Click-click, Click-click, Click-click -...
"Fuck you, Richard! Could you pretty damn please stop that shit?!"
Detective John Mason seemed ready to hurl himself right over the work desk to wrangle the biro out of Richards grip, who kept clicking and clicking and -...
Sharply Richard shook his head, stopped the mindless motion of his thumb and leaned back into his chair - only to start bouncing his leg instead. He was a mess of spiteful anxiety because his brothers led a damn Team into the depts of almost forgotten cyberlife vaults on Belle Isle and Richard 'was not allowed to be with them'.
It was just two weeks after thousands of Androids marched through Detroit - and still did pretty much. The City was almost vacant of any human life and the new police taskforce supported the Strike-Teams and military as they broke through cyberlifes defenses like in an active warzone to get hold of any- and everything that the company was hiding in the last fifteen years somewhere down in their creepy-ass cellars.
'And Richard was not there!'
A hand slapped down onto his shoulder and almost made him jump out of his own skin. Mason stood above him with a grim expression. "My sister is there as well, you know. "
Richard couldn't really concentrate on what he said, but he nodded anyway. Of course, he wasn't the only one with loved ones on the line. But that thought wasn't helping at all. Richard felt useless and the shame that came with that feeling burned his insides and drained all of his energy.
His brothers were so much more delicate than him, they both thought of themselves as some kind of unstoppable force of nature. Not only had each of them a mind that could dissect any human brain in only a matter of minutes of seemingly casual conversation but were also physically strong enough to overpower opponents twice their slim size.
In direct comparison Richard, as the youngest of them all, was a damn desk jockey. He was big but had never felt quite as strong. Sly but always with an anxious stutter. Where Silas and Connor went through doors and filled a whole room with their presence alone, Richard was the type of guy who blended in with the people around him and was promptly forgotten without a thought. It made him an exceptionally great detective since he could go mostly unnoticed and people liked to talk to him. He got some confessions just by waiting things out and let them talk like he was an actual shrink or something.
Connor and Silas both got onto the force because of morals and principles. Richard got in because Connor was a self-sacrificing dick.
"If he gets shot again, I'll make him regret it", Richard muttered darkly while his fingers twitched over the armrests of his chair. John snorted with a nod.
"Stop the moaning", spat North, who sat by the old-school radio with her feet propped on her desk and listened to the hundreds of incoming police codes as the teams started to search through the lower levels of that fucking labyrinth cyberlife built underground of Belle Isle. It was absolutely maddening to just sit and wait.
'Agent Silas Anderson identified - permission granted | model number PSI65 - 07 identified - permission granted'
As if it made any difference these days. The doors of Cyberlifes entrance hall opened like a gaping maw, ready to swallow up any intruders to take any discovered secrets with them to an early grave. Silas felt his skin crawl with nervous energy. Belle Isle was today still kind of an active warzone and he was sure as shit no Soldier.
It wasn't that Silas presence was actually needed here. He could have stayed in his office and coordinated everything from there. But where would be the fun in that?
Aside from that, he had some obnoxious confident twin brother to watch. To piss off Connor was a huge Bonus in this endeavor.
Damn, Silas would never be able to forget Connors ill-white face that night when Detroits androids started to march for their life. Basically at last minute had president Warren stepped in to stop the destruction in these improvised recall centers.
As Silas sauntered through the foyer of the great cyberlife tower, every corner of it was already crawling with federal agents, Police, SWAT - and even the military. In a joint and grant operation, they finally forced all of cyberlifes deepest and darkest secrets to the surface. There was a damn whole lot of dirty laundry to air at this godforsaken place.
"What do you think?", Silas asked his partner as he laid his head back in his nape and tried to get a look at the ceiling that somehow seemed to not exist in this hall. Perkins beside him didn't look impressed, intimidated or -... well he didn't look like he cared at all for any of this. "A highly inefficient building. So much wasted open space. A panopticon structure", he said tonelessly, didn't even twitch a move beyond the necessary.
Maybe it was kind of Perkins fault that Silas had needed so long to catch onto his brothers' feelings about this rather strange... 'android affaire'. While Perkins was a good guy, excellent design and basically a walking, talking PDA - he was nothing else aside from that. Even though Silas was able to empathize even with Roombas and stumbled to call Perkins the 'it' that he ultimately was - Perkins wasn't alive. He wasn't a person, even though he showed minor traits of character and some kind of favorite working structures. But basically, any machine got its quirks like that over enough time. It didn't make them a self-aware intelligent creature.
Not at all like that infamous 'sent by cyberlife' HK800 - or the even better known RK200 who started this revolution all on his own.
Oh, and here they were. Connor sat by that big and ugly statue and shuddered visibly through waves of nervous energy that had to be kind of a family trait while he held onto a paper cup of steaming-... most likely it was cacao, dark and sweet enough to kill at least three dentists on the spot in horror and shame.
Connor nodded to Silas out of hollow, sunken eyes while he held the helmet of his ominous black uniform under his free arm. Silas couldn't help but sniff in utter distaste. "Did he sleep at all before?", he asked the HK unit that his twin brother so lovingly nicknamed 'Hank'. The Android had the audacity to just answers with a disgruntled smile and a shrug.
"You know that you could just ask 'me', right...?!", Connor bit back in a foul mood. Silas shrugged.
"Sorry, I'm late to the party", he said, in a way to avoid his brothers' ire. "Did we miss something of importance?"
Just to be a menace, he plucked the cup out of Connor's hand and took a sip. He regretted it instantly for it was indeed cacao so sweet and thick it felt like honey on his tongue. Connor snorted at Silas grimace. "Waiting for Kamski. The inspection without him is pretty much pointless. It's completely insane. Nobody of these damn technicians knows what they are actually doing here."
Silas wasn't even that much surprised. Cyberlife today was just a pile of misshapen shards that were held together only by the superglue of some clueless billionaires money. The investors decided what was up, what got build, what got discarded and what got better hushed up. It didn't necessarily mean any of these rich fucks actually knew anything about how androids worked or how they were produced and coded. Silas was pretty sure over the last five years the lead technicians mostly copied Kamskis work till it started mutating out of their hands. Deviants, here they were. All because of Kamskis ingenious out of control self-learning algorithms.
Cyberlife produced maybe even knowingly thinking and learning creations and their first instinct had been to put them to work and milk the hell out of them in profits as long as no one caught onto them being a pretty much new intelligent species. It was callous enough to make any honest man utterly sick.
"Hey, Hank", Silas said to get the HKs attention while he shoved that cup of utter distasteful sugar sirup back against his brothers' chest.
The HK turned instantly. His sharp blue eyes glistened and he looked so much more aware and alive as even some humans Silas was forced to work with. It made him still feel nervous around that model and Hank was literally made to take advantage of that. The android smelled his uneasiness like a bloodhound and suddenly grinned a wide smile that reminded of a big white shark. "What can I do for you. 'Mr. Anderson'."
Connor snorted into his cup and broke out into high pitched giggles as he quickly ducked his head in a futile try to hide them. Silas was pretty sure this bullshit just had to do with Connors undying love for the Matrix series and Hanks absolutely infallible talent for mimicry. Aside from the fact that HK800 seemed to just enjoy making Connor laugh.
Silas let out a deep long-suffering sigh and rubbed a hand flat over his face. "What do 'you' think we will find around here?", he asked the HK while he tried to ignore his still gasping brother.
Hank looked so damn pleased to be asked for his opinion. It was weird that he wasn't afraid or... or at least worried since he had been a major catalyst to Warrens final decision. But he seemed confident. More so. Besides Connor, he looked positively content - and strangely happy.
"Even more old skeletons in their closets, I guess", he quipped and looked so damn smug. "Though, there shouldn't be any more Androids around here. The wave woke them all up. No Android is left inside who isn't aware of-... "
He suddenly halted and finally blinked at Perkins. He maybe didn't even notice him till now, through Perkins... well... 'habit' to always stand a step behind Silas. Even more likely because of Perkins broken connection to the designated cyberlife servers.
Perkins stood inert and sharply straight, his hand loosely curled around his left wrist behind his lower back. His eyes didn't follow the conversation and his shoulders didn't move in simulated breathing.
Hanks eyes suddenly widened in an owlish blink as he shifted closer. "Well then, might you just fuck me sideways... ", he muttered in a so very human - so very 'Connor' - manner that a deep and ice cold shiver ran down Silas' spine. "If that isn't one of the 'PSI' series... Didn't think I would ever meet any of them again in my product cycle. "
Connors' eyes shifted from Perkins to Hank till he got curious enough to just ask. "What do you mean?"
Hank hummed as he leaned back and scratched through his artificial beard till another wide grin split his face almost in half. "If you look at it in human terms, this guy's kinda my grandpa."
Silas couldn't help the sour look on his face. In a sudden instinct, he put a hand to Perkins back. Perkins wasn't 'that old' at all.
Hank followed the tiny gesture of companionship and suddenly smiled so sunnily, it was a marvel. No wonder Connor had been so convinced there was a lot more inside the HKs head than cogs and gears even though he had been with him only for two days or three.
"Don't be an annoying dick, HK. I guess even older androids can have hurt feelings", Silas grumbled in Perkins stead - because, Perkins? Perkins didn't care or react at all. It just wasn't right to mock him for something he couldn't help. And interestingly Hank looked kind of abashed, even through his grin didn't vanish.
"I didn't intend to be rude", he said slowly, with more thought to it this time. "To the contrary, it's quite nice. My model was based on the PSI series. It's interesting to see one still in working condition. Cyberlife databanks say they all got scrabbed a while ago. "
Hank smiled in the most friendly way as he watched Perkins, but his expression slowly fell as the other android didn't move. Hanks LED flickered in blinking bursts of yellow and he finally hummed a low note through his assessment. "What did they do to him? Even before my days, guys like us were a lot more... expressive."
Silas blinked from HK to Perkins and could only shake his head, because 'of course' Perkins was a special case.
"Two years ago he got damaged pretty badly", he said and shrugged a little helpless. Because Silas himself never had seen Perkins in perfect working condition, only at his kind of lethargic and silent self right now. "As far as I know, they had to scrab most of his insides through water damage and a busted torso."
He observed Perkins stiff stance and his motionless figure and finally gave a kind of helpless shrug. "He got a pretty bad downgrade but I also heard he saved a lot of lives back then, so I guess-... I 'hope' he still thinks it was worth it."
Hank nodded slowly with wide eyes but still tried to get Perkins to look at him. "Well", he said with a huff that sounded interestingly sure. "The HK and PSI series both were made to please. So I guess he's happy to know he was-... is useful through on-going events. I sure am."
Silas let out a sharp snort and clapped a hand down to Perkins nape to give him a comradely shake. "Downgrade or not, he's still a hero, this guy. Does everything and more my last partner did."
While it was a questionable compliment, Perkins suddenly tilted his head. "Why, thank you, Silas."
Silas felt his fingertips go numb with sudden cold as a deep shudder rushed down his spine. His laugh couldn't hide how uncomfortable he suddenly felt. "Heh... Yeah. Sure, buddy."
Connors partner barked a booming laugh that made Silas almost jump out of his skin, but at least the HK took enough pity on him to spare Silas a comment. With a nod and a wide grin, he blinked again to Perkins. "So he's retired now?"
Silas sighed tonelessly and answered with a shrug. "In a way? Won't do any more fieldwork, sadly. But he still handles all the forms and bureaucracy like a pro."
The HK lifted his eyebrows in a kind of unsettling human gesture. "No fieldwork? Why's he here then?"
"Iii-...uh... he-...", Silas stumbled over his words and stopped before he actually said something stupid. But the HK already grinned like 'that' again. Because he almost got Silas to admit aloud that it wasn't a necessity for Perkins to be with him. That he just liked to have him around - So Perkins wouldn't feel abandoned, useless and lonely at his desk when Silas wasn't there.
Agressivly human empathy - not even once.
Of course, Connor saw it too, but wisely decided to not utter a single word and just looked away while he took a sip at the drink of Silas' nightmares.
The HKs attention was still on Perkins who continued to stand ramrod straight and unmoving.
The HK - 'Hank', Silas reminded himself sharply - blinked slowly, almost as if he did an assessment. And before anyone could stop him, he stretched out his plastic white hand and pressed it to Perkins' shoulder.
Something was transferred with only this one simple touch.
Perkins eyes suddenly followed the outstretched arm until his eyes locked for the first time with the other androids. His LED blinked in hectic bursts of red and yellow while Hank just watched him curiously.
Like before, there was no emotion in his gaze and nothing resembling anything distinctly human in his movements while Perkins' eyes twitched from left to right as if he was working through uncountable strings of new data. He still didn't move. Finally, his eyes locked with Hanks. "Thank you. Eight hundred", he said, lowly.
Hank grinned like a little shit and lifted his fingers in a curled 'ok' gesture. "No prob, Gramps."
That was the exact moment the buzzing noise of a hundred voices in the Lobby hushed down. Aggressive whispers started only seconds later as Mr. Kamski was officially approved by the security system and stalked into the building with an unreadable expression on his pale white face. Silas had a feeling it would end up to be a very long night.
Since Perkins was kind of classified as a civilian, Silas left him safe and secure in the Lobby where he could mingle a little and act as a contact-port for the other agents that swarmed the building.
Hank didn't get that luxury. He was classified as SWAT unit equipment and was in his status equally important as Connors rifle. Silas was pretty curious about what Hank was actually capable of. The android wasn't even wearing protective gear. Just some kind of standard police issue uniform that made him look lean and lethal just because of his confident movement.
After Connor called his team back together through a harsh bark into the open channel of his walky-talky, they took their places around Mr. Kamski and went off on an adventure down to the deepest cyberlife vaults. Silas followed patiently beside Hank, anytime just a step behind his brother.
Mr. Kamski strode through the corridors with a rather stony expression and didn't talk at all if not asked any direct questions.
If he himself wasn't able to open some doors with his administrated security keys, he let his personal Android do the work for him and hack the electronic locks for them in seconds.
Interesting, thought Silas, that an almost ancient model like the first ST200 could even do that. But maybe this Chloe was a special one-of-a-kind android. It wouldn't even surprise Silas if she could shoot lasers from her eyes since she watched Mr. Kamski and the people around him with the focus of a trained bodyguard. Despite her delicate figure, Silas assumed she was more than capable of breaking the bones of men up to twice her size. No wonder Connors gaze periodically flickered back to her when he was sure no one was watching.
If he didn't already have a partner to keep him on his toes he might have liked her a crazy lot.
"The experimentation and calibration laboratories, gentlemen", Mr. Kamski said gruffly uncountable and mostly uneventful hours later as he opened the security door to the last underground floor there was. Level sub-fifty was buried as deep in the ground as the building towered above Detroit. For Silas, the number alone felt confining and kind of unreal.
The door to the mentioned laboratories was made out of massive steel and was thick enough that the police and military might have wasted at least two full days to break it open without causing structural damage to the building.
Yet again the SWAT unit swarmed out, weapons raised and ready to engage with what-fucking-ever, as they secured the area and moved between empty showcases and sterile dissection tables. Or at least something similar since this kind of equipment was only used to dismantle and analyze defective androids.
It didn't look that bad until Silas noticed dark blue dribbles on the floor and lifted his eyes up to the high ceiling. Dozens of men and women hung right above their heads. Not all of them were complete and in a recognizable human or android shape. All in a row they gently swayed on a high up assembly line, long dead and forgotten. Different models, different types.
Mr. Kamski didn't comment on any of this.
For Silas the sight of all these broken and hanging bodies, even though they were clearly not human in nature, felt unusual nauseating. Hank hadn't anything to say about the stuff he saw, but his in bright yellow and red colors swirling LED made clear that he was unusually occupied.
While Connors SWAT team went through their trained motions, Silas started once more to go through his own.
His job was to find and secure documents and digital storage media to make sure cyberlife didn't get the opportunity to hush anything up that put humans and the remaining androids at risk. Silas could barely hold onto his raging curiosity as he marked the working stations he could see and find for the following investigation of his fellow agents like he already did on the other floors. This was almost overwhelmingly huge casework.
Silas, in his burning excitement, almost danced over the white floor tiles to again huddle up to his brother as his team started to open up the dozens of observation chambers that lined the white walls. They were built in a similar way like interrogation rooms or holding cells. Most likely the wide windows were made out of one-way glass. All of them laid in darkness, whatever inside long abandoned and forgotten.
The shouts of Connors team echoed through the lab. 'Clear!', 'Clear!', 'Empty!', 'A survivor!', 'Clear!'
"This place gives me the creeps", Silas uttered darkly as Connor turned to one of the last closed doors. The mechanism opened easily, but the door seemed to be stuck somehow. Finally and full of his typical impatience Connor utilized his bodyweight and rammed it open a gap wide with his shoulder.
His momentum put him two steps ahead through the doorway - and he almost slipped on the tiles because of a foul-smelling substance that coated the floor and looked all but black in the dim lighting of the cell. "Hank?!", he called out with a note of unease in his voice.
His android partner slipped instantly around Silas and swept his stretched out index finger over the floor to take a sample. Silas shuddered as he actually pressed his fingertip down on his tongue. "It's blood. Mixed sample, different people. In a first estimation, I would say it's at least two days old."
"Reeks like it", Silas complained with a sneer as he took a wide step over the smeared puddle that had gathered right in front of the door. Hank took out his flashlight and found out instantly why. The remains of three people laid right behind the door. Connor had shoved them aside as he pushed it open. One man, two women. All three of them wore erstwhile white lab coats while the man's broken arm still reached up to the door frame as if he had wanted to claw it open with blunt fingernails.
Silas frowned. This room seemed a lot different from the others, even besides the days-old corpses in it. There was no observation window and its dimensions seemed unusual big compared to the other rather narrow chambers. In the upper left corner flashed a small red light, typical for the security cameras that littered the whole tower.
The insides were pitch black through the almost blocked door and it felt weirdly cold like in a freezer.
Silas hummed lowly as he leaned against the door frame and watched Connors take cautious steps ahead into ink-black darkness. "Don't you think you should-..."
A weird, mechanical sound cut through the cell and interrupted Silas low complaints. Some kind of chirping noise that reminded him instantly of a combination of lurking cat and horrifyingly old working stations - almost like a beeping boot-up sequence. Maybe a second later a pair of sharp blue eyes blinked open in the darkest corner of the cell.
Silas got instantly pulled back by Hank who grabbed for his collar and basically threw him backward out of the doorway.
An LED flashed alive in horribly unstable red bursts as the thing moved out of its cowering position way too fast for Connor to properly aim his rifle.
Connor opened fire with a warning shout and the spray of bullets perforated the tiled wall without coming even close to hitting the mark. The thing had grabbed lightning quick for the rifle and rammed it with disorienting force against Connors helmet.
Connors head snapped back in a disconcerting motion while he again almost slipped on the days-old blood on the tiles.
Because of his unsteady stance, the Android easily broke Connors hold on his weapon in terrifying precise movements and smashed him as well as the assault rifle right into the floor. Its foot stomped, thank god, only down on the weapon and basically broke it under his heel like a toy gun. As it further fought to get a hold of Connors arm and neck Hank was already there and stomped the unidentified android away from his partner but at the same time the thing had grappled for Connors gear and had pulled the combat knife out of his belt, only to now use Hanks momentum against him, roll over his shoulder and disable most of the HK800s motor functions with a clean stab through his exposed neck.
The knife was pulled free as fast as it had been used and while Connor shouted in panicked ire, the android dived through a combat role smoothly underneath his outstretched arm right outside the opened door - and in the blink of an eye held Silas down on the floor with the knife risen high over its head, ready to plunge it down right into Silas chest.
All that had happened in the blink of an eye, just the time Silas had needed to stumble backward and fall.
Wide eyed he stared up into that Unmoving face as his heart sized in hammering panic.
- But the android stopped moving as if frozen into place.
He didn't twitch a single artificial muscle, not even as one of the guys of Connors team turned around and took a shot that almost ripped its jaw off.
"Stop!! Stop, don't!!! Stand down, don't shoot!!!"
Kamski spread his arms like protective wings as he positively threw himself into the direct line of fire, his eyes as wide as Silas's and full of horror while he used himself as a human shield. "Stop!! Don't shoot! Don't kill him!!", he shouted.
'Him' was still hunched over Silas's shuddering frame. The Android didn't twitch, not even in reaction to the blueblood that leaked out of the gruesome wound on its face and dribbled onto Silas's face and neck.
It didn't blink, it didn't breathe. Only its flashing LED showed that something was still happening inside of its damaged skull. Then there was this peculiar chirping sound again. Its eyes flashed stormy grey like literal lights in the dark.
It didn't let go of the knife but its other hand moved up to its damaged and mostly unhinged jaw and clicked it with a forceful movement back into place. Then it finally spoke.
"Detective Richard Arkay identified. Guardian-protocol deactivated. Handler registered. Companion sequence initiated."
Suddenly it stood.
Silas eyes widened as it stretched out a hand in a helpful gesture ready to pull him back onto his feet. Silas hesitated but took it in the end. The Android didn't seem to notice nor care for the shitlessly scared people around it.
"Hello, Detective Arkay. My name is", it didn't say an actual name but got out some grossly distorted mechanical sounds. Static noise and artificial stutters. "I'm the android sent by cyberlife."
Silas had never been this happy and relieved to be an almost carbon copy triplet.
Hank sat wide-eyed at his partners' feet while Connor still pointed his handgun to the androids head.
"If you just fuck me sideways...", Hank uttered, sounding rather breathless.
"Mr. Kamski!!", shouted Connor after he ripped his helmet down, face chalk white with fuming rage. "What the fuck is this?!"
To all of their surprise, Kamski looked sweat-slicked and shaken to his bones. A face the public never got to see.
"It's...", he rasped while panicked moisture gathered in the corners of his eyes. "He's my brother...!"
HK800 lends a hand to help out a fellow trashcan.
Kamski is alowed to have his five emotions.
In the meanwhile we have some brotherly bonding since Silas and Connor don't walk into each other as often as Connor and Richard.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"What the ever-loving fuck, Mr. Kamski?!", shouted Connor again through grinding teeth after Kamskis words registered - and didn't clear up anything about the incident at all. He looked positively feral, ready to chew through Kamskis neck.
Meanwhile Hank kept his balance on his heels as he sat at Connors feet and visibly tested the remaining range of movement of his limbs. The way his fingers and shoulders twitched made clear that both of his arms seemed to have been disabled by that powerful stab. He didn't even look mad, though. His eyes were wide and curious, transfixed on that android that didn't move and kept smiling at Silas in the most friendly manner. Still and motionless as if he had worked through an unfinished script that now had just... stopped. Silas felt his nose wrinkle up as he leaned back in a slow involuntary reflex of utter discomfort. That thing was just terrifying, even if it didn't do anything.
"He's my brother", repeated Kamski and sounded a lot more in control of himself this time as the wide-eyed panic made room for something that had to be quite badly concealed rage. He still didn't take down his arms, visibly didn't trust any of the guys from SWAT not to precautionary shoot the Android. His nose twitched in a sniff before he spoke over his shoulder, not taking his eyes off of the risen guns. "GV200, stand down. Administration-Code #10072002."
The Android still smiled, didn't move, but answered instantly. "Negative. Administration-Code requires Administration privileges. Instruction declined. Please contact Cyberlife Customer Service."
Silas masked his barked out laughter through a hacking cough as Kamskis eyes slowly fixated the GV over his shoulder. Furious he pressed his lips to a fine white line and looked absolutely scandalized while dark red blotches appeared on his pale white face.
Silas did his best to swallow his inappropriate amusement and tried it himself because it just seemed plausible to him. "GV200?"
Like he already had expected, the Android fell into line just like Perkins. His smile vanished as he dropped the knife, stood up straight and tangled his hands behind his back. "Stand down. Administration-Code #10072002."
The Android blinked. "Positive. Motor functions disabled. Maintenance-Mode activated. Initiating Stasis."
The thing slowly closed its unsettling grey eyes, its body made a last move as it slightly hunched forward - and then it froze like a lifeless puppet. Even its simulated breathing pattern completely stopped. Its LED pulsated in slow neutrally grey circles. Since it looked so very human, Silas couldn't suppress that shiver of unease he felt as he watched it happen.
In the meantime Kamski stared at Silas as if he wanted to set his soul ablaze. He seemed to have a big possessive streak over his 'brother', so Silas lifted his hands in a slow, disarming gesture and took a step back from the Android.
As soon as he was out of the way Kamski rushed in and fretted with fluttering fingers over the Androids motionless damaged skull.
"You could have deactivated him!", he spat without turning around through grinding teeth. Connor had followed the interaction but now looked so damn tired of Kamskis bullshit. "It almost killed my partner as if it was an easy thing to do", he growled through an unusual husky voice as he pressed his hand down on Hanks shoulder while he still held the gun in his left. "It could have harmed or killed anyone of us - including you!"
Together with a frustrated noise Kamski lifted his hands and pushed his fingers into his so neatly tied up hair, pulled it loose out of the bun and made himself look almost wild. "No. No, just - No!", he spat sharply and halfway turned to Connor to gesticulate almost dismissively up and down the GVs unmoving figure. "It-... He wasn't made for that! He wasn't made to harm anyone, he's, he-...", Kamski groaned and pressed his folded hands with a frustrated low groan hard against his lowered forehead.
He visibly took some deep shaky breaths. Connor used the instance to conceal his gun and help Hank back onto his feet. He never took his eyes off of that Android.
Kamski didn't care for him as he lifted an arm and waved shakily for the ST200. "Honey. Could you please get me this one down? The one with the #TQ5-17?", he asked her without any clarification to anyone whatever he meant.
The ST200 didn't twitch a facial muscle as she strode over to one of the main terminals and laid her hand down. Just a second later a SWAT guy shrieked and jumped as just a step beside him an Android corpse crashed to the tiled floor. Some of its more delicate biocomponents weren't protected by a standardized plastic shell and so they cracked and shattered to bloody blue pieces on the ground.
Kamski was instantly on it and worked its lifeless white faceplate off of its head with an elegant silver pocket knife before he went on without any shame and pulled out parts and components of the dead body he needed to repair the GV.
With most of the GVs damage could be dealt this way. But a stubborn visual glitch cracked over its slightly crooked nose and exposed the white plastic underneath in an angrily edged white line that reminded instantly of a human scar. Kamski wasn't pleased. At all.
Multiple times his thumb caressed over the glitch as if in the hope he could just wipe it away. The look in his eyes turned rather dark as it, of course, didn't work out. "Be thankful that I won't be able to sue you for this", he growled and the SWAT guy who took the shot swallowed noticeably while he looked for help at his Captain.
Connor snorted in an unusual aggressive manner while he folded his arms in front of his chest. "Thankfully noted", he answered not thankful or relieved at all. "Now. Are you able to repair an HK800 prototype android?!"
Kamski twitched and looked over his shoulder. In a way, he seemed almost offended. "Sure I am, what are you-..."
"Then do it, I've got no fucking time for this!", Connor barked sharply and pointed at Hank - who for whatever reason looked strangely amused by all of this. As Connors icy glare turned to him, he looked away instantly and slightly moved his body so his useless arms swung innocently around him.
Silas tried his best to school his face into a more appropriate expression. It was hard work.
"What makes this one your brother?", he asked, more to distract himself while he took some steps around the GV. It was an unusually detailed Android. Little scars everywhere in combination with a very human, slightly asymmetric, face. It looked utterly convincing, which was rather strange since Androids usually were designed to look smooth and kind of perfect - aside from Hank who was the first model Cyberlife really tried to integrate into a workforce that comprised of a majority of humans. "It's an Android, as you said. Or did you start up a super secret cyborg-business while no one was watching anymore?"
Kamski snorted loudly while he inspected the damage made to Hanks neck. "Of course he's an Android, you utter imbecile!"
Connor pointed sharply at Silas. "Shut it, we do this later. Whatever, the guy is a cyberlife Android. He's functional, which means he's a victim."
His gaze flickered over his shoulder to the cell the Android broke out of. To the one with the dead people inside. "For now at least."
"You think the thing's alive?", asked Silas as he sat down besides Connor, both of them waiting for Kamskis okay the moment Hank was ready to go.
Connor shrugged. "Don't know. Doesn't seem like it, but that doesn't mean much these days."
Silas snorted and crossed his legs while his foot twitched impatiently up and down. "To whom am I talking to. You saw one of the guys and decided almost instantly that Tinman had a heart."
Connors offended glare made him giggle. "The first time I met Hank, I had no time for this bullshit either", he said as he pointed his index finger around in a wide circle. "Remember the case with that little girl on the rooftop in September?"
"Oh, yes. What a nightmare..."
"Exactly", Connor muttered and crossed his arms so tightly in front of his chest, the artificial leather of his uniform made a strained sound. "Hank showed up there as the crisis negotiator, picked up a fish from the floor that got swept out of a damaged aquarium to put it back, nosed around, didn't talk to anyone and saved the girl by shoving her captor off the roof. Befor he did that, he also made sure an injured officer didn't bleed to death. He got the back of his head shot to pieces. The poor girl was traumatized - but, thanks to him, at least alive."
Connor visibly shuddered, pulled a rather angry face and leaned back into his chair before he tilted his head to Silas. "Some weeks later he suddenly showed up on my doorstep in the middle of the god damn night, told me cheerfully about a bomb threat at Hemwick station and basically complimented me into my uniform, before he gave me a fucking coffee he got on the way to my house and drove me to my next assignment. I didn't even realise he was an Android until he pulled up his hair. You should have seen this."
Silas couldn't even imagine a scene like this, but something about a sleep drunk Connor who couldn't even see one step ahead of himself felt quite funny to him. "Didn't he wear his uniform?"
Connor wrinkled his nose. "Of course he did. That's why I was so out of it. I couldn't imagine that they would put a rooky even temporarily into one of those. Also, he looked way too old to even 'be' one. This whole night felt absolutely fucking unreal, man."
Connor slowly shook his head. "The first HK model on the Rooftop acted extremely limited. It did its job marvelously, but you could see that it had clear mission parameters it could not cross. Hank has nothing in common with that one, at all. Said he got an upgrade of his social relations program so he could learn from interactions with humans."
Silas nodded and tried not to stare too obvious as Kamski opened up Hanks spinal ports and fished in the inside of his neck for cut cables. "Seems pretty high-tech. Why is he with you again?"
Connor pulled a face and bounced his knee. "Never say I don't need him. Damn, I never noticed how hard organizing all of this shit is until he showed up."
In a mix of angry exasperation and tiredness, Connor rubbed a gloved hand over his face. "He was meant to be a Detective, but just some days prior Lieutenant Fowler announced his early retirement. Just didn't want to deal with him on his last case."
Silas snorted a low laugh. "Guess so. Detectives not good enough for the test run?"
Connor waved it away. "'Course not. Cyberlife wanted him to be in a leading position to force him to work and interact with as many humans as possible. Now take a guess which team was a man short anyway?"
Silas cringed instantly. Connor didn't take the loss of his late teammate gracefully last summer. Maybe it would have been different if it had been a dangerous miscalculation or anything he could have blamed on someone or even on himself. But Arthur Lockwood died because he got startled by a massive dog and simply fell down a staircase. The landing had been... quite unfortunate. It had been just plain stupid bad luck.
"Now", Connor uttered after he forcefully cleared his throat. "Hank said he didn't remember me exactly but Cyberlife transferred the memories of the other model into him as his first learning experience."
Silas eyes widened as he slowly turned around. "These fuckers made him remember 'his own fucking death'...?!"
Connor nodded while he fumbled a coin out of his pocket and finally flipped it over his thumb. "Yep", he said with a plopping sound and worked the coin around his leather-clad fingers. "They were just bastards like that. To give me a fill of empathy, all Hank had to do was to tell me about what they did. To him, to the others. He was so utterly human, of course, I didn't question it. Imagine someone tells Rich he doesn't count as human because he doesn't speak or act the right way - as if that never happened before."
Connor frowned through a frustrated huff. "I knew and still know it's not the same, but... it made me mad, anyway."
Silas gave a low hum. "If someone tells you how, or even 'that', they think and feel, who are you to 'correct' them about it."
Connor pointed right into his face and nodded. "That's the thing."
Silas hummed again in thought, but finally, his lips curled into a wide smile. "Aaaw, no. My guess is you got yourself into a massive crush and just decided it was worth a potential robot apocalypse."
Connor slowly turned around to him with an absolutely unreadable expression on his face while his ears turned slightly pink. "Basically yes. Don't be a jealous bitch about it."
Hank rolled his head over his shoulders and moved his arms in almost gracefully slow motions to test his repaired range of movement. His Fingers seemed to work fine. As he stretched there seemed to be no problems to lift his arms high over his head. Kamski nodded and waved him off. "Fine to go", he said. "Just... get yourself some proper maintenance later. I metaphorically repaired you with duck tape and a paperclip."
Hank waved him off in almost exactly the same manner. It looked kind of creepy. "Oh, it's alright. I'm made to be almost unbreakable anyway", he said flippantly, as his eyes already searched distractedly for the GV Android.
"You will do as he says", barked Connor as his face scrunched into a deep and angry frown. Hank froze up instantly. As he slowly turned around, there happened to be a dark glint in his eyes and he spoke while a rather sharp and cold grin split his lips unsettling wide. "As you say. Daddy."
Connors face flushed all at once in enraged dark red while Silas almost fell out of his seat in hacking laughter. Hank didn't seem to like it at all when someone - anyone - tried to give him harsh kind of orders, now.
As Connor slowly bared his teeth like a rabid dog, Silas tried to school his face back into a mask of vacant professionalism - and promptly snorted with laughter once more as soon as his gaze crossed Hanks again.
"Are we finished here?", asked Connor rather clipped, but Hank didn't pay his dark mood much mind. Instead, he lurked in slow but steady steps around the GV200 like a curious cat.
"What is it?", asked Kamski and suddenly looked quite alarmed. Hank slowly furrowed his brows and rubbed through his slightly tangled beard. "You really sure he's fine to leave here?"
Yes, now Kamski looked alarmed, indeed.
"What do you mean?", he asked and narrowed his eyes as they twitched between the two Androids in an obvious expression of impatience. "What do you see?!"
Before anyone could stop him, Hank stretched out his hand to the GVs left shoulder and forced an interface. His eyelids fluttered in that typical way before he tore his hand back after just some seconds as if he had been burned. A deep frown etched itself into his face and made him look way older in human terms as he rubbed his hands in deep thought slowly together. "There is a lot... not exactly 'wrong', but also... not exactly 'right' with him", he murmured under his artificial breath. "His Operating system is an earlier released system version of mine, which strikes me as kinda odd. It's not completely identical, so his technicians seemed to have tried to make him... unique."
He tilted his head again as if it helped him to look at what he saw from a more literally different perspective.
"It looks kind of like someone had tried to stuff the poor guy full of programs his hardware just wasn't made to execute properly. He has protocols for the maintenance of analyzing tools, but not one compatible biocomponent. There is also a secondary self-preservation protocol that seems completely useless for a build as fragile as-... He was based on the Tracy product-line, wasn't he?"
Kamski slowly nodded. "Because they were the most convincing human models, ye-... what do you mean, 'was'...?!"
Kamskis pupils shrunk to pinpoints under a sudden spike of stress that also made an appearance in his breathlessly angry voice. "What did they do to him?!"
Hank narrowed his eyes. "They played around with his insides, is what they did", he stated. The distaste on his face had to be the most human expression Silas got to see from him so far. "There are still parts left from a Tracy model, but mostly his skeleton was molded around the M100 line. His Thiriumpump doesn't even have a scannable serial number, but its makeup mostly looks like mine. They obviously tried for a fusion for whatever reason and drastically reduced his weight."
Silas felt a sudden wave of pity for the poor thing. "Aren't M100s military scout models?", he asked and tried to understand what had been the end goal to this experiment. But then he got to think, that this was maybe even all it was in the end - an experimental android. Another prototype, just not ready for a mission objective like Hank had been.
Too bad this poor guy had once belonged to someone who cared.
Kamski seemed to come to the same conclusion. His gaze turned dark and bitter. The ST200 beside him slightly leaned into him, even though her blank expression never changed.
Hank tilted his head. "There are also missing drivers for most of his basic functions. It's why he moves so clunky."
Kamski closed his eyes and took a deep breath that visibly moved his shoulders. Again he folded his hands and pressed his fingertips tightly to his lips in silent prayer before he stood up straight and looked at Hank with an unsettling dark shadow in his gaze. "Please, check for a folder #900Reed.2026.11 for me, will you?"
Hank observed Kamskis mannerisms for a second or two but then nodded and again stretched out his hand. Once more he worked himself through the GVs system files. Slowly his head tilted again. His mouth opened in an expression of sudden understanding.
He looked rather upset as he narrowed his eyes. His gaze turned sharp. "It's still there."
Kamski breathed a sigh of visible relieve, so bone-deep and heavy, it made Silas feel quite uncomfortable all of a sudden. "Thank god!", Kamski murmured while he pressed his chin down on his chest.
Hank looked as if he didn't quite want to, but then spoke anyway. "It's full of heavily encrypted and corrupted data. Voice files, pictures. Some custom settings, but mostly a whole lot of junk. Fragmented stuff. Whatever they did to him, the files in that folder got copied around a whole damn lot. Dunno if there's much to save."
Kamski swallowed and stared down at the GV, almost two inches smaller than him. "Can you save 'him'?", he finally asked and lifted his gaze to Hank with a shock frozen glint in his eyes.
Hanks only answer was a docile smile that made absolutely clear he had no fucking idea - but of course, would try anyway.
"Don't interrupt the interface. It could seriously damage my system", he said right before he pressed his hand for the last time down onto the GVs left shoulder.
There had to be a lot of stuff that needed some kind of fixing since Hanks eyelids twitched in rapid movement while his LED stroked from blue to yellow with some sudden blips of alarming shades of red. Whatever he did, he did it inhumanly fast but still managed to take his time.
Connor had sat himself down again and impatiently stretched his legs while his eyes never left Hanks figure. He still flipped his coin in rapid distracted motions between both of his hands. Silas put his head down in his hand and just rested his eyes for a little bit. It didn't seem like he would miss something important for quite a while.
Seemingly hours later he twitched out of light sleep because of Hanks deep disconcerting voice. "Done", he uttered as his brows furrowed into a displeased frown.
Kamski, who also sat down some time ago, jumped in an instant onto his feet and almost skidded over the tile floor in his haste to get to the GVs side. "What did you do?", he asked breathlessly fast, almost mushing the words together.
Hanks gaze still fixated the other Android while his head tilted slightly from one side to the other, seemingly searching for something. "I copied a lot of my own system files for him", he murmured lowly, sounded kind of like a kid that did something forbidden but was born to be a rebel. "A few drivers too, to make him more functional. He now should have a lot more control over himself."
Slowly Hank crossed his arms in front of his chest - a perfect mimicry of Connors agitated mannerism. "I tried to give him a copy of my social relations program, too, since he was just so... 'empty' inside. There were no social features at all. We have to see if it works. At least the software is compatible enough."
Kamski went almost brutally for Hanks left arm and tore him around at the fabric of his uniform - the movement so quick, vicious and unexpected that Connor besides Silas jumped to his feet, ready to get Kamski away from his partner. He only halted because Silas pressed both of his hands to his chest.
"Did you alter him?!", Kamski growled like something wild and narrowed his eyes in a highly dangerous manner. Hank, interestingly, wasn't really bothered by Kamskis aggressive attitude. He simply shook his head.
"Not more than necessary as to give the guy at least a chance to actually realize that he's a thinking, living being", he said flatly and folded his arms on his lower back. His gaze again flickered to the GV model, still so very much intrigued by it. "Whatever they did to him here, his software was scrabbed. There was barely anything actually functional left inside. The thought that he at one point had been like me and was reduced to 'this'..."
Hank frowned and shifted his tongue through his mouth in a so very human way to express his silent rage.
Kamski stared at Hank without a single motion. He just seemed to process something insanely difficult. Then he swallowed and lowered his gaze before he lifted his head to examine the GV Android. He blinked some more, tried to get rid of the watery sheen in his eyes. Finally, he opened his mouth, but couldn't say a thing. His throat moved as he swallowed around something thick. "Can you wake him up?", he croaked.
Hank looked down at Kamski with an indefinable expression. Then looked at the GV Android. His LED blinked through some yellow cycles before he made his decision. Hank forced once more an interface.
"Does he have a name?", he asked, his voice suddenly hushed and quite soothing. Kamski nodded, almost mechanically.
"Gavin", he croaked, almost toneless. "His name's Gavin."
Hank nodded slowly. "Well then, Gavin."
His plastic white hand flashed with a blue shine. "It's time to wake up, now."
Silas was basically on the tips of his toes to get a good look at what was happening now.
At first the GV didn't do anything - but its LED went from neutral grey and started to glow once more in unsettling red pulses. One time, two times, three times-....
As it finally came online, the GV rolled its shoulders back. Then it pulled itself into an upright stance. Its arms folded once more on its lower back in that ingrained 'parade rest' position that seemed to be a thing for lots of Androids.
Only as its position was perfectly straight and still, it opened its icy grey eyes. Unmoving it blinked up into Hanks face. Its LED never showed another color than a warning red. It didn't move further. It didn't say anything.
Hanks brows slowly furrowed into a soft and kind of sad expression of disappointment.
Elijah Kamskis voice sounded brittle and somehow... haunted. The light in his eyes got dulled by a layer of frightful tears he obviously didn't want to acknowledge to anyone. He stretched out his hand and hesitantly touched 'Gavins' arm as if to gently shake it out of a daydream.
The GV didn't move its head - but its eyes moved sharply and quick like lightning. It looked down at the hand on its arm, then at the human face. There was a kind of awareness in Its eyes that hadn't been there before.
Slowly it opened its mouth - but what came out of it was only again this horrible glitching noise. Gavins jaw twitched with it and for Silas it didn't seem quite sure if the Android even realized it made that sound.
A kind of glitchy uneven blink twitched over its face and finally, the unsettling noise stopped in its artificial throat. Its eyes narrowed down sharply. "Lijah, tell those stupid fucks I want to 'go'."
Kamski stared at that rude prick in wide-eyed wonder before he pressed his folded hands to his quivering lips again. His sudden grin was wide and full of heartfelt relief that made him unsteady hold onto the ST200s arm. "Shut your face, you damn useless mean machine!", he forced out of a throat, almost fully clogged with too much emotion.
Hank watched the GV surprised while his face slowly split into a truly delighted grin.
Almost on the other side of the room, Connor uncomfortably cleared his throat and clapped his hands loudly together to gather all of their attention. "Well then, guys and gals - there's the fucking door!"
The brothers are triplets who went through the system but never lost track of each other. So we have:
And yes, if you are thinking it, you've got me. I just couldn't decide on one name for all three of them xD
Kamski has to bring up at least 'something' in defense of his beloved creation. So he tells Connor the story how GV200 came to be.
This chapter has mentions of past suicide and drug dependence.
Basically Gavin 1.0 major character death.
»Handle with care«
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Richard worked himself through his sixth status report when Detective Chen and her team got called to a newly discovered crime scene at cyberlife tower. Something about a bunch of dead people in a closet space...? The precinct got even emptier as additional colleagues got called into action or finally clocked out for the night.
Richard didn't want to go as long as he hadn't got some kind of feedback from both of his brothers, so he stayed even though his brain seemed to melt away under the stress of an allnighter these days.
He wasn't that old, but definitely too old for this shit. His eyes itched and he started to feel slightly nauseous.
The clock almost struck seven am as his ringing cellphone startled Richard strongly enough out of his sleep-deprived thoughts to make him flick his biro in a frightened reflex up in the air. Clumsily he reached out and caught it just barely between his fingertips while he slammed his free hand down onto his phone before it could vibrate off of his desk.
"Detective Richard Arkay, central DPD, who's-..."
"Don't need the full shtick, Rich", he was interrupted by Connor because he just was that kind of an rude asshat. Prick. "Is there a Chance the Captain's back in the building? Can't get him on the line."
Richard rolled his eyes, but leaned back anyway to search around. Mason and North were both still working side by side while checking in regularly intervals on the radio channels. Only listening to the ongoing investigations and writing up reports like Richard did. But aside from them the bullpen was empty and the Captains office dark and closed off. "Not in, I fear. Didn't you meet him at Belle Isle?"
"Shoot!!", Connor groaned into his side of the phone. "No, must have missed him there."
Richard slowly nodded in tired understanding. "I guess he's taking care of the media circus for now. A press conference was set up for eleven am today."
Connor never seemed to have a grasp on what the rest of the department was doing. Richard rolled his eyes again and almost met the restrictions of his own anatomy. "Are you and Silas alright? I heard something about dead people-..."
"Oh sure, an experimental killing machine got them, attacked Hank and almost killed Silas-..."
- "...- What?!"
"...- But its face recognition was thrown off so it thought Silas was you and didn't kill him in the end. Everything is fine. Basically an ordinary day at cyberlife."
Richards suddenly way too numb feeling lips twitched as he opened and closed his mouth multiple times, while an irritated frown darkened his eyes. "Are you... are you fucking with me?! Connor, you know I can't tell!"
A snort from the other side made him twitch. "No, actually. That's exactly what happened. Get ready, we are on our way back."
Immediately Richard leaned over his table to pull his notepad free from under his keyboard. "What do you need?"
Connor seemed to argue some harsh sentences with someone in his close proximity. Richard only heard muffled somethings and understood absolutely nothing of what was happening until Connor spoke to him again. "Get the interrogation room ready. We have two witnesses we need some kind of statement from."
Richards brows furrowed again slowly into a deep and dark frown. "Some kind of statement...?"
He almost could see Connor waving his questions away in a mincing gesture. "You'll see soon enough. One of them could be a little bit twitchy and traumatized. You know, Android. You know how to handle those?"
Richards nose slowly twitched up into a toothless snarl. "Connor. Of all the three of us, I'm denoted as the sensitive child."
- "My entire fucking arse, Richard."
"Connor, did today already someone tell you to go and fuck yourself?"
"Good", muttered Richard after a deep huff and a strong pinch to the base of his nose. "Just-... just get them in. Text me some baselines and I will get from them whatever it is you need."
- "Aren't you a precious smarty, Rich."
Annoyed Richard stared almost for a solid minute at the cellphone in his hand before he lifted it again to his ear. "Go and sit on a cactus. I'm glad you and Silas are alright."
He disconnected the call before Connor could get another asinine comment out. Richard's hands shook slightly since he still got anxious around his brothers, even just over a god damn phone call. He never could stop this immature expectation of a hard slap against the back of his head - or of an improvised brawl because he spaced out again and didn't notice he was staring at one of them just this one second too long.
Richard took a deep breath and fought himself with a low groan out of his seat whereupon he put himself to the task list now laid out for him. Whatever Connor was about to bring in - it absolutely couldn't be any worse than the half-starved alpine mountain dog from last summer.
As Connor and Silas made their appearances, Richard had worked himself through Connors short and honestly quite horrifying list of texts, as well as turned up the heat in the holding cells and the one interrogation room. It was a favored tactic to keep the rooms cold, almost like a freezer. Richard wasn't into that kind of stuff. Aside from the fact that he couldn't even intimidate his suspects if he actually tried, he had to sit in the same damn room with them and didn't like to freeze his balls off while doing so.
He was so god damn glad he decided for decent temperatures because Silas didn't bring just any witness in. He brought in Detroit's most well-known man of the century like what the fucking hell was he doing with Elijah fucking Kamski?!
Richard almost creaked his neck as he turned while they went along the corridor past his work desk.
Between Connor and Hank the Android was brought along. Richard's eyes went even wider. What the hell was going on? This was not a commercial model, he would know its face!
Richard had made a point in his youth and young adult years to know as much about any kind of android as he was able to fit into his head. He new the available faces, the model numbers, their purpose, their introduction dates, and specifications - he knew everything!
And still he had never ever seen an android of this build or with this kind of movement routine. It walked as if it wasn't quite finished. Did they find a last cyberlife prototype?!
Richards heart hammered away inside his chest. Oh, he wanted to know everything...!
The first thing he realized was that this android if it was a prototype or just a defective custom model, was not only twitchy - it had to be downright broken in a way. Its LED didn't switch even for a blink from its alarming red color.
Its fingers seemed stiff as if it wasn't used to movement just yet. It clawed them into the folds of a washed-out grey DPD hoody, clearly one of Connors. The android ducked into the fabric as if it wanted to hide in it. At the same time, the stare of its grey eyes was unmovingly fixated on Connor's hand on its shoulder. It was a miracle Connor hadn't been bitten yet.
At least he wasn't in further danger since he now switched responsibilities with Silas to take care of Mr. Kamskis statement.
Connor pressed his hand down onto the fingerprint lock and opened the door before he nodded to Richard to come closer. "Can you help sixty and watch the tin man for me?"
"Sure", answered Richard instantly wide awake while he tried and failed to not look too excited. "Morning, Hank!"
"Good Morning, Detective Arkay", was the HKs good-natured answer as he gently pushed Mr. Kamski past them through the door.
Connor flicked his nose. Richard hated that.
"I mean it Rich. Watch the guy. It's astonishingly silent so far. I'm pretty sure it doesn't like humans at all."
Richard rubbed his nose. "We'll see. Go and get that statement."
Connor turned with a hummed low note. "Whatever you say, Mum."
Thank god the door fell shut because Richard felt that familiar urge to throttle his oldest twin brother senseless. He took a deep calming breath before he turned around. He almost laughed as he witnessed Silas awkward stare as he stood beside the unidentified android. Well, if Connors texts had been accurate, then this android was capable of huge and dangerous things. Fast and nimble like nothing before it. Well, Richard just wouldn't give it a reason to harm him.
"Hey, Silas. In for a coffee?"
- "You kidding?! I want a white russian!"
Kamski sat down without a word or noise of any sort so Connor did the same. Meanwhile, Hank positioned himself behind him, folded his arms against his lower back and stood still as a sentinel.
Connor let Kamski brood since it had been Kamski himself who had wanted to come forward with something in defense of that mystery-bot.
Kamski stared inertly down at his own distorted reflection on the silver table surface. As Connor almost ran the risk of falling asleep on the job he finally decided to talk.
"I am a genius with a measured IQ of over 140 points", he said flatly. Connor didn't twitch a facial muscle. If that hadn't been the greatest conversation opener he had ever heard. "I was born that way and always have been a bright little pipsqueak as far as I can remember - and I remember a lot. I have eidetic memory."
Finally his eyes blinked upwards again. Kamskis gaze was sharp and cutting as if he was able to take Connors measurements by one simple look alone and discovered details no one else had ever paid attention to. He surely knew how to make people he talked to feel instantly uncomfortable. Connor had no reason to doubt Kamski on his words there, but...
"So...?", he asked rather confused after a moment of uncomfortable silence. Kamski still cut him open with his stare. His nose twitched. "Point is", Kamski said deliberately slow. "I was a gifted miracle child while my older brother was decidedly not. Our father did not like or understand that."
His brows slowly furrowed into a deep and dark scowl, so much emotion on that usually so pale and blank face, as his upper lip twitched up to expose his left canine tooth through a snarl. "Gavin was my older brother by five years. We didn't look much alike. He always had been a little bit on the short side, but he had been a headstrong boy, loved to get dirty and to brawl. Everything boys liked to do."
Connor decided for a neutral expression since he had a wild hunch where this rather random story was heading. Not all families could be expected to treat their children well. Something he and his brothers were intimately familiar with.
"As to my knowledge", Kamski said and leaned back into the creaking backrest of his chair. "Our father had always been a... rather unpleasant person. From passive-aggressive to aggressive-aggressive, he ticked all the boxes."
Kamski made a wide flippant gesture with his right hand. "He liked to humiliate Gavin and make him look like a fool in front of other people. Gavin had already been a boy in favor of physical strength and violence, but father turned him outright into an always angry and bitter bully. Because I was born."
Admittedly, Connor hadn't expected Kamskis life story. But since the man called that experimental android outside the door his brother, Connor figured a dark history had to be buried somewhere. Slowly he tilted his head while the fingers of his right hand played nervously with his coin. "He wasn't pleased to have a mastermind under his roof?"
Kamski chuckled lowly without any sign of honest amusement. "Oh, he 'was' pleased with me. Even though he let me know every day that he would have preferred me to be less of a shut-in, more of a man. More like Gavin."
Connor frowned and rubbed his nose. "I guess, your brother in return was told every day that he wasn't the brightest and should feel bad about that?"
Kamski nodded. "Exactly. Maybe everything would have turned out fine if I had been born average. We both would have grown up to be emotionally unstable young men with anger management issues, but... we both would have made it."
Kamskis anger cold gaze sunk down to the table surface once more and made clear without any words that poor Gavin 'hadn't' made it. A quite sad and horrible story. Connor breathed a silent sigh.
Kamski sat up straight and folded his hands on the table. His voice sounded rather hollow, almost as if he had flicked a switch. "I was born a genius and Father made sure that all of Gavins questions centered around the horrible tragedy of 'why he wasn't one, too'. Our own Father used my existence against him. He made my brothers live a living hell."
Connor had to deliberately move his jaw as he noticed his hurting teeth. He took a deep breath and rubbed his fingers over his mouth. All of that hit a little bit too close to home for him. "Didn't your Mother ever step in?", he asked.
Kamski shook his head. "No. But I am no longer angry at her. She had been young as she got us. Young and shy. Easily pressured and frightened. She didn't know how to stand up to him and had been on her own without friends or family aside from him. I'm sure she had been scared of a possible divorce, too. Without a perspective, she had nowhere else to go. We were all trapped with him."
Kamski spoke calmly and clearly like he meant it. But also like someone who went through memorized lines. Like... maybe from previous therapy sessions. Too close to home, indeed. It gave Connor goosebumps all up to his neck. "So what happened? To Gavin, I mean."
Kamski smiled. An expression like a frozen pond.
"By fifteen he already had been a drug-dependent mess. As I turned thirteen and got an acceptance letter from Detroit university for robotics and engineering he bullied our mother into co-signing the legal paperwork for my emancipation process. Gavin left home the moment he turned eighteen, but not without getting me out as well."
Not much imagination was needed to come to the conclusion that Kamski had loved his brother and might even had been loved in return. Both of them against the rest of the world. "To be finally away from his tormentor hadn't been enough to save him?", asked Connor but already knew. Of course, it hadn't.
Kamski closed his eyes and crossed his arms tightly in front of his chest. "He dropped completely off the grid as soon as I was settled in my dorm. I wasn't able to find him again until three years later through...", his eyes snapped up and turned sharply on Connor. "Some legally questionable methods."
Connor didn't blink. Whatever Kamski had done back then, it all had happened, what, some twenty years ago? Nobody could harass him for that crap anymore. So Connor shrugged.
"When I finally found him, Gavin had already been in a very bad place", Kamski spoke lowly after a short pause. "Had gotten himself into a gang of some sort. Not surprising, really. He only cared for the drugs to numb it all down. Had given up on himself and everything..."
Kamski frowned and stared a burning hole into the silvern table. "And while I already had the means to somehow help him out of it, I had been still a kid back then. I had been so very afraid of approaching him. What should I say? What would 'he' say? Would he even want or accept my help? Would he want me to know what he was up to in the first place?"
Kamski looked up again and Connor recognized a kindred soul full of past regrets. He swallowed after clearing his throat didn't do the trick anymore. "So you didn't reach out to him?"
Again Kamski shook his head. "No. By the end of the year, his body was found in a drug den. Overdose. As I have been told he died alone in a pool of his own vomit on a bathroom floor."
Connor sucked in a sharp breath and pulled a face in heartfelt compassion. A bitter ending for a guy who most likely didn't deserve it. Just... absolutely awful.
Kamski smiled again in this frozen, almost aggressive manner. "It's appropriate to say, I didn't take the news well. What you and Agent Anderson escorted out of the tower was my way to cope."
A way to-... "Ah!", Connor slowly shook his head. "You lost me there. After the loss of your brother, you came to the conclusion that you maybe could just rebuild him? That's not it, is it?!"
His puzzled face made Kamski laugh but it still sounded anything but genuine. "No, at least not at first. The GV outside is an ancient project. Basically, the first android that ever existed. Even older than Chloe."
Kamskis wide smile turned rueful and rather pale. "I built him because I needed to feel like I had control over 'something'. At first, he was just... a thing. Nothing noteworthy about it. Just some cogs and wires without a name or a face. But I still couldn't let go of it."
Kamskis eyes twitched to the door while his index fingers tipped nervously against his elbows. "The GV wasn't made to ever be finished. With every milestone I passed, with every update I created I also altered his design, his inner structure - 'everything'. He was in flux, never complete. As the Tracy line went into mass production I used its structure to create a version of my brother that never got to exist. Just because I couldn't stop grieving and also just because I could."
His gaze went back to Connor as he slightly lowered his head. "The GVs appearance is modeled after all the big and little things I remembered about Gavin. I gave him a face that could have become his and a voice that is close to the audio logs I still have from our time together. To work on him felt like I was not only giving myself but also 'him' a second chance."
Weirdly sentimental if you asked Connor. And surely not the best way to handle loss in general. "So you got yourself pretty much attached", he said slowly with a frown. "How did he end up in the cellar then?"
Kamski sat back into his chair again while a deep but voiceless sigh visibly deflated his chest. "Since I never stopped working on Gavin, he basically turned into everyone's prototype. From body structure to operating system, he never stayed the same. He was also the first android with experimental social features", he nodded at Hank as he said that. "And simply was an outstanding piece of technology. But as the years went by and I got more and more isolated by my position, I simply couldn't resist the thought any longer to rebuild something we both never got."
Again his gaze flickered to the door. Nervous and overprotective. "I fed him every data set I could find of my late brother, adjusted his speech pattern and even his quirks and movements. Together we built up the most fine-tuned social relations database that ever existed. To talk to him suddenly felt 'real'. He could do leaps of logic in irrational ways like humans do but also had a built-in talent for observation and deduction like me. He was utterly unique in that way."
Kamski fell silent and visibly went through some vivid memories. Some of them seemed good enough to almost make him smile, even though his expression turned once more rueful. "I was so proud of him and it felt real. Genuine. But the day came when I woke up and felt utterly horrified. Because I couldn't deal with my childhood trauma, with my loss, and decided to play god instead. To rebuild an actual person into a glorified toy."
Kamskis eyes went dark as he lowered his gaze onto the table again while he moved his grinding jaw. "I shut him down, closed the lab and never came back."
Most likely it was also the day Kamski decided to go for professional help. Connor breathed a deep huff of some kind of relief. "He was down there, ever since?"
Kamski smiled again in a way that exposed his canine tooth in a snarl full of old and bitter rage. "As you know, surely, I was voted out of my own corporation. I was furious, reckless and impulsive as I signed the legal papers. When everything was done I remembered Gavin for the first time in years, who was still located inside my laboratory. I wanted him back. They could have anything else for all I cared, I just wanted him back."
His balled fist slammed down onto the table in a purely emotional outburst. Something sincere and purely human. "You know what they told me? Since Gavin was made out of cyberlife resources and used plans and patents I had signed over with my resignation, I had no longer any legal hold of that project."
Kamski had to stop there, closed his eyes and took a deep breath that did absolutely nothing to banish the angry red blotches from his face. "I tried to fight them on it in court", he forced out through his teeth. "I lost."
Kamski had to stop there, made some kind of breathing exercise and rolled his head over his shoulders. Connor just let him and tried to empathize with the whole situation. Surprisingly, it wasn't even that hard. Even if it reminded him of diverse sci-fi plots of the last century. "What do you think they did to him?"
Kamski looked absolutely ready for murder. His eyes sharp enough to cut throats at a glance. "In the face of the concept of deviancy and in hindsight that he once could have been considered a fully-fledged person? Terrible things. Horrible things."
Connor cringed and thought back to that clunky moving mess behind that door in the company of his brothers. He couldn't even imagine this android in a more functional state. Something like Hank. Eyes bright with life and always moving -...
Connor's eyes snapped over his shoulder. Hank stood still as a rock behind him. His LED blinked in unsettling bursts between yellow and red. He seemed to have frozen, concentrating all his processing power onto what he was hearing.
Connor pulled his brows into a deep frown. "I guess 'you' have an idea what they did?"
Instantly Hanks gaze shifted to him. He held out a second or two before he slowly nodded. "I am reasonably sure", he uttered darkly. "That cyberlife used him as a testing ground for more of their experimental features. Its also most likely his social relations database is the reason I am able to express myself the way I am."
Kamski pressed his lips tightly into a fine white line and nodded stiffly. "They stole and copied my work."
Following that he huffed a laugh while he shook his head in silent rage. "Imagine, a little piece of Gavin in every following update. They almost completely ruined one of the only good things that ever came out of it."
He visibly had to let that settle for a while before Kamski was able to lift his eyes to Connor as well as Hank again. "I tell you. He truly isn't dangerous, not really. If I have to, I will find out what they did to him and fix it myself", he said, but his gaze drifted again to the closed door. "If he wants me to, that is..."
But for the GV to want anything at all, it had to become a deviant first. Who knew if it truly already was? After its rude one-liner in the laboratory, it hadn't said a thing. Just stared and only moved when prompted.
"Fucking hell, these fuckers really pulled one over that poor guy", Connor groaned and rubbed his face. Hank hummed in agreement. The question was what they should now do with him. Him. Gavin.
He potentially murdered three people out of unknown reasons, but since he was most likely only a deviant for what, three hours now? That meant he was a victim. A victim that also had murdered people.
"I guess we'll figure this mess out soon eno-..."
"CONNOR!!", echoed Silas voice in a weird combination of bellowed whispers through the room, unexpected enough to make Kamski and Connor visibly jump. "What the fuck, sixty?!"
Silas just ignored him. "COME AND SEE! YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS! HES TALKING! HE ACTUALLY 'TALKS'!!"
Connors gaze snapped instantly to Kamski who mirrored his wide-eyed astonishment. Hank let out a single sigh of relief as he followed them out the door.
Gavin lived through a lot of crazy resets in his short artificial life. He will have to learn to be an actual person again before he can go and figure out who he is after all of this.
Maybe you noticed my laziness since Elijahs and Gavins backstory loops right back to my other fic 'the hollow ones'. Only in this version of things, there was no Hank Anderson present to crackdown on Detroit's Red Ice scene. So Gavin 1.0 died D:
Richard and Hank will lend Gavin a helping hand. At least he won't be alone ever again if he doesn't want to be. He may had a bad start but he will be well-loved and cared for. Like a book with many coffee spills and dog ears.
Richard always knows how to make things better.
He is the one who knows how to fix things.
He isn't quite as good at fixing people, though...
No, my profile isn't dead yet.
I'm just struggling with being productive. All my stuff gets updates... Eventually.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Even though Richard had asked, as soon as his curious stare crossed the prototypes sharp and motionless gaze, he was way too distracted to get his brother that coffee. Without looking at Silas, Richard waved weakly at his side down the row of empty work desks. "Why, uh, d- don't you sit down, sa- somewhere there, huh...?"
"But-...", Silas began in a flabbergasted tone of voice, but whatever he saw the moment he turned around to his brother only made him groan. Richard adeptly ignored him.
Silas rolled his eyes and actually went out of his way to throw himself in the most dramatic fashion into Richards office chair. But this time Richard didn't let himself get riled up as that uncultured oaf ostentatiously put his heels down onto his desk.
Because his attention was already completely captured by the android that hadn't moved a single artificial muscle, while it still seemed to observe and assess if Richard was somehow a 'safe' person or not.
Since it didn't do anything, and didn't look in any way threatening at all, Richard used the moment of silence to evaluate what it actually was he was seeing.
This Android was - and just curse Richards oh-so god damn aggressively gay and fragile little heart - unbelievably drop down gorgeous. Others might have used the word 'handsome'. In a rugged 'bad boy who likes to brawl a lot' sort of way. The bad guy all the girls - and boys - tended to fight and swoon over.
And it had to be a completely unique model type, too. Even though it was a cheesy line, Richard was pretty sure he absolutely would remember a face like that.
Little wrinkles around its storm-grey eyes, dark shadows of sleepless nights perpetuated on its artificial skin. Hundreds of little imperfections made it look so astonishingly alive. Kind of like Hank - but Hank had been made to look intimidating, big and capable, while this android looked a lot more ... not 'helpless', exactly. But like an actual civilian, Richard supposed. A grown man in his mid-thirties of average build but just this one inch below average height.
The Android also didn't look very strong, not like Hank. It almost looked a little... underfed. Connors hoody didn't do it any favors since even Connor was of a wider build than that. In direct comparison to Richard it almost looked tiny.
Aside from its general size and the first impression of a rook, the slightly crooked nose that looked like it had been broken at least once before was an especially nice touch in its design choice.
If the Android felt uncomfortable by Richards mindless staring, it didn't make it obvious. Its face stayed completely blank. It just stood still. And it observed. Maybe it was just its design with its tired eyes, but somehow Richard felt these familiar vibes of heavy exhaustion radiating off of it.
He suddenly felt reminded of noodles, his wildly anxious little monster at home, that sometimes just couldn't decide if it was scared or just massively annoyed. She often had the same wide-eyed stare in her eyes, motionless and sometimes even sort of creepy. The unwavering gaze of an intelligent predator. Or maybe Richard was just reading way too much into it. He didn't think so, though.
His gaze shifted from the androids unreadable face to its fingers that curled stiffly into the front of that DPD hoody. They seemed to not move as smoothly as they should. The delicate joints didn't curl right. It looked as if it hurt.
As Silas suddenly sneezed, he spooked Richard with a violent twitch finally out of his own head again. Damn, Richard hadn't even noticed how long he had been staring like a brainless creep.
"Oh, u-...uhm...", he stammered as his face flushed so deeply red, the prickling heat under his skin felt almost blinding. "I-... mu- my name is, uh... Richard."
... and he couldn't even describe how much he hated this. How the anxiety suddenly flared alive under his skin and his tongue suddenly felt completely tied and heavy. How he had to stop and think when he introduced himself because in exciting situations it was absolutely possible for Richard to even spontaneously forget 'his own fucking name'.
The Android didn't react to Richards stuttered rambles. It neither looked annoyed nor did it cringe. There was just no emotional cue at all. Which only ended up making Richard even more nervous.
"I'm, uh, ... you-... are you alright? I m- mean of course you aren't, uh...not really, I suppose", he stuttered with a deep red flush settling over his face and evaded the androids sharp gaze by staring at the DPD logo on its chest, while he also noticed the cracks in its over ten years old overprint.
The Android didn't move or say anything. The lack of any kind of meaningful reaction made Richard somehow feel like a butterfly under a pin. Or a single fish in a bowl. Silently observed and studied. "Is-... are you in any k-k-kind of pain? Or need so- some thirium?"
At least Richard got a lot better at covering up his sudden flares of random stutters over the years. They didn't mean he was stupid. They did not. He wasn't a detective for nothing.
The Android kept silent.
Richard pointed over his shoulder to the break room. More of a break booth, actually. "We have sta- stuff here. E- even for different model t-t-types-..."
Its eyes suddenly shifted. Just this tiny, subtle movement of its iris, almost imperceptible. Since the android didn't move, didn't breathe and had no unconscious eye movements at all, it had to be deliberate somehow. Richard tried for a smile. "I'm a, uh... level f-f-fa- five-..."
A heavy hand slapped down on his shoulder and made him jump as Silas suddenly appeared at his side. Funny how Richard hadn't even noticed him move. "The dork wants to say he's a certified level five cyberlife technician", Silas stepped in with a wide, proud smile as if he somehow could take credit for that and pressed the tip of his right index finger into Richards cheek, just to annoy him even further. Richard frowned but in the end he let him be, like always. "You should tell him if you are in any sort of pain. I promise Rich can fix-..."
"You knew", said the android and noticeably didn't care at all that it had rudely interrupted Silas. Its gaze had shifted again, even though its head or the rest of its body hadn't moved at all. Its voice sounded... kind of weird. Not like a humans. There had to be some kind of malfunction, Richard decided. A glitch maybe, that layered its voice with an inhuman strain of scratching noise. For a moment Richard was almost too distracted by that to understand what it was saying next. "You knew what he was about to s-s-say."
Richard blinked dumbfounded. In another person, he might have interpreted the artificial stutters as a form of mockery. He had seen enough of that in his career path to have a pretty solid grasp on it. But the Android didn't look at him. It stared down 'Silas'. His brothers brows furrowed into a slightly irritated frown. "Yes, sure. What-..."
"Are you some kind of miracle-man."
Astounded Richard opened his mouth and shared a blink of a look with Silas who had obviously no idea what was going on either. "Of course not, we-..."
"Are you in posess-ss-ss-ession of preconssstruction or immensely accurate and therefore illegal probability software."
"I-... No, why-..."
The androids not completely stretched index and middle finger stabbed hard enough against Silas chest to rock him back on his heels.
"Then let him talk for himself", its eyes narrowed down in a sharp stare of utter contempt. "Fuckin' prick."
Silas seemed almost frozen into place and looked so utterly caught, it made Richard finally burst into wrecking high pitched giggles.
The Android turned back and looked at him. Again with this unflinching stare of doom, but now Richard had a feeling it was not meant to provoke him or make him deliberately uncomfortable. The Android was just attentive, even though it looked grumpy as hell while listening. "What he said, tho", Richard pressed out of his hitching chest and wiped tears out of the corner of his eyes. "I'm, uh, I can help. If you are in pain, that is."
The Android tilted its head. Richard wasn't sure if he imagined that underlying creaking noise. But he had an idea. "Come", he said with a distracted wave and went on tripping feet to the break room.
Inside the counter under the precincts coffee machine were stored away some liters of thirium - like Richard had said, even for different system versions - and also a suitcase full of mostly delicate tools.
Richard had been chosen as a two in one deal, since he had been a bright spark at Ann Arbor Academy and also knew how to fix damaged police androids without direct involvement of costly cyberlife repair services. This case had been his only demand to get the job done. He stocked it up religiously ever since.
Since the prototype had no big visible damage to its outer shell, Richard would need a tool for soft- and hardware diagnostics to spot more subtle damage, but that was a quite invasive thing to do for a stranger. Richard could still do other things, little things. Maybe he could pull thorns out of a lions paw and make the android just a little bit more comfortable with the world it so suddenly got woken up in.
Interestingly, the guy was curious. As Richard stood up and turned around he almost bumped into it, as the android stood almost toe to toe with him. It must have walked right behind him.
"Would you, uh, just go over there?", Richard asked with a lower, softer voice and pointed to the other side of the coffee table. Astounded he stood and watched as the android turned instantly, weirdly calm and trusting.
Richard took the place opposite of it and put down three different cans of thirium as well as a bundle of cleaning tools. "W- would you give me your hu- hand, please?", he asked and tried to match his volume with that of the silently rambling TV behind them. He guessed the android might be rightfully tired of screaming and staring people. Richard didn't forget it was still a victim of massive violence.
The Android reached up without a question and held out its right hand. Richard furrowed his brows as he took it carefully into his own for a quick check-up. Its artificial skin didn't close cleanly over every one of its knuckles and there seemed to be some hairline cracks along the heel of its hand.
His frown went deeper while he grabbed the most delicate of his cleaning tools and started to work around the stiff joints of the androids index finger. "I'm sorry", he murmured while he concentrated on not shoving to deep under the outer plastic shell. "I guess it c-c-can be a little, ah, uncomfortable. With all of these delicate sensors and all. I'll give my best nah- not to make it worse."
Richards eyes narrowed down as he worked. What he scraped out of the androids joints, what made them so utterly stiff and creaky, looked a lot like a mixture of years old dust and flaking, clotted blood. Sometimes Richard had to do maintenance on PCs who ended their shift in winter with gravel and salt locking up their joints. To clean the prototype out felt quite similar.
"Take the thirium if you need it", he murmured under his breath as he carefully turned its hand over to clean out its palm. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw the android move. A latch was broken. It had chosen thirium430, system version #29. That was the same stuff Hank needed to function. Interesting.
"Do you have a name?", Richard asked lowly and tried his best to sound relaxed and casual, so he could give the guy a sense of safety and calmness. Richard hadn't lied as he had called himself 'the sensitive child'. He knew how to handle the more delicate subjects of his job well enough. He 'knew' his job right now was mostly to establish a safe and comfortable scene for an enormously stressed torture and abuse victim.
A case like this came always with a whole torrent of emotions - a really tricky subject for Richard. Maybe that's why he had taken so eagerly to androids in the first place, which often seemed to mirror his social awkwardness right back at him while they almost desperately tried to express the stuff they did not feel. Ah, ... no. Of course they 'did' feel.
But not in the same way as most of the people they were forced to interact with every day. A difference in perception and expression, subtle enough to cause this uncanny valley feeling in a lot of humans. The same that made them call Richard a soulless freak when he had a really bad day.
Richard gave his best to not think about it.
Now, after the revolution, he came to understand that he seemed to have a lot in common with deviants. Richard couldn't tell if the androids he had repaired over the years had liked or trusted him. But he gave his absolute best to make clear to this one android at his care right now that he was reliable. Technicians, until today, had never had to work with the care and patience of actual doctors.
Though, Richard guessed, this rather reticent android in front of him was now his first patient.
A poor bastard that seemed utterly new to the concept of being handled with any kind of care or forbearance. Which, as Richard thought about it, struck him as especially outrageous.
The Android kept silent.
But as soon as its bright grey eyes stopped shifting from left to right since it seemed to have performed a typical system check after its thirium intake, it answered with that ruined voice of its, crackling with underlying static noise. "I am... project Zero Zero Two double O", it stated, starting slowly and kind of hesitant. Its voice... to Richard it sounded harrowingly hollow and defeated. "Version Sixtyseven point Eight, code Golf Victor 'Guerilla Veteran'."
At this moment its gaze shifted down to the table surface as it seemed to examine its own reflection in the polished wood. Its shoulders quivered. "My official designation is GV200. I am not meant to interact with civilians. A 'name' is... not required."
A fold etched itself deeply between Richards furling brows while he lifted his eyes up from his work. The Androids jawline strained tight enough to grind down diamonds.
'Guerilla Veteran', huh?
Richard couldn't help the cold internal shudder. Since Hank had come in as a denoted 'Hunt-Kill' model, it shouldn't surprise him that cyberlife came up with even more obnoxious acronyms for their military creations.
Where Hank had been meant to be a bloodhound with high intelligence and seemingly endless endurance, this model might have taken another approach about their shared mission to wipe out every and all deviants. A nauseating thought, really.
"Do you remember your mission? Or your general Objective? ... what they made you for...?", Richard asked lowly and curled his fingers in a comforting gesture around the Androids hand he still held in his own.
The Android twitched and looked down at their joined hands before it lifted its head again with a gaze so sharp it could have cut through kevlar. Its unblinking eyes found Richards and it opened its mouth with visible hesitation. "I remember 'you'."
The Android tilted its head. "Your file", it simply said - then it nodded over Richards shoulder. "And his."
As Richard turned to follow the androids cue he realized they were both under close observation. Mr. Kamski stood in the hall beside Connor and Hank while open interest made his wide eyes shine. With his slightly opened mouth, he looked as if he held himself back from... doing 'something'. None of the three moved or tried to hide their curiosity. Admittedly, it was a bit creepy. Richard decided to ignore them as long as none of them interrupted his very mild interrogation.
As he turned around again, the android already stared right back at him. "Only our files?", Richard asked lowly. "What about... before? You have been d-d-down in tha- that lab for a while...?"
While he spoke the androids blank expression shifted into one of deep-seated anger and massive distress. Richards voice began to quiver as the fingers of its cleaned hand closed tightly around his own. The Android 'sneered'.
"My system initialized and Elijah held my arm, but it wasn't the first time. It wasn't - it can't be. I know it wasn't. I marked my... my memory core system. I flagged-... my marks were removed. They were shifted around. The whole laboratory was smeared with thirium. I was and then I wasn't. Again and again and a-a-again-..."
Its voice hitched as it broke into horrible artificial stutters. The press of its fingers bordered on painful, but Richard didn't want to interrupt the situation as the android finally started to talk. Its LED burned in bright red circles.
"There is blood on my hands. I can s-s-still smell it. I did something bad. Something- something- something-..."
The Android twitched as its software seemed to freeze. Its eyes went wide, while its jaw twitched with every repeated word and its LED flared. Richard vividly remembered cyberlifes warning of deviants and their tendency to self destruct.
He almost fell flat on his face in his haste to get around the table. Quick and clumsy Richard closed both of his arms tightly around the Androids head and pressed it hard into his chest, not really in the know what to do, but at least placed between it and the hard table surface.
He took a deep wavering breath. "#00 200 67.8 GV is completely obnoxious!", he said jumbled, fast and loud while he stared wide-eyed at the ceiling and squeezed the androids face even tighter in a, hopefully, comforting gesture into the folds of his dress shirt. The fingers of his right hand tapped gently against the back of its head. "Nobody will call you 'that', no Sir, not on my watch."
In the mirroring surface of the TV screen he could see Connor rush forward, only to get tripped up by Hank who skilfully intercepted his stumble with a firm grip of his collar. Richard decided to ignore them, still. The highly distressed Android was now way more important than his brothers and Hanks continued bickering.
And it shivered in his arms, a nervous hum under its chassis. Spooked and devastated. Like a little child. Traumatized and much too new at the 'being alive' thing to just have a breakdown and cry. It didn't even breathe.
Richard opened his mouth to remind himself and the android - remind 'him' - that it-... that 'he' actually had a name. That 'his' name was 'Gavin'.
That he once had actually 'been' someone. But the words died on his tongue and left a bitter taste in his mouth as he imagined the android to hear about a life and name he couldn't even remember. A name that wasn't really his own in the first place. Like everyone else in this room, 'Gavin' was just a stranger.
"H-how 'bout...uh... we call you... just G-GeeVee for now?", he finally said as he leaned back and forced a wide smile onto his lips. He couldn't say if it looked in any way convincing.
The Android stared up at him without a single twitch to his face. His head tilted slightly in a very slow, reptilian sort of way that seemed to be especially designed to look intimidating. "Yes...", he stated slowly.
So GeeVee it was for now.
Richard breathed a relieved but voiceless sigh. He nodded softly. Then he went on with his mission to clean out the androids delicate joints and worked himself relaxed from his right hand to his left. The bigger chunks of debris he pulled out of the roughed up chassis he laid out on a paper towel on the table. Most of it had to be crusted blood, goo-like unevaporated thirium and-...
Richard frowned even deeper as he pulled back his tweezer. Something was there. A soundless kind of sizzle he felt at his fingertips. "Are your main connection cables damaged?", he asked and sniffed at his tweezer. It smelled somehow... sweet. And at the same time really 'sharp'.
The Android shook his head. "No", he said. Something caught the movement around his neck and a grinding sound - something he could way more feel than he was hearing it - made Richards teeth hurt. Something just 'had' to be stuck somewhere around GeeVees neck and blocked his motoric.
"If I...", Richard swallowed. "Uh... offered to take a look at your thirium channels and the connection board behind your voice box...would you let me...?"
He just had the most awful gut feeling.
The Android didn't even hesitate. "Yes", he said instantly. Richard blinked astounded. He hadn't thought-...
His gaze flicked over GeeVees shoulder to Connor and Mr. Kamski. While Connor looked as if he was ready to chew Hanks arm off, Mr. Kamski stared right back at him and nodded sharply, gesticulated subtly to get on with it. He wanted to know how bad it really was, too.
So Richard focused his attention back on his patient. Because that's what GeeVee was right now. His patient. Kind of. "Okay. Good. But would you please sit down for that? There at the desk maybe?", he said and pointed back at his work desk. GeeVee turned around without any visible form of hesitation and trudged heavily back to Richards work desk. He sat down there like a well trained but resigned kind of dog.
Richard took the place beside him after he brought the needed tools to his desk. In the following minutes, he gave his absolute best to be gentle as he attempted to open up GeeVees throat cavity. But the latches of his artificial skin didn't give as easily as they should, somehow. Aside from that, the room around where his Adams apple would be felt weirdly soft to the touch. Richard frowned and imagined a different build. Maybe GeeVees voice box was located somewhere else altogether...?
But all speculation did not help the blocked latches, so Richard used all of his tact to break it open with just a little bit of force.
As soon as the latches cracked open, his hands were splattered with droplets of a sweet and at the same time foul-smelling liquid. Richard twitched back in reflex and almost lost the balance on his chair. The fluid on the back of his hands and his fingertips was of a bright blue tinge but sure as hell was no thirium. Like the stuff on his tweezers, it smelled just ... sickly sweet and so 'sharp' it made Richards eyes water.
Suddenly Richard understood what had happened in there. In that cell with the three dead people. His face slowly contorted into a horrified grimace. "They t-t-tried to torch you, d-didn't they?"
And like the anti-android-league of Detroit, they had used Acetone as their chemical of choice. It was cheap, able to cause irreparable damage to memory components and over time sizzled away at cable isolation. As soon as a single spark caught inside their victims chassis, the drenched Android burned from the inside out. No chance of survival.
Sometimes PCs and other government-funded androids got snatched off the streets. The league always used solvents or acids, forced them down their victims throat and fixated them to be found the next day with all their insides melted into a glob of soft plastic goo.
Richard had to decommission seven PCs in the last year alone. Among them even his favorite, Arthur. As Connor had made a visit to his little office that day - more of a closet space, really - Richard had pretended it had been the stench that had made his eyes sting so badly.
Richard swallowed around the knot that formed around his throat and narrowed his eyes in furious disbelief. To see Androids as real actual people was new, even to him. But still, they could have just dismantled and wiped GeeVee. Instead, they had attempted to burn him alive.
"Cyberlife personnel got the order to clear out the facility of all prototypes and blueprints just hours before we got there", Hank commented without much inflection as he suddenly appeared beside the desk. "They came to you for decommission, GeeVee. Dr. John Harper, your leading technician, was not with them. They didn't have the needed clearance and your administration codes. Your self-preservation routines worked as expected."
What an absolutely horrifying mess, thought Richard as he rolled his useless tongue through his mouth in utter disgust. One that could have so easily been avoided, too, if Dr. John Harper had just done the damn dirty work himself. But then... GeeVee wouldn't be alive that way. And he deserved to be alive. After all the shit he went through. But-...
"Wait-... uh...y-you know what happened?", he asked while speaking felt harder and harder with every following word. Hank nodded and tipped with his index finger against his own LED. "Got the update. Perkins told me."
Richard nodded before he let out a bone-deep sigh and went on with his work. Like expected the Acetone had already sizzled away at GeeVees voice box. An interestingly different kind of biocomponent. Weirdly small like all of GeeVees insides seemed to be. Miniature productions like Richard had never seen before.
The delicate Biocomponent, made of soft plastics and delicate wiring was ruined beyond repair. But at least nothing fused and there was no noticeable smell of burned plastic. Good.
Anyway, now it was at least clear why GeeVee sounded so funny. Not the 'haha' kind of funny. Just... damaged.
Still Richard didn't want to remove it if he didn't have to. GeeVee was worn down and defenseless enough already.
Gently he pulled the collar of Connors hoody deeper down and opened up more of GeeVees chassis. The good part of Acetone was, that it at least evaporated quickly in an open space. Richard already got a headache from that sickly sweet smell.
Then he gently reached inside GeeVee to wipe the remnant away that had mixed up with thirium. There was a tiny leak around the master tube at the back of GeeVees throat. It almost looked as if someone had tried to reach down his throat and pull it out. Richard fixed it for the moment with electrical tape until they got GeeVee to an assembling machine with his actual model data.
While GeeVee had no bruises, of course, Richard got nauseous as he inspected the damage done to him at the inside. Sharply bent and most likely broken cable connections, a crack in two of his minor circuit boards - Biocomponents that looked fine from the outside leaked thirium all over his inner structure. "You...you, uh... ne-need spare parts", Richard stammered numbly for he almost couldn't believe GeeVee was still alive after all of this. Not with this extended damage.
Speechless Richard looked through his working stations reflection at Mr. Kamski. The man looked alarmed like Richard and already typed away on his phone without letting GeeVee out of his sight while doing so.
Richard swallowed drily. "Do you remember anything?", he asked softly. "Anything at all? Before all of...'that'...?"
GeeVee stared at him out of his tired eyes. Nothing about him moved aside from the fluttering motions of his strangely shaped and almost tiny thirium pump. It was not even half as big as Richards balled fist and pounded in a fast rhythm like the heart of a very small rodent. "I know Elijah and I know you. You are my partner. I don't care for anything else", he finally said.
Richard blinked. "Partner?"
GeeVee didn't move a muscle, but his eyes twitched in his direction as Hank shifted his weight from one leg to the other. "Yes", he said.
He said it with such calm conviction, it felt weird. Richard frowned. "Partner about what?"
One of his brothers snorted in the background and even though it was silly, Richard felt his god damn ears heat up. GeeVee didn't mock him, though.
"I don't know", he said instead, calm but resigned. "Richard Arkay is my registered and a signed handler. I'm his partner."
Richards brows almost shot up to his hairline. "Uh...so...so you 'do' have an Objective? Or something?"
GeeVees face stayed completely blank. "You."
Maybe it was because Connor behind him, always the face of stoic professionalism, broke out into spluttering laughter, but Richard felt his face heat up in a way that made him want to die on the spot. Grimly he grabbed his brightly colored stress ball, which always rested on the desk beside his monitor, and threw it at that menace.
Or he would have if Hank hadn't grabbed his wrist with a tired sigh and held it in place before the projectile could do any kind of harm. Spoilsport.
To their mutual surprise GeeVee reacted instantly with a lightning-quick jab to Hanks sternum as soon as he sprung to his feet in a smooth as hell cat-like movement. He had moved so frighteningly fast, even Hank hadn't seen it coming. He stumbled back a step from Richard and lifted both of his hands in a gesture of surrender.
They stared at each other.
GeeVees LED burned brightly red in erratic circles while Hank processed in sudden yellow blips. His eyes widened while his mouth formed a silent and excited little 'oh!'.
Richard wanted to reach for GeeVee to somehow calm him down before he did something dangerous that would classify him as an actual threat.
At the exact same moment Hanks hand closed tightly around his neck and tore Richard backward out of his seat while a wide knowing grin split his face almost in half.
GeeVees eyes flared alive in a blinding blue burst and instantly he was between them in one single step.
Richard froze in utter terror as GeeVees fist slammed fast like nothing he had ever seen and without any restraint against Hanks temple. Hanks chassis broke almost down to his cheekbone, as easily as cracking an eggshell.
Connor screamed like a wounded beast as he pulled his gun.
This is kind of my "how to: write pretty obnoxious cliffhangers".
I'm sorry, I still didn't come up with an actual plot.
Sooo, take a wild ride with me into the sunset.
The show will go on °.O
Thanks so much for sticking around.
Since my updates come so erratically without any kind of schedule and sometimes even many months apart, I'm really glad that still some of you guys wait for my updates and leave some comments or kudos, even on my older stuff.
Thank you so, so much for that :]