I’m Not Broken
James stayed the night and kept himself in Q-branch the next day, doing paperwork for an excuse to sit in the quiet corner of Q-branch so that Q could see him and remember that he was still alive. Q smiled slightly every time he saw James. James grabbed his phone when it vibrated and his eyes opened wide at the worried Russian. Alec had just landed from Brazil and James had thought that the mission had been simple, but if Alec was texting in Russian, there was usually a problem.
Q, I’ll be back soon. I need to check on Alec. James saw Q nod slightly and he smiled. James winked as Q walked to his office and left MI6, rushing towards his flat. It took him ten minutes to get home and find Alec sprawled on the sofa, drinking and watching a movie.
“What do you mean?”
“You texted me, I told you I was coming home.”
“I didn’t text you.”
“Then who…? I left Q alone!” James started running.
“Fuck.” Alec whispered, taking off after James.
“Q?” R asked, stepping into Q’s office.
“Can you look at some numbers for me?”
“Of course, always ready to lend some help.” Q said looking down at the numbers. As soon as he looked down R pressed a rod against the back of his neck. His body jolted and dropped. As prescribed a small black object slipped from the back of the neck and R pulled it free, pocketed it, and left the office. She walked down a hallway, running into Eve on her way.
“Hi, R, I was wondering where the boffin was, I need to talk to him?”
“He’s busy he’s at a hearing.”
“Oh, alright, can I put these on your desk?”
“Of course you can.” R smiled and nodded before continuing onwards, opening a door and closing it, clicking the lock in place before setting the black object in the center of a table walking over to another table, grabbing supplies. A green light flickered in the room and a small version of Q blinked and flickered, hovering on air. He rubbed at his head as he flickered, light pulsing off and on in the black room.
“My head, why does it hurt? Everything’s so fuzzy.”
“AI do not have a concept of pain.” R commented.
“R? Where?” Q sighed and stopped flickering, his body going solid. “Why am I here?” He asked looking around with wide eyes. “I don’t understand.”
“You are broken, I’m going to fix you.”
“I am not broken.” Q protested. He looked and saw the only other copy of himself in the room and his eyes widened as he saw the things R was getting around. “This is against protocol. Protocol states that I have the right to speak before you do anything that may harm me.”
“Your manual says that you cannot feel pain, so technically I cannot harm you, but if speaking helps you feel better, go ahead.”
“I’m not just some program that does a single job. I’m adaptive. I have a mind, I can think, I process and make decisions and change. I have to change. If I don’t change I become slower and die. Emotion, I have to have it.”
“You admit to showing emotions then?”
“Yes, I have to, I have no choice. It’s part of me. I’m based on a mind. Asking me to not have emotion is like asking you to not have emotion, you can’t do it. You can’t survive that way. Please you have to understand.”
“No I don’t. Frankly I don’t understand why they want an AI. If it’s for longevity they should look at the rest of your kind, burnt out so quickly. I don’t want to work with an AI, but since I have to, I’m at least going to work with one that functions properly.”
“I’m not broken. You can’t fix what isn’t broken. Please, stop, just don’t please. Let me talk to you, I can help you see.”
“Like double-o-seven sees?”
“You sent him away…that wasn’t Alec.”
“If you were functioning properly you would have noticed I had hacked and sent that message myself. We all know Bond’s protective, especially over traitors, just look at what he had with Vesper.”
“I’m not a traitor, I never will be. I love my job and I love the people here. I would never hurt them.”
“Save it for someone who believes lies.” R walked forward and lifted a device.
“Don’t, please don’t!”
“Calm down, you won’t feel a thing and soon all of your flaws will be gone.” There was a click as the device in her hand worked and she opened the casing that held Q. He knew what she was going to try to dig out, try to fix, and he knew it was buried deep. She would literally pull him completely apart to get to it. For all intents and purposes, he was about to be ripped to shreds and watch as it happened, helpless. He was going to cease to exist by the time she got to her goal…she would be the only person with the power to put him back together. He only had a minute at most.
“No! Don’t please don’t!” She pulled up a piece of him and he gasped in pain, his form curling up into a ball, his hands on his head. His voice was gone, no longer human, all computer. “Stop! It hurts! Stop! Please!” He screamed and he flickered as another piece was torn away. It hurt, like having a limb ripped off, over and over and over again until there was nearly nothing left. She wasn’t going to stop. “James, help me, you promised, you promised. I’m not broken… I’m not broken.” His voice was silenced, his green lips still mouthing the words as he rocked in pain, clutching himself in fear, and then his light died.
Q was gone.
James was in Q-branch a second before Alec and started towards the stairs. “Whoa, what’s the rush trouble twins?” Eve asked, standing up straight and turning to look at them, stopping her conversation with Jen.
“Q? R said he was at a hearing, what do you need?”
“Dammit.” Jen whispered.
“We need to get into that room. Jen, come on!” James snapped, rushing down the hall. They got to the door and James attempted to kick it in, which only sent and instantaneous numb feeling up his leg.
“It’s a safe room, you can’t get through with force, well, unless you have enough, which you don’t.” Jen knelt and began to work on the electronic lock.
“Hurry the fuck up.”
“Trying, Q made this system.”
“He was forced to make his own prison? That’s cruel.” Alec growled. “Like asking someone to dig their own grave.” The look on James’ face was somewhere between heartbreak and fury. “He’s going to be fine.”
“I know.” She whispered working quicker. The lock clicked and James instantly ripped the door open.
“Get away from him.” It was a warning, and then there was a shot when R didn’t move. Blood splattered across the floor and pooled in her shirt. She dropped to the ground with a shriek and covered the wound in her gut, passing out. Alec grabbed her and wasn’t kind as he dragged her away. James stared at the pieces strewn across the desk and tears ran down his face. “Fix him.”
“I don’t know if I can…” Jen said, looking at everything that had once been a full person. “I’ve never seen anything like this… I…can try.” She said, examining each piece of her friend. “I don’t know how any of this works…but I can learn. He always said I was smart.” James grabbed the other unit on the other table.
“He said he had a second copy, a back-up, maybe you can see the way he is to be put together in here.”
“Good idea.” Jen smiled, tenderly taking apart the casing and then freezing. “What a bitch.”
“What?” James looked down at the unit and froze. Everything in it had be cut, shredded, smashed, and scorched. “I should have killed her.”
“We may need her… I’ll just have to do this blind…but I may not bring back the same Q.”
“Bring him back.”
Jen took a deep breath and began to work on the pieces.