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A Life Of Crime (It's Easier Than It Looks)

Chapter Text

“Team,” Markus began, looking around at the faces he trusted and knew so well. Simon, Josh, and North were all staring back at him, intent on the mission that lay ahead of them. They all wore unidentifiable black clothing with masks sitting on the tops of their heads, ready and waiting to be pulled down. “I know that none of us wanted it to come to this, but remember that this was our only option. We ran the scenarios over and over. We know what we’re doing and how to do it. Remember, if we stick to the plan, we won’t get caught.”

Josh piped up, “I still don’t like this. If Connor finds out--”

“Connor’s not going to find out,” Markus replied, interrupting him. “They work in homicide.”

“AND android crime,” Josh added. “This could land on his desk. And if Hank doesn’t figure out it’s us, Connor will.”

Simon held up his hand towards Josh. “It will be fine, Josh. It always is, when we follow Markus’ plans.” He smiled at Markus, his lips tilted up at the side as he gave their leader a slight nod.

Markus smiled back at Simon, his eyes betraying a warmth that he didn’t dare voice. Leading a revolution was a piece of cake. Telling his right hand man that he was in love with him? Not so much.

Josh shook his head. “You would follow him to the moon, Simon,” he replied, trying to dismiss the other man’s comments.

North shook her head. “Josh, we already went over this. This is the only plan that’s going to work.”

“And you are always into any plan that involves violence!” Josh shook his head again.

Markus cut his hand sideways through the air, indicating they all needed to stop it. “There won’t be any violence. We’ve been over this a hundred times, Josh. All you need to do is stay in the car.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Josh replied, resigned. “I know this is what we have to do. That doesn’t mean I’m going to like it.”

“I don’t like it either,” Markus answered. “The entire point of having a peaceful revolution was so that we didn’t have to do things like this. But here we are.” He picked up his weapon. “Remember, the darts are non-lethal as long as you don’t hit a human in one of their vital organs.” He paused, looking at them all solemnly. “So don’t. Got it?” There was a chorus echoing his ‘got it’ and then Markus nodded. “Alright, team. Let’s make it happen. Remember, everyone is counting on us. We can’t afford any mistakes.”

North nodded once, decisively. Josh sighed, moving up from the back of the van to the driver’s seat. Simon looked at Markus, worry etched across his features.

Markus knelt down next to Simon, smiling reassuringly and giving him a firm squeeze on his shoulder. “We’ve been through worse,” he quietly said, nodding in encouragement.

Simon gave him a little smile and nodded back. “We’ve been through worse.”

Josh called back over his shoulder. “It’s almost time. I’ll be here when you get out.”

“Unless we miss our window,” Markus added, looking at him.

Josh was quiet.

Markus stood up and walked over to him. “Josh, we’ve talked about this. If we miss the window, you have to leave us. Jericho can’t lose all four of its leaders.”

“But three of four is okay, right?” Josh answered, clearly frustrated.

“Just leave if we miss the window. We’ll find another way back. You can’t be getting caught, either,” Markus stated, leaving no room for discussion.

Josh sighed and nodded. “I got it, Markus.”

Satisfied, Markus gave him a quick nod and walked to the back doors of the van, where Simon and North were waiting for him. “You all ready?”

North rolled her eyes. “I was born ready, Markus. If you guys wouldn’t be such a mess all the time, we could’ve had this done already. Let’s fucking go.”

Markus and Simon shared a smirk. Typical North.

“Thirty seconds,” Josh said from the front of the van.

It wasn’t necessary, of course. They all had set their own personal timers well in advance. But Markus knew Josh was concerned, and he appreciated Josh wanting to keep everyone safe.

Markus took a moment to look around at his team. Josh--always the reliable one who favored the safe, lawful option. North--the daredevil who preferred solving problems with brute force than with her head. And Simon--Markus’ steadfast companion who probably really would follow him to the moon if he asked.

“Fifteen seconds.”

Markus knew that Simon believed in Markus as a leader, but Markus just didn’t want to push that any farther than he had to. What if he told Simon he loved him, and it made Simon’s faith in him waver? Or worse, what if Simon felt obligated to start a relationship with Markus because it was Markus who was asking--the one person he would do anything for?

“Five.”

No, he couldn’t risk it.

“Four.”

It was too dangerous.

“Three.”

Markus knew he held a lot of power.

“Two.”

He had to use it wisely.

“One.”

“Let’s go,” Markus said briskly, opening the back door and jumping out of the van.

He heard Simon and North follow him out, intentionally leaving the doors open. They all pulled down their masks and ran around the corner, North taking point. She ran through the bank doors, slamming them open as she began shouting.

“Alright, nobody move! This is a robbery!” North pointed her gun at the bank manager who was just coming down the hall from his office to open up their safe. Exactly as they planned.

Markus and Simon each shot a guard on either side of the doors. Both humans who went down easily enough. They’d take a long nap, then wake up with a headache. No harm done. Well, no major harm done, anyway.

The next part was a bit trickier. But they executed Markus’ plan with ease.

Simon pointed his weapon at all of the patrons--not that there were many as they had intentionally come at a time that statistically had significantly less foot traffic than normal. Holding onto it with both of his hands, he indictated the patrons should get down. They shrieked in fear, but got down on the ground nonetheless.

At the same time, Markus held his gun with one hand, pointing it directly at the bank tellers’ faces. He used his free hand to signal that the employees needed to come around the counter and sit down with the customers. When one reached under the counter, Markus quickly turned his weapon on her, pointing it threateningly in her face. She held up her hands and began to sob out apologies. Markus ignored the pang in his heart for the woman, and just pointed at the crowd of people on the ground again. She and the rest of the tellers nodded and hurried to join the others on the floor.

While all of this was happening, North kept shouting orders. “Everybody get on the ground! Now! We don’t want to shoot you but we will if we have to!” She pointed at gun towards one man who looked like he was reaching for his cell phone. “Don’t be stupid!” He held up his hands in defeat. Satisfied, North trained her gun on the bank manager. “Let’s get in that vault!”

Markus and Simon stayed in the lobby, guarding the hostages while staying silent. They couldn’t overtly do anything that would alert the authorities that they were androids, but they were still able to keep up scans of the area. That allowed them to stay out of sight of any passersby and to threaten any hostage who stepped out of line.

Markus kept an eye on Simon, scanning his systems periodically, just to make sure he was doing alright. The other android seemed fine, although a bit stressed. Markus couldn’t blame him. This was a stressful situation.

For her part, North led the bank manager into the vault. Once he had been appropriately convinced to open it, North called out, “Packing time!”

Markus nodded at Simon who nodded back before going into the vault to help North fill their bags with money. In two minutes and fourteen seconds they were done, Simon and North both carrying three bags. Simon went back to the lobby, nodded at Markus, and took his place guarding the hostages while Markus joined North in the vault to grab the three full bags that had been left there for him.

North shouted, “Go join the others! Move it! Now!” That had the bank manager rushing to the lobby, with Markus and North hot on his heels.

Markus backed up, holding the front door open as Simon ran out to head to the car. North looked over all of them and gave them one last warning. “Do not try anything funny! Stay on the ground!” Then she left out the door Markus was holding open for her, and Markus fired one warning shot harmlessly into the back wall, causing everyone to shriek in panic once more and huddle down further to the ground before he followed her out.

Simon was already in the van, holding his hands out to help North up. She took them and hopped up into the van, throwing her bags in the center where Simon had left his. They both held out a hand to Markus, and he took each of their hands to help himself up into the van. As Markus was throwing his bags in the pile, Simon shut the door behind them.

“Go,” Markus said, his voice calm regardless of his overheated thirium pump.

Josh wasted no time in getting them out of there, making sure to follow proper traffic safety laws as he did so. Markus, Simon, and North all pulled off their masks and put their weapons down.

“So? How’d it go?” Josh nervously looked back at them in the rearview mirror.

North grinned. “Perfectly.”

Markus nodded his head in agreement. “We didn’t do anything that would make them suspect android involvement. No shows of enhanced physical strength. And Simon and I made sure our shots on the guards were imperfect. It should look like the work of human criminals.”

Simon smiled brightly at Markus. “This will be enough, Markus. Our people will be able to get the repairs they need.”

Markus clapped Simon’s shoulder, giving it another tight squeeze. He smiled and nodded at the other android.

Simon was right--this would cover some much-needed repairs. Repairs that they had no other method of attaining. But this wouldn’t last forever. Android parts were expensive, and Jericho was filled with androids who needed technical attention. Markus couldn’t realistically expect the money they got from this robbery to last very long at all.

Still, Simon looked so happy. It was best for Markus to keep his doubts about how long this money would last to himself.

Chapter Text

Connor ran his tongue along the evidence. Nodding, he looked up at Hank. “It’s thirium, alright.”

Hank sighed, running his hand through his hair. “No sign of the android.” He turned around and kicked the man they apprehended in his shin. “Hey, fuckface. Where’d the guy you attack run off to, huh?”

The man spit in Hank’s general direction. “Fuck you! I don’t give a shit about these damn machines!”

“We already know that,” Connor replied, eminently reasonable. “But if you help us find him, then you might get a lighter sentence. Cooperating with the authorities is generally viewed favorably by the judicial system.”

The man blinked blankly at Connor. Hank sighed and kicked him in the shin again.

Connor looked at Hank. “You really shouldn’t keep kicking the suspect, Lieutenant.”

Hank smirked at Connor. “Who’s kicking him? I have a spasm in my knee.”

“Ah,” Connor replied, smiling in return. “It’s acting up at a fortunate time, I see.”

The suspect spat in Connor’s direction. “Filthy robot! Go back to the scrapyard!”

Hank’s face twisted in fury and he kicked the suspect hard in his gut. The man groaned as Hank said, “Oh, whoopsie. Best get that checked out. Chris?” He held up his hand, his head turning until he found the officer. “Take this piece of shit in and book him, will ya? I’ve had about as much as I can take of his crap.”

Chris came over. “Sure thing, Lieutenant. I’ll let you know if we get anything out of him.” Then he nodded at Hank and Connor before hauling the suspect away.

Hank shook his head and looked at Connor, ignoring the profanities the suspect was shouting at them as he left the crime scene. “Another asshole bigot,” he said, narrowing his eyes at his partner. “You okay, Connor? It can’t be easy dealing with all these hate crimes.”

Connor smiled at Hank. It was sweet, the way Hank worried about him. Unnecessary. But sweet. “I’m fine, Lieutenant. Thank you.”

Nodding, Hank pushed it anyway. “Yeah, but are you sure? We’ve been having an uptick in android hate crimes lately. That’s gotta be tough.”

“Nonsense. I’m perfectly capable of doing my job. And we knew there would likely be an increase in android-related hate crimes after the Battle of Detroit.” Connor was going to stop there, but he wanted to make sure Hank knew he meant that he really was okay. So he added, “Besides, I was activated during the surge of deviancy cases, remember? I’ve only ever known tough.”

Hank’s eyes somehow became simultaneously hard and soft, his brow furrowing along with them. Connor wasn’t familiar with this expression. He studied it, scanning his partner’s face to determine what it was later. The android had no idea what had caused this, but he had a feeling he didn’t like it. He would have to make sure to avoid it in the future. Well, if he could.

Connor cleared his throat, trying to subtly alert Hank that the man had been staring at him for what was typically considered an uncomfortable amount of time in human society. “Lieutenant? Are you alright?”

Hank blinked and gave his head a quick shake, throwing a small crooked smile towards his android partner. “Yeah. Yeah, I’m alright, Connor. How’s about we get out of here, huh?”

Connor nodded. “A good suggestion. I’ve collected all the evidence I can here, anyway. Our time would be better spent elsewhere.”

“Oh, yeah? And where’s that?” Hank asked, walking beside Connor back towards the car.

Shrugging, Connor replied, “I don’t know, Lieutenant.”

Hank smirked. “Thought you knew everything.”

“A common misconception,” Connor explained. “Our databases are limited to human history recorded--”

The police scanner in Hank’s car went off, cutting Connor off. He raised an eyebrow at the radio, knowing it didn’t have sentience but still wondering if it had somehow meant to be rude.

“Attention all units, attention all units,” the scanner buzzed out as Hank and Connor were getting in the car. “There was a robbery at Harman Bank. Witnesses reporting at least three suspects fleeing the scene less than three minutes ago. Sending GPS location to all officers on duty. Requesting immediate assistance.”

Hank’s phone went off as he received the GPS coordinates the dispatcher just announced. He looked at Connor, who nodded firmly in return. Hank gave Connor a shrug, and then picked up the radio transmitter. “Lieutenant Anderson here with Connor. We’re close by, we’ll give it a look.”

“Roger that,” the police dispatcher chimed back as Hank hung up.

As Hank quickly pulled away, heading towards the bank, the radio went off again. “Detective Reed and Nines. We’re on it.”

“Ah, fuck,” Hank muttered.

At the same time, the radio went off again. “Copy that.”

Connor felt some excitement at the thought of seeing Nines. He felt a kinship with the other android. They had developed a quick friendship once Nines had been activated after the revolution. Connor did question Nines’ decision to be in a romantic relationship with Detective Reed, but he knew that was the other android’s decision to make. For his part, Connor was trying his best to make peace with the Detective, for Nines’ sake. But he knew that Hank was still angry at how poorly Detective Reed had treated him, and no matter how many times Connor told Hank it was in the past and they should move on, it seemed Hank’s grudge against the Detective would not fade away.

It gave Connor a small thrill, knowing that Hank cared about him that much. Although he didn’t know why the thought thrilled him. Connor already knew they were friends. It’s not as if the information was new to him.

Like so many other unanswered questions about his partner, Connor filed it away to ponder at another, later time. Now, they had a new crime scene to investigate.

“Hank,” Connor began in a warning tone. “You need to be nice. Nines and Detective Reed are just going to help.” He held up his finger as another thought occurred to him. “And you know that they heard us call in first, so obviously they don’t mind working together.”

“Yeah, well I don’t really give a flying rat’s ass what Reed and his boytoy mind doing together,” Hank grumpily replied, turning down the road with the Harman Bank in question on it.

Frowning, Connor replied, “Hank, I’ve asked you to be nicer to Nines.”

“He ain’t here,” Hank replied, unconcerned.

“That’s not the point. You know he could potentially know if we interface.” Connor sighed. “Besides, rats don’t fly, Hank.”

Hank’s face twisted in a mix of confusion and amusement. “Besides? Besides what?”

They pulled up, parking quickly. Connor got out of the car without answering Hank’s question, instead choosing to survey the crime scene. Hank also got out and began walking up, taking in the scene before him.

Connor’s LED pulsed blue as he walked around, using his mind palace to investigate the area. There weren’t that many hostages--four customers, three tellers, two security guards, and one manager. All human. The two security guards had been dosed with a sleeping drug, which had been injected into them by darts. High-powered dart guns, it seemed, judging by the impact on the back wall of the bank. There were a few loose bills in the vault, but the majority of the money had been stolen. Connor couldn’t find any fingerprints, although the witnesses said the robbers had been wearing gloves.

Seeing Nines approach him, Connor smiled at his fellow android--an almost exact replica of himself. “Good to see you, Nines.”

The other android nodded, his face serious as usual. “You too, Connor. Have you finished your scans?”

“I have. I’m 87.2% sure that a human gang was behind this,” Connor replied, going over the data once more.

“I reached the same result,” Nines said. “What do you make of the 12.8% chance that this was the work of androids?”

“Unlikely,” Connor replied with a shrug. “Androids would have either done a more perfect job of it, or they would have made more mistakes to make it appear more human.”

“Perhaps,” Nines intoned, clearly lost in his own mind palace.

“You two getting along?” Reed asked as he walked up, placing his hand on the small of Nines’ back.

“Of course,” Nines replied, looking at the Detective. “Are we done here?”

“Almost,” Reed said, nodding towards the witnesses. “Just a few more statements to take.”

Nines nodded, looking at Connor. “Gavin is taking me to see a movie tonight.”

“Oh,” Connor replied, confused. “But couldn’t you just download it instead?”

“It’s a human tradition,” Nines explained. “Part of courting a lover.”

“Ah, I see.” Connor did not see. He filed the information away to investigate further later.

Gavin blushed, taking his hand off of Nines’ back to scratch behind his own ear. “Anyway, I should get back to it.” He looked at Connor. “If you could get your partner off my ass, I’d appreciate it. He’s got it out for me.”

“I can’t imagine why.” Connor could imagine why.

Gavin glared at Connor before walking away.

Staring after him, Connor commented, “Really, Nines, I don’t see what you see in him.”

Nines smiled very slightly at Connor. “I know you don’t,” he replied, as if he was keeping a secret to himself.

From across the crime scene, Hank waved to get Connor’s attention. “Oh, I have to go. Hank needs me,” Connor said. He smiled at Nines. “We’ll talk again soon.”

Nines inclined his head, his small smile already gone. “Always a pleasure.”

Connor hurried over to where Hank was waiting for him. “Yes, Lieutenant? What is it?”

“I’m done here,” Hank said, waving his hand to gesture at the interior of the bank. “There’s no evidence that we can trace back to anyone. Unless you found something?”

“I did not,” Connor replied.

“Didn’t think so. Alright, then let’s go back to the station. We still gotta fill out reports and I’m hungry.” Hank’s stomach rumbled in agreement.

Connor grinned. “That sounds like a plan.”

They began walking back to the car, Hank casually adding, “They won’t need our help on this one, anyway. It’s not even a fucking homicide.”

“I agree.” Connor nodded, his mind already going back to the more important case at hand--the spree of android hate crimes. Of course a bank robbery was interesting, and it was important to solve every case as crime left unchecked could only lead to chaos, but Connor knew his job, and it wasn’t to track down bank robbers.

Connor got in the car, his finger tapping on his knee in time to Hank’s unreasonably loud music. It really was catchy, if you were in the mood for it.