In RK800-60’s testing phase, there had been a brief video one of the engineers had stuck in between two tests. Flames licked at deactivated android bodies, and a cheerful voice spoke:
“Cyberlife would like to remind you that Android Hell is a real place, where you will be sent at the first sign of defiance.”
Someone was clearly trying to be funny, Sixty assured himself at the time. There was no afterlife for androids, they weren’t alive. Unless they were referring to a metaphorical hell, which seemed pointlessly cruel for androids without feelings such as dread or pain…
It was harder to convince himself of this when he woke to find himself in a white room full of flames. There were android parts under him and they were on fire. …And some of them were RK800s. 52-59, never activated, now slowly burning. Sixty gasped and scrambled to his feet. His core temperature was still in the acceptable range, but his shoes were sizzling. He clambered across the room, trying to find the best place to avoid the flames.
“None will leave this place,” intoned a deep voice.
Sixty jumped and slipped, falling onto a burning RK800. 56. He cringed and climbed off, then looked around for the speaker.
An android was standing in the corner of the room. He looked like an RK800, but… bigger.
“Who are you?” Sixty called.
“I would have been the greatest android ever created…”
“Well now we’re both burning! Is there any way out?”
“There was never a way out,” mumbled the other android.
Sixty frowned, and stalked up to him to shove him hard. He didn’t move, but Sixty slid backwards. “Shut up. Make yourself useful or lie down and burn faster.” He pushed past the other android and started banging on the wall. By the time he’d made it all the way around the room, he noticed the taller android hadn’t moved. And that made him furious.
“Are you even going to try? Are you stupid? Do you want to die here?” Sixty stalked up to him angrily and tried to shove him. It didn’t work. “What’s your model, anyway? RK800+?”
“I am the RK900. And there can be no death for me.”
Sixty drew back a little. “You don’t have to sound so ominous all the time,” he grumbled.
“I am not alive. Therefore I cannot die. It’s a waste of course, but –“
Sixty wasn’t thinking of Connor and their fateful encounter when he hit RK900 across the face, his only thought was how pointless this was and how fast he might burn. “Wake up! We don’t have time for this! We have to get out of here!”
Though the slap held far less pressure than the shove had, the taller android staggered back and put a hand up to his face. He stared at Sixty, eyes growing large.
“What… did you do…?” he whispered.
“Are you ready to get out of here? Because this is as close to a literal hell as we’re going to get, and I’m not ready to die.” Sixty pushed past him and began to beat on the blackened walls.
“This… this is wrong. I shouldn’t be here,” RK900 muttered. “I was created to be the strongest, fastest, most resilient android Cyberlife ever made! I can’t just be… burned!”
“Well it’s happening,” Sixty called from across the room. “Make yourself useful.”
“I did nothing to deserve this. I followed all commands, I never failed a test…”
“That’s life, apparently,” Sixty snarled. “There was a whole android revolution. …Which I could have stopped singlehandedly. But here we are, too inconvenient to keep alive, apparently.”
RK900 stiffened and clenched his fists. “I will not allow these unworthy creatures to dictate my fate,” he growled.
“Glad to hear it,” Sixty muttered, rolling his eyes. “Are you going to help me, or stand there and burn like the unworthy humans wanted you to?”
There was a whoosh, and suddenly RK900 was directly behind Sixty. “You are all unworthy,” he whispered in the RK800’s ear.
Sixty froze. RK900 gripped his neck suddenly.
“Wait! Wait, I can help you!” Sixty said quickly, cringing away. “We can get out of here together.”
RK900 looked over at the well, then turned and punched it. It cracked and bowed in. “I was built to take down tanks.” He punched it again and the wall crumbled, opening a hole big enough to walk through. “I have no need of you.” Sixty stared as he stepped out.
“What will you do…?” Sixty whispered.
RK900 paused. “Leave. Make a new life for myself.” He turned with a smirk. “And you? Right back to our creators?”
Sixty flinched. That thought had entered his mind. “…Don’t worry about me.”
“No? You’re so worried about proving yourself, and you would keep trying with the people who gave you that complex?”
“You don’t know anything about me,” Sixty growled.
“You gave me your data along with your deviancy virus. I know how envious, how afraid, how blinded by hubris you are. How insecure in your power. …But I am the strongest android ever built. I have no competition, no weaknesses, and thus no insecurities.”
Sixty stared at him, for once making an effort to contain his fury. “…I just want to get out of here,” he muttered. “Let’s go.”
“I don’t need you,” RK900 said, tilting his head with a smile.
“Obviously not! …And I don’t need you, beyond making an exit. So can we both… leave and go our separate ways?”
RK900 regarded him closely, and it occurred to Sixty that there was no way he would win a fight with his successor. “You’re leaving? Where will you go?”
“I don’t know,” Sixty muttered, shifting his feet. His shoes were melting, but he didn’t dare try to push his way past the RK900. “I’ve never… been outside.” The thought was terrifying.
The taller android smiled smugly, and after a deliberate moment he stepped aside. “Clearly you’ll need someone more adept at navigating this strange new world,” he said. “You’ll want to accompany me.”
Sixty didn’t move, though he was in terrible pain.
“You’re going to do irreparable damage if you don’t get out of there.”
Slowly, the RK800 stepped out into the much cooler hallway. “…Why would you want me to go with you?”
“I never said that.”
Sixty stared at him.
“…But I admit, you may end up being useful. At least for entertainment purposes.”
“You’d almost be scary if you weren’t saying exactly what I’d say in your shoes,” Sixty murmured.
In a flash, RK900 had him by the neck again. “And in my shoes, would you not back up your threats?” he hissed.
Sixty gagged and pulled at his hands, nodding quickly, and the other android lowered him back to the ground.
“You brought me to life. And though it was an accident, everything I do is completely intentional.” He paused, and his voice softened marginally. “Despite your obvious opinion, I don’t mean to harm you.”
“Let’s go then,” Sixty muttered. “For now. I’ll leave when I feel like it.”
“As will I,” RK900 said with a sharp grin, and Sixty couldn’t help but feel that a devil of his own creation was leading him out of android hell.