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Tasting Chocolate

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“I want to eat.” Gavin growls at Nines, who has been taking the better part of an hour, pretty unusual, to decide where the billet point? Has landed.

It’s always rainy nights like this in musty summer heat that Gavin is at his worst. He’s learned to be pleasant where he chooses to be. Namely at Nines’ and Tina’s sides, and only few others. What bond they’ve made doesn’t keep him from snarling and snapping at the drop of a hat, however. Tonight, it’s about how Nines has been steadily lagging without a single effective reboot and costing him his dinner. Every few minutes when his processing stumbles, he shoots another one, and every time, there is no fix-it.

“Hurry up.” Gavin kicks his shoes through the rain. They’re already soaked through his socks and squishing water between his toes. He wants to take a shower, and eat something, but Nines has remained unable to find the bullet’s flight path betond its entry.

To be fair, nobody has, yet. This ones surprisingly tricky the way the rain washes away the blood and drowns their vision. But, Nines should be able to- an RK model that’s at the top of its line.

However, on another note, Nines should also not be lagging.

“Shit, what’s the point of you?” Gavin mumbles, purposely loud enough to hear.

He starts wading through the inch of rainwater to help find the bullet, if it’s even possible at this point. Nines stands again in the middle of the road. It’s blocked off on both ends, until they can get the investigation wrapped up- which would normally have been a matter of minutes with Nines there.

Gavin’s not going to find it, but he tries out of pure frustration to spite the android. His arrogance making him believe he somehow can.

Nines looks back at the white tarp covering the body on pavement. He’s not surprised some of the neighbors in their townhouses have down nothing but watch them from well into the morning hours, but he is getting surprisingly tired of Gavin putting on a show for them.

“They’re watching, detective.”

“I don’t give a shit what they’re doing!” Gavin splashed through puddles.

Nines closes his eyes, light circling blue, as he refuses to let this bother him.

But, it’s building there, just underneath. He doesn’t understand much of Connor’s deviancy, and the way he sees the world so differently from Nines. But, he is slowly becoming more familiar with those feelings Connor calls ‘overwhelmed’. He’s got the textbook definition of it, all androids do. But now, he’s feeling it.

Gavin is angry and causing a stir, The rain is matting Nines’ lashes together and making his shirt collar stick. He doesn’t like to be messy. And, he’s lagging for some reason.

Something isn’t fitting together inside the inner makings of his processors and causing him to come up short. Like it cuts out just as the final configuration tries to outline itself inside his head.

Nines looks over to one of the neighbors that’d been watching them the fourth house down, closer toward the end of the street, and now standing halfway between them, and the scene.

Her dark hair sticks to her skin well past the length of her waist. Her hands clasped together worriedly at her chest.

Which is exactly why civilians need to remain inside.

“You can’t be outside right now, ma’am.”

Nines raises his voice firmly over the roar of the rain.

Gavin stops kicking up dirty water and turns over to the woman looking sadly at the sight before her. How upset humans can become, and at the mere sight of what is only natural. Of course, a murder is not, but the remains of a man who’s brain and heart have ceased, was. Death, the largest part of their lives, disturbed them, and that is why Nines and Connor, and the ever jaded souls unlucky enough to work at crime scenes, were here to keep them in their warm, cozy townhouses where all could pretend death did not exist.

“Please, return home.”
Nines said. Or else they shall have to remove her.

She did not. The woman stayed and watched.

Nines shared a look over at Gavin- that other feeling Connor had tried to explain, ‘exhaustion’, steaming off of him.

Gavin scowled and walked over to his side, surveying the scene.

“She’s just standing there.” Nines hummed. “Shock, perhaps?”

Gavin looked him over and then the woman.

“Did we question her as a witness?” Nines wondered, though he knew the answer. His memory was photographic, working as clear as a camera rolling and capturing each moment.

They had not.

Gavin squinted up at him and surprised him when his voice had gone soft.

“Who?”

“That woman there that we may have to remove by force.”

“There’s nobody.”

Nines’ gave him a deadpan look, even after seeing the genuiness there.

Nines kept her in the line of his peripherals as he considered Gavin’s vitals. Normal, mostly.
He turned towards her again, and spoke firmly.

“There’s a woman there-“

“There’s not.”

Now, Nines scowled.

He returned the jarred look of confusion on Gavin’s face, though for very different reasons. There was a woman there, at least Nines could see one. Yet, Gavin claimed he couldn’t, and he wasn’t certain who he should worry for.

The human psyche was delicate and easy to manipulate- at least easier than Nines’. It was more likely that Gavin was the one compromised here.

That isn’t what Nines concluded, however.

He was lagging and missing power- some of it redirected to areas he couldn’t control the more he continued to issue in reboots. The stutter still didn’t explain what he perceived himself to see. They should amount to nothing more than an overload of information, which he didn’t have, and solved themselves already.

Then he got this ‘feeling’, which he’d only ever had two of in his whole sentient life, that it wasn’t Gavin. Despite his consuming of anxiety medication, Gavin didn’t suffer hallucinations or distorted reality. Not in this sense or outside of something altering like intoxication- and he’d never been wasted this badly. Gavin’d never seen figures.

“Let’s get out of here.” He said slowly, looking Nines right in the eye.
“We’re not finding that bullet.”

Nines didn’t argue, too ‘overwhelmed’, again, to fight the strange look the shorter man was giving him. Whatever superstitious thing Gavin was thinking about him, he was probably right. It was definitely unusual Nines be subject to any malfunctions, but especially this serious.

“I’m driving.” He muttered and didn’t look back at the covered body again.

Nines turned his attention forward.

Slowly, he began to follow.

The woman still stood there, waiting for Nines to approach. He followed the path that Gavin chose which kept a few yards of distance from the spot Nines’d been staring at.

He pasted her, a blur at the corner of his eye, and the woman never turned nor spoke. He had to trust that she wasn’t real by the way Gavin had not confronted her, but why hadn’t he worked that out for himself?

Why did she stand there in his reality with a list of information popping up under a quick scan that featured every detail about her existence except her face and name.

He walked forward, running a long series of heavy diagnostics- the kind that’d put him in a charging bay somewhere and pick apart his brain. It was too deep to do outside somewhere safer, but Nines found himself unable to wait, as he hopped in the passenger seat of Gavin’s car.

The right people had already been alerted that the two were leaving the scene, and they could go on their merry way now to feed Gavin, the snark-shark.

As they started and drove off, Nines watched from the corner of his the woman standing there in the gruesome rainstorm.

It was enough to cause a tighter winding in his wires to know the corrupted item in his perception had its own object permanence. That’d be like seeing there was a shadow on your wall that wouldn’t disappear once you turned the lights on.