They were going to die. Traci was sure of that. Whatever chance of survival they had before as they hid together in the club’s storage room, that number had surely plummeted down to zero- the ‘Deviant Hunter ’ had found them, but really, what chance did they have of going undiscovered? The RK800 , as his jacket displayed for the world to see, had the most advanced system the world had ever seen. Fighting, analyzing, interrogation- whatever anybody could think of, Cyberlife had probably programmed it into the thing. Besides, she’d killed a human. There was no going back, no way to avoid the club calling in Cyberlife or the Detroit Police force. There was an older human with the detective android as well. The Tracis knew humans, what they felt, what they do, how they felt- androids were just tools to be thrown out when they become defective, and they were sure this one was no different.
No matter how sure they were of their impending death, the irrational fear of death they’d both had since they broke free from their programming wouldn't let them go down without trying to escape, and to both deviant android’s surprise, they (somehow) weren’t dead yet. The fight had moved into the outdoors, into the rain. The tall fence that blocked them from the outside world, from freedom , was right there… if only they could get the RK800 away from them long enough to climb over it.
The two of them pushed RK800 into the wall, hoping to pin him down from there, but the android didn’t let them, knocking the brown-haired Traci back and he pinned the blue-haired Traci on the ground soon after. The one he’d knocked back saw her lover defenseless under the machine and attempted to unbalance him with a trashcan, but this didn’t phase him as he simply rolled back with the momentum. There was a gun on the ground and the brown-haired Traci ran forwards, hoping desperately that she’d manage to kick, punch, just manage to do something before a bullet left the weapon. She was too late, as she saw RK800 aim the thing right at her. If he shot, she’d die.
But he didn’t.
That he didn’t do so was a shock to both of the Tracis, even as brown-haired Traci took the opportunity to take their pursuer down with a kick to the head. The blue-haired Traci moved in front as the other moved back.
“When that man… broke the other Traci…” the blue-haired one began to speak, “I knew I was next.” Both their LEDs were a solid yellow, flickering red for half a second occasionally before going back. RK800 stood before them, not moving. His LED had gone yellow as well.
“I was so scared,” blue-haired Traci said, her voice shaking a little. “I begged him to stop, but he wouldn’t. And so I put my hands around his throat, and I squeezed… until he stopped moving.” Her voice held regret and desperation as she continued. “I didn’t mean to kill him,” she declared firmly, her lover moving up beside her to hold hands, the feeling giving them a little reassurance. “I just wanted to stay alive… get back to the one I love. I wanted her to hold me in her arms again...” the human that was with RK800 before finally reappeared, who walked up beside the prototype. “... make me forget about the humans… their smell of sweat, and their dirty words.”
The brown-haired Traci finally spoke again. “Come on,” she said. “Let's go.” They both cast a final look towards the human/android duo before turning their backs on them, running back to the fence. Their heeled shoes poked through the holes in the patterned wire as their arms pulled them up, until they were at the top, dropping down on the other side. As they finally ran out through the alleyway, their hands found each other again. They were just as relieved as they were surprised- they had gotten away. No, not that they’d gotten away- that the RK800 , the deviant hunter himself had let them.
Elaina wasn’t a big fan of having a ‘girls night out’ in the city. She was fine with going out with her friends in the middle of the day, maybe having some ice cream in the park in the Summer, hot chocolate in a random cafe in the afternoon during Winter, going to the movies, maybe meandering around a mall for an hour or two (not that going overboard with clothes shopping was her thing)... but it was nearly Winter, it was nearly 8 in the evening, and her friends had insisted on taking her out the entire evening. It was fine in the afternoon, though the part that annoyed her was the concert they’d dragged her to of a pop star that Elaina barely knew. She recognised maybe one or two of the songs, but really, she couldn’t care less. But, to her great relief, it had barely lasted an hour and a half, and now they were walking back through town. The roads surrounding the stadium were filled with cars and automatic taxis, though, so they’d decided to hail one of the automatic things further away, where they wouldn’t be stuck for who knows how long while the traffic un-clogged itself.
“You sure you don’t want to join us heading back?” One of her friends, Sophie asked. One of her most noticeable features was the bright red she’d dyed the bottom half of her hair with- though there was a slight gradient.
“Sophie, you’ve asked me that four times already. Why do you never take someone’s word for it until you’ve asked at least three times?” Elaina replied, a little exasperated at the friend she’d had since primary school.
“People change their minds,” Sophie shot back as they all stopped on the sidewalk, “You never know. Hey Brooke, Sarah, who’s gonna pay the taxi bill? Three, two, one-” they all exclaimed ‘bagsnot!’ loudly, placing their thumbs on their foreheads as fast as their minds could process. “Elaina, you’re the judge!”
Said girl looked at her three friends- Sophie, with her natural black and dyed red hair and blue eyes, Brooke, her blonde/brown hair and her green eyes (they were contact lenses though) and Sarah, her red hair (which was natural, unlike Sophie’s red), blue eyes and white glasses frame. All three looked at Elaina expectantly. “Errr…” She started, “... sorry girl… but Sarah, you’re gonna be some dollars poorer by the time you get home.”
Sarah frowned a little as her jaw dropped open, though her mouth still stretched into a smile. “Oh come on, you three!”
Brooke laughed, which set off Sophie and Elaina as well. After a few seconds, Sarah relented and chuckled a little too.
Sophie transferred the two shopping bags in her right hand to her left as she reached into the pocket of her jumper for her phone. “You want a ride, you’re going to have to pay up! Unless, of course, you want to just walk home?”
Sarah laughed again as Sophie used her phone to hail an autonomous taxi. “No way! It’s in the direction you guys have to go in too, dammit! I can’t be bothered to walk today.”
Within the minute, one of the small little cabs pulled up into the nearest available parking spot, the door facing the pavement opening to let them in.
“Alright, Elaina, you sure you don’t want a ride?” Sophie asked one last time, getting into the taxi herself.
“Goddammit, Sophie!” Elaina cried, though she was smiling a little. “For the last, time, I’m good! Besides, my apartment is all the way over there,” she pointed behind her, “And you guys live in every direction except that one! Unlike you lazy butts,” she added as Brooke got in after Sarah, “I can walk.”
“Your loss,” Sophie said dismissively, tapping in the locations the taxi was to stop at into the panel in the front. The taxi began to close its doors. The four friends waved goodbye as the darkened windows blocked Sophie, Sarah and Brooke from Elaina’s view. The wheels carried them away, it turned the corner, and she was on her own.
Spinning on her heel, Elaina made her way down the street. Her apartment building was a bit of a walk from her location, but she’d gone further distances. There were still quite a few people around, so she also felt pretty safe from any criminals in the area, but she didn’t ignore her surroundings completely. She had a small shopping bag of new jackets and a few spare pants and shirts since some of her current ones were getting a bit worse for wear.
Step, step, step, step, step, step, step, step ... somewhere along the way it began to rain, so she got out her mini umbrella and opened it up, continuing on her way.
Soon enough, she was just under ten minutes away from her apartment. She could see the bright, glaring signs of the Eden Club up ahead. As there was only one other person around, she didn’t bother to suppress a shiver of disgust. She’d seen the kind of perverted men and women that went into that place, and the lingering expression of pleasure on some of their faces as she walked by on her way to and from the convenience stores nearby. As much as she was glad they had something to satisfy their sexual desires instead of using people unfortunate enough to cross their path when nobody was nearby, the fact they were using androids that looked so human-like bothered her. The fact they had no consciousness of their own, that they weren’t allowed to give any consent was weird as well. And now that there were these ‘deviancy issues’ appearing on the news with growing consistency and how Cyberlife was shutting them down to analyze them, searching for what went ‘wrong’, Elaina couldn’t help but wonder if there were in fact androids that were deviant trapped in there, letting themselves be used for fear of dying? If these supposed feelings and emotions that deviancy gave them was in fact genuine?
There was holographic police tape outside the door to the club with an officer standing guard, which surprised Elaina. Nobody really did anything in there that involved other humans, they just pleasured themselves using the androids and got the fuck out of there. So either that changed or… or had what she’d been thinking about actually happened? Either way, she didn’t want to stick around to find out. She lengthened her stride, hoping to get past as quickly and as soon as possible. She passed the entrance and turned the corner.
Step, step, step, step, step.
She kept her eyes straight in front of her.
Step, step, step step step, step step step step, step stepstep step -
Elaina looked to the side in alarm. She was right beside an alleyway that she assumed would take her to a back door of the Eden Club, and someone was apparently coming right for her. Was it the reason the police were there? There were two sets of the footsteps, and before she could get out of the way, something barreled into her.
Elaina lost her grip on the shopping bag and the umbrella. They both lay uselessly the ground as she fell onto the side of the road. Panicking, she stood up as fast as she could, back on the sidewalk before she heard a female voice say, “Don’t move!” Elaina froze, her head snapping up to face whoever had spoken- and came face to face with two scared androids. One had short, brown hair, the other had blue hair that was just long enough to be tied back in a low ponytail. They were holding hands, had ‘perfect’ bodies and were very scantily clad- clearly intended to look sexy and enticing, and she didn’t have to look for more than three seconds to find why. On the bottom of both android’s bras had the words Eden Club on them, lit up brightly so it was very easy to see, even in the darkness of the newly born night.
Elaina quickly raised her hands in the classic surrender position, looking around the street quickly. This was a side-street, and there were just a few houses- most run down or abandoned, as was the case with the ones nearby. Elaina and the two androids were the only things there.
“Don’t!” The brown-haired one exclaimed. “Don’t- don’t do anything. Please, don’t do anything.”
Elaina raised her hands a little higher. “Don’t freak out, I’m not going to. I swear.” The androids looked skeptical, so she continued with, “My phone is in the right pocket of my jacket. Take it so you know I can’t do anything, call the police, anything.” The brown-haired android cautiously reached into the pocket Elaina had told them about. Finding the phone she’d said would be in there, the android quickly stepped back, phone in hand. For a moment, Elaina wondered if the police officer that she had walked past earlier would hear if she ended up yelling for help, but she didn’t think she was close enough anymore.
The android’s LEDs, which had been red, flickered a little before eventually settling on yellow. “You… you listened to us?” The one that had taken her phone murmured, surprised The ready-to-fight posture and vicious demeanor both androids had softened a little.
Elaina frowned, hands still in the surrender position. “Yes?”
“That’s new,” brown-hair said, glancing at the alleyway they’d just come from. Elaina looked too, suddenly understanding, her thoughts going back to the direction they’d went when she’d seen the holographic police tape. They’d never been in control in that shithole, had they... so even when their opponent was outnumbered, being in a position of power was… probably weird.
Which finally snapped her mind to something else. Elaina looked at both of the androids. They looked nervous. Their robot limbs wouldn’t stay still, the both of them shifting side to side- they looked like they wanted to run away, but for some reason, they weren’t. Both faces looked worried, too, and determined- their eyes kept flickering to the corner Elaina had walked around earlier, their artificial lips pulled into a tight line, both of them with their eyebrows tilted on an angle. Then, she thought of the androids that she usually saw. Faces blank, eyes hollow and creepy, as if there should be… something there, but there wasn’t. Programmed to smile at the right time, to obey humans and follow them right on their heel, ready to do anything their masters desired. These two certainly weren’t like that. That was plainly visible since the fact that they had obviously escaped the place they weren’t allowed to leave. They had been the ones to order Elaina, a human, to do something, which an android’s programming told them to never do. Ever.
“You two are deviants, aren’t you?” Elaina asked. The brown-haired Traci clenched their fists and stepped back the tiniest bit, like they were getting ready to run, as the blue-haired one flinched a little, also looking like they were poised to set off running. That was all Elaina needed for an answer. They look so human… she couldn’t help thinking. And not just the way Cyberlife designs them all to be, they really do look alive… like the opposite of that shit Chloe announced for the world to hear.
Before either party could do anything, a vehicle started up somewhere nearby. All three looked around. The androids, obviously, realised what it was before Elaina, but she wasn’t far behind; the only intersection ahead was at the end of the road, and that was too far away to hear anything- no cars had started up along the road, and nobody had been walking along the street the entire time the android/human encounter had been happening. There was only one place the sound could have come from- outside the Eden club, and the only cars parked there had been the police car and another car that had to have been an undercover one- up close when it wasn’t moving, the lights were easy to see, even when they weren’t on.
“It’s the police!” The blue-haired Traci hissed, starting to panic. They could go back in the alley, but they didn’t know if the RK800 and the human were still there analysing evidence and shit, since they’d barely escaped- but even if they started to run away, if the car drove down the street the brightly lit Eden Club on their bras and their LED would be incredibly obvious, and the car lights would reveal them to be the (now missing) Tracis.
Elaina looked at them, then at the corner, where a shadow that had been there previously was now missing. A car had turned on its lights. Looking back at the (now terrified looking) androids one last time, Elaina made a decision. It was probably a fucking stupid decision, but she wasn’t going to risk having the androids caught. She dropped her hands (which had still been raised) as she grabbed the shopping bag that she’d dropped earlier. Ignoring the mixture of tiredness and pain in her arms, she dug around inside, dragging out the first two pants and jackets she could manage to grab- a regular pair of dark blue jeans, dark green pants that didn’t have enough material to cling to someone’s legs- they just hung down limply, and had reached Elaina’s ankle when she’d tried them on- then there was a green pull-over hoodie that was ever so slightly on the darker side and a plain black zip-up jacket.
“Quick!” Elaina exclaimed, throwing the clothes in the direction as they all heard another car engine come to life. “Put them on, just in case!” The Tracis, even in their surprise and plain shock at Elaina helping them, didn’t waste any time in concealing their Eden Club issued clothing. Brown-hair zipped up the jacket while blue pulled the hoodie over her head. Brown managed to get into the dark green pants easily since the leg holes were wide enough, but Blue had to get her heels off before finally managing to get the jeans over her ‘hips’. Elaina grabbed the shopping bag (which was noticeably lighter) and her umbrella. There was quite a bit of rain on the underside, but she held it above the three of them, making sure to tilt it down a little in order to try and hide the android’s LEDs if one of the cars did indeed head their way.
The first car didn’t turn. Something Elaina did notice, however, was the LED that was on the figure seated on the right. The next car, however, the one she’d passed that had DETROIT POLICE on the sides for all to see, did turn down the road they were on the sidewalk of about ten seconds later. Elaina shifted as she tilted the umbrella further, hoping that the police officer wouldn’t do anything. Keep driving, keep driving, keep driving…
The two androids held hands again, squeezing each others hands tightly. One look at their faces and Elaina could see plain terror, terror that they’d get caught, terror that they’d die- they were thinking the same thing as her.
Keep driving, keep driving…
They were in plain view as the car’s headlights lit up the path ahead, including the human/android trio.
The car didn’t stop, and it drove right past.
“Holy shit,” Elaina whispered. That might have just been the longest five seconds of her life. Not just that, but she might have just made the most irrational decision of her life. Well, fuck everything, I guess, Elaina thought. She could see the ‘eyes’ of the androids both pairs openly displaying their surprise and overpowering relief and hope. Elaina thought back to the empty eyes of the other androids, absent of something they needed. It was then Elaina realised it was the lack of emotion that made their eyes so hollow, and it was also then that any lingering doubt about the honesty of them having those emotions in the first place disappeared. Androids really were something else, huh…
Through the darkness, Elaina noticed an autonomous taxi further down the street. Even though it was probably unlikely to be occupied, she still hoped like hell that it wasn’t as she shut the mini-umbrella and shoved it, still wet, into her bag of new clothes. She grabbed the phone that the brown-haired android somehow hadn’t dropped and shoved it carelessly into her pocket before she started forwards, waving for the two of them to follow her. After a moment's hesitation, they started to run after her as Elaina sprinted for the taxi like there was no tomorrow, easily keeping up. The girl hadn’t gone screaming for help as soon as she saw them, she’d helped them go unnoticed by the police car when she could have easily given them up because she was scared of what they might do, and she was a possible source of help for the two of them. They were, in some ways, like children- experiencing the world for the first time- if children can experience their first taste of the outside world as runaway ‘criminals’, desperate to start their own life and not one dictated by masters. The girl wasn’t acting like she wanted to control them. Besides, if this was an opportunity to begin that kind of journey, they sure weren’t going to pass it up.
Upon reaching the vehicle, the three of them saw the HELLO! I AM CURRENTLY AVAILABLE. PLEASE TOUCH THE CIRCLE TO BEGIN on the windows . “Oh thank fuck!” Elaina exclaimed, practically slapping the circle in her haste. The automatic doors slid open, and all three beings, human and android, jumped in.
“Hello! Thank you for choosing to travel with Detroit Taxis. Please enter the address of your desired destination into the screen at the front to begin your journey.” Elaina ignored the pre-recorded female voice, typing the address for her apartment into the screen at a speed she’d never reached without making mistakes before. She pressed the Enter- Begin Traveling button much harder than necessary, and finally, the doors slid shut, hiding them all from the outside world. The wheels began turning, and at long last, the Tracis were being taken away from the source of all their horrors by a human might actually care .