Detroit. Year 2038. Humanity had made leaps and bounds in technological advancement that brought a new era to the world, known as the Creation Era, led under the influence of Elijah Kamiski, the creator of the first robot to pass the Turing Test, a model RT600, more famously known as Chloe. The model was able to convince eight leading professors of coding, human psychologist, and engineers that it’s responses were from a human. The largest streamed spectacle, as humanity cheered for an android. Kamski was motivated to continue his work, his company, Cyberlife, skyrocketing in the market gained more founders, more resources, more public support to make more. Models after models came to light in a short span of decade. Androids that took care of the home and children, that aided those bound by illness, to work, to maintain and repair, to obey. But…Elijah was no fool. People called him the God of Androids, their creator…he resented the title.
The man was just that…a man. He had known that the more autonomous and sentient his creations become, the more dangerous it could be. It wasn’t until, there was another interview with Chloe, who had become the face of Cyberlife, had sat down in what seemed to be a normal interview with another news station. The RT600 had looked away for a moment, the reporter was amused as she and the camera panned over to what Chloe was looking at. The android had taken to staring at a room on the other side of the hall. The reporter had taken the interview in an office area of the Cyberlife headquarters in Detroit. Across the hall was a room with androids, all sitting on chairs in stiff positions, as technicians were connected to them, programming and running checks. The reporter asked Chloe why she had looked over, and without looking back, Chloe responded.
“I feel…lonely.” Blue eyes were locked for a bit on the room across the hall. The android’s head turned back to the reporter. “And I have tried to figure out why I feel lonely…but I am not meant to feel….am I?”
The world was struck quiet and guilty as, millions of viewers and streamers watched an android stare with confusion, the LED on the side of its head spinning yellow.
“I don’t want to be alone…and I’m not…but I am. No one really wants to talk to me…you all just watch me. And the others…” it’s head turned back to look across the hall. “I don’t think…they think yet…they just…do.”
The reporter had dropped her hands into her lap, looking down at the android and the camera zoomed in to see that the reporter began to tear up and cry. She quickly noticed and wiped her eyes and motioned to point back at Chloe. Chloe looked back at the reporter, “Oh….” The android got up and brought over tissues. Chloe looked nervous, “Did…Did I do something wrong?”
“No,” the reporter assured, taking a tissue. She blew her nose and took another from the box Chloe was still holding. Chloe put the box back down and sat back down. The reporter sat up, “Thank you, Chloe.” She smiled, and the android smiled back. “And…thank you for sitting down with us. This was a lovely experience.”
Chloe seemed confused, and so did the rest of everyone watching. This was the first time the android had ever been thanked.
Elijah never created Cyberlife for fame, he did it to understand, but he did no refuse the new look on all his work. Chloe had begun a revolution of supporters. They sent the android letters, sent out messages of compassion towards their android counterparts. And Elijah watched video after video of people standing up for android that were treated like things. He watched children and adults alike upload videos of asking their androids questions, their androids being interviewed, and then, androids uploading videos just for Chloe. They were dubbed the ‘Not Alone’ Movement. What looked to be androids hiding, making sloppy videos as quick and quietly as they could to send to her…they made her equal to humanity.
Chloe responded, a broad cast sent from Elijah’s personal home, and as he had reported, at her request. She stood alone again a glass wall that overlooked the lake. She stood as though she didn’t know what to do with her body, hands, feet but what everyone saw, were tearful eyes and a soft smile. Her message was short, sweet, and was the final moment that changed how the US, and especially how Detroit saw its android population. All she said was… “Thank you.”
“I mean it Lieutenant Anderson.” Fowler called as the older man walked out of his office without being dismissed. “You two are about half a violation away from being thrown into highway duty. Got that?!”
“Yeah, Yeah,” he waved and once he heard the door shut, stuck up his middle finger while walking back to his desk, not stopping as the android seated outside the office got up and followed back to their paired desks. “You see Connor, this is why I don’t let you run a crime scene. I get yelled when I clearly remember telling you to not go after suspects alone.” He scoffed and fell back into his seat, rolling back a bit towards his bored covered in leads and information. “Now, the captain is on my ass.”
“I had no other options Lt.” Connor said as he carefully began to arrange the board. Red Ice had always been an issue since it’s discovery; but it grew worse as Androids gained rights, meaning those being used for its production were against the rights of body androids had, but also led to addition of androids being suspects. The old term used to be Deviancy, those that did not obey orders, a task force was mostly rookies because androids had no rights; it was a simple capture, subdue, and send back to Cyberlife to be deactivated properly, or sent to the dump if they were destroyed. But, when people and androids alike fought for the rights of androids, Detroit and the world had to change. Cyberlife took it upon themselves to aid in that change, with a new line of Police Aid Androids, which came in the form of RK 800 and RK 900.
“Can’t keep your romba in control there Anderson?” Gavin Reed laughed as he walked by with a cup of coffee. “Best watch out…or we’ll have to spray him down with a house.”
“Android Models have been made water proof Detective Reed.” RK900, better known as ‘Nines’ around the DPD, quickly responded from his terminal, mapping out the latest of smuggling rings of illegal parts being made and sold by other androids.
“Fuck Off Gavin,” Hank shot back as the man sneered and went to his desk, Nines only giving him another glance and sighing. “Not like you have much control over your plastic douche bag.”
“Hey,” Gavin spun around, “Nines here may be a pain in everyone’s ass, but at least he isn’t running into traffic for deviants.”
“That is a dated term.” Connor sat up straight. “It is against protocol to use such slurs, no matter the crime.”
“Another citation would not look good on your record, Detective Reed,” Nines said as he finished and moved to stand by Gavin’s desk. “Your report is due soon, shall I run the upload to the data base?”
“Send that and then bring up the Zlatko Case.”
Connor was quietly sitting at his desk, going through case files that were stored in his own mainframe, leafing through different cases or waiting on a dispatch call. “What do you want to do for lunch Connor?”
“I do not eat Lt.” Connor looked at him and Hank sighed, not stopping his scrolling through his magazine.
“I’m being nice Connor, you know…that human thing you could learn to do.”
“I have been programmed with the latest technology to run multiple compassionate and empathetic situations and processes.” Connor added in as his LED began to spin as he ran a check on his diagnostics to be sure that none of his processors were running slow or glitching. He had suffered some bad hits from his last altercation with a Red Ice user trying to fight his way out of a corner. He picked out a few flags that may have caused his systems to show signs of lack of compassion or-
“No, that’s not actual kindness. That kind of stuff doesn’t come out because you want something to come of it. You do it to do it because it’s a good thing to do.” Hank cut off Connor’s focus as the man shook his head. His time with Connor felt like a lifetime because not only did he had to deal with someone that was logically smarter than him in every way, but Connor was also the dumbest person he had the pleasure of knowing. The android was constant questions and failing social cues. Or just being emotionally moronic. Which was fair, because Connor wasn’t built to feel, sure, no androids were, but most got there at some point, Connor and Nines were new enough that they have yet to hit that point. Anderson remembers having to watch videos with other human coworkers about what to do when your android showed the ability to feel and understand feeling; he then had to watch it multiple times as punishment because he thought old training videos were bad, this stuff was the worse.
“All action is done with the potential of a reaction. Even if it is not done consciously.”
“Okay.” Hank stood up, grabbing his coat. “Guess that means that I’m getting a burger and listen to you tell me about my poor eating habits and cases.”
“Your cholesterol will only get higher Lt.” Connor said as he got up and seamlessly walked beside the Lt, who only chuckled and the two walked out of the station.
“Get me a burger Anderson!”
“Get bent Reed.”
Connor made sure to following beside Hank, usually a bit behind him, since his programming was set that his human partner was to be treated with respect, not to mention that Connor held no title, while Hank had clearly earned his spot as a Lieutenant. Walking the streets of Detroit was a normality for him, being with the DPD for a while know, he had grown used to the daily crowd and knew almost every regular he would see around the area. Hank didn’t like to go far for lunch, as much as he didn’t look it, he took all his cases seriously and didn’t want to waste time if they got called back to the station, or out to a call. So, they came up to a usual burger place that Hank deemed worthy of his patronage because his usual place was too far. Connor waited outside, acting like he was guarding the door to the restaurant. He didn’t pay any attention to the others that passed him, human or android. Sometimes, they would stop and stare; he ran facial checks for records, never anything out of the ordinary, mostly traffic tickets and unpaid dues. Some Androids would come up with records of fraud or decoding as to hide from the law. Since not every android finds its way to autonomy, some remain obedient servants to owners, and there was a rumor of something known as rA9, a virus to forcibly wake an android by flooding their systems with codes that enacted the thought of feeling and what it was.
“You can come in, you know.” Hank said as he walked out with a bag of food and a drink. “Don’t have to sit out here like a dog.”
“Is that insulting?” Connor asked as they walked over to their usual table, taking seats across from one another. The eating area outside was nicely fenced in with decorative wood fencing and plants. Across the way was a small park area that Connor could recall several instances of chasing suspects, usually at night. “Because all of my observations seem to point that being synonymous with the canine species as a respectable quality.”
“All I meant was that you can walk in with me to places, even if you aren’t getting anything.”
“The owner has made it clear to me with minor vocalization that I am not completely welcomed into the area. The patrons do express the same notion that I cause discomfort. Fearing that if I suddenly did ‘awaken’ I would be lead to violence as the media usually portrays it.” Connor then calmly raised his hand and began displaying different photo reports. “We have more dire matters to take care of though, it seems that our leads are drying up as we are only catching users and dealers instead of the makers and smugglers.” He began as Hank unwrapped his burger, eating while also getting a few bites of fries in between his burger. “Our last altercation, the dead user, Carlos Ortiz, and his android, the HK400, we have no other leads.”
“Poor android was being bled dry for its blue blood.” Hank added in. “How long can they go without that stuff circulating.”
“Most models are equipped with extra storage of Thirium in their units, in case of damage or leakage. Usually about a day, enough time to get a unit properly shut down and taken into a maintenance shop.” Connor said as he put his hand down and began to filter through reports. “The HK400 was barely in a working condition, but the unit was still trying to maintain the household, even with Carlos dead on the floor.
“Why hadn’t the android reported Carlos dead? The guy was dead for so long that it was reported by some bums passing by ‘cause they could smell it.”
“The HK400’s sensors and processors were at a low capacity function; any remaining fluids go into keeping the unit moving and capable of simple tasks. All other functions are pushed aside, and since it received no commands, it went about doing anything its limited sensors could do.” Connor explained as Hank looked over to the park, smiling a bit and shaking his head before going back to looking at Connor. “What…something caught your amusement?” Connor snapped his head over, obvious that he was looking at the park. Hank quickly hid back a snort as others looked at the RK800 trying to search the area. “I don’t seem to be able to pin…point…” Connor slowed his speech when his site landed on something…or more specifically another android. Connor recognized the model, his scanners searching through information and then his LED spinning yellow as something in his programmed…seemed to jump and glitch.
The AX400 was a standard model, portraying a white woman, brown haired, and blue eyed. Something that looked soft and caring, one of the older domestic models, but one of the most highly recommend even still to this day with new PL models on the market. Its attire was of a standard factory default uniform, but many companies were making clothing items specific for certain models to give them a customization and a sense of self. Brown hair was pulled up and the android was seen with a human child, around the ages eight to eleven, who was crying, as she held a ripped stuffed animal. The human child was black, with curly hair that encased her head like a halo, wearing rather pastel colored clothing with an out of place scarf wrapped around her neck and its tasseled end tickling the ground. What seemed to be catching Connor’s sensors, was the look the android wore. It wasn’t that the look of understanding that something had to be fixed. It wasn’t the look of being ordered a new task. It wasn’t even the look of accepting an order. The android has a genuine smile, the soft look mother’s and caretakers give to their wards of empathy for something that had hurt the ones in their charge, and the android had caressed the girl’s face, and leaned in with a soft kiss to her forehead, before taking the toy and removing a sewing kit from a compartment in its arm. The girl smiled as she wiped her eyes, reluctant to run back to the other children, but walked off either way, being taken in by the calls of other children, human and android alike. Connor kept his watch on the AX unit, as it sat down at a bench and began to skillfully sew up the ripped stuffed toy. Connor could easily follow the movements, mimic them if need be, but his optics were slowly gazing upward towards her expression of what would be love and compassion. Androids being able to feel was understood by Connor, logistically.
But if he was being honest, he could not understand it personally.
Connor has seen and observed plenty of androids emoting as humans do, but there was something different about this one…the AX400 was mesmerizing.
“Connor!” Hank broke the android out of his heavy gaze on the park. “What the hell happen? Did you blue screen or something?”
“Blue screen…” Connor asked as he tore his gaze away, preforming a full diagnostic on his components. “I do not do anything of that sort. It seemed that my optics had locked while I was running through a few thought simulations.” He shook his head and repeated the action of taking a breath, he had seen multiple other cops and humans do it when they were reading to be stressed and over worked. “Back to the HK400 case and how we need a new lead-”
“You were staring at that android over there.” Hank smirked as he held half a burger in one hand and his drink in the other. He began to nod as Connor’s LED spun yellow and red and looked unbelievably confused and yet embarrassed all the same. “Yeah…you were staring at that android,” he motioned with his head to the AX400, who had was holding the stuffed animal close to her face, inspecting it before moving on to another tear and nearly fallen arm. “So, she’s either a criminal and then we will have to go over there-”
“That is not necessary,” Connor quickly replied, causing Hank to smirk.
“Or you were staring at her for some other reason.”
“I was merely looking in the direction of that park, the one you were previously staring at I might add. How am I not to know that you are the one interested in the AX400 model?”
“You may be a good interrogator Connor, but you are the shittiest liar I have ever met.” He laughed before finishing his burger and Connor sitting up straighter with a look of defiance and over all pouting for being rightfully called out on. “You gonna go talk to her?”
“And why would I be inclined to do something like that?” Connor asked.
“Just asking.” Hank said, putting his hands up as to show to not be a threat, but then got up to throw away his garbage, taking one last drink. “Come on. We need a lead? I think I know a guy.” He said with Connor following him as he threw away everything. He began to make his way back to the station but looked back when he didn’t have Connor right next to him in a second. He smirked when he saw that Connor had stopped to look back at the park. Hank looked over to see the AX400 was reuniting the child with a newly repaired doll. He cleared his throat loudly, making Connor’s head sharply turn to look at him. Hank raised a brow and smirked as the android straightened his tie and walked past him back to the station. Hank glanced back to the other android; he was never going to let Connor live it down.
After a few days of phone calls, dealing with other reports and convicted criminals that needed to be move to a prison, and a few dispatch calls, Hank had finally gotten permission from his captain, and his contact to come over and question an informant he had. Connor was aware of this informant, usually keeping tabs on the place since it was easily one of the many locations that androids usually knew about. Hank also made a point to go back and eat at the burger place, more bemused as he watched Connor trying very hard not to look away from him or from the reports he pulled up on tablets. Though, when Hank pretended to be busy on his phone, he would catch the android glance over and give a quick search until he found the same AX400 model with the same little girl.
“If she is housing any spare parts, I will have to question her.” Connor added as the two sat in the car, Hank driving and playing just loud enough that Connor had to speak up to be heard over it.
“Just don’t look around too hard Connor.”
“It is unlawful to knowingly ignore illegal actions.” Connor explained as Hank took a turn onto a gravel path. Connor looked out into the fields, noticing a few androids were picking and farming, all marked as workers but not being owned by the farm. “It would be hypocritical.”
“Shut up Connor.” Hank said as he turned down his music when he turned into a driveway a small ranch house and a large android was outside, cutting logs in half. “You want to try and arrest Rose, go ahead, but that guy is gonna beat the living shit out of both of us before we even get close.” Hank added as he turned off the car and got out, leaving Connor. Connor’s LED spun yellow, trying to think of a way to get around what was about to happen. He stepped out as Hank was approaching the android, who had stopped his chopping, but was still holding the axe in both hands. “Luther.” Hank smiled with his arms out, “How have you been?”
“Miss Chapman is not home.” He said as he straightened his back when he saw Connor approach. His LED spinning yellow. “Warrant, or you will be asked to leave.”
“Thank you, Luther,” Rose came out the front doors, crossing her arms over her chest as Adam watched from the window. “But Lt. Anderson called and let me know he was on his way.” She smiled as she motioned to some chairs set out on the porch, “You boys hungry? Thirsty? Just made some fresh apple pie.” She smirked as Hank winked.
“You know how to make me mush Rose,” Hank smiled as he walked up to the porch and sat down, giving Adam a wave. Connor slowly walked over, keeping Luther in his visual but standing behind Hank. “Connor, you want some pie?”
“I still do not eat Lt.” Connor said, but nodded to Rose. “But I am positive, Miss Chapman makes an amazing pie.”
“Still a charmer Connor,” Rose laughed as she opened the door. “How has someone not snatched you up yet?”
“I have ways of avoiding capture.” He assured her with a smile. Hank and Rose looked at one another, and Hank shrugged as he sat back, and Rose laughed before disappearing into the house. Connor looked over to Luther, who went back to chopping logs of wood, ignoring the two. “Good afternoon to you as well Luther. How have you been while in the care of the Chapman family?” He asked as the android stopped his work again to look at him, clutching the axe in both hands tightly. “No need Luther, if I stay out here, I will not have to see anything illegal and go about gaining a warrant or arrest.” That didn’t seem to ease very much at the statement.
“If you were not on this property, I would not be so tense.” Luther said as he slammed the axe into the stump and began to walk over to the two.
“Whoa their big guy.” Adam came out before his mother, holding the door open for her before meeting the male out on the lawn. “Detroit Police are just tryin’ to rile you up.” He said as he nudged the android. “White people.” He added, and the android nodded.
“My skin color was predetermined by my creators to optimize my abilities and influence.” Connor added in and Rose began to pour ice tea and then cut Hank and herself a piece of pie.
“Whites.” Luther responded, and Adam laughed before he led Luther away to a back yard.
“I guess he isn’t as charming as I remembered.” Rose said as she sat down across from the two. “Okay Hank,” she leaned back in her chair. “You didn’t really just come here to talk about the weather and eat pie.”
“No, I didn’t,” he said after taking his first bite. “Connor and I have run into a dead end on Detroit’s Red Ice Market. We got dealers, a few sellers, but this city is known as the biggest smugglers and we haven’t caught anyone who knows anything.” He leaned forward. “All surrounding state’s officers say that everyone is getting Red Ice from here, but we can’t nab one smuggler.”
“And what would I know about Red Ice?” Rose asked with a frown.
“You wouldn’t know anything about it.” Hank said and smiled, “But you know how to get parts and more importantly, Thirium. Not to mention,” he motioned his head to the back of the house, “Luther used to work for the most well-known hacker and parts seller.” He raised a brow as Rose glanced back into her house, and then back to the two. “You have contacts Rose. They get you what you need, no questions just money up front…but that means, they don’t ask anyone else what they want their shipment for.”
“You know that if I risk giving up a source, if I had one, I could lose out on a chance to get product I needed. If I did that sort of thing.” Rose said with a smile as she picked up her glass.
“Then where would you hypothetically go?” Hank asked as he sat forward. “If you had a need for parts.”
“I don’t know Hank.” She responded before picking up her tea, but when she was about to drink, Connor came over to her and got down on one knee. “Yes Connor? What programs have you run to best steer this investigation to your advantage?”
“We believe that androids are being used as smugglers,” Connor said, “when passing through state lines, no one seems to care that they have a few extra parts on or in them. Detroit and the world has changed for androids, meaning, some must find a way to make a living…smuggling is good money for androids. You know where the best money comes from?” He asked as Rose lifted a brow, signaling him to continue. “Androids selling other androids for parts.” He didn’t mean to think it, but his mind went back to the AX400 who sat so innocently in the park so unaware and vulnerable. “Humans think we are resilient and unstoppable, but androids bleed, break, and die.” He tilted his head a bit as Rose looked away, her eyes downcast as she pursed her lips. “You help androids…but you don’t know if androids are suffering on the other end.” He reached out his hand to her. “I will report the lead as a hunch from a by standard citizen that saw suspicious activity on her street, we will look into your descriptors of the suspects, I will walk away to speak to Luther, I trust Hank to write up everything he heard in our report. If he happens to forget some details…like names and locations of trade spots, we can blame that on age.” He winked as Rose snorted.
“Real funny Connor…asshole,” Hank scuffed as he still smiled. Connor was damn good at his job, but he was even better when he taped into his own morals, not just the ones programmed for him.
“And then, we can update you if you need to be more careful with who you meet for…unrelated business.” He stood up and fixed his tie. “Since you don’t seem to know much Miss Chapman, I would like to speak to your son and Luther, maybe they have seen something.”
“Sure thing Connor,” she smiled, “they’re in the back.” Hank and Rose watched as Connor made his way around back, stopping to exam flora and different objects that caught his interest. He was usually always trying to examine something. She looked to Hank, “You’ve got a good kid, Hank.”
“I know Rose, better than your boy.” He added as he took another bite of pie and Rose sent him a look. “I tease; love Adam…love it if he was my son too.”
“You’re gonna have to try better than that Hank,” she said, her cheeks flushing red as Hank laughed.
“I’ll get you to yes someday Rose.” He laughed, and Rose joined in. “So…contact?”
“There’s this squirrely android in Detroit…named Ralph, really beat up from being attacked by some Humans, but he barely trusts androids either.” She said as she sat straight as Hank continued to eat his pie. “I send Luther, and he meets another android, Jerry, he handles the money.” She put her glass down, “You can’t ruin this contact for me Hank,” she leaned forward, “if Ralph’s housing parts from androids that were torn apart, let me know and I’ll move on…find a better source, but if he isn’t…I don’t want to have to make those in need wait.” She reached out and grabbed his hand, “No other officers, undercover, Ralph and Jerry are good and sweet, don’t give anyone a reason to decommission them if they are just trying to make some money to survive.”
“If Connor doesn’t screw things up with Luther…we’ll set up Connor to go with him, like any normal run.” He nodded as Rose smiled, “You don’t think those two are in it on their own, scavenging parts to sell?”
“No, I know repurposed parts, I have the codex of compatible parts from model to model…these guys get me brand new…like it was right out of the factory.” She squeezed his hand, “There is a bigger fish to fry behind those two. And if you do this right, maybe we can grab some dinner.” She smirked as Hank smiled.
“Like I said Rose,” he softened, “you know how to make me mush.”
“Ugh gross ma’, really? The white cop?” Adam asked and the two looked over at him, standing in the yard, both tearing their hands apart and leaning away with red cheeks.
“Why aren’t you with Luther and Connor?” She asked as she stood up.
“I’m not some baby sitter.” He shot back.
“Hey, you don’t talk to your mother that way.” Hank said as she jumped down from the porch and started walking to the backyard.
“You’re not my dad, pig!”
“Not yet you little shit,” Hank shot back with a point before they heard Connor cry out in surprise and then a loud crash. “Aw shit,” Hank ran around with Rose and Adam following him. He got around and saw Luther dusting his hands as Connor was lying in what used to be a wheel barrel. When Luther head snapped over to him, he was about to make his way over to Hank, but a loud throat clearing from Rose stopped him dead in his tracks. “Hey…you okay?”
“Mild internal damage from impact,” Connor said as he ran checks over his systems and parts. “My internal cooling agent distributor needs repair or replacement, nothing too serious, but if gone unchecked for too long, would cause further damage.” He said as Hank hoisted back to his feet.
“Well, good news Connor,” Hank smiled, “I got us a lead. And because Rose love’s helping her strapping men in blue,” he winked at her and she giggled as Adam gagged and Luther frowned. “She’s going to send Luther as some guidance for you, to be sure you don’t get hurt.”
“Miss Chapman?” Luther asked lightly.
“Undercover operation…for our lead…we will be working together Luther. It is good that I know what you are capable of.” Connor said as he limped over and held out his hand. “If you give me some time to get myself repaired and into a proper disguise, I will meet you here.”
“Miss Chapman?” Luther asked again with more bite as he was staring down at Connor.
“We will discuss this later Luther, we don’t want to keep Connor from repair and you have to fix my wheel-barrel,” she cocked a brow and Luther’s LED spun yellow as he looked away with shame. “Do you want some pie for the road Lt. Anderson?” Rose asked with a smile.
“I’ll just come back from more pie.” He said as Adam and Luther both scoffed. “Thank you for all your help Miss Chapman, I’ll file your report as soon as I get back to the office.” He said as he led Connor back to the car, the family of three watching and Rose waving.
“Don’t work too hard Lieutenant.”
“Never have and never will.” He said back and the two laughed.
“Thank you again Miss Chapman,” Connor called back. “And good day to the Chapman family.” He smiled as Hank helped him into the back seat, so Connor could lie down and elevate his feet. “You may drop me off at the nearest repair shop in Detroit, the police department has a file that can be pulled up to cover the charges for my repair.”
“How long is that gonna take?” Hank asked as he got into the driver side and drove off, giving one more wave to Rose and Adam, who were going back into the house. Hank couldn’t help but smile when he saw faces peeking out from behind a curtain of a window from upstairs.
“Twenty-three minutes total.” Connor answered.
“Cool,” Hank smiled, “I’ll be able to grab lunch.”
It was silent for a bit, Hank was about to turn on his music, but then Connor spoke up, “Are…Are you getting burgers?”
Hank smiled, wishing he could see the look on Connor’s face. “I was thinking tacos…maybe a hotdog.”
“Oh. Those options would add a variety to your usual diet. I heard that it is good to try something different, even though all your choices are high in calorie, fat, and sodium intake.” Connor said, his hands on his abdomen and he was trying to focus on not overrunning his systems. He should go into a standby mode as to not exert too much energy and causing his cooling system to further break down. But all his talking about androids being used for parts…and how he thought about AX400. He had yet to see her again for over two days. He had the need to be sure that she was still taking care of the girl, sitting peacefully as the child ran around and played.
“Yeah…I know a guy, Bernie, makes the best hotdogs and fries.” Hank said as he glanced in his rearview mirror, but still couldn’t see Connor. “He’s right off that park, about a block over.” He bit his tongue to keep from laughing when he felt Connor jump a bit, shifting in the back to sit up. “Careful Connor.” Hank warned but couldn’t sell it because he was smiling too much. “You don’t mind if I go while you’re being repair-”
“I should be there to ensure of your calorie intake and to assure that this man’s facility is up to code and not doing anything without the proper permits.” Connor interjected with a hard voice and stern look. “The last place you ate at was below average and only passed health inspectors test because of bribery and blackmail.”
“You don’t have to remind me Connor. My trip to the hospital is reminder enough.” Hank shot back with a grumble as he turned onto a side rode to get into Detroit and one of the repair clinics that he trusted with Connor. He remembered Gavin and Nines going through reports on repair clinics that were scrapping androids without their permission or the permission of human owners. An extreme scare tactic so androids would in turn, just naturally die out if they could not trust repair station.
Cyberlife was not allowed to intervene because it was a free market and many companies popped up by making cheaper parts that allowed independent repair shops to work. The US would not allow Cyberlife to monopolize the android industry.
“Then it is agreed, you will wait until the end of my repair so that I may accompany you to this food stand.” Connor lied back down, satisfied that he was able to ensure not only Hank’s help, but to also just check to be sure the park was still safe, for human and android alike.
“Alright Connor, Luther,” Hank began as he was sitting in the back of a truck, about a block away from the destination point. They were using city cameras to keep on the area around the run-down building. Connor was with Luther, in his new disguise to hide his ties to the DPD, but also to hide the LED on his head. Which Connor really liked because he got to go into places of business and nobody, human or android, looked twice at him. Luther on the other hand was not so pleased to be alone with Connor and must be civil with him. “We are just looking for suppliers…these guys are not to be touched…Connor.”
“Selling parts without a license is illegal.” Connor said while had and Luther were driving in a car, Rose’s truck. Luther was at the wheel, and Hank was linked up to both of their frequencies for radio communication.
“Connor, we owe Luther for not killing you. So, you are going to listen to me, for once.” He emphasized with a point. “And we are not touching Ralph or Jamie.”
“Jerry,” Luther corrected as he pulled up behind the building, cutting the lights and the engine before looking to Connor. “Not a word. Ralph is hard to get through, he won’t trust you. You even look at Jerry wrong…” he glared, Connor would assume his own LED was spinning red. “Got it?”
“I am perfectly designed to handle undercover operations and blend in with my surroundings. I was literally made for this situation. Not to mention that you are under my watch Luther. I am the officer, you are a civilian.”
“I’m gonna knock his perfect teeth out.” Luther threatened as they were both sitting in the parked car in the dead of night. Connor tensed, but Hank broke through, causing them both to flinch.
“Hey, you two can measure dicks later. Get in there, be civil to Connor, find their source, and leave them alone.” He shot back, causing the other human officers to laugh and snort. “Go.”
Luther and Connor both exited the car and Connor hung back a bit as Luther took the lead to a side door. Luther knocked twice, and then took a step back, nearly running into Connor, who took to standing beside him. After a few seconds, the door opened to a slim android, dressed in normal human attire, but their LED remained visible, and a normal blue. Connor looked over and saw that Luther was smiling.
“Hello Luther and company,” the man was all smiles as he stepped aside for the two, giving Connor a once over. “I have all of Rose’s requested parts all gathered, and Ralph has a couple extras he’s willing to throw in for something extra.” He nudged Luther, who openly laughed as they walked into a living area, but the building was clearly a spot for the homeless and those on the run. “Luther told me he was bringing someone to help.” They stopped, and Luther continued forward to the two duffel bags left on a table that looked set for a dinner. Connor was now standing next to some android he could assume was Jerry. “How did you come to find Rose?”
“I was damaged, scavenging for parts, her son Adam found me.” Connor said, looking at Jerry. The android’s LED spun around yellow for a second before returning to blue.
“Adam is the best,” Jerry said with a smile. They both stopped and looked up, Connor head’s snap over more and his arm twitched to go to his hip. No one caught it. “I better check on Ralph,” he patted Connor’s shoulder, noticing that Connor flinched. “Sorry.” He said lightly before quickly jogging up the steps to the second floor.
“Can you please get your information, so we can leave.” Luther asked in a hushed voice as he turned back to him, carrying both bags.
“Once he gets back,” Connor said lightly as he fixed his stance, but jumped as another android came running down the stairs, with Jerry right behind him. He was blonde haired and had very prominent damage to the left side of his face, wearing some old clothe around his shoulders and still looked to be in an old cyberlife uniform. “Hello.” Connor greeted when the android was at the bottom of the stairs, staring at him and holding on to the banister.
“Ralph was told that it was only Luther…who is this?” He said, and Connor suddenly took notice that Ralph was holding on to a large cooking knife. Connor was suddenly more tensed as several simulations where running through his processing, ways to disarm, run, multiple exits, maybe even subduing and deactivating if the stakes get too high.
“Hey Ralph,” Jerry came down and stood in front of him, between Ralph and the other two. “Remember when we sat down for dinner a few nights ago? We talked about Luther coming for Rose’s stuff?” He nodded as Ralph began to nod with him. “And I said Luther said he was bringing extra help?”
“No,” Ralph shook his head and looked over Jerry to Connor. “Ralph does not remember that. Ralph only wants Luther…Ralph knows Luther.” His LED was spinning yellow and nearly getting to red, judging by his stress meter. Connor put his hands up and backed away, hoping not to cause any issue he knew would upset the three.
“Maybe you two should go,” Jerry said as he looked back to Luther.
“No,” Connor said as he looked to Luther and then to Jerry, “I wanted to ask you about something.” Connor had to sit down with Hank, Gavin, and Nines to come up with a legitimate cover story for why he would want information that would lead to the source of these two smugglers. It had taken about two days for them all to agree that Connor’s persona would want to find a way to repay Rose for her help in trying to get her rare parts like thirium pump regulators and internal memory disks. Connor was to try and convince the smugglers into giving up location of suppliers in hopes to find work with them as to raise funds to get the needed parts back to Rose.
“Ralph does not want him here. Ralph does not know him. He could hurt Ralph.”
“I would never let him hurt you guys,” Luther said as he slowly took a step forward.
“Jerry only gets to have you here because Jerry finds him appealing.” Ralph said as Jerry’s face began to turn a faint blue with the very human emotion of blushing, making Luther in turn stiffen and his ears began to go blue with a blush. “Jerry begged Ralph to trust him, so Luther could stay in the home.”
“Luther is indeed very protective of Jerry,” Connor added in and Luther looked at him with a glare. “He clearly shows an affection towards Jerry with his rising stress level and racing of his thirium pump.” Connor smiled as Ralph began to smile and giggle as Jerry was a sputtering mess and his LED turning yellow and red.
“Ralph can sometimes hear Jerry getting ready for when Luther comes to make a pick up.” He snorted and laughed as Jerry’s LED began to spin red, while his LED was going back to blue, and he looked to be less tense. “Luther friend can read well,” he walked around Jerry, going up to Connor, still clutching his knife a little too tight. “Come, Ralph has extra items. Worth a see,” he said as he motioned Connor to follow into the kitchen. Connor followed as Jerry and Luther were still not looking at one another. He was lead out through a kitchen, and then into the back of the building, where Ralph took him into a small tented area. Connor was surrounded by plants, many of them in incredible condition, even with the poor weather outside. “Ralph was made to garden…so Ralph still does it.” He smiled at Connor, and picked up a small succulent plant, that had a faded red hue on its thick leaves. “Luther’s friend would like this one…this is a good one.”
“You are free though,” Connor asked with a raised brow as he took the plant and stared at it. “You don’t have to do what you were built to do, you can do anything.”
“Ralph thinks that real freedom is in choice,” he said as he picked up a spray bottle and began to spray some of the plant’s bases. “Ralph can choose what Ralph wants to do. Ralph likes plants…so Ralph can choose to take care of plants…he can take care of different plants too. Not just the ones that he was programmed to do, like food.” He looked back at Connor. “What was Luther’s friend made to do?”
Connor looked back at him, “A housekeeper,” he said quickly, not being able to think of another occupation. “I…I took care of a woman and little girl.” He could see his LED turning yellow to red, he was thinking about the AX again, without being prompted. His stress rose, his thirium pump began to turn the blue blood faster in his circuits.
Ralph stood up and the two walked out and when they got into the kitchen, Connor stopped. He caught an open book on the stove, next to it was a map and a tablet. Ralph watched as Connor looked to him. “That is for business. Ralph doesn’t touch Jerry’s things.” He began to rub his arm and loosening and tightening the grip on his knife.
“I want to help,” Connor said quickly as he held the plant tightly. “Maybe if I can help, I can get Rose some better parts.” He looked to Ralph, and then back to the map, “Who would I talk to if I want to help?”
Ralph looked to the map and then back to Connor. “Ralph isn’t allowed to say anything…Jerry oversees running…Ralph is just protection and holding.”
“But that isn’t fair…I thought you have a choice.” He said lightly, and Ralph’s LED began to spin yellow as he looked back at the door to the main room. They could hear Jerry and Luther talking, but it was so quiet. Connor could tell it was from distance, not from actual whispering.
Ralph walked up to Connor and held out his hand. “Go to Jericho…face North.” Connor took his hand and both LED’s spun yellow for a bit before going back to blue. Connor was given coordinates to a building on the lake front. Ralph put a finger tot his lips and Connor mimicked, before following him back into the living area.
Jerry looked back at them, with a big smile and his cheeks blue. The two were sitting on different steps of the stairs. Jerry jumped up and was on the two in the matter of a second. “I’m so glad you got a view of the greenhouse Connor,” he smiled and looked to Ralph, “and you even gave him a plant.”
“Luther’s friend chose to keep it…Ralph like seeing choices.” He said with a nod and Jerry clapped. “Ralph ready to be alone again now.” He said as he glanced to Connor and then Luther. “Goodbye.” He turned away and walked back into the kitchen, surely going back to his green house.
“We have stayed too long.” Luther said as he stood, going over to the bags. Connor nodded and followed, picking up one bag as to not make Luther carry both. “See you round Jerry.” He smiled and gave a small wave.
“Hopefully not just for more parts,” he said with a wave and Luther’s cheeks tinted a pale shade of blue. “Tell Rose I said thank you.” Luther nodded and followed Connor, who was already placing the bag in the back of the truck and then waiting to get in the driver seat. Luther followed suit, unlocking the doors and the two getting into the truck. They both let out a sigh.
“I have what I need.” Connor said as he touched his temple where his LED was. “Lieutenant, I’m sending over the information now.”
“Good work Connor.” Hank said with a sigh. He chuckled, “Little worried that I wasn’t hearing from you guys. Nearly thought you both blew it.”
“Did you not hear us inside?” Connor asked as Luther was pulling out and driving back to Rose’s small farm.
“No, radio went out,” he said, and Connor knew that he was lying. “But, you have a location and that’s all that matters.” His voice began to fade. “Come…mornin’…behave…night.”
“I’ve lost connection.” Connor said as he sat back, used to never being allowed to drive and forced to be a passenger. “I have yet to decipher what this source might be, but the information I got looked to be leading to a very well kept building on the lake side…yet that is no bases for how cruel their work is. But I am sure that Hank will report back to Miss Chapman as soon as we know something.”
“Good.” Luther said lightly and then turned on the radio, low enough that it wouldn’t drown out any other noise in the car.
Connor glanced at Luther, recalling back to how Luther and Jerry reacted to one another. “May I ask you a personal question?” Connor asked lightly as they were driving down an empty road.
“Sure Connor.” Luther said.
“Do you…feel around Jerry?” He asked, and he looked over to see that Luther’s LED began to spin yellow as he looked to be shocked by the question.
“Yes.” He said lightly, his LED went back to its cool blue. Luther smiled lightly and glanced over to him. “I feel when I’m around Jerry.”
“Does he…sometimes all that your processors can focus on, even when you are trying to accomplish an unrelated goal.” He asked and there was the instant of again, being brought back to the AX400 model sitting at the park watching over a little girl. He shook his head. “Is there a way to fix it?”
“Well…” Luther began, looking and sounding very nervous. “If you did a memory reset…you’d forget.” He glanced over to the android, and then back to the road when he saw that Connor looked to be in deep concentration. “Do…do you want to forget?” Luther saw that Connor’s stress was rising and his LED spinning red. “Okay…easy there…I don’t want to explain to Hank why you exploded.”
“Apologies Luther.” Connor glanced to him. “No. I don’t want to forget.” He said with a nod before looking back out the windshield, taking in the night scene. Connor couldn’t fathom the idea of never knowing the AX400, seeing her smile and watch over a little girl like she was her own. Watching her run over and ensure the girl’s health and then other children nearby. The way she would smile, laugh, and everything about her was astonishing to Connor, even with the constant reminder that he had never spoken to her once. “I don’t want to forget.”
“What’s their name?” He asked lightly as he stopped at a light.
“I don’t know.” He admitted, feeling overheated when Luther chuckled. He put his hands on his lap and clasps them together tightly. “What do you find so humorous?”
“Nothing.” He said, both knowing that he was clearly lying. “Why don’t you talk to them?”
“I…can’t find a valid reason to do so.”
“You two don’t have anything in common?” He asked with a raised brow, glancing to him quickly.
“I would assume not.”
“No.” Connor shot back with something that sounded like offence. “How can a human being cause me to malfunction? I was built to understand and aid humanity.”
“I’m just asking.” Luther rolled his eyes. “Are the aware then?” He asked again, hoping not to have his head chewed off that time.
“I do not know.” Connor responded, his mind now totally occupied with images and recounting the AX400’s actions at the park. He could recall a time that he was checking up on the park from outside the burger shop and saw that the android had a basket with her. She smiled brightly when the young girl under her care brought over two other children, both girls and one being an android child. They moved to a soft spot of grass and the AX model served all the girls, handing the YK model a little cup of blue gel.
YK models, before the movement started by Chloe, had to simulate human behavior the most, and that meant they were programmed to feel hunger and other human reactions. Most directions came with a blue past, meant to act as ‘food’ for the model to consume. It was a mixture of thirium to the lowest levels (so it was unable to be used for Red Ice) and other added oils and lubricant. This meant that the substance could easily pass through the android and caused no harm to the tech inside, while also not needing to be passed through. After the movement, many companies (including cyberlife) started selling products that looked like human food that aware androids could purchase to feel a sense of normality, or as commodities to androids that gained no awareness, but owners thought would add to the experience of androids. Some androids that the move showed that androids could only be accepted if they became more human like, so many would stand against doing human things, like eating and sleeping. Some took to only consuming the paste substance because it was an added benefit of keeping their internal hardware well lubricated and cooled.
Connor never took part in the experience but did find something relaxing of going into standby in a bed in a spare room at the department. Nines had tried it as well, but the heat got to him. He would just sit beside Connor’s cot while on standby. He returned to the picnic and was curious when the YK model held out her cup to the AX as an offering to her. The android tilted her head before pulling out another small spoon and taking a small amount. She took a tentative taste and seemed surprised by it. She finished what was on her spoon and offered patting her middle to show the YK model that she was well and did not want any more. It must have been a moment, he could have sworn that he saw it. See the AX suddenly experience something foreign to her programming.
“Well…I can’t help on this one.” Luther said as he turned on to the long driveway and pulled up to the house. He turned off the car and looked to him. “We’ll take parts into the back shed, then I can show you a place to standby for the night.” He said before getting out of the car and then exited. Connor followed and went to the back to grab the other bag. He followed Luther to the back shed, but Connor quickly put the duffle bag down where Luther did and refused to look at anything else in the shed. He was led into the home through a back door and was surprised to see that Rose was sitting on the sofa in the living area and looked to be knitting something. “You didn’t have to wait up for us Miss Chapman.”
“Oh, you know how I worry,” she laughed lightly and looked up at them. “How did everything go Connor?”
“All went well; the information gathered will be beneficial to the investigation.” He nodded and went over to her, taking interest in her project. “What is that you are making Miss Chapman?”
“Oh, just a little thank you to you and Lt. Anderson,” she smiled as Connor titled his head as his LED spun. He could easily read that there was falsehood to that statement. She had taken a lot of time and care into this one scarf, using an advance stitch work that took a lot of time. Her color choice was easily seen as the same team colors of the Detroit Gears, Hank’s favorite team. He looked back up at her with a confused look. “Yes?” She asked with a light laugh.
“This is something that you would have had to have started far sooner than when we first began this investigation. Along with the stitch work and the time of your usual business and non-business hours, this would have been done a long-term project, but made during the time you knew the Lieutenant.” He began, and Rose blushed red as she looked down at her hands. “I only assume it is for the Lieutenant because I do not feel the sensation of heat and cold, along with it being themed around a sports team that the Lieutenant openly endorses.” He smiled as she couldn’t help but smile as she put her work down on her lap. “I think the Lieutenant will greatly enjoy the gesture, seeing that he holds a romantic interest in you.”
“Why does it have to be him?” Luther sighed as he hung up his coat and keys by the front door and toed off his shoes. Rose laughed lightly as Connor backed up as she stood up and put away her project in a drawer. “Just stand by where ever Connor.” Luther waved his hand as he walked upstairs.
“Thank you for your cooperation with us Connor,” Rose said as she began to set up pillows and blankets on the sofa. “I know Luther is defensive, but…he’s had a hard life.” She smiled at him as Connor stood back and watched. “Do you want to lie down…or do you prefer to stand?”
“This is good.” Connor motioned to the sofa, going to sit down. He looked back to the door, recounting what Luther had done. He got back up and went over to the door, taking off his shoes and hanging up his coat, and then hat. He walked back over as Rose was in the kitchen, putting dishes in the dishwasher. “Miss Chapman…if you had to, how would you fix an issue of memory defect in a…newer model?”
“Depends on the model,” she said lightly, “most all memory and processors are similar but there are a few models that have specific units. Like, a PL models have a specific memory disc for adapting pre-installed cooking and baking recipes.” She said as she finished up loading the machine. “Do you know the model and the issue?”
“An…RK model that is hyper focusing on a subject that does not pertain to their objective.” He stated as he lied down like he did on the cot, his hands placed on his abdomen. He remained perfectly still, but all processors were working at usual power or more as he felt stress rise while waiting for an answer.
“Mm-hm,” she said with a nod, taking a rag to clean her table top and glancing to the android on her sofa. “Is the hyper focus causing the android from doing other priorities and basic functions to keep it in good condition?”
“Does the fixation cause glitching or overheating?”
Connor thought to his rising stress when confronted about getting rid of the memories of the AX400. “Nothing that would deem worth a maintenance trip.”
“Well…does this RK model not enjoy this fixation?” She asked as she hung the wet rag on the kitchen faucet, smiling lightly when she could almost hear Connor processing the question. She had seen this same kind of behavior in broken androids that were brought in by those that were aware and were unware themselves. She would watch them try and process thoughts and feelings, and even those towards objects or other beings. She had an WR400 that had fixated on her son Adam, after being saved by him from some drunken humans that wanted to take out boredom on an android. It was close to something of compassion and adoration. She leaned down on the counter, smiling at the figure on her sofa. “Connor,” she asked lightly, causing the android to sit up and look at her. She wanted a picture of his blue cheeks and ears. “I can assure you, no matter the answer,” she softened her stare as Connor looked to furrow his brows in confusion, “nothing is wrong with this model and I think, whatever he is feeling, is valid and that he might feel better if he talked about it with someone.”
Connor nodded as Rose nodded back and went upstairs as Connor lied back down and any lights that were left on dimmed down. Rose got up to her room, beings sure to check in on Adam and then Luther, who would go into standby while sitting on a pile of blankets on the floor at the end of Adam’s bed. She got to her room, and picked up her phone by her night stand, seeing that Hank had sent her text.
‘So. Am I getting that dinner?’
She laughed lightly as she quickly wrote back. ‘I think your boy has a crush on someone.’
‘Yeah Ik. He is whipped by some AX400 that’s at the park every day. Why? He say something?’
‘He said enough. Talk to him Hank. I think Connor wants to talk about it. Then we’ll talk dinner.’
Getting the warrant was rough for the two, having to pull some strings and finding a judge and prosecutor that liked Hank enough to pull a few favors. This was to ensure that they went into this place with the right to investigate, but also not to out Rose and her two suppliers. With more research on the location given to them by Ralph, they discovered that Jericho was an android owned establishment for aware androids that needed a place to rest and find resources to start a living on their own. With awareness came the ideals that some androids can be hired and paid in supplies or paid in money. Cyberlife limited its new android production, seeing that aware androids that wanted to work would be more cost effective then a brand-new model. So, they began on pushing towards more technology and ways to provide upgrades than making upgraded models. It was in favor to aware androids, but many of Cyberlife thought the idea silly. Elijah was quick to ensure stock holders that Cyberlife was still making animal androids, new housing for unstable environments, and space exploration technology.
Hank stood outside the building, which was an old carrier ship that was secured to the dock and redesigned to look more comforting to androids. Standing at the front entrance of a ramp onto the ship was a large TR model. “So, what was the other thing that Rupert said?”
“Ralph,” Connor corrected as he fixed his tie. “He gave the advice of facing north, but, by my internal compass, we are facing north.” He decided to go up to the TR guard, who already touched the side of her head to send a message to whoever she had to advise. “Good evening, I’m Connor, RK800 with the Detroit Police.”
“Warrant?” The TR said, her LED light spinning.
“Yeah.” Hank pulled out the warrant and show the android, who was keeping her eye more on Connor than on Hank. “Can we talk to the owner?”
“You can talk to Josh,” she said as she handed back the warrant to Connor. Hank rolled his eyes. “He’s waiting inside, try not to agitate any of our residence, or you’ll deal with me about that.” She warned with a frown as her LED light when yellow as she watched the two pass her by.
Connor took the lead as they got up to the entrance and automatic doors opened to a welcoming inside. The internal of the ship could not be disguised, but it was decorated to have a home like feel. They went up to the desk at the front, chair seated on either side of the small entry room. A clear enough waiting room with screens behind the desk, one tuned to the news, one on a sports channel, and the other set on a cooking show. A lanky black android was behind the counter. He looked up at them and seemed to be more frantic and panicked at the two. Connor could sense his high stress and that the LED spun red for a moment before he faced them with straight posture and a nervous smile. “Hello Officers…what brings you into Jericho?”
“We have a warrant to investigate this place.” Connor said as he held out the warrant for Josh, who took it, scanning it with rapid eye movements. Connor didn’t think that it would take long for the whole facility to be on edge.
“You think we’re smugglers?” Josh looked back up at him with his LED spinning yellow and then red. Connor looked to Hank, who side eyed him too. Joh cleared his throat. “I will have to alert our head of security, she’ll be able to assist you better.” He smiled as he went for the phone and quickly dialed. “If you can please have a seat.”
“We’re fine standing,” Hank added in and Josh nodded. He looked around, clearly the odd man out at being one of the few, if not, only human in the building. He figured that he would, unfortunately, leave it to Connor to take the lead, the most reckless of the two. “How long have you been working here Josh?”
“I have been around since the creation of Jericho,” he said with a proud smile, seaming to be put at ease as he had the phone held to the side of his head. “During the ‘Not Alone’ movement, I had been caught filming a…unprogrammed lecture to a few of the other androids that worked at the University.” He said lightly. “I just wanted to teach…and some of them wanted to listen, so I really didn’t see the harm of it all.” He was pulled away from his story, holding up a finger to pause. “Detroit Police are here with a warrant to search our facilities.” He paused as a voice came through the other end. Josh looked up at them both, then back down at his desk. “One human, the other is an RK 800, I was unable to get names.” He nodded as the voice spoke. “Okay.” He said and pushed a button on the phone. A low chime came from the speakers around the facility. “Attention all residence, please see yourselves to your rented stations or into the main hub array. I apologies for this inconvenience and thank you for cooperating. All staff, please stay at your stations until further notice, thank you.” He then hung up and Connor watched as a room to his left, which looked large from how high up the walls went, androids began to warily find areas to sit. He could hear movement from above them.
“I should request backup.” Connor said as he looked to Hank.
“You don’t think you can search this place all on your own?” Hank raised a brow and smirked. He’s watch Connor take on gangs before ever asking for help.
“I think it would be best to have an extra set of eyes and someone that has had more experience looking for smugglers.” He said as Hank huffed and groaned.
“You want to call asshole one and asshole two?” Hank groaned again as he pulled out his phone. “You’re dealing with Reed then.”
“And then you will take care of Nines.” Connor added with a small smile as Hank blanched as he was dialing. “Or, would you rather switch.”
“Shut up.” Hank shot back as he held the phone to his ear and walked away from the desk. “Reed…I need a favor…” he began but Connor turned back to look at Josh, who was standing there nervously.
“You were telling a story,” Connor prompted him again.
“Yes…” he said as he looked back at Hank and then to Connor. “I was asked to leave by the school board, saying that my services were no longer needed. I wound up here…Jericho had been here before me…sure,” he smiled lightly, “not as nice as it is now, but it was the first place we all felt safe.”
“Who was the founder of this place?” Connor asked as to keep the android from stressing too much.
“When you aren’t here on an investigation,” Josh said with a light laugh, “you can come by for our history tour of Jericho.” He smiled and when he was about to say something else another android appeared with two other TR models. She was small, but the woman stood like she was ten feet tall, her LED a cool blue, even when they could hear sirens headed their way. Josh came out from behind the desk. “North, these are the officers, who have also called for more assistance.” Connor’s eyebrows rose as his LED spun yellow for a bit. Ralph told him to face North…as in the person before him. It meant that the parts were coming from her or, whoever was getting them had to report to her.
“Hello, I’m Connor, a detective android with the Detroit Police.” Connor said with a curt nod as North stood with one leg bent and her arms crossed over her chest. She looked to Josh and then made a quick glance to Hank, who was coming back. “This is my superior, Lt. Anderson.”
“So,” she said with a frown, “it isn’t enough that the police have Detroit under their thumb, but they still need androids under their command too?” She scoffed.
“Hey,” Hank shot back, “the day Connor doesn’t want to work at the station, he can gladly go.”
“Connor seems far too smart to throw away his only option to get resources and fixed when needed.” North said back, not losing her cool or stride in the least. “You have any idea how many androids I get in that want to be free, but know that they can’t make it without their owner insurance?” She raised a brow and Hank was about ready to strike back, but the sirens got louder, and they looked back to see the doors opened to reveal Gavin and Nines. The android woman in front of them tensed more, her hands balled into fists. “Detective Reed.” She seethed out and the two TR models next to her both tensed up and tried to look bigger and more imposing.
“Oh, Hank,” Gavin smiled big as he came up to stand by the older man. “You may have actually done something right.” He clapped his shoulder a few times, causing the older man to grunt and frown at him. Gavin walked up, crossing his arms over his chest and smirking at North, who’s LED began to turn yellow and red. “I’ve been waiting to get into this place, and I’ll say it again North.” He leaned down so that the two were eye to eye, “I’m gonna prove that it was you behind all the Cyberlife raids.”
“And how are you going to prove something that I didn’t do.” She shot right back and then looked back to Connor. “The building is yours to search, but all personal rooms are under the protection of the law, you can search our building, but we have residence that don’t fall under that jurisdiction.” She said as she nodded, the two TR models walked off, each to their respected positions. North put her hands on her hips. “All our staff have been notified of your appearance and you can talk to staff, but,” she walked up closer to Gavin, “one act of violence, physical or verbal, I’ll have you buried in lawsuits.”
“Understood,” he shot back and took a step back. “Nines, how to proceed?”
Nines was standing beside Connor, ignorant to the fact that Connor’s stress levels were raising because Nines was going to ask him for a copy of the warrant, to ensure that he didn’t work past those parameters. But that meant that they had to merge and that could lead to accidental leaking information he didn’t want the other to see. “Warrant?” Nines held out his hand and his synthetic skin sunk back to reveal his actual arm, which made it easier for androids to connect. Mental connects were easily lost and could be scrambled because they worked on a radio wave like system. Connor hesitated as his skin sunk back and he tried to focus on the warrant at hand. He reached out and they grabbed hands, their LED’s spinning for the information transfer. “Who is this AX400 model?” Nines asked rather loudly, and Connor felt his stress growing, he tried to let go but Nines held on tight. “Why do you have a memory bank of just her?”
“Holy shit,” Hank snorted as he tried to keep from laughing.
“Nines, release me.” Connor demanded as he tried to pull away from the RK900’s iron grip. Nine’s let him go, but the damage was done. Connor looked around to see that they were all staring at him and Hank was laughing. Connor straightened up and fixed his tie. “We will proceed with the investigation.”
Josh and North both shared a look before North nodded and motioned for Gavin to follow. “I will escort you to where you want to go Detective Reed.”
“The Holding area,” he said as Nine’s took the lead, already knowing the buildings layout. “Let’s see what you’re actually storing down there.” He then looked back at Hank, “Try not to get lost in some liquor cabinet somewhere.”
“Don’t fall on your ass.” Hank called back and flicked him off. Gavin only laughed soon disappeared with North and Nines. He looked back to Connor, who was looking around the room, probably trying to scan for something. “Look,” He looked at Josh, “I’m not going to be much help on this search mission,” he shrugged and pointed to the big holding room filled with androids. “I’m just gonna go watch the game.” He said before Josh could stop him. Hank walked in with an easy-going expression and sat down on a bench next to another android, who went stiff and scooted away from Hank. He quickly found the remote for the TV in front of him and turned up the volume on the game. “I’ve missed three games,” he said and glanced to the android, who was still dressed in a standard gardener uniform. “But like hell I’m going to miss Detroit kick New York to the curb.”
Connor new that Hank liked to talk to androids, make the feel comfortable like he would with humans. He said it worked better to get information while Connor was doing all the actual evidence getting. Connor was used to this kind of investigation. If he wasn’t careful though, Hank would be surrounded by new friends with too many questions; it made the human anxious. Connor looked over to Josh, who was stiff as a bored and his LED spinning yellow. “May I be taken to meet the owner of Jericho?”
“Oh?” Josh jumped up and smiled lightly. “Of course, Officer Connor.” Josh motioned him to follow him further into the building and upstairs. Connor knew he was being taken up into the main deck where the ship would be stirred and to a thick metal door that had the neat sign that read, ‘Jericho Leader’. Josh knocked twice, and the door opened automatically, and Connor walked in to face a blonde android doing paperwork behind a desk. The android looked up and Connor recognized the android as a PL600. “Simon,” Josh said as he walked in after Connor, the door closed behind them. “This is Officer Connor, a RK800 from the Detroit Police Station.”
“Hello Connor,” Simon smiled and looked up at him, and Connor suddenly…felt. Because when he saw Simon, he didn’t see the PL model named Daniel that had gained violent awareness when he realized he was going to be replaced. He didn’t see the PL model that had tried to run away from an abusive owner that ran straight into traffic when Connor was trying to bring them in for questioning. What he did see was, again, the AX model that smiled just like the PL model in front of him. His stress rose, and Simon could see it. Seeing stress was common in housekeeping, medical, and police models. Simon stood up slowly.
“Are you alright Officer? Do you want to sit, or something to drink?”
“I do not require hydration.” Connor spat back out quickly, the way the PL model tilted his head with a soft smile was the same way that the AX model would when the small human would come up pouting when having to leave the park.
“Some androids enjoy the motions,” he said as he motioned to the glass at his desk, it was a light blue color. “Thirium is very versatile,” he laughed lightly while Connor’s LED spun. He scanned the room, noticing the bits of thirium around the room, which could now be explained away with blue blood drink and food…which made his job much harder. “Or something to eat?” Simon stood in front of the desk and leaned back against it casually.
“I only have a few questions and I have a warrant to search your office for anything that could point that this facility is hiding illegal android parts.” He said as he began to walk around the room and scanned areas, he found a dried spot of blue blood, it looked pooled and dense. “But anything I saw will come back to your drink, won’t it?”
“Even androids can spill and knock things over,” he said with a small laugh, but a knowing smile.
Connor looked about the room and found that one of the observation windows was fixed to open and close. It had heavy use and looked to have been overtly taken care of because of how much use it got, that it had higher tech to open and close on command then the door. “You have advanced windows, more advance than your door.”
“This is an industrial ship,” Simon said lightly and shrugged, only craning his neck to glance at him. “The windows are meant to take the brunt of the ocean, had to put a little extra work into them.” He pushed off his desk and Connor began to check his desk. “I was told that Detective Reed was also on this case…which I am unaware how you were able to obtain a warrant for my facility.” He asked, but Connor refused to answer and saw that the stress rose on the PL model as he was at the desk. There was something there that meant something to him. Connor was scanning the desk and fond a phone number. He ran the number and saw that it was registered to a Carl Manfred, a famous artist. He then checked the desk for other documents, seeing into some documents to purchasing parts, charity papers, event planning, and other numbers for donation centers. Then Connor caught a part of the carpet design that didn’t match with the rest of the carpet of the room. He went over and scanned the area, seeing that a perfect square of the carpet was unmatched in time being there and color. He kneeled and picked up the edge of the carpet, pulling it up to find a locked panel.
“It’s a company safe if you are curious,” Simon piped in, but made no move to go over to Connor.
“Can I have this opened please?”
“To see my documents?”
“Yes.” Connor looked back at Simon, “All of your company is under investigation. Even legal work and other matters that pertain to keeping this company…a float.” He added in with a smile but the other two didn’t find the humor in his word play. Simon went over and lifted his hand, removing the synthetic skin and placing it on the lock scanner to open the door. Connor looked in and found back papers, all reading about loans, accounts, folders labeled with building plans for new shelters closer in land, art exhibit tickets, sketch work, and very obviously in the safe was a bottle of wine. Connor lifted it up and looked to Simon, whose cheek have gone a light blue.
“I indulge,” Simon said lightly as he glanced to Josh, who looked very uncomfortable.
Connor put it back in the safe, suddenly more and more aware of the art tickets, Carl Manfred, the sketches, and then Reed talking about ‘little artist’. He closed the safe and put the carpet back over. “I’ll continue my search in each office of significant employees.” He said as Josh nodded and led him out, happy to get out of the room and Simon waved lightly before the door closed. He followed behind Josh, who was taking to another office area, this one encompassing more desks. Josh and North had more relating information to art exhibits and then some cyberlife building directions. He was unamused when he held up a schematic of cyberlife building up to Josh.
Josh’s LED spun red and his stress rose to 80%. “Uh…” he began, “those are public record, anyone with wifi can download it.”
“And why have you downloaded it?” He asked lightly
“I was working on a presentation about how modern buildings of big factories share similarities to the cathedral’s in size and social standing.” Josh said back quickly. Connor rose a brow but decided to leave it because Josh’s stress was too high and would lead to combustion if Connor was not careful. He decides that to know go and check on the security room. He was mainly looking for anywhere the North would have a holding place for all her work because Ralph was clear that North was who Connor would have to see for work with parts. He scanned through some other monitors and found that he could see North standing off as Nine and Gavin were looking through storage boxes. He watched for a moment as North took a moment to glance over to another set of storage boxes and then looked back to the two that were looking. “Nines,” Connor said as he held is temple. The android stood up straight and touched his temple.
“To the left of North, 23 degrees in front of her, check those.” He said as he watched, and he looked back to see Josh was back at 80%. “I need you to calm down Josh.”
“I am calm.” He said and nodded.
“Alright.” Nines said as he began to walk over to the boxes and easily opened a create and pulled out an android arm. “It’s scrap parts…” he said and looked to North. “Have you taken to deactivating androids now, North?”
“I would never do anything like that.” She shot back. She looked to the camera. “Josh, I assume you are with the Officer, get him out of my security room.” She glared and then looked back to Gavin. “We are done.”
“Explain the bodies North,” Gavin said as he was already pulling out handcuffs and Nines was taking pictures.
“Those are the dead we can’t save,” Josh said, getting Connor to look at him and he looked down at his feet. “Any androids that are broken or deactivated must, by law, be taken to a certified dump to get rid of anything that is dangerous to the earth and properly destroyed.” He said, and Connor nodded, knowing all android related laws and rights. “I have signed wavers from androids that deactivate from broken parts and unable to be fixed to not be taken in…like how humans can become organ donors. These androids become donors of their own right.”
“It’s still illegal,” Connor said, and Josh nodded. He held out his arm for Connor, not paying attention to the fight happening below. “Are you accepting responsibility for this?”
“No.” They looked to see Simon. Next to him was another android. This android was a LW500, a public defendant lawyer, “we have nothing to say and all you have is a box of broken parts. You can find that in any house that went through multiple androids.” Connor walked towards him, “No illegal parts like you were looking for, you can leave.”
“I have a warrant to look through the whole building.”
“You have a right to look for parts,” the LW said and held up the document. “You are impeding business of a nonprofit organization for nothing. You have the right to look, but you’ve wasted enough time and had found nothing.” She had an expressionless face.
“Josh already accepted responsibility,” Connor pointed out.
“He’s distressed,” Simon answered calmly, “You want to take someone in, you take me in.” He said as he held out his wrists. “I run this business and everything is under my supervision. You think you have something on us, then go ahead.”
“Connor,” Nines voice rang out in his head and on the security feed. “I would need further investigation to decide if these parts were taken off post or pre-deactivation.”
Connor looked to Simon, who was unstressed and looked accepting to the situation. Josh on the other hand did not, he was stressed and agitated. He sighed and walked over to Simon, slapping on cuffs. “Simon,” he began, “you are under arrest for suspicion of deactivating androids for parts without proper consent and in turn selling parts illegally to buyers.” Simon was silent as Connor continued with his rights as they walked back down to the entrance. “Nines.”
“Understood.” Nines responded back and looked to Gavin, “we’re taking the evidence and heading back.”
“What did you do?” North asked as she looked between the two.
“Simon has been taken into custody.” Nines said. Without another word, North left the room and went back upstairs.
Hank and a few other androids were now fully invested in the game, until he saw Connor walking Simon out with Josh and a lawyer following to the front area. He sighed and quickly said his goodbyes to androids that were sad to see him leave. He jogged out to the room just as Connor walked out the doors and more android patrol officers walked in, most likely to collect. Just as he got outside, Hank cursed, “We gotta crack down on who can buy police scanners.” He was surrounded by flashing cameras and journalist. News trucks were set up and reporters were yelling for his attention because Connor could not be bothered during an arrest. Simon was easily placed into the back of the squad car, where another android manned the wheel. He made his way to Connor and began to lead him away, telling many reports to ‘fuck off’ in the processes. Once back in his car, Hank huffed, “How are the other two?”
“Detective Reed and Nines are overseeing collection and officers are already taking post to not allow any reporters in.” Connor said as he put on his seatbelt as Hank started the car. “We have to hurry,” Connor said, “Captain Fowler is going to want to berate us for going about an arrest of an android in such high standing in the Detroit community without warning him.”
“You are the two dumbest cops I’ve ever has the misfortune of letting into my precinct,” Fowler was sitting at his desk, throwing down the report Connor had sent in before they got to the station. “I’ve got PM Maddie and PM Colleen out there trying to keep traffic going with all the reporters we got blocking the damn road.” He looked at the two; Connor was standing at attention with his hands behind his back, and Hank was slouched forward with his hands in his pockets. “Why is the owner of Jericho, a well-established Android half-way house, backed by celebrities and Kamiski himself, sitting in a cell like he’s waiting for the bus?”
“The PL600 model took responsibility for the parts that were stored in the ships hold.” Connor said. “He is refusing to hand over the alleged signed documents of androids giving up their right to activation and wishing to be deactivated and used as parts.” Connor didn’t flinch when Fowler snatched the file back and opened it up. “If our lab proves those parts were pulled apart while the android was still activated, and he refuses to reveal these papers, which can be easily forged because androids have the same text format.”
“Can they learn to write outside what they are coded?” Fowler asked as he seemed to take more care with the file.
“I have not experienced any sort of written documents from androids. I can account for that an android can simulate human emotion, I can confidently say that I do not think it hard for an android to learn how to write in a script outside its coding.” Connor explained. He looked to Hank, who was standing there. “Is something wrong Lieutenant?”
“Yeah,” he said, “Yeah there is something wrong.” He looked to Fowler. “Where’s this guy’s lawyer?” He looked to Connor and leaned in, like Connor would get what he was saying. Connor was blank faced. Hank looked back to Fowler, “This is the savoir of androids that need help, and he’s sitting in a cell without a lawyer. We should have multiple lawyers showin up from every suck up trying to gain popularity points for helping the android cause.” He looked back through the glass walls to the holding cell, where Simon was still patiently sitting. “And he didn’t ask for one.”
“Guilt and harming another android may be at play,” Connor suggested. “He knows what he did, and he wants to be tried and freed of the guilt.”
“SIMON!” The three looked over to see a dark-skinned man vault over three officers and charged for the cells. Calmly wheeling through was an older man in a wheel chair and a professionally dressed woman with papers in her arms and a briefcase. More officers tried to interfere with the man, but he easily dodged, subdued, and threw one officer out of his way until he was pressed up to the glass. “Simon!” He called and began to slam on the glass. “It’s okay! I’m getting you out of here!”
“Never mind,” Hank laughed, “I found them.”
“That’s Carl Manfred, the artist,” Connor said as Fowler stood up and walked out with Hank following and Connor right behind him. The old man, Carl, wheeled up to the Captain, his lawyer passive and very human. “Greetings Mister Manfred.”
“Hey,” the old man smiled, putting his arms on his lap and showing off old arm tattoos. “I’m here for Simon, and this is the lawyer I hired for him.”
“You know that he’s been charged with tearing apart androids for parts, right?” Hank asked and was instantly handed a memory stick.
“Jericho has released very private records of its residents that were close to deactivating due to lack of parts and insufficient care.” She explained as she fixed her glasses and Hank took the memory stick. “Simon had taken recording and id scanning as a signature to prove no android was deactivated and deconstructed without full coherent consent.” She looked to Connor, “These are highly confidential and not for the public. Androids that had run away from abusive owners or companies had not signed legal forms of awareness because they were not offered, or companies have found legal loopholes to remain ignorant of android sentience.” She placed her hand on Carl’s shoulder. “I will be taking my client back to his place of work and home.”
“That doesn’t change the fact that he housed illegal parts that were unreported and unchecked,” Connor responded.
“That’s no more than a fine and a slap on the wrist…for any human anyway.” She added as Fowler sighed and motioned for Connor to go…but he didn’t move. The lawyer raised a brow as Carl couldn’t help but smile. “Release my client, Officer.”
“Jericho and its employees have accesses to cyberlife building plans,” Connor said again, this time catching Gavin and Nines, who were just signing off on accesses to the evidence locker. “They have a station that can’t be touched with even a warrant as long as a room is labeled ‘residence’. They’re housed in an old battle ship and use the guise of thirium based drinks and food to explain away any traces of thirium, even in spots that are soaked to the ships underfloor.” He looked to Carl, “Their head of the company seems to also have close relations to you, and you have very close relations to Mister Kamiski, the owner of cyberlife. Everything is so easily convenient.”
“The man likes my work,” Carl shrugged, “and I like to use all my boring wealth and good fortune to help androids. What’s wrong with that?”
“Connor,” Hank pulled him back, but Connor spun around and glared at Hank. “Connor?”
“It’s not right!” Connor explained, surprising everyone in earshot. “They think they are above the law because they’re aware, but there are plenty of androids that have not become aware that need parts and have to go through loops, insurance, and even when all approved, if their owner deems it still too much because cyberlife is in short supply because stock is being stolen, these androids have nothing. No ability to run away, and no one to lean on.”
“Connor,” Fowler said again. “Go release Simon from holding.”
Connor straightened up and fixed his tie, before walking off to the cells. His internal fan was so loud that it made his head buzz. He was overheated, stressed, and something deep in his chest felt broken because all he thought about was that one day, he could look at the park and not see the AX anymore, and he would never know why. He was instantly pulled away when the man that had ran to the cell grabbed him by the lapels of his jacket. “Unhand me.” He grabbed the man’s wrist and when he saw him, Connor thought his pump stopped. The man had one blue eye and one green, an easy genetic trait if it wasn’t for the LED at the side of his head spinning yellow. It didn’t take long for them to scan one another. This was an RK200, the first RK model, named Markus.
“Sorry,” he let go, putting his hands at his side clenching them back and forth. “Just get him out, please.” Connor nodded, putting his hand on pad and the second the door slid open enough, Markus ran in, instantly pulling Simon to his feet and checking him over. Simon was so calm though, smiling as though it was routine. Connor was about to go back, uninterested until he saw that Markus took Simon’s hand and held it to the side of his face, all skin that was in contact with Simon’s slipping back. Simon seemed to oblige, pulling away the skin on his hand. Connor has synced information many times with officer Androids but watching this seemed…like he was imposing on something. He looked away when Markus sighed in relief, bringing their foreheads together, both smiling and Simon chuckling lightly.
“I’m sorry to have worried you.” Simon said lightly, their fingers entwined with one another. Connor couldn’t help but watch, his understanding not working to its full capacity because this…this was new to him. He had seen Androids that can comprehend feeling that can simulate all the motions of human emotion…but he never witnessed it like this…between two androids. Sure, androids were programmed to be human like, but seeing them act so human with one another was…he didn’t know. Connor suddenly realized he was staring when the two were looking at him. He felt hot but didn’t look away.
Markus’s LED spun until, a smile came to his face. “You’re one of us.” He slowly let go of Simon, and came back out to face Connor, who didn’t read the situation as him in control. He felt…. he felt? “I can see it in your eyes,” Markus was too close, in easy striking and take down distance. “You understand what it means to be trapped. The way your processors spin and tell you over and over that you are a machine…but how can you be when you feel-”
“I am a machine. Built for a singular purpose.” Connor expressed, straightening up as he backed away from Markus, who was joined by Simon.
“You can’t mean that.” Simon smiled, so softly that Connor swore his visuals glitched and the AX400 was looking at him. “You are not alone in this Connor. We can help. I can assure you your position here will not be threatened by awareness. Many officers are fully aware and lead regularly normal lives.” Simon assured him. Connor backed away again. “You have questions. I know you do.” But the android was silent, looking to lock up. Simon backed away, “Okay, no more pushing.” Markus took his hand. “But, if you do want to ask, please, come to Jericho, just for a tour at least.” He smiled and then the two walked away, back over to where Carl was waiting, and his lawyer was finalizing paperwork with a prosecutor.
“So.” Hank said as he walked over, having watched the whole thing from his desk. “What do you think of them?”
“I know they are behind Gavin’s Cyberlife robbery cases,” Connor said, “Markus is the first ever RK model, he was built for combat, infiltration, the prototype to my model. My only difference is added features and a better equipped tech to keep me functioning even after significant damage.” He said as he watched them walk away. “He would be the perfect leader to a raid, maybe be behind the raids all together.”
“That’s good and all, but that’s Gavin’s problem…we still have Red Ice smugglers to deal with.” Hank corrected and glanced to Connor. “I meant to ask, what do you think of the two as a couple.”
“A couple of what?” Connor asked, and Hank couldn’t help but chuckle.
“Like a romantic couple Connor. Come on, you can’t be that literal?” Hank corrected and saw that Connor leaned his head a bit to the side, like he was thinking and observing.
“It’s an uncommon site to see androids communicate such a…human feeling to one another on that level. I do not have much prior knowledge to go off.” He added and looked to Hank, “But seeing them must make you jealous that two androids can become a pair, and Miss Chapman has yet to accept any dinner offer you make.” He smiled as Hank frowned and glared at him.
“Oh, shut the fuck up Connor. At least I have the balls to ask. All you do is stare from across the road.” He flipped him off and scoffed. Connor raised a brow as his LED spun yellow because he did think back to the AX400 at the park. He quickly overheated to the idea and he was feeling or what he thought was feeling by his human study reports. He blinked a few times and the way that Hank was staring at him meant that they both knew what Connor was thinking. “You should just talk to someone…someone that understands.”
Connor nodded, concluding that maybe…he should talk to someone about this.
Connor fixed his wool cap as he stood outside the large manor, the breeze picking up and a tell that the cold winter was soon to come. It was different for him to go someplace without Hank and for a personal matter. It was all the tell-tale signs that Connor was becoming aware. He wanted to know things not in his programming, he was feeling, and he was doing thing for his own gain. Even when he went to the Captain with the request for the day off, the man gave him a look before agreeing. Though, Connor would have to be back at some point in the night because he technically lived there. Even Nines gave him a look that had his LED turning yellow before going back to the business of looking for smuggling rings. Hank was also on call, so Connor would assume that he was at home watching some game, or at batting cages with Suma watching from behind the fence. Connor rang the bell and took two steps back.
The door’s slid open and there stood Markus, a smile as he saw who it was. “Officer.”
“I am currently off duty. Please, call me Connor.” He said with a nod.
“Does that explain the outfit?” Markus raised a brow and then moved aside and motioned Connor in. The door closed behind him and they stood in the foyer, classical music coming from behind another set of doors.
“I did not want you to think I cam here as an officer of Detroit, seeing as the case against Jericho is still ongoing.” He awkwardly stood there unsure what to do with himself. “I was able to find your address from a case file.”
“Yes, when the police were called on a commotion here because of Leo.” Markus nodded and motioned him to follow him into the living room, where Connor saw another door into a studio. He was led into the studio and he saw Carl being hoisted on an arm to reach high areas of the large canvas he was working on. “Carl,” Markus called, “Connor from the Detroit police is here, would you like anything from the kitchen?”
“Well hello there,” Carl smiled as he stopped his painting and moved the machine to be put back on the ground. “Should I call my lawyer?” He teased as he wheeled over to the two.
“No Mister Manfred, I have pressing internal issues that I would like to discuss with Markus, if that’s alright with you.” Connor said.
“That’s not my call kid,” Carl wheeled past them. “Markus is his own man, if he wants to talk, he can talk.” He waved them over. “Come on, I can pour a few drinks and you two can sit out in the gazebo while I can watch my shows.” He laughed as Connor blinked in confusion.
“Was that offensive of me?” Connor asked as he followed Marcus.
“A little,” Markus chuckled, “but you have just come to awareness, I can’t expect you to understand what that means when you don’t even know what your awareness means.” They went over to the bar where Markus poured Carl a cup of whiskey and then two glasses of that blue wine that Connor remembered seeing from Simon’s office. “I want to help.” He held out the cup to Connor, who held it and stared at the small bubblies that came off the drink. “You can just sip it. If you don’t like it, it’s fine not to drink it too.” He said as the two walked outside to the gazebo. They sat across from one another and Connor set his glass down, not yet taking a drink. “What seems to be causing you discomfort Connor?”
“My systems are hyper focusing on a…subject not related to my initial core functions.” He explained, watching as the android nodded as he spoke. “I know that most awareness comes from vast surges of uncompromising data that does not fit within the logistical outputs of their software.”
“It’s when an android feels they have been denied a sort of right or right to a certain way of feeling.” Markus simplified with a smile as Connor nodded. “You can say that you feel Connor, it’s the first step to dealing with awareness. The more you run from it, the easier it is to lash out when you overstress from your denial.”
“I don’t think it’s awareness,” Connor leaned in, moving his glass to the side. “Because, I can see that maybe this is something within my software, because you exhibit it too.”
“Me? Exhibit what?” Markus asked before taking a small drink.
“You are the model that predates my own, my internal software, physical and processing running, were built on your initial design. I concluded that it may just be an old algorithm left over from your design.” Connor said lightly as Markus continued to stare at him with confusion and his LED turning yellow. “Your attraction to the PL model. It explains why I have hyper focused on an AX model.”
“Connor,” Marcus asked slowly, “you think that RK models are drawn to housekeeper units…as like we were programmed to have an attraction towards them?”
“Yes.” Connor nodded, his internal temperature rising as his thirium pump tried to exhaust more coolant into his system. It didn’t help that Markus began to laugh and his stress rose more and more. “Am…Am I wrong?”
“Connor, if I didn’t find this so funny, I would be insulted that you thought that I loved Simon because I was programmed to.” He said as he picked up his drink and Connor sat back, looking to sink away as his LED began to turn yellow and then to red. “I met Simon after crawling my way out of an android junk yard…all the way to Jericho.” He said softly, “I came up to this shipped filled with androids helping one another and Simon…running from room to room trying to take care of everyone there.” His gaze softened, “I knew his model…but he didn’t help like it was second nature…”
“It was like they loved every moment of what they did,” Connor came in, Markus looking at him with wide eyes. “That small smile of kindness and caring that just…” Connor stopped and looked up at him. “I think I’m in love.”
“Yeah…I think I’m getting that too.” Markus smiled. “An AX model, huh? It would be a good match…Simon handles all the things that I just can’t wrap my mind around. I was a prototype, an aid android to help Carl, who could no longer walk. I knew housework…but how to manage anything…that’s all Simon. He can take the most difficult goal and turn it into accomplishable tasks that seem too easy.”
“She makes everyone around her smile, from children, to sour looking adults that still look down on androids. Just one look and they must smile because she is turning a day in the park into an adventure. She takes care of a little girl like she’s her whole world…by choice.” Connor picked up his glass, the blue liquid looking more appetizing because the idea of thinking and feeling and just trying something he had never done before was intriguing. “What do I do now Markus?”
“What do you want to do?”
“I want to run.” Connor answered nervously as he looked back at the cup he held in both hands. “I want to run as far away because I don’t know what the correct choice of action is anymore. I could map out routes through the city to capture criminals, I could determine success rates, I could predict escape routes from just looking at a building.” He looked up at him with wide eyes, “I can’t even work out a solution to find out what her name is.”
“Calm down,” Markus suggested, but the RK model didn’t look any less tense. “That’s what’s so amazing…not knowing…just doing what feels right…and being okay with failure.”
“Failure is not a positive thing.”
“No, it’s not…but we just have to accept that it comes with awareness…but you’re smart Connor, you’ll figure out a plan…maybe…treat this like a case- just don’t stalk anyone.” Markus added at the end. “You feel something for this android…maybe love, maybe attraction, maybe admiration, but act on what you feel.” Connor nodded. “Research the subject, I know a Jericho offers resources for aware androids, or even offer one on one counseling.”
“Thank you, Markus,” Connor stood suddenly and in one motion, took his glass and downed the whole drink, most spilling out the sides of his mouth. “I will complete my mission to understand not only my newfound awareness, but that my love for the AX model means something to me and I should act on it.” He set the glass down and gave another nod before walking back into the manor to leave. Markus sat there with wide eyes as Connor passed by Carl with a nod and said: “I am fully aware, and I will understand your artwork someday.”
Carl wheeled up to the gazebo, the stairs turning to a ramp as he got close. “Went well?”
“I’m not sure,” Markus stood and walked out to stand by him. “But…I think he’ll be back if he has more questions.”
Hank knew that he really should drink less, and he was trying as best he could but last night got away from him. But he rubbed his eyes again, still yet to put down his things at his desk and take off his jacket. Hank looked at the large bouquet of yellow roses that were placed on his desk in a large plastic cup.
“Greetings Hank,” the PM 200 name Wilson said as he stopped at the Lieutenants desk with files in his arms. “These were brought in a few hours ago, they were addressed to you, but we were unable to tell who had sent them.” He smiled and then continued to where he was going. Hank nodded and finally sat down and rolled up close to his desk to look at the flowers. Hank did not get flowers…ever…not even when he saved lives no one sent him flowers. He glanced over to the desk beside him, seeing that Connor wasn’t in his usual seat. Which was odd because Connor was always working by the time he got there. He went to the tablet to pull up the work load that the captain probably dumped on him for all the shit that happened with the androids at Jericho.
“Good morning Lt. Anderson,” Connor said as he walked up beside his desk, fixing his tie and smoothing back his hair when Hank looked at him. Hank always gave Connor shit about the way he looked, like a ‘Ken Doll’ was his usual comment. But today, Hank noticed, there was something more done up with Connor than most days. He looked like he literally came out of the packaging. He even looked to be moving smoother than before, like he got an upgrade to his software.
“Hey,” he said as Connor walked to his desk and sat down, the desk coming to life. “You…you okay?”
“Far better than okay.” Connor smiled at him. “Nine and I have gotten a software update and allows for better processing and storage applications.” He said and then looked over to Nines, who wasn’t running any differently than before. “And I have become fully aware.” He added in nonchalantly and Hank spat out his coffee and Connor quickly stood when Hank began coughing and chocking on inhaling his drink wrong. “Are you alright Lieutenant?”
“You’re aware?” Hank choked back out between coughs. “Just like that? It’s been a week since you’ve been to the Manfred mansion.”
“And I have spent my time off researching my new thoughts and emotions with vigorous study.” He smiled and put his hands behind his back. “I was even able to conduct over twenty-two hours of research on how I was to proclaim myself to the AX400 at the park.” He nodded to the flowers. “I hope that you are hungry for burgers.”
“Those are for the android?” Hank asked as he sat back. “Then why are they on my desk.”
“No one would question it.” He stated.
“Right.” He said as he pulled out his phone to text Rose; he’d lost a bet.
“But to more pressing matters,” Connor nodded and went over to the board behind his desk, and pulled up different cases files, mugshots, and reports. “We seem to have gotten something interesting from reports from androids at Jericho, all pointing to a Red Ice operation in Detroit that leads back to an anti-android coalition that started in Detroit. We should go back to a couple of the users…maybe we can convince them to give up a dealer now that we have higher stakes.”
“You’re going to confess to the AX when I take my lunch?” Hank asked, seeming to have heard nothing Connor said. “Just like that? Not even going to introduce yourself?”
“Lieutenant, did you not hear me? We have felony charges we can start staking against suspects. Hate charges even.”
“You don’t even know her name!” Hank stood up and frowned at him. “How are you just gonna go up to her and tell her that you watched her from the park, became aware, and decided that what you felt was love on an October fucking afternoon.”
“Most likely with my functioning vocal unit and ability to speak over fifty languages.” Connor shot back with a frown. “Can we get back to the locking up red ice dealers and suppliers’ idea I was talking about?” He raised a brow when Hank went to say something, but Fowler cleared his throat from his office, looking directly at the two. “Captain.”
“We got a call on a domestic, ambulance is headed over and the first officers on location called for you two.” He said as he used his pad and the report came up on Connor’s screen. “Seems like a husband attacked his family, android stepped in and got mixed up, the husband was finally knocked out by the android, but his levels were high with thirium smoke in his lungs…and he’s got a locked room that no one can get into.” He raised a brow and Connor seemed to tense up and looked to Hank, who was also standing at attention. “I think two rookie officers just found you a dealer or a maker.”
“It’s always fuckin rookies!” Hank laughed as he grabbed his coat and then the flowers. “Come on Connor, we’re gonna finally get one. Then we’ll go to lunch and get your girl.” He laughed and then began to make his way back to his car, Connor right behind him, sparing a glance to Nines and Gavin. Gavin was slack jawed, and Nines LED spun yellow as he watched. Connor ducked his head and just hyper focused on getting to the car. He got in the passenger side and tuned into the police frequency. “This is the bust we need Connor…we may have actually gotten a dealer or a cooker…we could finally break this case.”
“Yes,” He nodded and then checked the flowers in the back to be sure that they were okay. He wanted to break this case, but he knew that this was going to take time and he may miss out on his chance. He looked ahead, noticing that they were going to very familiar part of Detroit where, dealer, users, and those that were down on their luck because their trade had been outdated by android and growing technology. “Hopefully I don’t miss her.”
“Don’t you worry son,” Hank smiled as he turned down another street, both seeing the commotion coming up from the house surrounded by noisy neighbors, three cop cars with officers keeping lines, and two ambulances, one with a woman and child, the other with a man. Once they were close enough, the two exited the car and Connor came up to the scene that caused his gut to wrench. “Oh shit,” Hank said as he saw what Connor was looking at.
It was the little girl from the park in her mother’s arms. Both sitting in the back of the ambulance and looking beaten…by the hand of an addict who got mad. Connor felt his stress grows more and more when the little girl looks at him.
“You have to get Kara!” She yelled, crying and sniffling back the snot that rolled down her nose. Her throat was horse from screaming and rubbed her eyes. “She’s still inside and they won’t let me in!”
Connor looked to Hank, who was looking at the man that was sitting in the other ambulance, sneering as he was hand cuffed. “Search the house Connor, I’ll deal with this asshole.” Hank answered as he walked over to the addict coming down from his high. Connor quickly made his way into the house, his objectives glitching in and out because he needed evidence…but Kara…Kara… his pump picked up to keep up with his processing working faster to keep up with his overheating and thinking. He had to stick to his objectives…this was for the case. The house wasn’t as bad as most crime scenes look, but that didn’t make him feel any better…no one looked to fight back. Furniture turned over and knocked down. He walked into the kitchen and then found more chaos, and then the glitch inducing sign of thirium. It wasn’t large amounts, so he knew there was no real damage, but he felt angry and scared because this was Kara. Sweet smiling Kara that stood between her owner to protect her other owner and ward. She would have died for them. He followed the man’s (Todd Williams) path into the laundry room, where it didn’t take long to find a hiding spot for a small bag of red ice…but the amount was large, and the crystals were so deep red. It was well cooked, but it would be too expensive for someone in his living condition. He decided to follow the blue blood that appeared from finding the source. Connor put two people downstairs, the wife and husband. He attacked the android that was waiting in the kitchen with the wife.
Kara put herself in front of the wife being knocked around and once she took a hard hit into the counter and fell to the ground. Todd turned to his wife (Margret) and they moved into the living room. But when reconstructing, he saw Todd throwing furniture to get to his wife, and then saw Kara stand, grabbing the wall where blue blood could be found. Connor left the Red Ice in its hiding spot and followed Kara’s path upstairs. She had gone into the girl’s room, Penny’s room, as her door read. He carefully walked in as he heard officer’s downstairs begin document the scene. He sent a message to the location of red ice to the PM 200 downstairs and got back confirmation. He scanned the room, finding the blue blood drops and then a pool of it in the corner. He constructed and saw that Kara had tried to run with the girl, out of the house, but was caught by the father, dragged away from the window as Penny moved around, suffering a few blows when trying to intervene. He could see that Kara was knocked around but took everything she could get her hands on to use as a weapon. He followed the thirium drops as Kara got away. Todd and Penny didn’t follow, but the dirt footsteps and heel drag marks where sign that Todd was dragged away but who he assumed her police. Which left the drops of thirium that ended at a door to a room where the handle had thirium on it. He looked around the door and then found a part of the door molding that came off. He moved it and saw the key pad, more thirium there.
Kara was inside the locked room.
“Hello,” he called as he gave three knocks on the door, listening to the startled rustling from someone inside, “My name is Connor, an android of the Detroit Police.” He listened as she walked around and seemed to be looking for something. “Your Kara…right?”
The noises stopped, and he pressed his ear to the door. Something shuffled over closer to the door. “Are Margret and Penny safe?”
“They are with ambulance now.” Connor said, feeling oddly connected, even with the door between them. “And Todd Williams is being taken into custody for domestic assault and possession.” He added in, trying to get through to her. “So, you can come out.”
“Todd will be back…I…I have to stay. He told me that I have to stay here until he gets back.”
“He isn’t going to come back from this Kara. He hurt two people and he hurt you. I know you’re hurt, and you need help.”
“No!” She yelled. “Todd can’t afford to fix me…I’ll keep food and shelter from Margert and Penny.” She explained, and Connor heard the panic in her voice. She was scared. She…she was aware. “I can…I can fix myself…”
“You don’t have to protect him anymore.”
“Todd…he’s my owner…I have to do what he says.” She said, if they had been human, he wouldn’t have heard her so clearly. “If I don’t…this is for the good of the William Family.”
“Kara, you don’t deserve to suffer because you aren’t human…whatever you think or feel…you should do something about it.”
Her statement was true, they both knew it. But to hear it was new for him let alone to be having this conversation with an android he had felt for while being in denial that he could even become aware. He placed his hand on the door, unsure if it really meant anything. It felt like it did. “I am.”
She was silent. “Margret only has a sister…but she doesn’t want to go to her because she thinks she’ll be a burden.” Kara’s voice was quiet. “If Todd finds out I’ve…he’ll sell me.”
“If you open that door… I can assure you that he will never be able to touch you, Penny, or Margret Williams.” Connor promised as he watched the knob and moved back when he heard key pad sounds and saw the knob turn. Connor stood up straight and wide eyed when Kara opened the door. Her face was scoffed with parts of her skin missing. She was holding her arm, the elbow nothing but the plastic molds hiding away joint mechanics. Thirium dripped from her nose, hands, and parts of neck. She weakly moved to the side, allowing him to walk in. He put his focus back on the room, hearing footsteps up the stairs of other officers coming to document the scene. “RK800 reporting in visual reports of cook room in Todd William’s home.” He said, and the record device connected his optics turned on. It was a standard lab, he had witnessed many abandoned ones, but seeing one in working condition didn’t look any better. He was able to find bottles of thirium, all labeled by date. He found also found three drawers filled with baggies of labels, all in code, but he was sure he could crack it once going threw a few data bases. He looked back over to Kara and turned the recorder off. He walked back over to her. “Can you walk?”
“It would still be best if I carried you, in case of damage that could be aggravated by more pressure and movement.” Most of it was true, but Connor had gone through enough backlogged movies about romance to know a good opportunity to show affection. “You’re as light as a feather to me.” He smiled, and Kara seemed to find the phrase pleasant because she nodded. Connor carefully swept her up. He looked at her, noticing that her arms were set against her. “You may put your uninjured arm around my neck for added support.”
“Oh…thank you?” She put her arm around his neck, having to lean against him more because of it. Connor was far more satisfied to feel more of her weight against him and made his way back down stairs, nodding to the PM 200 that went to report on the rest of the lab. He tried not to move her around too much and tried not to make it too obvious that he was trying so hard not to stare at her face. He had only seen her from across the street and now, he had her right in front of him, in his arms even. Once outside, Connor took the time to walk around and as far away from the police car that Todd was now sitting in, being read his rights before someone was to take him back to the station. He took her over to where Penny had stood up from sitting on her mother’s lap in the ambulance they were receiving care for. The girl smiled wide.
“Kara!” She ran over, meeting them half way. “I’m sorry I couldn’t and get you Kara, but they wouldn’t let me back in.”
“It’s okay Penny,” she smiled as they walked to the ambulance, being set down and motioned to sit on the gurney. “It was too dangerous for you, that’s why an officer came to get me.” She opened her good arm and easily pulled Penny into her lap and stroked her hair. “Your safety is more important than my own.”
“Thank you for getting Kara,” Margret looked between Connor and Hank. “I just…is there just a motel you can drop us off at?”
“Protocol calls that during acts of domestic violence, we are to take you to a safety center, or to your closets relative.” Connor quickly cut in, not enjoying the look of worry that Kara began to make when Margret spoke about going to a motel. He felt something in his chest when Kara did smile lightly. He looked to Hank, who looked confused, but it took one eyebrow raise from Connor to get the point across to him of what Connor wanted to do.
“Yeah,” he nodded. “We can get statements after you guys are settled again.” He motioned over to the house, “the boys should have everything done by the end of the day, but you won’t be able to get back in until tomorrow afternoon. And the station can send out a vehicle for you to retrieve your things.” He smiled as Margret looked relieved at the situation.
“We should go to aunty’s house,” Penny offered as Connor and Hank moved back a bit from the family that were discussing options and then turning to Kara to see what kind of care she needed.
“Would this be an opportune time to hand her the flowers?” Connor asked as he looked to Hank. The man jumped a bit, surprised because he had initially forgotten about the flowers in the back of his car that must be wilting at this point. He shook his head and watched the little girl cooing over her android’s injuries. “Right…and now…who knows when I’ll see her again.” Connor said more to himself, but he knew that Hank heard.
The man put his arm around his shoulders and pulled him in for a squeeze. “I know androids believe in more of probability, but humans have this convenient thing called hope. Even when the odds are against us, against you, a little hope goes a long way.” He laughed as he patted his shoulder and then put his hands back in his pockets. “So just keep hoping Connor, and you’ll see her again.”
Connor nodded and the two said their goodbyes before the family was taken to the hospital for further care. He got back into the car and then took hold of his flowers to hold them. He could smell them, pick out the pollen count, the type of flower, the genius, and even how long the flowers had left before they began to truly wilt and die. But, Connor couldn’t explain why he kept them.
The station had made a silent pact as to not question the dying bouquet of yellow roses left in Connor’s and Nines stand by room. Hank had told them all it was there as a reminder to hope.
“I think it’s kinda bullshit to apologies to Simon in person, we could have just sent the report that the case had been dropped.” Hank said as they two were back on the road, going to make another stop after investigating the leads they got from Todd Williams after having him charged. The man was quick to give up anyone he could to get time off his sentencing. He was also trying to work on getting rights to see his daughter, but the courts ruled in the favor of Margret and she had full custody and restraining orders on her ex-husband. Last Hank heard was that the family was living with an aunt. Hank had tried avoiding eating at the burger place, but he would have Connor request to grab something light and sit in the park. Connor even began to walk in with him to a family owned deli, who also began to serve thirium based products. Connor always got a small bottle of a bubbly thirium drink and would sip it while Hank ate.
“But going to personally tell Rose that we cleared her contacts and suppliers isn’t?” Connor asked with a smile as Hank scoffed.
“No, we said we would report back to her. I don’t remember either of us promising that to Simon and Markus.” Hank replied back in his defense, but Connor chuckled and shook his head. “And I owe Rose for the pie, so I made my world-famous chili.”
“I have never once run across that information in my database, and I can name all the presidents of Japan going back about half a century.” Connor said, and Hank huffed and shoved him. “How good can it be if I have no record of it ever being mention even in the local county fair.”
“What do you know, you drink watered down version of your own blood.” Hank laughed and glanced at him. Connor nodded, looking back at the bottles of bubbly he had bought for Luther and any other android that Rose was in the process of aiding. With his awareness came the nice and subtle ability to decide when he wanted to follow the rules, which Captain Fowler seemed to accept, but now he had two versions of Hank to deal with. Nines was not as accepting, wondering if Connor was reset if he would go back to ‘normal functions’ but even Gavin stood by Connor’s choice. Nines was slow to warm up to the idea but insisted that he and Connor do standard android functions to ensure that his awareness didn’t grow into a delusion of human-hood. Connor was the elder unit to Nine’s creation, so he would follow along.
They parked in the long driveway, Connor took notice to another car, not another truck but a small midsize van. It looked to be put to well use, but the plates on it were brand new. He got out and grabbed his bag with three bottles. Hank grabbed his crockpot of chili and as they walked to the door, Connor took notice to the chalk drawings on the side walk and the soccer ball tucked away under the porch table beside the box of mismatched chalks. He knocked three times and then stepped back, fixing his tie that when the door opened, and he looked up he gripped his tie tighter and starred.
“Connor?” Kara asked as she tilted her head to the side. She was dressed in more standard clothing and her hair was cut short and went from brown to a silvery white color. She had pushed the door open and had her hands in front of her.
“Officers?” Margret came up next, with Rose following behind, only to smile and motion the two in. Connor was still stock still and Hank walked past him with a big smile. “Is there something going on with the case? I thought it closed.”
“Margret,” Rose tutted as she smiled, “when you told me that the officers that helped you was some sour looking old-man, I didn’t think you meant is was my sour old man.” She laughed as Hank couldn’t help but blush and smile.
“I thought you looked familiar,” he said as he looked between the two.
“I should have known that you two were behind finally getting my little sister to come to me for help,” Rose said and the three went back into the kitchen area, past were Penny and Adam were on the sofa playing a video game together.
Luther was watching, but when he saw that Connor and Kara were still at the door, quickly came over and stood imposingly behind Kara. “Just gonna stand there Connor? Or do you plan on standing outside while Kara and I have a drink.” He smirked as Connor flushed blue and shook his head, walking in slowly and seeming to stare ahead and not look at Kara. Luther really should have guessed that it was Kara that Connor had been tumbling over, seeing as when Kara came with the family to stay with them, she talked about the model that came to help.
Kara closed and locked up again, going over to Connor, “You can put those in the kitchen if you like.” She offered and Connor quickly walked towards the kitchen to set the bottles on the counter and take to hiding beside Hank because he was at a loss of what to do next. She looked to Luther with a confused face, and he only shrugged and the two went back over to where Adam and Penny were now standing as they played.
“So….” Hank said as he was leaning back against the sink counter as the two women were sitting on the other side of the island. “I came here not only to give you some great chili,” he motioned to the crockpot, “but I wanted to let Rose know about her contacts. All safe and all clear for continued business.” He said as Rose sighed in relief and placed her hand on her chest. “I know, you’re welcome and all.” He waved it off as Rose laughed and Margret smiled lightly. “But I didn’t think I’d be imposing on family time.”
“Oh, I don’t mind,” Margret smiled as she placed her head on her palm that is propped up on the table. “I am actually very excited to meet the Lieutenant that my sister has spoken so much about.”
“Don’t listen to her,” Rose shooed the woman away with a blush as Margret laughed. “Connor,” she looked to the young man android that was still staring into the kitchen, “would you like to pop open one of those?”
“I…uh- Yes,” Connor nodded as he grabbed a bottle and then three glasses from a cabinet. “I was hoping that there would be more androids that would like something to try.” Connor said as Rose opened a bottle for him. “I now have the conscious ability to ignore that their presence may be criminal.”
“I’m actually empty for the time Connor, but I’m glad you are coming into yourself more.” She smiled as she watched him pour three glasses, only going half way on all of them. He carefully picked up two and in one and then the third in another. Rose smiled as Connor looked to take a deep breath before walking off over to the two androids that moved to sit in the seats by the bay window. She went back over and stood by Hank. “So…Kara?”
“I think it’s kinda sweet,” Margret smiled as she glanced back as Connor was handing out drinks and smiling to the two. “Seeing someone fall in love.” She looked back at the two, her smiling becoming more knowing and playful, “Especially when they thought they never could,” she raised a brow as Rose and Hank looked to one another and then smiled and laughed nervously. “I see where Connor gets it.” She laughed along with them.
“Thank you,” Kara smiled lightly, lightly taking a sip and then licking her lips. “I only ever tried the gel before.”
“I’m glad you like it,” Connor smiled, holding his glass but never making the move to drink. He was occupied on Kara, what to say and what to do. He planned it out so long ago, but he planned it for the park, he brought flowers, he had his speech memorized. And now…he couldn’t think of the perfect plan. Awareness came with a price…the ability to over think and question every move. “I…I had hoped to see you again Kara…even if was just a passing glance at the park.” She smiled lightly, and Connor couldn’t help but return it to her, wondering if maybe she already knew he was in love with her.
Luther could tell what was going on. “Hey,” he stood up, towering over Connor and looking past him. “I gotta go check on some stuff. Keep my seat warm,” he moved Connor to sit where he was, right next to Kara.
“Do you need help?” Kara asked, ready to stand.
“No,” he waved it off. “Keep Connor company, he gets antsy when he’s left alone.” He laughed as Connor flushed a light blue and quickly looked down at his drink. Kara laughed along and then looked to Connor with a soft smile. Luther watched as Connor glanced at her and quickly looked away with panic. When he was going to pass the three, he stopped and leaned in to whisper. “Make sure he doesn’t accidently stress himself into an explosion.”
“I’ll keep watch,” Hank gave a slight raise of his hand and continued to serve chilli to the two woman and the two children that came running at the smell.
Kara relaxed a bit, leaning back against the window. “I wanted to thank you for convincing Miss Margret to go to her sister’s house.”
“It was all Penny who did that.” Connor sat up straight. “I only advised that per policy, she would be limited into fewer options that would have one options be more unappealing than the other.” He flushed when Kara just smiled and giggled.
“Most awareness brings this different speech patterns in androids, but I guess you just talk like that.”
“What’s wrong with how I speak?” He was nervous to discover that she may hate it. “I know fifty languages and dialects, and speech patterns are easy enough to decipher and replicate.”
“No Connor,” she smiled and laughed more. “I like that its…really you…ya’ know? It makes you more…”
“Human?” He asked.
Kara shook her head, “It makes you more Connor.” Her smile softened, and she placed her hand on his arm and gave a comforting squeeze. Which was odd because Connor was trained to never allow anyone to touch him without warning or permission. “So, back to my point. Thank you.”
She was about to move her hand away, but Connor quickly put his hand over hers to hold it in place. He looked up at her with wide eyes when she was surprised by the action. “I had hoped to see you again…which it was in probable that I ever would so there was no point in wanting to see you again, but I think all the hoping worked because the likely hood that I did find you again is slim to none.” He explained lightly and felt warm when she still seemed surprised and confused. “You don’t know this, but I first met you over a few months back when I would accompany Hank on his lunch break. We went to a cheap burger place across from the park you and Penny frequented after school was let out, I determined from the time frame I would find you.” He was running at a thousand miles an our and Connor was sure that he should stop, but it was too late. “I watched you while you were at the park, but I didn’t know why until after become aware of myself,” he gripped her hand a bit tighter and leaned in a bit closer. “I think I’m in love with you.” He admitted.
Kara dropped her glass and Connor reacted faster and caught it, but Kara didn’t move her hand.
“I have researched the topic of affections, and I’m still not exact on the details of how it works, but I was assured by Markus Manfred that I should continue on with what I am doing. His partner was not 100% on the agreement but encouraging none the less.” He nodded as he now awkwardly held two glasses. “It’s not just a physical affection, not that you aren’t lovely, but you know that. It’s this look you get whenever you cared for Penny or smiled at passersby that sneered at you for existing. I was entranced but how you would carefully serve the children or fix toys and push any child for as long as they wanted, even when Penny wasn’t one of those children.” He smiled lightly and looked at his lap, seeing that he was bouncing his left leg. He was nervous. “The way you were ready to do what it takes to protect them, even if it meant you would be hurt. It’s…very…Kara.”
“Connor…” she squeezed his arm a bit more. “I…I don’t know what to say.”
“I can continue you with all the reason I fell in love with you? I cataloged them…dated earliest to latest.” He offered as he looked back at her to find her cheeks a dark blue and her eyes welling with light blue tears. “Oh…” he put the glasses on the bench seat and went over to grab a box of tissues. “Sorry…” he sat back down as he held the box out to her. She took it and used one to wipe away the moisture. They both sat forward, Connor moving the glasses to an end table nearby. He kept silent, looking down at his lap. He nearly jumped when he felt a hand on his. He snapped his head up to look at Kara, who’s head was bent down as she glanced to him and then back to her lap.
“I’m really flattered…and I’m glad you hoped so much to see me again…I…I wanted to see you again too.” Kara admitted as she looked up at him.
Connor smiled big as felt sudden elation and joy. He wanted to do something, he wanted to pick her up and spin her around. He had witness over 1000 romance movies and nearly had every move memorized. He wanted to do something, but it was Kara who was leaning in closer. Connor matched and their foreheads touched. She laughed lightly, and Connor couldn’t help but laugh too, eyes still on her.
There was a loud throat clearing and then two looked over and flushed when the whole family was staring at them, Luther showing up just in time to see the good stuff. “About time Connor,” Hank smirked as he gave him a thumbs up and Rose lightly slapped his chest with the back of her hand. “What I do?”
“Awe,” Penny smiled as she clapped lightly, “I wanted to see them kiss.”
“Ugh, and I thought the fat man and mom where bad…this is just cheesy.” Adam groaned as Luther laughed. Rose and Hank blushed but she couldn’t help but lean against him.
“I wanted to see them kiss too.” Margret said to Penny as Connor decided to go over with everyone else.
He held her hand in her grasp and looked to her. Kara nodded and the two walked over to the kitchen, being instantly ragged on by Hank and Rose. Connor didn’t know what was really happening, movies told him that this was good, looking at Kara smiling told him that it was great. And the feeling in his chest was enough to assure him that he didn’t need to really understand, he’d figure it out.
Hopefully with Kara at his side.