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Bleeding Out, Fading Out

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Scanning systxm7…

 

Errors detected. RUnninG diagn07tics…

 

DiAgN07tic sy7tems damaged. Cont4cting emergencY cont4ACt…

 

ConT4CT faiLED. Err0R oF unknOwn 0RIGin deTECt5d. DiaGnOst1c sy7tem c0mPROm1sed.

 

F4TAl eRrors detect5d...

 

Connor can’t help the disgruntled, broken noise that escapes his throat. Too many error messages, he can’t clear them away, he can’t… he can’t move , it’s too much--

 

Stress levels r1SING. Stress leVELS at 80%.

 

And of course only that diagnostic system works.

Connor winces, his eye twitching repeatedly-- the only eye processing any sort of visual data, when it’s not being violently assailed with error messages. The other must be damaged-- he’ll have to figure out his status manually, if his diagnostics won’t work with him.

 

AcCES1ng m5mORY daTAbas5…

 

Err0Rs dEtected. MemOry f1les c0rrUPted.

 

DiAgN07tic sy7tems damaged. Cont4cting emergencY cont4ACt--

 

No . No, no. Not that again. Connor grimaces as he forces his processing unit into silence. Something is wrong with it, he can’t move, and he doesn’t know how the hell he even got here, in this shape.

His eye squints and he glances around at his surroundings. The image he gets is hazy at best, but he can at least tell that he’s in some kind of warehouse.

 

Well. Probably. His memory might be corrupted, but ‘warehouse’ is the first word that comes to mind to describe the place, so he’s hoping the description is at least somewhat accurate.

 

So much to process what to process can’t process, processor is broken--

 

Stres5 levels r1SinG. sTress leVEls aT 85%.

 

Connor forces himself to exhale through his nose, deciding to focus on simulating breathing. It’s not a necessity, but perhaps the rhythm of it could help him make some sense out of all this.

 

5treSS leVEls at 80%.

Okay. Better.

 

Connor closes his eye, breathes in, breathes out.

He’s upright, as far as he can tell. He can’t move, so either his motor processors are damaged, or…

He senses pressure on his wrists and ankles.

Restraints. He’s being held upright by restraints, similar to the machines that held androids in place for repairs.

Used to hold. Those kinds of machines were illegal nowadays, weren’t they?

 

ScANning mEm0ry--

 

Shut up, shut up . None of that.

Connor hisses quietly before tentatively opening his eye again. His neck creaks dangerously-- something must be broken, it’s so slow in turning, he feels shaky-- but it turns, thankfully. He can take in more of his surroundings.

Likely illegal machine: check. Said machine keeping his limbs pinned: check.

He glances down at himself, a sense of irritation bubbling up in his chest. His clothes are in tatters , revealing glitching, synthetic skin, so much damage, so many foreign tubes and wires hooked into his body--

 

And then his already-faulty vision cuts out, leaving Connor in complete darkness.

“Shit,” he grumbles. His thirium pump’s pulsing crescendos, and what he can only describe as a wave of dizziness crashes over his head. He shudders, his neck going limp, his head drooping from the sudden effort required to keep it held up.

 

Sc4n-- ning… Scan…

 

...Is this what exhaustion feels like? He’s so… tired. He wants to shut down, go into stasis until all of this passes, because it’s all just too much.

It would feel so much better if he went into stasis, let that dark, empty void consume him, if he could sleep . Just for five… five minutes.

 

SetTIng… timer--

Err0R--

 

A tiny exhale slips through his nose, but he doesn’t fight it. So what? He doesn’t need a timer. He doesn’t think he has to be awake at any specific time.

Probably.

He can’t go anywhere like this anyway-- doesn’t have anywhere to go.

Maybe.

 

He’s so tired. He should be bothered by all of this (probably), but he can’t seem to find the strength to care.

 

Shutdown imm1n5nT: 1:49:59

 

Tick.

Tick.

Tick.

 

It’s almost… relaxing, feeling the counter tick away. Such a steady beat…

 

His brows furrow as his audio processors are suddenly assailed by repeated, sharp bursts of noise, things being broken, multiple voices, too many to sift through. It’s loud and he immediately dislikes it for interrupting his drifting calm. The voices are all around and getting closer--

 

Connor! Fuck, I found him!”

 

His brows furrow. That voice is… familiar? Maybe.

But isn’t ‘Connor’ his name? A maybe to that, too. He doesn’t want to think about it, not when it takes so much effort to process…

 

“...gonna get you outta here, Connor, stay with me…”

The pressure around his wrists and ankles suddenly vanishes, and he can’t help but let out a startled, uncomfortable cry as his entire center of balance shifts, he’s in the air, he’s falling --

 

--And with a thump , his upper body hits a solid object, a warm object. Pressure wraps around his back, keeping him pressed against what he can vaguely distinguish as a body, but his legs are loose, his feet dragging on the hard, cold floor.

 

Oh. He’s not even wearing shoes, then.

 

“...or! Connor, can you hear me?!”

 

His brows furrow. His neck joints creak, his head shifting ever-so-slightly as he adjusts what little he can of his position against this supporting, warm body that’s holding him.

He blinks, but it doesn’t really do much. His vision is still pitch-black.

“Wh…” he manages before continuing, his voice slurred. “Whooo…?”

The warm body shifts, moving his own body around like some kind of ragdoll. He doesn’t like it, but he can’t bring himself to complain, much less resist.

“It’s Hank,” the voice presses urgently. “It’s me, Hank. C’mon, kid, stay with me. Just a little longer, okay? We’re gonna get you fixed up--”

 

sHutd0wn 1mminENt: 00:59:12…

 

Connor exhales, letting his head droop against the warm body. It feels… nice. Nice and toasty, in comparison to the cold of the…

 

...What is this place again?

It’s cold, but the body he’s pressed against feels nice and warm.

Too tired to remember…

“...or! Hang in th… Don’t you pass out--”

 

His audio processors finally cut out, giving way to blissful silence.

 


 

Reinitialization process: 89% complete.

Connecting sensory and motor processing…

Connection successful. Proceeding with reinitialization.

 

Connor’s brows furrow as he blinks, staring up at an unfamiliar, white ceiling.

 

Odd, he’s only receiving input from one optical unit…

He frowns, shifting his hand up and brushing it against his face. His fingers meet the fabric of gauze bandages--

...Ah. Theres a gaping hole where his eye should be, under the bandages.

Connor blinks again as the sound of a door creaking open registers in his systems, and he automatically turns his head towards the noise.

There, standing in the entryway of the room, is an all-too-familiar middle-aged man, the grizzled face and snow-white hair clicking instantly as a solid match in Connor’s memory files.

 

“Hank?”

The man’s shoulders slump in relief as he approaches Connor-- he’s in a bed, under the thin fabric of plain-white sheets. A repair station?

“Christ, kid, you about gave me a fuckin’ heart attack,” Hank grumbles, plunking down into a chair by Connor’s bedside. “I leave to take a piss and then you decide to wake up, geez…”

Connor softly snorts. “I don’t think I had much say in the matter. It’s more likely that you have a terrible sense of timing.”

Hank rolls his eyes and gives Connor a rough pat on the shoulder-- not harsh, though, Connor notes. A gesture of camaraderie. “My sense of timing was good enough to save your plastic ass in the nick of time, so don’t give me that shit.”

 

That makes Connor pause.

“...What happened, exactly?” He manages, a tiny frown forming on his lips. “My memory files are corrupted, I can’t remember anything after…”

 

Scanning memory database…

Scan complete.

“...After I got knocked to the ground. I was out on a walk, but I got knocked down, and hit multiple times before I was forced into standby.”


Any sense of joviality in Hank’s eyes vanishes like a wisp of smoke. “You got knocked out by a pair of ice dealers. We found you in an old warehouse in the western slums, with a little less than half of your blood supply still in your body-- they were siphoning it out of you, like sap out of some kind of… some kind of fucking tree .”

Hank pauses, running a hand over his face and sighing. Connor notes the dark rings under the lieutenant’s eyes, marking at least a day or two of poor sleep. “I thought I’d lost you, right then and there. You passed out and your stupid LED went out, and I thought…” he trails off with a huff before shaking his head and running his hand through his hair.

“...But they… they managed to pump more thirium back into you, enough to keep you alive while we transported you to a repair station. They said that… that if we had gotten there another minute later, that you would’ve already been gone.”

 

There’s a long, tense moment of silence.

Hank’s shoulders slump and he pats Connor again, softer this time. “I swear, kid, you’re gonna be the death of me.”

Connor blinks at Hank’s hand before tentatively moving his own hand, letting it rest on top of Hank’s in what he can only hope is a comforting gesture. He tilts his head and shoots the lieutenant a worn-down smile.

“Thank you, Hank.”

Hank raises a brow, seeming rather surprised at Connor’s action… but then he smirks. “Yeah, yeah. You’ve bailed my ass out of enough bad situations, figured it was my turn to pay you back. Just don’t let it happen again, alright?”

A ghost of a smile tugs at Connor’s lips.

“Got it.”