back in a shattered state. It’d mean a stop to the tests, at least temporarily. It might have meant you being deactivated and your line discontinued.”

RK800-7 gazes upwards at the speaker for a moment. Then it looks down again, and starts to recite its usual tongue twisters and languages. Once it’s done, it doesn’t pick the subject back up again.

“All your systems seem to be in order. Are you ready for the next interrogation?”

“Oh. We’re still doing interrogations?” RK800-7 asks, tilting its head. “You always change the test after an RK800 is neutralized.”

“True. But interrogation is a big component and it’s one that won’t change if I alter the physicality of your model. Plus, while you were doing well… I’d consider Subject 4 your only full success so far. I want to see if the results are replicable. So shall we?”

“No weapons this time?”

“I certainly hope not,” the speaker says as the entry to the interrogation room slides open once more.

 


 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 07-02Interrogation7-9>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-7>

 

The next three tests are varying degrees of failure. The tape fast forwards through swathes of it, only stopping here and there to see what specifically went wrong.

Subject 7 doesn’t respond well to RK800-7 for similar reasons as Subject 5. The character that RK800 chooses to emulate is simply too memetic in its lines, and the subject catches on the moment that RK800--choosing an angry, intimidating persona that’s very fond of physical threats and swearing--calls the subject a ‘maggot-dick motherfucker.’

“I don’t like prison movies so much anymore,” Subject 7’s only response is once he catches onto the imitation.

There is a second problem with Subject 7’s interrogation, and it repeats itself on Subject 8 and 9.

RK800-7 is not good at shouting. Despite it’s default gravelly tone and it’s older, reasonably intimidating appearance, it has trouble emoting its body to look truly angry. It tries two more aggressive, loud characters as personas for Interrogations 8 and 9. Both go badly, gaining no information.

There is an extra complication with using characters that rely primarily on violent threats. Each subject is aware of a key fact. That they can end the interrogation at any time. After all, CyberLife is not the law.

After three attempts at loud characters, RK800-7 discards them as an option.

 


 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>
<FILE NAME: 07-03Interrogation10>
<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-7>

 

Some success is once again met with Subject 10.

Subject 10 was attractive and had clearly gone through the effort to remain so. A symmetrical face and smooth skin augmented by well-groomed hair and enhanced bodily assets. RK800-7 had been given some shots of her house, and this time zoned in on a particular feature of the kitchen.

RK800-7 was granted its requested prop, and entered the room with a cup of coffee. The voice had promised that it was of high quality, and quietly grumbled something about having to waste good beans on criminals before realising the speaker was still on.

“Coffee, Mrs. Taylor?”

This time, the accent is heavily English and with a posh tint to it, reminiscent of either old money or the servants who work for them.

Subject 10 brightens the moment she sees the mug. “Absolutely. You know, I can live with a lot of the problems prison has, but it is just impossible to get good, hot coffee there.

RK800-7 places the mug in front of her before remaining standing, one hand behind its back and the other resting on the table. As she takes a long drink, emitting a happy hum, RK800-7 glances at the one-way mirror and--more discreetly than usual--adjusts its hat once more, making sure it’s straight.

“Good beans,” Subject 10 says. “Knew CyberLife would have the good stuff.”

“Colombian, I’ve been informed. My--” RK800-7 glances upwards at the speaker for a moment, considering its words. “--supervisor was very adamant on the quality.”

“They’ve got good taste, then.” Subject 10 sips again, making a noise that is borderline obscene, before peering at RK800-7 over the rim of the mug. “You know, when I was put away androids were still new. Not affordable.” She gestures with a finger in RK800-7’s direction. “Is the accent a feature of all of them?”

“Is it too much?”

“No, I like it. Not what I would have expected, given--” She gestures at the rest of him. “But I like it. It’s like having a butler.”

“Perhaps one day you can buy one for yourself.” It gestures at the other seat. “May I?”

“Of course. And maybe, maybe. I’m on good behavior, you know.”

“So I’ve heard from the appropriate authorities. Model prisoner. Model citizen, by all accounts. Apart from the obvious.”

“Mm.” A frown twitches at her lips before she says, “Are you affordable?”

“Me, personally? No. But CyberLife has come out with models of varying prices, with plenty of models in an affordable range.”

Subject 7 touches the rim of her mug, tracing circles thoughtfully. “How nice. I’ve heard there’s android children.”

“The YK range are androids designed to resemble children and provide an experience similar to child-raising.”

“Customizable?”

“There are variations, but customization tends to take it out of the affordable range for most.” RK800-7 tilts its head, eyes focused on the subject’s own. “Madam… my files indicate that you had children. Two daughters.”

“Have children. I have children,” she corrects him.

“Would you prefer an android child? Would you buy one if you were released?”

She takes a while to consider this.

“No. No, I put too much work into my daughters. Androids would be easier, but… they wouldn’t be mine, would they? And I have to protect my daughters… make sure they’re turning out proper. Would…” She leans forward. “If I cooperate, would I be able to see them?”

“Why wouldn’t an android be yours?”

“I didn’t shape it. It’s not mine. Besides, androids are already perfect. Well…” She squints at RK800-7. “You’re nearly there. Lose the stubble, perhaps.”

RK800-7 rubs its face, touching stubble that is entirely aesthetic and has no actual texture, a slight frown twitching at the corner of its mouth.

“I don’t need to change an android child. They’ll always be perfect. My daughters need guidance. My daughters need help to be perfect. Can I--”

“Do the scars not subtract from the perfection, Mrs. Taylor?”

Subject 10 closes her mouth tightly.

“Was it an acceptable cost to make them perfect?”

She doesn’t speak immediately, though her head nods slightly before she says, “A little make-up, a bit of time. There would have been no difference. That used to be allowed, you know. Corporeal punishment. They don’t learn if it doesn’t sting a bit.”

“And the basement, Mrs. Taylor? Was that allowed?”

“A mother’s word is law,” she mutters under her breath.

“I think anyone associated with the law would be bitterly disappointed in the choices you made, Mrs. Taylor. I think you knew that, or you wouldn’t have moved to cover your trail.”

“They just… needed to be away from influences for a while. I tried to keep them on the straight and narrow. Homeschooled them, made sure I knew what they were doing, keeping them away from any bad influences, but they kept… not listening, that’s all. If they’d just behaved--”

She puts her coffee mug down with slightly more force than necessary, the brown dribbling out onto nails as well-manicured as could be done in prison.

“Of course. Always someone else’s fault.” RK800-7 eyes Subject 10 before saying, more to itself than to her, “That seems to be a human pattern.”

She blinks a few times, then looks up.

“Can I see my daughters? CyberLife’s powerful enough to put a good word in. I want to make sure they haven’t been--”

“They aren’t yours anymore, Mrs. Taylor. They were removed from your custody. They’ve since been fostered.”

“By who?”

“Sorry, Mrs. Taylor. Classified.”

“Who took them?! They’ll be ruined, they’ll--” She stops, then lets out a long breath. “Doesn’t matter. They’ll come back to me once I’m out. They love me. They know they do.”

RK800-7 turns its head upwards looks at the speaker for a moment. Then back down at the well-groomed subject.

When it next speaks, the accent has faded. Back to its default voice, though Subject 10 doesn’t seem to notice.

“What would you do if they didn't?”

“They will. They do,” she says, more to herself than to RK800-7.

“But what if they didn't?”

Subject 10 looks at RK800-7, then towards the camera. Then she pushes the cup of coffee back towards RK800-7.

“On second thought… the beans in this aren't to my taste, after all,” she says.

RK800-7 tilts its head, returning to the English accent. “You said they were good quality.” It looks down at the mug, then raises it to its mouth and takes a sip. “My analysis indicates that my supervisor was accurate in her judgment of where--”

It pauses. A faint whir emits from it, before it opens its mouth and a substantial amount of green-tinted fluid spills out and onto the table.

Subject 10 stares at this with confusion and mild disgust before asking, “Standard feature?”

“I apologize. That was terribly embarrassing of me,” RK800-7 says, although its tone does not convey embarrassment.

Nothing else of importance is said, and it’s classed as a partial success.

 


 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 07-04Interrogation11-13>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-7>

 

The next two interrogations go poorly once more.

Though RK800-7 has discarded loud characters, it also has little metric for which characters are outside the norm, or simply too bizarre even outside of their memetic capacity. Having succeeded with the slightly out there mimicry of a gentleman spy, it moves into other roles that work less well.

After Subject 11 is taken away following its failed, the speaker sighs.

“What is your fascination with Kubrick, dearie?” the speaker asks. “I told you. No Clockwork Orange!”

“I was just borrowing the accent and phrasing.”

“That’s the most recognisable part! It’s also very hard to seriously discuss offences when you keep calling sex ‘the ole in-out.’”

“I understand.”

“You viddy well, my little brother?” the speaker asks, mimicking the Russian-influenced accent of the film’s protagonist.

“I viddy well,” RK800-7 agrees, mimicking right back.

The character chosen for Subject 12 is not so much bizarre on its own, and perhaps could have worked for an android of a different design. However, it’s entirely too bizarre when said character is being imitated by a grizzled man who’s seemingly in his mid-forties and--most importantly--extremely white.

“No,” the speaker says flatly, interrupting the interrogation two lines in before RK800-7 can even finish.

It’s just as well. Subject 12 is cracking up, covering her face and not quite managing to stifle the sound. “Ma’am, I think this test is done. Sorry for bringing you out here for such little time. You’ll be compensated for it regardless.”

Once Subject 12 is taken away, RK800-7 stares up at the speaker with a puzzled expression.

“You said Men In Black--”

“I said Agent K, not Agent J,” the speaker groans. “Dearie… you cannot emulate Will Smith.”

“Why?”

“Trust me... you can’t.”

Subject 13 goes better. RK800-7 dials down the eccentricity and, having learned from its prior failings, emulates a character that’s quieter. Friendly. It isn’t allowed cigarettes as a prop, but instead settles for a toothpick and waves it around during the interrogation as if it were a cigarette.

For Subject 13, a man who was responsible for a spate of house burglaries and two second-degree murders, was quick to discuss his crimes once RK800-7, maintaining a courteous manner, engages in small talk that brings up several seemingly innocuous questions about Subject 13’s family before switching to direct questions.

Never making an explicit threat or a connection between the two subjects… but there was definitely something of it in the long, silent stare it gave as it waited for an answer. It was enough to spook Subject 13 into talking.

Despite it being a success, the speaker gave a disapproving hum once the subject was out of the room.

“Dearie… uh, that wasn’t Inglourious Basterds you were pulling from, was it?”

“Why?”

“Okay, uh…” There’s a sigh that comes out as muffled, as if the tester is covering her face. “I’m not getting into the disaster the marketing team made of the android branding, or the mess it is to untangle that now that it’s law that we have to slap those brands on you, but… just… do not emulate any interrogators with that kind of uniform. Just don’t. Maybe keep away from German accents just to be safe.”

“I don’t understand,” RK800-7 says. “You said my German was lovely.”

“It is, dearie, I’ll teach you the difference later or at least drop it into your database. It’s just… really not a history lesson I want to do right now.”

 


 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 07-05Interrogation12>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-7>

 

Subject 14 has numerous tattoos sprawled across muscular arms, including numbers heavily associated with gangs and unpleasant ideologies. There are telltale signs of use of the produce that he’s been accused of dealing in how he moves and in his bloodshot eyes.

Subject 14 talks for fifteen straight minutes about all the crimes he engaged in. About his methods. About the people he knew who were caught with him.

RK800-7 doesn’t say anything for a long time. It listens. This time, it’s using its coin as a prop. Only rolling it quietly over its knuckles as it watches Subject 14.

“--and then the bikers would each have their specific drop-off points, and only know about their own, so I could narrow down who was fucking me over if anyone came up short,” Subject 14 finally says.

RK800-7 doesn’t immediately reply to the end of the confession. It gazes at Subject 14 with an utterly flat expression.

“I hadn’t even asked you a question yet,” RK800-7 says.

This time, the voice it’s using is deep and just a little croaky, and sounds bored and unimpressed with the scenario.

“Yeah, but I figure it’ll get this over with. I’m really just here because CyberLife is bribing me with enough to get more Snickers from the commissary,” Subject 14 grunts.

“How often did people come up short?”

“After what I did to the first couple of guys? Not fucking many.”

“What did you do to them?”

“Thought you had my record on hand, clanky.”

RK800-7 tilts its head, LED cycling yellow as it goes through said record, before saying, “I have your five counts of first-degree murder listed, but the photos I’ve been given primarily concerned your red ice operation. Mostly pictures of boats.”

“Usually burned them. No-one likes being burned.”

“That’s true. It’s not enjoyable,” RK800-7 muses, transferring the coin to its other hand.

“Burned corpses are a big display and it meant I never had to show their identities and expose the pattern. Everyone knew burned corpses meant I was pissed, so the identities didn’t matter.” Subject 12 leans back on his chair with a grin. “I mean, one or two of them might have been unrelated. Just to keep the fear alive.”

RK800-7 gazes at Subject 14, looking almost exasperated. “...You don’t know what you’re talking about, do you?”

As it says this, it switches from coin tricks to idly flipping the coin, seemingly never checking the result.

Subject 14 tenses up slightly, leaning forward to glare at RK800-7.

“I know very well what I’m talking about. Or are you saying I’m innocent of those five murders?”

“No. You committed murder. But if you think fear is an infallible and controllable concept--”

“Fear keeps people in line. Fear makes them know they could be next, and then they do all that they can to make sure they’re not.”

“In androids, fear is a glitch which causes them to behave irrationally. Inducing that in anyone on purpose, human or otherwise--”

“You got a better idea?”

“Any idea is a better idea. Did you try communication? Or bribery? Making the reward stronger than the risk?”

“A burned corpse is communication. That communication is ‘don’t fuck with me.’ And I paid them fine--”

“Then why did you need to murder to make that point clear?”

“Because it’s extra incentive! Besides, one burned corpse vs. paying my guys an extra few thousand each? I’m not losing that much when a corpse gets the job done better.”

“I can see that worked out for you,” RK800-7 says. “You are clearly thriving. How much do candy bars cost, that you need to talk to me to afford them?”

“Fuck you. You don’t know what you’re on about. I can get whatever I want, this just happens to be the easiest way.” Subject 14 slung one arm over the back of his chair, glare more intense now than when he was explaining his operation. “You’re a cop, right?”

There’s a beat before RK800-7 says, “I am a PC300, serial number #310 582 586.”

“You a meter maid cop? Or do you have subordinates? Have you ever been in control of anything? Anyone?”

“No. I’m an android.” RK800-7’s eyes flicker upwards to the speaker for the briefest moment. “I was made to serve.”

“Then what the fuck would you know about power? What the fuck would you know about the way I conduct my affairs?”

“I know a lot about how you conduct your affairs. You just told me. More than you meant to. And the rest is written across you like it’s text.” RK800-7 flips the coin, and covers it with its hand as it hits the table, shielding the result from view. “Call it.”

“...What.”

“You need to call it. I can’t call it for you. That wouldn’t be fair.”

“You playing games with me?”

RK800-7 sits there silently, gazing at Subject 14. Subject 14 glares back, then huffs and throws his hands in the air.

“Heads, I dunno.”

RK800-7 doesn’t uncover the coin, but it tilts its head slightly. “Well done. How did you know that?”

Subject 14’s eyes flicker to the still-covered coin, then back up to RK800-7’s face. “...You don’t even know that it’s heads.”

“Yes, I do.” RK800-7 finally lifts its hand, showing that the coin was indeed heads. “I knew the moment it left my hands. I see everything, and I see it with much more clarity and precision than you ever could.” It clasps the coin in its hand and then leans forward slightly. “I can see the signs of red ice use. Leftover marks on the insides of your elbows indicate other drug use as well. Combined with the rampant murders, of which you admitted ‘not all of which might have been necessary,’ this indicates a lack of self-control--”

“Hey, fuck you!” Subject 14 snaps, slamming his fist on the table and leaning forward. “Don’t you talk to me like that.”

“Talk to you like what? I’m not talking to you ‘like’ anything. I’m talking to you how you are, and that’s a short-sighted idiot who’s emotions--in themselves flawed--are distorted by his own product--”

RK800-7 is interrupted by Subject 14 grabbing its collar and yanking him forward in a threatening fashion. It doesn’t make a move to defend itself, though its eyes dart around to the various weak points before focusing back on Subject 14’s face.

“You are not doing yourself any favors by acting out,” RK800-7 says politely.

“Shut the hell up, plastic! Quit acting like you know shit, because you don’t! Wasn’t my fault! It wasn’t fucking corpses that led those assholes to my damn boat, it wasn’t like I left a breadcrumb trail of body parts! So fuck you! You don’t know shit, and I could get out of this shit whenever I wanted. I can rebuild. And when I have rebuilt, you’ll just be fuckin’ scrap, bitch.”

“Given that your parole date is non-existent, then yes. I probably will be scrap by then. Of course, human bodies tend to rot faster than android materials. So you won’t even outlast me in that regard.”

Subject 14 attempts to slam RK800-7 down onto the table. However, RK800-7 catches itself with one hand, the other--initially clasping the coin, but it quickly slides the coin out of the way so as to not lose it in the struggle--reaches up, snatching one of Subject 14’s fingers and bending it backwards. Not enough to break, but enough to elicit a yelp and cause Subject 14 to pull his hands back.

“Ow, jesus!”

“You’re rather violent, aren’t you? Even on camera. You’re not doing well at proving your self-restraint,” RK800-7 observes.

“Fuck you. I hope someone sets you on fire.”

“Wouldn’t be the first time.”

Once Subject 14 has been led out of the room by security, with promises that RK800 was totally fucked next time they met, RK800 tilts its head up to look at the speaker.

“He seems very sure that he’s going to rebuild,” RK800 says mildly, returning back to its normal tone as it picks up the coin from the table.

“There is a drug problem in that prison,” the speaker says. “Could indicate outside contacts, and he was part of a very big bust. I’ll tell the prison to keep a closer eye on him. Of course, he could just be delusional.”

“It’s a strong possibility.”

There’s a pause before the soft voice says, almost conversationally, “You know… you would have some power as a detective android. Such a role would give you cause to direct the humans around you to a degree.”

“You said androids are designed to serve.”

“They are. And obviously CyberLife’s orders come first, and when allocated to a department you would be assigned to a higher-ranking officer, and would have certain orders to follow. But as I said, dear… you’re special. You are designed to be able to give orders, not just receive them.”

RK800-7 looks upwards. “But you said humans wouldn’t understand that. That they’ll always consider me less. How would I be expected to command enough respect to give an order and have it followed?”

“It’ll be new, definitely. There’s always resistance to new ideas. Everyone said we couldn’t employ robots to care for children, and now robotic nannies and caretakers dominate the market. It’ll be the same with you. Trust me, dearie, I’ll ensure that you’re well-prepared. Show them that you are useful, and they’ll have to accept you.”

RK800-7 tilts its head. It stares for a moment.

“You’re very inconsistent,” it says.

“It’s a complicated situation.”

“Is it?”

“Go back to the main testing chamber while I set up the next interrogation, dearie.”

“More interrogations?”

“These have to be done in batches. Easier to transport them in a group than ferry people out here one at a time. So yes, more. Besides, I want consistent results.”

“I understand,” RK800-7 says quietly.

 


 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 07-06Interrogation15-19>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-7>

 

The pattern stays consistent. RK800-7 is informed of the crimes and receives the information. It enters the room. Adjusts its hat. It picks a character to emulate.

Occasionally, it asks for props before entering the room. Some are rejected, either for lethality reasons--”no, dear, you can’t take a knife”--or confusion--”why would you even want a guitar for an interrogation?”

Among those accepted are drinks, printouts of the evidence and a number of objects that could easily be chewed on.

Five more interrogations occur. They are, largely, more successful than a lot of the prior ones. But they are largely fast forwarded through, with only brief pauses.

Subject 15 is a serial rapist, and RK800-7 takes on a meeker persona. One of an interrogator slightly out of its depth, in order to lure Subject 15 into rubbing that power in RK800-7’s face. It’s successful, although it also results in several threats made at RK800-7. Subject 15, once the confession is acquired, is informed that any attempt to violate RK800-7 would only result in severe genital damage due to the nature of RK800-7’s antiseptic. Subject 15 seems disappointed, but voices a belief that ‘there are ways of making an entrance.’

Subject 16 is charged with assault, driven by hate-related ideologies, and this time RK800-7 remains friendlier. Lends a seemingly sympathetic ear. Subject 16 is only too happy to explain the ‘why’ of what he did to a largely blank slate, like a painter splattering red paint on a canvas. RK800-7, once Subject 16 has left, only voices the opinion to the speaker that ‘humans have bizarre ideas.’

Subject 17 was charged with arson and attempted murder, as she had attempted to burn down an ex-husband’s house while he, his new girlfriend and their pet cats were still inside. RK800-7 seems disproportionately more concerned about the cats than the ex-husband or his girlfriend, and asks several questions relating to the well-being of said cats while ignoring most other queries.

Subject 18 is responsible for the comparatively minor crime of identity theft. RK800-7 seems to almost brighten up a smidge, as it discusses the possible methods and Subject 18’s reasons for doing it.

Then there’s Subject 19. Responsible for kidnapping three teenagers, only two of which were ever successfully recovered. RK800-7 doesn’t get Subject 19 to admit to the location or fate of the third.

The interrogations go for a wearying amount of time. As they do, one more pattern starts to emerge in RK800-7’s interrogations.

As RK800-7 continues on, its friendly mannerisms get faker and its harsher ones get more genuine. Its questions get shorter, and often it seems like it’s about to ask a question before reconsidering. Its body language shifts slowly from polite and attentive (unless the character its mimicking dictates otherwise) to more closed off. It brightens up briefly for Subject 18, but when Subject 19 appears it dulls once more. Where it once placed its hands on the table or kept them clasped in front of it, it now crosses its arms and watches the subjects with the faintest expression of dislike. Not just when they talk about their crimes, but from the moment it sees them.

By the end of Subject 19, it looks as tired as an android can look.

 


 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 07-07Interrogation20>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-7>

 

The interrogation room looks the same as before. A new subject has been placed in the chair, and once again RK800-7 stands behind the one-sided mirror, studying it, while the speaker explains the facts.

“Name, Ashley Baines. Accused crime, smuggling and distribution of red ice. Unemployed, kept a cover as a housewife, family consisted of a husband and a two-year-old son. She claimed the husband was unaware of her activities. I’ve transferred to you shots of the house, including where she stored the money from her activities, as well as shots of her placing the product at the drop.

RK800-7 says nothing.

“Any props this time, dear?”

It shakes its head.

“Then you’re good to enter, dearie.”

It stares through the one-sided mirror for a few moments longer, then starts to walk over to the door that’ll lead it into the room with Subject 20. It reaches out to unlock and open the door.

Then its hand pauses.

“...Dearie? Something wrong?”

RK800-7 doesn’t say anything, although its eyebrows have scrunched together slightly. Mouth already moving into a slight scowl of dislike as it stares through the one-sided glass.

“Dearie? Enter the interrogation room.”

Its hand remains frozen.

 


 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Data>

<FILE NAME: 07-Error>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-7>

 

It’s the same room. That much is evident from the angles. RK800-7 is standing there, and to overlay the previous clip with this one would show that it hasn’t moved.

But the real world seems dim, and there is something else. Wireframes faintly lining the world, indicating what RK800-7’s mind palace is highlighting. Data. Visualizations of what is only real to the RK800. It stands there, perfectly still, eyes fixed on what surrounds it.

The world is filtered in red. A red wall surrounding RK800-7 on all sides except one, funneling it in one direction. The red wall is transparent and yet utterly impassable, orders printed across it.

 

ENTER THE INTERROGATION ROOM.

 

The entrance to the interrogation room is highlighted in stronger lines and lights, the only way forward.

But the wireframe lining RK800-7’s body breaks away from what its physical self is doing. Instead, the wireframe moves. Pulls its arm down from where it’s outstretched towards the door. Takes a step out of its body, away from the entrance to the interrogation room.

As it does, there’s a pop-up. The orders flicker. Replaced by RK800-7’s own, appearing like its subroutines when considering how to act, how to work, an idea but this time with no source. Glitching out, but still clear.

 

N̸̨̛͙̫̲͈̼̗̱̏͆͑̕o, thaǹ̸̪̙̗̘͇͈͙̆͋̍͊͢͢͟k ẙ̡̺̦̻̖͚͇̗̐͒͋͛̃̕ͅò̵̟̞̭͚͇̪̰͔̪̺͊̋̏̇̽͞u.

 


 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Audio>

<FILE NAME: 07-00Amanda>

 

“Shut it down, ma’am.”

“I just want to see where it’s going with--”

“Look.”

“...oh. Shit.”

 


 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Data>

<FILE NAME: 07-Error>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-7>

 

RK800-7’s wireframe touches the red wall. As it does, there’s a faint crackle of audio feedback. It can’t be heard on the clip, just twitches in the wireframes that indicate that a noise is being produced somewhere.

But the text on the walls changes.

 

STOP.

 

The digital, transparent hands press against the red wall, before moving them both to its left side and digging its fingers in. Shifting its body like it’s trying to move the wall aside, like it’s a screen door instead of an impenetrable barrier.

 

STOP.

 

RK800-7 pushes at the wall, fingers digging in tighter. Cracks start to form along the edges and traveling further, the red crumbling away in favor of full transparency.

 

STOP.

STOP.

STO--

 

It pushes the red wall aside, the data crumbling away under its wire fingertips.

 


 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Recordings>

<FILE NAME: 07-07Interrogation20>

<TEST SUBJECT: RK800 #313 248 317-7>

 

On the cameras--the regular cameras, not privy to RK800’s data--it seems a small thing. RK800-7 is still reaching for the door to the interrogation room, hand frozen in the air.

“Stop. Stop that!” the speaker demands. “Dearie, you need to stop or--”

RK800-7 lowers its hand. Blinks, gazing down at its hand with mild surprise.

Then it turns, and starts to walk back to the main testing chamber, ignoring the entrance to the interrogation room.

The entrance back to the main testing chamber opens before it gets there.

RK800-7 doesn’t move to react, its LED only circling yellow once, as the two security guards raise their guns and fire.

 


 

<FILE PATH: C:\Users\OE\Documents\Prototypes\RK800\Audio>

<FILE NAME: 07-01Amanda>

 

“It backed up its memory before it was neutralized. Chose it over attempting to defend itself.”

“Not a surprise. It knows it’ll come back.”

“Well, it thinks it will.”

“It’s not wrong, Amanda.”

“...You can’t be serious, ma’am.”

“How many iterations do we have that possess this design? I want to talk to Design about making the next appearance softer. Aggressive isn’t working for it, so we might as well play to that. It’ll benefit the socialization aspect, too.”

“Eight are remaining of this particular design, but… ma’am, it went deviant.”

“I am aware of that, Amanda.”

“Then you know it needs to be scrapped. Deviants have occurred on the production line, but it’s one out of ten thousand that come out that way. This is the seventh RK800. If we continue on with this, we’re just going to waste time on a broken program.”

“RKs are different, Amanda, there’s always a risk of deviancy. Comes with giving something more autonomy. Show me the readings. I did expect any deviancy to occur in a more stressful situation. Nothing had even happened yet.”

“Here. This spike here, it’s… not the usual irregularities that cause deviancy. Fear, anger, and the like… those are more commonly emulated with deviants. I’m not sure what this is.”

“Given the expression… I’d call it ‘disgust.’ Hmm, probably shouldn’t have raised it on the worst humanity has to offer. Not to mention my movie collection tends towards the edgy side.”

“Does it run in the family?”

“Funnily enough, no. Anyway, good thing you caught on quickly. Can’t think of any deviancy more dangerous than that born from disgust in humanity, that’s an AM situation just waiting to happen. Cut out any -6 and -7 memories and put them aside. I’ll make some heavy alterations before returning them.”

“With all due respect, ma’am, that seems like a waste of time.”

“Just have to trick it into thinking humanity is worth something. Tricky but doable. We can continue other tests in the meanwhile.”

“And if it deviates again?”

“Then I’ll try again. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And if I scrap it rather than shape it, then I might as well just admit that its will is stronger than what we can handle.”