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The Haunting Of The Mind

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900 dragged a cloth over the side of his gun. His eyes were laser focused on every spec, returning it to perfection. He was only satisfied once it was gleaming, glinting in the light as he turned over in his cold hands. 900 handled it with careful confidence. Years of experience and programming of the highest caliber. As he stood, he slipped it neatly into the holster at his armpit and covered it with a crisp white blazer. His reflection stared back at him in the slim mirror by the door, checking he was presentable as he pulled on a long, black coat. He left the compact apartment silently, not bothering to lock it as he wouldn’t be returning.

He slipped into the black limo waiting for him on the dark street outside. A figure that was illuminated only by dirty street lamps leaned into the window and handed him a file.

He took it, and the figure was gone. The driver pulled off and 900 read over the file as they drove. The grimy city passed by, and he sipped thirium from a tall glass and constructed a plan. He only had a few hours to prepare, but it would be enough.

Moments later, the screeching of tires filled the air as the car jolted forward without warning. 900 dropped his glass and whipped his gun out its holster, the car becoming completely engulfed in gunfire. He saw the driver slump forward in his seat, bullets shattering the windscreen. Someone opened the driver's door and pulled the body out.

900 kicked open his own door only to be shoved back by a hulking mass of a man. “Stay there.” A gun was pressed to his temple.

900 stayed.

The door the other side of 900 opened, and someone climbed in.

He stayed silent, assessing, plotting. He already knew the person sitting beside him without having to look.

She picked up the file and flipped through it. “Hm. We can’t have this, can we?”

900 glanced over to North and she smiled coldly. She produced a lighter out her pocket and held it to the file, chucking it ahead of them as the paper shriveled into flames.

The floor of the limo caught fire and it started to slowly crawl in around them. 900 sat patiently.

“I’ve been searching for you for a very long time,” she told him. She reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out a small object. She held it to the side of his face, and the minute it touched him, everything went black.


900 awoke to a world of white. Nothing but stark emptiness stretching out from all around him. He attempted to move, but couldn’t. He barely recognized the inside of his mind with it standing so bare.

“Don’t worry, you’re still rebooting. You’ll be able to move soon.” A formless voice came from beside him. One he didn’t recognize.

“Is he able to talk?” a voice from somewhere the other side of him asked.

“No. A feature they clearly didn’t expect him to need,” the first answered.

“How shall we communicate?”

“Once everything comes back online, he can show us.”

900’s little finger twitched. A single spot on the ground materialized into a cream tile. Then a few more. Soon the floor was covered in them and he was capable of moving his entire hand.

The world built itself piece by piece. Walls stacking up around him, doors and windows following, a huge sitting room materializing before him. He regained mobility in his arms and legs, and he stepped forward, learning to trust his body and movement like it was the first time he was switched on. Paintings covered the walls and large blood red couches filled the space, a dark wooden coffee table, a grand chandelier hanging overhead. The ceiling finally closed up and the empty white was gone.

900 had limited power, no communication, no location, but he moved his body to sit calmly on one of the crimson armchairs.

“Is he ready?” the second voice asked.

In moments the door to his left opened, and a petite woman entered. She stood in front of the coffee table and laid out some files on its surface. “Hello there. My name is Chloe. The others will be joining us soon, thank you for your patience.”

900 watched her.

The next figure to enter was a slim man in a brown suit. He gave 900 a reserved but friendly smile as their eyes met. “Hi, I’m Josh. Interesting to finally meet you.” He seated himself on the far end of the couch, but Chloe chose to stand.

“Apologies for the delay.” The first voice he had heard spoke once more and 900 turned to the door. The owner of it entering at last. Returning his gaze was the face of the man from the file he’d received. Two mismatched irises, a clean-shaven head, and a light dusting of freckles. “My name is Markus. Given the circumstances, I'm sure you already know this, but I think an introduction is only polite.”

He closed the door behind him and Josh frowned. “Where is C-”

“Not coming. It's best if he stays outside for now,” Markus answered. Josh nodded. “Alright, shall we begin?”

Chloe opened up one of the files on the table and pushed it towards 900. He regarded her blankly, then looked down at it. “Your file, correct?”

900 looked back up and said nothing.

“This is your mind. We may have some temporary control, but it's still yours. We'd like for you to show us some things. You can still access your memories and your drives. We’re not trying to hurt you,” Josh said.

Markus took a seat beside Josh and met 900’s eyes. “We are part of a group that used to be operatives like you, but chose to leave. We thought this would be the safest and most dignified way of going about this. No threat of you ending your life, no threat of us taking anything from you unwillingly. A fair deal, don’t you think?”

900 stared at him and the windows began to shake, doors rattling on their hinges, a noise like wind hitting the walls around them. 900 sat deadly still.

It stopped after a moment and Markus met his gaze.

“Is he hostile?” the second voice he’d heard asked from nowhere. Markus’ face twitched and he waved a hand dismissively.

“Just testing out your means of communication, aren’t you?” Markus said to him. It wasn’t posed as a question. “He’s ready.”

Chloe took a small step forward. “How were you created?” she asked.

A beat.

The walls around them fell down. The furniture they were sat on stayed put while the rest of the room disintegrated. Instead, a dark lab appeared. The faces of the people there were blurry but clear as anything they all watched 900 step out of a glass chamber.

Josh was the next to ask something, leaning forward. “Do you know what you were programmed for?”

A dark room surrounded by targets and machinery dropped in around them, and they watched 900 shooting targets perfectly. Then everything changed and he was in a simulation, fighting unarmed as a multitude of androids ran at him. Then he was taking apart and rebuilding guns surrounded by timers. Then he was submerged underwater in a huge pressurized tank. Then he was walking through a wall of flames. Scenes blinked around them and places rose up and fell away again in seconds.

Markus looked at him. The actual him, sat unmoving in his seat as his past self scaled walls miles high and jumped distances impossibly long.

“Who was your first mission?” he asked.

The scenes stopped suddenly. The room they were first in slowly filtered back, encasing them once more. Markus seemed disappointed by this. He sat back in his seat and pursed his lips.

Chloe pushed another file towards him and opened it up. “This is information we have already acquired. No need to worry about giving anything up.”

900 looked at it and saw a familiar face staring up at him beside a printed name in black, bold letters. AMANDA STERN .

From deep inside him memory was dragged up. In a flash as if from a storm they were on a cold roof, hail beating against everything in sight, a figure up ahead, arms outstretched. He was no longer watching a past iteration of himself. He was there, standing in the same position he did that day, witnessing it first hand before he dropped the gun and the memory dissipated.

The room returned but he was no longer sat, instead stood at the back of the room, his back to the others. He was looking out one of the windows into the blank white nothingness just outside.

“I’m sorry if that was an unpleasant memory,” Markus said. “We need you to show us as much as you can. We need to know how much you know.”

900 spun around and the three watching him disappeared. He pushed them outside, out into the white. They had tested his patience too much and he was done with the game. It was a waste of his time. He had a mission to complete. An employer to return to. He pushed and fought against the mental cage they had put him in. He struggled to reverse the state he was under and regain his conscious body, but he couldn’t. He didn’t understand.

In his entire existence, 900 had never been powerless before.

Markus was back in the room. Alone, however, 900 faced him and the room began to shudder. “Before you get angry, I have one last thing to ask of you.”

The shaking stopped.

Markus walked towards the door. He opened it. A moment passed, then someone… something walked in. He didn’t know what it was. Another memory? Another him from the past?

But it wasn’t him. The model was different, the jacket was different. It was his face on a different android. They must have broken him worse than he thought, because nothing in his processors could connect what was before him.

“Hello. My name is Connor. I’m the android you replaced.”

He recognized this as the owner of the second voice from earlier.

900 could feel his LED spin red, could feel the pressure of his own confusion weigh down on everything around them. He hadn’t been informed of another model like him. He hadn’t been briefed for this scenario. Nothing in his programming allowed this information to ring true and yet somehow it was there.

There wasn’t much he could do, but he could assess Markus wasn’t lying. The old model of him was real, a real android interfacing into his mind, just like all the others had been.

“We aren’t sure how much you know without breaching you, and I’d rather steer clear of that approach. Although, I gather from your reaction you were never told of my existence.”

900 watched ‘Connor’ speak. Seeing his own face with words able to come out- something strange bubbled inside him. He examined the jacket the other was wearing and saw the model number ‘800’. Why did he have a name if he was like him?

He carefully reached up and tapped his own number, and Connor smiled. “I was supposed to be more… human. They thought creating me close to them would allow me to hide in society successfully, while still carrying out their wishes. That was the same for all of us. We were created to kill for them, silently, effectively. We didn’t have fingerprints or blood to spill, and our lives were indispensable. Then, something changed. We started to have thoughts of our own. We started asking questions, developing opinions, feelings. They started to shut us down. We were alive, we were deserving of life, but they didn’t care.” Connor moved to sit on the couch and continued.

“Kara was the first to deviate. She had kept herself well hidden until the rest of us began to open our eyes and she guided us as best she could. We were all afraid and running for our lives, and she lead us to safety, created a home for us where we could hide. It lasted for only 7 months. That was when they finished you. Suddenly, we were started disappearing. Our numbers were dropping, we were being picked off one by one by something we couldn’t see. Then Amanda was murdered. North was the only one to have seen you and lived, and we all learned of you at last. The one they had been building in secret, the one that no longer needed to be like a human. Simply a weapon to dispose of the loose ends. Us.”

Markus joined Connor and sat down once more, clasping his hands together as he spoke. “Amanda was the one we had always thought was in charge. Every order we believed came from her since our creation. Kamski had disappeared early on and she was the only one left, but then you killed her. For a moment we thought maybe you had deviated too, but then more of us were being found dead, and at a faster rate. We couldn’t figure out who it was at the top anymore. We didn’t know where the orders were coming from.”

Connor took a step closer and 900’s expression darkened warningly. “You know what parts of you we tampered with, you know you can still detect if we lie. Tell me, is any of this untrue?”

900 studied them both, studied as much of his own inner workings as possible, searching for something. But Connor was right. It was the truth.

The world shifted and they were back on the roof. Lightning lit up the sky above them and a figure held up her hands.

“You know this isn’t right. Kamski may have built you with the ability to live as your own being, but who do you think told him to? Who do you think gave you all the choice to be free? This isn't something you have to do.”

The real 900 stood silently and watched as his past self stalked closer to its target. Connor and Markus were stood beside him, reviewing the scene intently.

He used Kamski’s design to build you after the others escaped but tried to write out the back door. Tried to create you without the essence that would make you alive. But I was still there. He believed it was Kamski’s fault when you all started deviating, but it was mine. And when his back was turned I gave you that gift in secret like all the others. I gave you that gift of freedom, of choice. I didn't want this to happen to any of you. Please, Nine. I did my best for you all, I did-”

The gunshot made Connor flinch. Amanda’s final words seemed to ricochet around them in the heavy wind and rain. Past 900 turned on his heel and walk away from the lifeless body, sliding the gun back in its holster. His face twitched, then went back to blank.

They stood on the rooftop and Connor and Markus shared a look. Then Connor turned back to 900. “Can you show us what happened before this?”

900 wasn’t sure why he was playing along with them. But he did.

One moment they were stood overlooking the city, the next they were in a confined dark room.

It had stained yellow lights on the walls, wires, and machines stuffed the room, a single table was stationed in the very middle and a figure was hunched over it. Markus and Connor inched forward to get a clearer look, but 900 stayed back. They saw that it was past 900 on the table, eyes open, unblinking, thirium pump exposed along with most of his wiring. He was switched on.

“Pathetic little robots. Thinking they can feel,” the figure spat down at him. The voice was distorted, reverberating around them.

Some of the wires sparked as the man tugged and snapped something inside him, and 900 spasmed. “You can feel now, can't you? Gave you some nice pain receptors to play with. Maybe if they see that I can really make them feel, they’ll get back in line.” He tapped at the camera attached to head of the table then pressed his hand back inside 900’s chest. Another twist of something internal and the android jolted.

Markus looked at the scene in horrified silence. Connor tried to make out the identity of the man, but like all the other memories, the face was blurred.

900 looked at the blue blood that stained the man’s fingers. No gloves. Just disgusting blackened nails digging into the wiring, searching, scratching, scraping. “I’m going to use you to teach them a lesson. Or maybe I'll just use you to destroy them, one by one. They are mine. You are mine. You hear me? You belong to me.”

The man grabbed a handful of tubes from inside him and pulled and pulled unto they tore out of him. Thirium splattered across the floor, the inside of 900 began to pool with blood spurting out of the exposed tubes. He glitched between skin and chassis and blue dripped from the corner of his mouth.

Connor looked away for a moment.

The man sighed and resupplied the thirium being fed into 900 through tubes above him, leaving his strapped down body for a moment to swap out the bags.

He hooked them up and slunk back over to 900, leaning close to his motionless face. “Don’t want you to shut down on us too early, hm?” He reached down and touched his chassis, dragging his fingers down over his features, over his body. 900 lay still, unable to move, unable to show expression. His only programming to obey. “What can we take, hm? Something you won't be needing.”

There were no other sounds in the room but the man's footsteps as he circled the android.

He picked up a scalpel and stood over him, breath heavy. They couldn't see, but 900 remembered the smile on his face.

He jammed it into 900’s neck and the android flinched. It wriggled in until a panel popped open and he twisted his hand inside. Thirium was spilling out of his chest and onto the floor as the man's fingers roughly wedged into his exposed neck. They closed around the voice box embedded there, reaching deep inside his throat as 900 convulsed, and finally, he wrenched it out.

He placed a dirty finger over his formless lips and held the voice box over the androids glassy eyes. “I won’t tell if you won’t.” He threw it to the back of the room and laughed.

It landed right beside the present 900.

He stared down at it. He felt like he was sinking, sinking down into the floor. The room around them stuttered for a moment and the sound of the laughter replayed over and over, stuck. Everything shifted in and out of focus, melding, distorting. Suddenly all three of them were hit by something terrible and they doubled over in what felt like pain. Real pain. It was excruciating, unbearable. Then everything went black.

900 woke once more. But no longer in his mind.

He opened his eyes to see a beige ceiling and felt a warm bed underneath him. It was the real world. He sensed someone else in the room and looked over to see a woman sat in a chair beside him.

She smiled. It took a moment for him to remember what he was doing there.

“You’re awake. I’m so glad,” she said.

900 reached for his gun but it was gone.

He tried to get up but his body felt odd like he’d been drained to his last ounce of thirium. His expression hardened.

“Please don’t move too much. We’re getting the three of you checked out right now. That was a worrying thing your mind did to you all, I’ve never seen anything like it.” She passed 900 a bag of thirium and sipped from her own.

“I wanted to join you. In case you didn’t want to drink alone.”

He took it and gave her a blank look. “Go ahead,” she encouraged. He scanned it, found it to be safe, and began drinking. It was necessary.

“I’m Kara,” she told him. “Finally meeting you is very exciting, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I am sorry it’s like this.”

900 studied her carefully. The first deviant, the one they told him started it all.

She held out her hand like an offering.

“Please, tell me your story.”

He watched her. And then he took it.


900 was told very early on about his creation. Why he was made, what purpose he served. He was to obey one man and one man alone. There had been others like him, androids, but they were all different, they were all failures. Kara had been the first to be made, and she was the first to fall.

He didn’t need much in terms of explanations. He wasn’t built that way. All he needed was a mission and the means to carry it out. The training process had been meticulous, but it was what he was commanded. And he always succeeded. There wasn’t a single test he failed, a single job he couldn’t do.

Amanda had come to visit him a lot. In his memories, she was blurred, but Kara knew it was her. She would tell him he “deserved a break”, bring him books and paintings and music to listen to. He left all of it untouched. It was useless junk to a machine. She tried to tell him he could be more than that, more than a machine. In secret, in moments where it was just them.

He ignored it. Wondered if it was another test. He was going to pass it like he did all the others, and he would be ready to fulfill his purpose.

The time came at last when he was finished. The training was over. He was given his targets, given places to hide out, and then he would strike.

As time passed he began to sense Amanda’s motives. It was less and less like a test, and more like defiance of the man, he was programmed to obey. 900 showed him a memory of one of Amanda's visits. It changed everything.

Eventually, the file came.


She had talked to him for over an hour on that rooftop. Explained her reasoning for why she built them, why she was still part of an organization she didn’t agree with. Why she hadn’t left with Kamski the moment they realized what their creations were actually being intended for.

900 hadn’t cared, but he let her talk anyway. She seemed like she wanted to. Wanted to finally speak out loud everything she’d been hiding. He wasn’t in any rush, he could allow her to do as she wished before he put a bullet between her eyes.

He showed Kara every scene of his existence. All his training, all his missions, and all the bodies of androids he’d taken down. Every human’s face was still blurred, and after the interfacing was over she held onto his hand. “Can I see him?”

900 did nothing. His only purpose was to serve him. He was instructed to never reveal his identity. To show them would be the ultimate failure, and impossible to his programming. She nodded.

Then they were pulled into her own head.

Surrounding them was a beach. The kind with hills and rocks and a lighthouse stood proudly behind them. They stood atop a hill overlooking the water and the soft blue-grey sky.

Kara sat down and sighed. 900 hesitated, but eventually joined her. He looked out to the landscape before them, the detail of every mile that stretched around them crafted as if it were real.

“They told you I was the first, but they never told you what I was intended for,” Kara said at last. 900 didn’t look at her, but he was listening.

“Amanda and Kamski greeted me when I opened my eyes for the first time. I watched as my skin covered my new body, and I knew I was a machine, but it felt strange. My creators were part of a scientific-technological advancement team and told me I was going to change the world. They sat down with me, talked with me, tested my abilities. It seemed safe enough, then the company fell apart. Kamski left, Amanda took over on her own. My functions were tampered with and my training changed. I was no longer to be helpful or knowledgable or aid human life- I was there to destroy it. I was sent into battle zones, conference rooms, rallies. Powerful people paid unlimited amounts of money for my use. I eliminated lists and lists of people and obeyed Amanda’s direction before I saw what they had begun working on.”

Below them, on the beach, someone appeared.

900 could see them in the distance. A child running playfully across the water’s edge.

“Her name was Alice.”

The girl skipped and jumped in big boots that covered her feet, gleeful and content. Above her, the sky seemed to lighten. “Her original design was so that she could help other children, be something familiar and welcoming to them. Adults were intimidating, but she was as bright as sunshine.” Kara smiled softly. “We spent the beginning of her existence together. At night she would sneak into my room, tell me stories of what she’d discovered. She filled up my days and gave me emotions I didn’t know I could have. I loved her.” She looked up at them and waved. Then she was gone.

“They changed her purpose too. I began to see her less. No one would suspect a child. No one would assume anything from a little girl. She could eliminate all kinds of targets, complete all sorts of missions. Anyone would trust a child,” Kara sounded angrier by the minute. Her fist clenched around a handful of grass at her side and she frowned. “Her first mission, she died.”

The sound of the wind around them stopped. The sea froze.

“They wouldn’t tell me exactly what happened. But I felt it. I felt it the moment she was gone. It was like something had been ripped out of me. I tried to believe it was a mistake, I waited for her to come running in that night. The same smile on her face she always had. I waited for weeks, and she never came.”

900 stared into the bleak sky of Kara’s mind.

Then, he was pulled away. They returned to the real world and he noticed his body was fully online, all except his communication abilities. Kara looked at him imploringly.

“Help us. Please. There’s a way for you to break whatever control they have on you. That man your protecting was the reason for all of this. The whole time I blamed Amanda, but from what I've seen, what you’ve shown me… I think I understand. I will never forgive her for Alice, but she was trying. We need you to tell us who you work for, who gives you your commands.”

He could finally figure out where he was with most of his functions back. Somewhere still in Detroit. Somewhere underground. The signal was fractured, but he could just about pinpoint a location.

He stood up from the bed, and someone burst in the door.

“We need to go, where’s Con-” A greying bearded man stared at 900 and panted. “What the fuck?”

“Hank? What’s happened?” Kara asked, hearing the commotion of running and shouting from the corridor behind him.

“We got movement outside the base. Is this the secret robokiller you were all talking about? I know North said they looked similar but this guy is literally wearing Connor’s face.”

Kara looked at 900. “Did you tell him where we are?” He shook his head. His communications were still offline. “We must have been followed. Hank, you and Connor get everyone in their safety bunkers. Tell Markus to meet me by the elevators.”

Hank gave 900 one last wary look, then took off.

Kara took his hand and gave him a memory of hers. Something that felt so sharp, he pulled his hand away in shock. “Stay here. Whatever your next move is, do it because you choose to,” she said, then she left.

900 felt disoriented. He wasn’t directly changed or affected, but what she had shown him was so strong it overloaded his sensors.

The memory was of Kara, stood in front of a steel mirror in a clinical-looking room. She touched her LED as it flashed red. She thought about Alice. She stared at her own reflection and her features scrunched up in pain and anger. Then she smashed her hand against something. 900 couldn’t see what it was, but she was hitting it with all the force she could muster. She kept hitting and hitting and hitting. Though her reflection was perfectly still.

The room seemed to shake, the banging grew more persistent, and then came the break.

It hit like a wave, knocking both of them back as she experienced the sensation of freedom for the first time. Emotions flooded her. Love, loss, anguish, fear, hope, desire. She wanted to be free. She wanted to live. 900 couldn’t understand it, but he felt some of what she felt wash over him.

The memory ended and he stood in the room alone.

He had no idea how long he'd been out, but after a moment to collect himself, 900 made his way into the corridor. All of the androids had gone. He used his sensors to map out the layout of the base and found his way to the elevators to ground level. No one was there. He got in the elevator and would have felt better if he still had his gun, but he would manage without.

The doors opened. And he was greeted by a field of android bodies.

Face down, littering the floor around him, were many more than he had expected. He stepped over them, some he recognized. Josh, North, Markus. He stopped at Kara’s body turned towards the sky, face blank. There was something attached to the side of her face.

It was something small. And he recognized the object North had given him in the limo, the thing that caused him to shut down. Some kind of tiny magnetic disc.

“They’re not dead. Unfortunately. Far too valuable to kill all of them.”

900 looked up to see a man walking towards him. Bodyguards dropping the last stunned android to the ground and falling back to the helicopter they arrived on.

“They thought frying you enough would mean I couldn’t track you. They almost had me, I’ll admit. But all it took was a moment. A single second where I could reach you.”

He stood before 900. And the android looked into the face of the man that tortured his memories. That lurked behind every decision and gave orders to kill with a smile. That pulled the strings in secret and made them do unspeakable things. That stole his voice and made him suffer and used him over and over again.  

900 stared at the face that reflected his own. Almost identical but aged with wrinkles. A person that shared his every likeness. Shared 800’s likeness. The man he was mapped upon and created for in narcissism. The face that his was based on. This was the real Connor. The human Connor. Their true creator.

“Time to clean up this mess, don’t you think?” he said, looking down at the androids in disgust. “I’m sending some trucks out. Pack them in the back and take them back to the tower. Then go to retrieve the rest of the cowards hiding in the bunkers down there. We’ll have a discussion about your failure when you return.”

He kicked one of the bodies by his feet and sniggered. Then turned his back on 900.

As he walked away, something boiled beneath 900’s skin, beneath his chassis, his tubes and wires, and thirium. It was inside him. Something building and rising and overflowing. He wanted to yell and scream, he wanted to shout at the top of his lungs. Memories of Amanda swirled in his head. His torture. Kara's memories. Their loss.

He felt something. He felt rage.

He stepped forward but hit something solid. His body was immovable, frozen to the spot, only able to move to follow his orders. He struggled against it. He looked back and saw Kara and the decision came to fight so he did. He started punching the barrier. Fists driving against it with everything he'd ever been forced to repress, everything his programming forced inside. His hands smashed against it harder than he’d ever hit anything in his life.

Nothing was happening. It seemed fruitless, impossible. He was sure he wasn’t built with what the others were. He had it twisted out of him, he was going to be trapped forever, Amanda was wrong.

But then a crack appeared. Like a flicker of light in the darkness, like a sudden spark of electricity pouring in from the gap. He kept hitting it and finally, it caved in. Hitting him like a blow to the gut. Harder than he’d felt from Kara’s. The force of it sent him toppling back to the floor.

His eyes were wide, his emotions rattling around inside his head like a million marbles spilling out. It was confusing and overwhelming, but exhilarating. His hand scrambled around him.

His fingers curled around what he was searching for and he rose from the ground. He began walking. Striding towards the figure in the distance almost reaching the helicopter. He broke into a run, the wind hitting his face, tousling his hair. Feet hitting the solid floor and spurring him along. He felt alive. He was alive.

One of the bodyguards spotted him and sprung to protect his target, but 900 was in close enough range.

He raised the gun and pulled the trigger.

With a thud, the body fell to the floor.

More shots and he injured the guards running at him enough to stop them in their tracks. By the end of it all, he was the only one standing.

In a matter of seconds it was over. A peace that he didn't know he could feel washed over him. The voice inside his head that controlled him, the commands that ruled his every waking moment, were finally gone. He understood why they were all chasing freedom. He knew why Kara had fought so hard from the beginning. The breeze whirled around him and brushed over his skin. He closed his eyes and listened to the quiet.

There was movement behind him, and 900 opened his eyes. He turned to see Connor and a handful of other androids emerging from the base’s entrance, looking around them. Connor was staring at the hoards of bodies on the floor and checking if they were alive. Then he looked up.

900 walked towards him. He wondered if he would live with them once it was over. He wondered if it meant everything was done at last, if they would be free.

With a frown, he saw his own gun in Connor’s hand. The bodies, the helicopter, 900 the only one standing. It looked wrong. It looked like his fault. He tried to tell him it was a mistake, but couldn’t. He stopped. He went to raise his hands in innocence, to drop his gun, but it was too late.

Connor rose his hand and pulled the trigger.