Actions

Work Header

By the Skin of One's Teeth

Work Text:

Paul and Schneider's suit

P.S. Paul only wears this suit on the flashback, before the scene in the Alley.


 

The room is dark, and the only window was blocked by nailed planks. Rays of moonlight that peaks from the window are the only source of light of the room. Years have gone by, and the stories of the past within these four walls, still remain.

 

Paul barges inside, disrupting the eerie silence of the room. He closes the door, locks it, then faces the cabinet standing on the right side. He presses his eyes close--- night vision turns on. Every object in his sight has green outlines. 

 

Paul walks towards the cabinet then glides his hand on the dusty, smooth surface. He released heat from his hand, transmitting it to the wooden cabinet. 

 

There’s nothing inside here. He removes his hand. 

 

Next, he went on to the table on the right side of the cabinet. He pulls the drawer open just to see a hairbrush. He rolls his eyes and huffs, closing the drawer. After that, he investigates the bathroom. Paul returns to the main area, running a hand on his blond hair. Disappointed and hopeless from searching for some potential weapon. 

 

Then a risky idea crosses his mind. He struts towards the window. 

 

“Fourth floor, 12.4 meters above the ground,” Paul mutters as he walks. He sighs, “There’s no way in hell am I going to survive without breaking my limbs.

 

He proceeds to remove the planks. Pulling out each wood, setting them aside on the bed at his left. 

 

“But I guess I don’t have any choice, huh?” 

 

Paul steps a foot on the ledge, his hands grasping the frame. As he was about to set another foot, his eyes widen in fear.

 

His hands heat up. Paul steps back from the window then hid behind the wall, on the same side of the cabinet. He slowly turns his hands to see his palm turning azure. He quickly hid them inside the pouch of his hood.

 

“Shit, shit, shit, shit…”

 

The light is passing through the thick cloth. He breathes, and he breathes. Until the light goes dimmer. 

 

Paul strides to the front of the door. He kneels with his left knee and hand pressed on the ground, resting his right arm on top of his other knee. He closes his eyes, then with all his strength, he spreads the heat throughout the floor. Paul can see the translucent azure lights on his night vision, passing through the room towards the other rooms within this floor. 

 

A weak vibration from the floors below echoes towards him. 

 

His muscle tenses, his breath hitches on his throat, and his hand begins to glow. 

 

He takes deep, shaky breaths. Anger and regret are ready to consume him, as his mind reverts to the one person that curses him with this quirk. 

 

I shouldn’t have trusted you. 

 




Paul is lying on a white, hospital bed. His arms are cuffed with ivory claws that are attached on the sides of the bed, engineered to work on its victims. As much as he wants to thrash around and scream, he can’t. He is paralyzed. And the only thing he can do so far is to watch his tragic fate.

 

Zlatko is rounding him up; the fat, greasy man that promises Paul for a better life. Only if he comes to his house. If it wasn’t for the magnetic button that Zlatko attached on the nape of his neck, he could’ve taken that man down effortlessly.

 

“There’s no need for your tracker to be removed,” Zlatko keeps his hands clutched on his back. “Once you go Deviant, it will instantly deactivate itself.” 

 

He stops on his left side, his hand grasping the right handle of the bed. The traitor smiles mischievously, “Don’t worry. I’m just giving you something you won’t regret,” he leans on his ear, “Trust me. It will be useful for someone like you.”

          

 

Paul keeps on running barefoot, planting evidence on the grass. His hands uncontrollably glowing azure. Before he escaped, he managed to put sleeping pills in Zlatko’s drink.

 

He ends up on the alley of the urban street. While he was walking, he saw a homeless man sleeping on a sheet of carton. Beside him was a black cloth. Paul walks towards the man, then as he got closer, he noticed that it was a jacket. 

 

Silently, Paul grabs the jacket without disturbing the person. He slips it on--- he pulls the hood up to cover his face once he went out from the alley. 

 

It was like just any regular night. The street wasn’t empty, but it’s not crowded. Cars are passing by, household androids walking by their owner’s side, and some undercover detectives standing on some parts of the street. Paul already knows what usually happens during these nights. If everything feels like it’s a normal day, something wrong is going to happen.

 

He keeps his face straight, shoulders slack, and keeps a relaxed posture as he walks. When he turns on the right, an android is walking towards him. Paul keeps his act, hiding the anxiety that is already building up on his core. 

 

He noticed that it’s the newly made CS600. Like any other high breed androids, it’s taller than him and has a nice, firm structure; suitable for any combats. Even though he’s not that attached to CyberLife, he can’t help but feel the sting of betrayal when he saw the android. 

 

Yet he can’t blame them. With all the deviancy records of his model, it’s logical to replace his kind.

 

Then it stops. Right after they crossed each other.

 

Paul sensed it, stops for a second, then proceeds to walk. 

 

“HK400, you’re under arrest!” followed by the sound of the safety being pulled back.

 

Paul stops on his spot. He gulps, raising his hands. He turns around to face the android who is approaching him warily with the gun still aiming at him.

 

“Hands. Above your head.”

 

Paul complies. He shifts his gaze between the gun and the newly made android. When the distance is close, Paul’s left hand quickly grasps the android’s left wrist, snatching the gun away with his right hand. In an instant, Paul elbows his temple using his right so hard, he temporarily knocks it out of his consciousness.

 

He didn’t notice that there were people watching the scene until the CyberLife reinforcements show up with their vehicles. 

 




The vibration from the stairs feels like an earthquake. Doors are being slammed open, knobs are being shot at, just to find the room where he's been hiding. 

 

Paul gathers the heat back, when he felt some movement at the front of his room. It's just a single person until all the SWATs surround him.

 

Paul stands from his position, blinking the night vision away. He raises his right hand, palm facing up at the door. Azure lights spread at the center of his palm like a wildfire. And like a wildfire, scorching heat sheaths his hand. 

 

Guns reload in sync.

 

“Position!” yelled the SWAT leader.

 

Paul took a deep breath. 

 

“In three!”

 

Two.

 

“One!”

 

Fire.

 

Heat blasts from his hand like a laser cannon. The door erupts into fragments and the men are thrown to  the ground. 

 

Paul starts to run down the hallway. Backups were making  their way to the floor. He pays  least attention to them, because his new target is the tall window standing a few feet from him. 

 

1 meter close to the window, he starts to cross his arms in front of his face. 

 

He places his foot on the windowsill. He pushes his knees upward, his body collides to the hard glass and grills. Tons of crystals fly everywhere. 

 

Paul is up in the air for 1.08 seconds before he starts to fall. Pressure hits him that forced his eyes to close. 

 

He has 1.23 seconds to land. 

 

With his head facing the ground, Paul flips in mid-air. His feet landed smoothly on the ground. 

 

“There he is!”

 

Paul starts to run when the SWAT Teams and CyberLife's Reinforcements made their way to catch him. Instinctively, he ran straight to the road where he's facing. 

 

These past hours, all he did was run away from the predators that want to take him. Paul realized that escaping is pointless. He always gets caught in trouble--- either by CyberLife or by humans like Zlatko. 

 

Everything that he does remains futile. 

 

Paul takes a sharp turn on his left. Whatever happens at this moment, he accepts that it's what his destiny is. 

 

When his feet lead him to an alley, he noticed a 10-foot wired fence blocking his way. But he didn’t stop running.

 

With a single, giant stomp, Paul jumps 5 feet from the ground. He manages to get a hold on the wire. 

 

Until the CS600 grabs his hood, slamming his back as they land.

 

The new android cocks his gun, but Paul kicks it off with his left foot--- spinning on the ground, he hits him behind his knees with his right foot, standing up once the CS600 falls on his knees.

 

The gun drops just a few feet on their right. Paul’s on his way to get it, when the android tackles him on the behind, putting him on the ground again. He stretches out his arm, and there he manages to grab the gun back on his hands.

 

CS600 saw his hands turning azure, making him step back when Paul slowly gets up. Turning around to give him a death glare, Paul clenches his hands into fists.

 

“You’re dead, you son of a bitch.”

 

The android holds his gun tightly, aiming it at the Deviant. But before he could fire it, Paul made a headstart. 

 

He charges at him, punching his stomach with his flaming fist. The android holds back the attack--- steadying his feet on the ground, then releases a punch that aims at his face. 

 

Paul grabs the opponent’s fist with his other hand, melting the outer core. He removes his fist, headbutting the android. The high breed CS600 model shuts down. Kneels, then slouches on the ground. On its left temple, the LED light dims into nothingness. 

 

He turns to the fence, but the guns reload in sync. Wincing his eyes shut, he forces himself to face them.

 

The troops step aside, forming a path that only one person can fit in. Paul smirks when the man he once trusted is walking along the path. 

 

A dead android kneeling in front of him, guns ready to shoot in command, and right there, standing sorely ahead of the armed bands, is the infamous detective known to Deviants. His eyes coldly staring at his former partner. 

 

Paul’s smirk grows wider, “What’s with the face? I thought you’d be happy to see me alive.” 

 

“Maybe I would be happy if you did not rebel against the system.” Till stares heavily at him, “I thought you’ll understand. We did it to save everyone, to save CyberLife.”

 

He didn’t leave his gaze, his smirk falling down into a frown. Paul’s hand is still glowing; not from fear, but from anger. Hands turn into fists as he restrains himself to fire. 

 

“Of course, I understand. For you, we are just things that are easy to dispose of. A few errors in our system, and we’re already out...” Paul glances down at the dead android.

 

Till chuckles deeply. “Paul, you’re just a machine .” Clasping his hands on his back, he added, “And that’s what you’re supposed to be, until the end of your line.” 

 

“But even if I’m just a machine,” Paul grits, holding his fists tightly, “I still deserve to be trusted and given a chance.”

 

“To what?” Till took a few steps forward, “To infiltrate the system and exterminate all the plans we’ve had in eliminating the Deviants in our city? No, Paul. We wouldn’t let you do that.”

 

He stops, right in front of the dead android. CyberLife’s reinforcements are still holding their guns high, each one of them is staying alert at the possible things that can happen once the Deviant shows signs of attack.

 

“Just surrender, Paul.” Till said lowly, “That’s the only thing you can do right now.” 

 

Paul snorts, “Do you really think that intimidation will make me surrender?”

 

“Don’t make me do this,” Till pleads, intensifying his gaze on Paul. 

 

He looks around the area. As much as he wants to avoid harming humans, Paul knows that surrendering will be worse than that. From his years in the institution, he knew what will his fate be once he’s in their hands again.

 

Returning his gaze on his former partner, Paul breaks the silence. “You’re a good friend, Till. A nice companion.” Till didn’t leave his gaze. “And I should’ve known sooner that you were lesser than that.”

 

In just a flick of his arm, a police car explodes behind them. While the others are distracted, the armed men in the front, including Till, are shooting at Paul who just burned a hole on the fence as he runs to escape. There’s no sense in slowing them down, so he doesn’t have any choice but to slightly break his pacifist principle. 

 

Bullets are flying on around him. No matter how fast he runs, he still gets hit. 

 

A sharp, stinging pain revolts on his right thigh. Paul continues to run; he’s an android, after all. He doesn’t feel any physical pain for a long time, but his system can be damage. Even androids have their own limits, and Paul knows that. 

 

The guns are getting closer; they’re pushing forward. He was about to get out on the alley…  when a bullet hits him in the forehead. Paul slips on his back, down to the ground. 

 

His vision went static. Blue blood is dripping down the hole created by the bullet. Propping himself on his elbow, he slowly gets up until another CS600 steps a foot on his neck, immobilizing him on the ground. 

 

Paul looks down on his body. He didn’t realize it until he saw them; Thirium blood is gushing on his stomach, upper arms, and legs. He was shot many times, and he may not realize that he’s slowing down before, since he chooses to focus on his goal to escape. 

 

Like in a badly signaled television station, he slowly loses his sight when he can’t focus much on his surroundings, statics becoming more frequent in each second. His hearing is muffled, and he can’t move his body. He can still see the android talking to someone behind them. And that’s what he can do at the moment.

 

Paralyzed. 

 

Hopeless. 

 

Defeated. 

 

Everything is the same. Maybe I’m just delaying my fate.

 

And he is right. Back from where he was, before he breaks out from his shell, he’s inside the facility where defective androids are placed to dismantle. White, pristine walls and equipment with a two-way mirror. Most of the things inside the room look pleasant and peaceful.

 

But the claws that are holding his wrists and ankles are saying otherwise. It is white and pristine, “pure” as someone would put it. Yet it’s the most threatening thing for anyone who’s been inside. 

 

Paul is facing the mirror. He can only get a glimpse of the area since the static is already conquering his vision. He can’t hear anything; everything feels hollow. 

 

The best that he can do now, is to sense his surroundings. He can feel the other claws attached in the machine getting close to him. His clothes are being smoothly ripped off his body; the blade on one of the claws is slicing the cloths that are intervening in the operation. 

 

And he felt something, that he never experience throughout his whole life. He already felt pulverized right after he got caught many times. But this feeling of being naked, the embarrassment that comes within him feels foreign. He never felt degraded and vulnerable up until this moment. 

 

I hope this is the end. I hope…

 

A tube connects on his nape then his head automatically jerks backward. Every memory from his past is getting erased right in front of his eyes. 

 

Will CyberLife give him another chance in service? Or will he end up in the dumpster? Whatever destiny decides for him, he’s certain that he’ll never be free. 

 

An impossible tear escapes from his eye. If only he can stop the process, he will do it in an instant. He still wants to live, even if it means to become a fugitive. Just not as a slave… not as a slave. 

 

Black shadows are conquering the statics coming up in his sight. He can’t feel his limbs anymore. The only thing keeping up his consciousness is his brain. 

 

98%...

 

99%...

 

100%...

 

Machine successfully terminated.