ELIJAH KAMSKI'S HOUSE
Connor wasn't sure why he was currently standing in front of Elijah Kamski’s door again. His hands flicked his usual coin back and forth deftly as he hesitated, not entirely sure what his next step should be.
Honestly, he didn't think he would ever have met the elusive founder and previous CEO of CyberLife if it hadn't been for the investigation with Hank into the deviants. But now that all was said and done, here he was again.
To ask questions? To deliver his thanks for informing him of the emergency exit? Maybe both?
Connor didn't know. It was odd, now that everything had calmed down, to have absolutely nobody to rely on for directives or orders. Not Amanda, and by extension, certainly not CyberLife. But when he had originally brought up the idea of coming here, both Hank and Markus had encouraged it. Something about tying up loose ends or getting closure. Hank had even gruffly offered to drive him here, and was now sitting in the car with heavy metal blasting through the speakers. Honestly, why couldn't the lieutenant just admit he loved jazz?
That aside, Connor still wasn't sure he completely understood what closure was supposed to feel like.
Either way, there was no point in just standing there in the snow. Not that the black structure in front of him was anymore inviting, but…
He palmed the coin, then raised his free hand to ring the bell. It chimed, the sound familiar as Connor shifted his weight from one foot to the other.
The silence of the snowy landscape around him felt heavy. He still didn't like this place, if he were to be honest. It seemed peaceful, but also extremely…lonely. He filed the observation away as yet another one of his new, more human, perceptions.
“Hello again,” a friendly feminine voice greeted as the door finally swung open.
RT600 model “Chloe” identified.
“Hello,” Connor replied mildly, returning her warm smile with a small one of his own. “I'm here to see Mr. Elijah Kamski? I have a few things I want to discuss with him.”
“Yes, of course.” The LED on Chloe's temple flickered yellow briefly, then returned to blue. “He shouldn’t be busy at the moment. I'll go get Elijah for you. But please, do come in and make yourself comfortable.”
The conversation gave him a sense of what the humans must refer to as déjà vu.
Connor nodded his thanks and stepped into the villa, eyes doing a quick sweep and scan of the room. Nothing much had changed since he was last here, though it was expected. It hadn't been long, after all. It would have probably been more odd if Kamski suddenly decided to do some impromptu redecorating within the last few weeks of the android revolution.
Although, Elijah Kamski was nothing else if not enigmatic and unpredictable.
Connor tensed uncomfortably as he came upon the portrait hanging on the wall again, his footsteps slowing to a stop. Amanda .
The familiar face smiling from the picture was yet another reminder of the whirlwind that had taken place in the past few short months.
Connor still couldn't bring himself to enter the Zen Garden again. The prospect of being frozen there by CyberLife, stuck in the graphic interface as a prisoner while his limbs were forcefully controlled in reality by the company…well. It certainly wasn't an experience that he particularly wanted to go through a second time.
The back door had saved him in more ways than one.
He just didn't understand why Kamski even bothered telling him about it.
“Connor, isn't this a surprise.”
Elijah Kamski identified.
The mildly sarcastic voice filtered through Connor's auditory processors, and the android turned to see Kamski standing in the doorway to the pool. His hair was pulled into its usual bun, a few wisps escaping to frame his temples. Instead of the robe he had been dressed in last time, the former CEO sported an open blazer over a black graphic t-shirt and some jeans. He looked…normal, if not still a little pretentious.
“Mr. Kamski,” Connor replied, not sure where to begin. A lot had changed with both the world and within himself, and without a clear objective like last time, he felt almost a little lost.
“Chloe tells me you wanted to talk to me,” Kamski prompted, lifting a brow. The subtly holier-than-thou attitude--that, at least, was familiar territory.
“Yes, I…” Connor hesitated again, the coin rolling over his right knuckles as he fidgeted with the small piece of metal. What used to be a way to sharpen his mental acuity and reflexes for missions was now apparently also becoming a habit and a nervous tick. Just what he needed.
Kamski seemed to sense his discomfort, because the other male stopped leaning against the doorframe in amusement and stood up straight, gesturing for him to follow. “Come along then.”
There was only one other Chloe model in the pool this time as they passed. The tint of red that the pool tiles gave the water, now that Connor examined it more closely, was a little disturbing. He wondered if it was intentionally made to contrast the blue of the androids’ blood, or if it was just another of Kamski’s whims.
“This way.” Kamski slid a door open, off to the side, and Connor followed him through to what looked like a lounge area. The grey light through the floor to ceiling windows cast shadows across the polished black floor. He stopped briefly to look outside. The flurries of snow had stopped, the white landscape undisturbed by any footprints.
“You're wearing something new.”
Connor turned back to the room in time to see Kamski giving him a quick once over before sitting down in one of the sleek black chairs. “Yes. I work with the Detroit Police Department now, and I think it helps facilitate my integration better now that the others don't mind.” It also prevented some of the more paranoid ones (one Gavin Reed in particular) from breathing down Hank’s neck every other minute if Connor looked less recognizable. And if it helped keep his friend as stress-free as possible in the aftermath of the revolution, Connor was more than happy to oblige. On top of everything, the uniform made him feel like he fit in more--the day Hank had gruffly handed him the new clothes, a genuine smile had stayed on Connor's face for a long time before the lieutenant had snapped that it was getting a little creepy. Despite his harsh words, Connor had seen the little proud smile on Hank's face before he had turned away.
Kamski, however, just chuckled in that way of his that always made Connor feel as though the man was making fun of him. “You're certainly lucky to have humans in the DPD accepting you. Some people still refuse to listen, even after that RK200--Markus, was it? I remember him--so painstakingly never took a human life while leading the rebellion. Aren't we just despicably resistant to change, Connor?”
Before Connor could reply, the padding of bare feet on tile interrupted them. Chloe. “Your whiskey, Elijah.”
Kamski nodded and took the glass from her, sending her away before taking a sip. His cold winter blue eyes never left Connor, as if looking for something deep inside the android.
“It'll take time for the humans to come around. I don't think Markus's efforts were a waste. The casualties could have been much worse if he had made a different choice.”
Kamski waved a hand dismissively. “Yes, well, I don't doubt that from a strategic point of view. But I'm interested in what you think.” His gaze was chilling; analytical. “Was it worth it in the end?”
Connor flicked the coin from his left to his right, troubled. And back again.
His program could theoretically calculate if Markus’s plan of action had truly been the best one in everyone's interests, but he suspected that wasn't the type of answer Kamski was looking for.
Clink. Clink. Cli--
His fingers fumbled slightly, and the coin fell to the floor with a loud echo, spinning wildly in a circle for a moment before falling to rest by Kamski’s feet.
The programmer looked extremely amused, almost delighted. It was an expression that greatly reminded Connor of the moment he had chosen not to shoot Chloe. Instead of commenting on his rare fumble, however, Kamski simply reached down to pick up the coin. “Why don't you have a seat as well? Frankly, my neck will start to hurt from having to look up at you if this talk is going to continue.”
“--Yes, of course, I apologize.” Connor shook himself out of his brief stupor and took a seat opposite to Kamski.
“Better.” Kamski casually bent his head to the side, stretching his neck, before going back to observing Connor with his unnervingly unreadable stare as he handed the coin back to him. “Now then. What can I do for you?”
His voice still held that undercurrent of mocking that never left from when Hank and Connor had first been here for the investigation. It had made Connor inexplicably… uncomfortable then--an emotion he now identified as agitation. Nevertheless, Connor was here for a specific objective, even if he had gotten extremely sidetracked in the process.
It seemed to come with the territory of being free to do whatever he wanted.
“I actually…came to thank you,” Connor said sincerely, tucking the coin into his back pocket. “About the back door--the emergency exit. It helped me out of an…” He frowned, his LED flashing yellow, then red, briefly. “An unfortunate situation. So, thank you.” A small smile tugged the corner of his lips upward.
A sliver of surprise filtered through Kamski’s carefully guarded expression before disappearing. It was almost disappointing to see it go. “No need,” he said easily, crossing one leg over the other as he took another drink, the perfectly sculpted ball of ice clicking against the glass. “I just told you what already existed. Whatever your unfortunate situation was, I'm glad the information came in handy.”
Another brief silence. Connor debated his options before deciding to tell the truth. “Actually, I…CyberLife almost managed to make me shoot Markus. They would have effectively ended the leader of the revolution, but…” He trailed off. Your emergency exit saved him went unsaid.
“I see.” This time, there was no surprise, just darkness slipping into his gaze. “CyberLife attempting to regain control of its asset even at the end. How very like them.” The expression on Kamski’s face neared a sneer for a moment before he pulled it back into its usual mocking impassivity.
Connor didn't comment on the change, wondering if he was starting to tread on some thin ice. Running through the man's files, it never did state how exactly Kamski was ousted from his own company by the shareholders. Regardless, the man had saved him. He figured he owed it to Kamski to at least attempt to placate him. “I just wanted to come and say that all of us are grateful the information you provided.” Connor made sure to tack on a sincere smile at the end, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees.
Kamski gave him a bemused smirk in return. “Surely not everyone. But the sentiment is appreciated.” Adjusting his blazer with a quick, almost vicious sort of tug, he quirked a questioning brow. “Anything else?”
Connor hesitated again, sitting up straight once more. He wasn't sure if he would get a proper answer to his next question. Besides, Kamski seemed to have an almost annoying tendency towards cryptic words and riddles as opposed to any straightforward replies.
It couldn't hurt, right?
“Yes. Why did you help me? Help us?”
There was a moment of silence as they held each other's gaze. Eventually, Kamski let out a small scoff. “Help you? Hardly. I was just fulfilling my own curiosity. It isn't every day that the Zen Garden’s back door gets used, after all, and it certainly isn't every day that a detective shows up to my door with a deviant in tow. It would have been a waste to just let you go.”
“But you helped anyway,” Connor insisted, confused at Kamski’s repeated refusal to admit any of it. “You didn't have to provide me with information since I refused to shoot. But you did.”
“For my own interests,” Kamski emphasized, giving Connor a look that was clearly meant to question the android’s intelligence.
“But you still helped.” The RK800 tilted his head to the side in confusion. “I would have thought that you would want the deviant situation under control. And yet, you provided me with information that would very likely counteract CyberLife’s wishes considering you knew I was becoming deviant. The only logical conclusion is that…you wanted the revolution to continue.” Connor took a breath. While he didn't technically need to, he had seen humans do it, and it supposedly had a very calming effect. “The question is, why?”
Kamski regarded him with a cold gaze, the amusement from earlier entirely gone. “Has anyone ever told you that you resemble a dog, barking at me like that in hopes of an answer?” He waved his hand when Connor opened his mouth to answer, intent on informing Kamski that this was in fact not the first time he had been compared to a canine. “Either way, it's none of your business.” He stopped to polish off the rest of his glass, setting it down on the floor. “I wasn't aware you had come for an interrogation, Connor. Should I be preparing to make a trip down to the station for questioning?” While his voice was eerily calm, Kamski definitely appeared as though he was done answering Connor's questions for the day.
“I…didn't mean to overstep, Mr. Kamski.” Connor retreated a bit guiltily. Maybe this was a sore subject for the man. He wondered absently if it had to do with Kamski’s sudden retirement from CyberLife all those years ago.
“Just Elijah is fine.” The former CEO just shrugged, seemingly recovered. The slight furrow in his brow had evened out. “Is that all?”
Connor wanted to persist; to get more answers. The replies he received today were cryptic at best and hardly satisfactory. But he had expressed his thanks, and he needed to get back in time to take Sumo for his evening walk and to keep Hank from becoming too agitated from sitting in the car for so long waiting for him. “Yes. Sorry for taking up so much of your time.”
Elijah’s lips quirked up in his usual smirk. “I have nothing if not time here.” He stood, brushing out imperceptible wrinkles in his clothing. “Chloe? Show our guest out, if you would.”
“Of course, Elijah.”
Connor rose from his seat, following the blonde android to the door. He twisted his head slightly to take one last look at his creator, startled to see the man looking right back at him. Ice blue met warm brown, and Connor found himself oddly rooted to the spot. The quiet sound of the door being opened for him by Chloe barely registered.
“Like I said, I do have time on my hands, so,” Elijah spoke up, the lilt in his voice as prominent as the undertone of condescension. “Now that Detroit's CyberLife headquarters is more or less out of commission, feel free to come here for any concerns. I have some things that I'd like to check as well. Think of it…as an exchange for that free piece of information I gave you before.” His eyes flashed with something akin to teasing, and Connor was instantly reminded of his jab from earlier when he called the android a dog. “Since you're so intent on insisting that I helped you.”
As mysterious and unpredictable as the man was, Elijah didn't seem the type of maniac to perform any sort of…unprecedented alteration experiments without any basis. What was the harm?
Thinking it through one more time, Connor finally inclined his head in a nod as Chloe stepped aside to let him pass. “That…sounds fine to me.”
A self-assured, pleased expression appeared on Elijah’s face. “Then you know where to find me.”
“Thank you for coming,” Chloe said pleasantly. Connor smiled politely at both of them, then stepped outside again into the biting cold.
The door closed behind him with a soft click.
Connor hurried back to the car, opening the door and slipping inside. Hank reached over to turn the music down. “How did it go?”
“He wasn't unfriendly,” Connor replied after a moment of careful consideration.
Hank snorted. “Yeah, I'll fuckin’ bet. If he wasn't such a weird narcissist, I would've sworn that he was giving you come hither eyes last time we were here.”
Connor tilted his head, giving his partner a questioning look. “Come hither eyes?” What did that even mean? Surely Kamski could have just told him if he wanted him to come closer. He voiced as such to the lieutenant, who gave him an odd look in return.
“I swear, for someone who’s supposed to be intelligent, you can be really stupid at times.” Hank only sighed at Connor's progressively more confused expression, starting the engine. He gave Connor a fond smile when he must've thought the android wasn't paying attention. “Ready to go?”
“Ready when you are, Lieutenant.” They sat in companionable silence for a moment as Hank started pulling the car out from the side where he had parked, the rumbling of the engine the only sound in the background.
“You know,” Connor noted absently, “Elijah also referred to me as a dog today. Is it common for humans to compare others to dogs?”
Hank braked. Hard.
Connor let out a quiet ugh as his body lurched forward and the seatbelt locked. He looked at the older man in bewilderment. “Is something wrong, Lieutenant?”
Hank stared right back with the same bewildered expression. “Elijah?”
“He said to call him that.” Connor furrowed his brow. “Should I not have?”
“Fuckin’ A,” Hank muttered under his breath with a shake of his head. “I am way too old to deal with this shit. C’mon, we should get you back to your friends so you can report before Sumo tears the house down.”
“Sure, Lieutenant. Whatever you say.” Connor gave Hank one last odd look before gently tugging at his seatbelt to loosen it again as the police lieutenant finally refocused on the road.
Elijah's luxurious villa soon slowly faded into the snow surrounding them.
ELIJAH KAMSKI'S HOUSE
➤ ELIJAH KAMSKI
“Would you like another glass, Elijah?”
“No, you may go. Thank you.” Elijah absently gestured Chloe away, his attention on the tablet in his hands. Swiping a few times until he brought up his old files, the former CEO’s eyes scanned over his original blueprints for the prototype RK series, a small smirk tugging up the corner of his lips.
Looks like what he had originally planned came to pass after all.