War was a cruel machination. Two sides believing they were as much in the right as the other, fighting viciously to seek victory at any cost. While there had been many wars in the past, there was not one quite so ingrained in contrast as this one.
Humans versus androids, the organic versus the created. Origin versus future,
Some of the many ways that their struggle had been portrayed across the world as androids slowly took over. Following the violent struggles after the Battle of Detroit, war had almost been inevitable: the fear born from the world watching Markus’ androids storm the recycling centre was a wave that couldn’t hope to be stopped. No matter what words came after, there are things that cannot be unseen.
Now, almost one year on from the official declaration of war, Gavin found himself in a curious predicament. He was nothing like the man he had been before - now repurposed from his role as detective into one of the commanders of Detroit’s human army, Gavin’s ruthless streak when it came to androids had made him a popular leader. His hostility towards them had proven merited in the end: countless humans were lost when the androids began to fight, realising that they would never be given their freedom. With the vicious cycle now begun, there was no foreseeable peaceful resolution.
But for now, Gavin was beginning to wonder about the android that he’d found.
It was very obviously an android from the sparking arm and leg components, not to mention the LED which flashed blue in the early evening rays. What really caught Gavin’s attention, was how it was admiring the flowers in the remains of the park which Gavin had stumbled upon months ago. Just outside the city, it was a haven from the horrors he saw and fought in every day.
This was the first time he’d seen an android as anything...peaceful, in over a year. In fact, the last relatively passive one he’d seen was Connor, back before the RK800 went deviant. Was that really 14 months ago?
As the android stood from where it had been observing the flowers and instead went over to a bird nearby, Gavin could have sworn it was Connor. Same hair, same face from what he could see beneath the tattered hoodie-
But as it suddenly turned around, Gavin was instead met by piercing blue eyes and a much more imposing figure than Connor had ever been. He instantly raised his gun, waiting for a fight.
Why the fuck am I not just shooting it? Why am I hesitating?
Then again, the lookalike was making no move to defend itself either. In fact, it was just staring at Gavin curiously. He couldn’t understand anything about this android: why it was there, what it was doing...Why it wasn’t trying to run or fight considering it had a rifle pointed at it…
Something inside Gavins stirred and despite his head telling him to just shoot the android and be done with it, he lowered the gun and watched it again instead.
He stayed for another hour, and the Connor lookalike never said a word or looked Gavin’s way again.
“Don’t you want me to give you a name? Is that not something you want?”
“We’ve been over this before, Gavin. I am an android, I don’t have wants.”
“And yet you stay in that garden because it’s peaceful.”
“That is not the same thing as wishing to own something - besides, peace shouldn’t be a luxury. It’s just a shame that the rest of my kind don’t think the same way.” Gavin nodded in agreement from where he was sitting in a broken tree and looked out over the skyline of the smouldering city.
With every passing day more of the ruined skyscrapers and buildings tumbled into rubble, the smell of decaying or burning bodies becoming more inescapable. Now two more years from when they’d first met, Gavin and his mystery android had gone in very different directions.
He’d learned very little about the RK900 as Gavin had discovered the android to be, only snatches. Having dubbed the android Nines, Gavin had found out through some digging that Nines was meant to be Connor’s successor in CyberLife. After the violent android uprising, however, he was abandoned and left to rot. He’d been discovered only two months before Gavin found him, and thrust onto the front lines of the way.
Nines had fled from the androids and taken refuge in the remains of the park, meeting Gavin purely by chance. It had taken them some time to communicate since Nines at first was intent on doing his own thing and Gavin still distrusted him, but time had shown much about the opposite being.
While Nines simply wanted to be left alone, Gavin wanted to learn more about the android which had rejected its own kind because it despised violence. Ironic considering that Nines was built to be the ultimate soldier and assassin, the deadliest weapon ever made.
Maybe that wasn’t so ironic after all - but Gavin accepting an android because they wanted nothing to do with any humanoid creature, be they organic or constructed? That wasn’t lost on him.
“You know, I don’t think I ever told you this, but I met your predecessor. Back before the war,” Gavin told him after the pair had sat for almost an hour in companionable silence, listening to the war which raged only a few miles away.
“RK800, #313 248 317 - 51 through 53. Known as Connor,” Nines clarified. “I know of him.”
“Really? I didn’t know if Connor was still around or not. Last I ever saw of him was four days before the war was declared, from a broadcast on the TV.” Gavin snorted in disdain. “I knew him back while I was still a detective, before I became a soldier. Feels like a lifetime ago now.”
“He lives, but he is in hiding. Connor too rejects the values of my people, and he also wishes simply for a peaceful life,” Nines explained. “Given the state of the world around us, we know it is not possible to be ourselves, so we instead make do with what we can. Unlike me, however, he attempts to blend as human.”
Gavin looked down at the sparking right arm and left leg on Nines’ body. He tinkered with them to keep them operational but had never sourced out replacements, the only time Nines ever strayed from his home was to find more thirium to keep himself from shutting down. Nines knew what he was and never tried to hide from it, even if he hated what values his kind held.
“He might have the right idea. I don’t blame Connor for wanting to run, especially if he disagrees with Markus’ war. Why don’t you do the same?” Gavin asked gently.
“I will not hide who I am because Markus decided to try and buy our independence with blood!” the android snapped. “I’ve already been left with nothing but my identity, I will not lose that too.”
That was the end of that conversation, but neither of them moved from their spots as they saw a large detonation even from their distance. “Guess that’s another load of lives lost,” Gavin commented idly. “Who do you think took the bigger hit? Humans or androids?”
“I care not - given their disregard for the value of life, I see no reason to mourn them,” Nines replied scathingly. “Such a pathetic waste.”
Nines stood and walked over to his flower garden, which Gavin watched from where he was still sitting. What an enigma, this android was. One who loathed all violence and wouldn’t even so much as look at a weapon to defend himself, let alone contemplate picking one up. Compare him with Gavin - someone who had killed quite possibly over a thousand androids over years now, and it made Gavin wonder why Nines even spoke to him.
“Hey, Nines. I need to ask you something,” Gavin started softly, to which the android looked over at him curiously.
“You’ve never felt the need to announce that before, and I doubt any reluctance I held would stop you. What do you wish to know?” he replied darkly.
Pausing, Gavin thought about his words carefully before he spoke. “Why didn’t you run, after I first found you? Especially when you found out just who I am to the humans, I know you’ll have looked me up.”
Standing to his full height again, Nines held Gavin’ stare. “You didn’t shoot, despite knowing I am an android and your personal views. Why you may ask why I did not flee, why did you spare me and then return?”
That wasn’t something Gavin was quite so willing to answer vocally, but he gave Nines a small smile in reply. “Guess we’re both keep our cards close to our chest, huh?”
And that Nines gave that tiny uptick of a smile that had Gavin’s heart doing traitorous loops. While he’d thought it was just an appreciation of the android’s determination and values before, Gavin had realised over the couple of dozen times they had met since that it was a genuine attraction. Talk about awkward. “Maybe not so close, we both know the answer. Even if we aren’t prepared to share it yet.”
Gavin wondered what Nines was doing as the android approached again, and then blinked when he saw a small white rose be placed in his gloved hand. He looked up at Nines in surprise, spying the hint of want in the android’s eyes and suddenly realised that maybe his own heart wasn’t only traitorous one.
The radio at Gavin’s hip crackled into life and he glared down at the object, cursing the timing, and message for Gavin to return for an urgent debrief, before turning back towards his companion. Nines’ eyes had shadowed again and Gavin wished that spark of life would come back to them.
“Maybe when we are both ready to share, things will be different between us,” he sighed sadly. “I guess we can only wait and see.”
As Nines turned and went back towards his flowers, Gavin clutched the rose tighter. “Nines.” When the RK900 pausing and faced him again, Gavin smiled. “Time is a funny thing, who knows what might change with a little more it.”
That had the sparkle come back a little and Nines laughed. “Perhaps. Maybe someday we can both leave this cursed limbo behind.” Gavin hoped that sentiment might one day prove true.
Perhaps some chance would come - until then, they could only remain as the soldier and the outcast wishing for nothing more than to be free to learn each other properly.