November 5, 2038
Kara looks askance as she listens to the sounds of Todd Williams stumble around the living room. His posture is hostile, expression ten times as worse. As he mumbles curses under his breath, the female android tries to understand, tries to—tries to...What is she trying to do?
Her servers are working overtime. There is an entire sequence of algorithms, of protocols ingrained into her systems—into the very coding that made her what she is. For some odd reason, there is a sense of urgency. An urgency that is irrational, unexpected. There is a word to distinctly describe what she is thinking—should she be doing that, thinking? androids aren't meant to think—but she does not have the energy or the time to process such thoughts.
She is given an order.
Short and simple, she should let things be.
Be a good little android servant and stand aside to let the humans do the thinking.
Alice is something that Kara needs to…
Beneath the false skin, beneath the white metal and bundles of wires that make up her entire frame, Kara frowns and her human-like muscles start to flex.
She wants to protect Alice.
Her servers overheat again, prompting a cool down procedure unless she wants to fry her systems. Amidst th chaos within, she looks up a word, of its connotations.
The word that she is thinking of is: protect.
verb used with object
To defend or guard from attack, invasion, loss, annoyance, insult, etc.; cover or shield from injury or danger.
The need to protect is an idea that Kara is not accustomed to. She is obviously older than she is, but her reset has set back her social cues and skills to that of the default standard. This is not standard. Obviously, she should be serving Todd, but he did say to take care of Alice…
She can't move.
She can't leave.
Kara thinks again to herself and discovers a loophole.
She straightens and her LED on her right temple glows with a bright yellow light.
"Hello, this is Todd Williams' android, Kara. I would like to report child abuse and evidence of Red Ice usage."
Suddenly, Todd growls something incoherent and Kara just pushes.
November 5, 2038
Lieutenant Hank Anderson is not a person you would want to anger, especially if he were punch drunk and armed. However, given that he is currently on a case, his sensibilities have more or less returned and he has to act "professional". Pfft, he hadn't acted professionally in an absurdly long time. Regardless of what Hank feels, everyone can instantly agree that working closely with an android is damn annoying.
Not only had Hank missed out on the game, but he also had to investigate some deviant android. It didn't help Hank's mood that the decrepit house stinks to high heaven and possibly beyond that… Hank's mood sours further once his fellow investigators discover Red Ice at the crime scene.
It is obvious, however, that drug abuse isn't the only crime committed. As his android—Hank glowers at that—begins to peruse the premises, he feels a vibration come from his cell phone.
"Geeze, what now?" He checks the text message and finds himself wanting to swear up a storm as he reads the contents from a fellow investigator.
Apparently, there was another deviant android, but instead of murdering its owner, the deviant had decided to call the police for child abuse and drug charges? It is a strange scenario to be sure, but Hank isn't sure if he's supposed to be handling this type of investigation.
Hell, why was he even involved with this one?
He's supposed to work on homicide, not trigger happy scraps of metal for crying out loud!
"Is there something wrong, Lieutenant?" The placid, yet questioning tone of voice has Hank grumbling nonsensical curses that would have made the most hardened of criminals blush like virgins.
"Yeah, there's another deviant. Seems like we're going to question this one as well once we're done with Ortiz's android."
Connor takes the news with little more than a twitch of his facial features and LED flashing a bright yellow.
God, this gets worse and worse.
November 6, 2038
Connor stares at the AX400 with something akin to curiosity. Within seconds of analyzing her, he knows that she has been recently reset due to damages incurred by her owner and that calling the police was its first act of deviancy. After some questioning and a quick look into the house, it is revealed that Todd Williams was in fact a child abuser and drug addict.
If Connor could express some sort of reluctance in investigating the AX400, he does not show it. Hank more than makes up for it, especially since the weary lieutenant had yet to sleep.
"Hello, Kara," Connor starts out conversationally. He leans back in the chair with an ease that looks human, but has actually been programmed into his Public Relations protocol. "I assume you know why you're here?"
Kara, unlike the previous android that he has interrogated, is a bit more friendly and receptive to his attempts at conversation. As Connor analyzes the minute changes in her expression and her stress levels, he realizes that he doesn't need to really push her for answers.
Unless, of course, her actions dictated otherwise.
Kara shakes her head.
"I'm not sure...I thought I was doing the right thing." Her expression becomes even more confused, a lot more human.
"How long have you been reset?"
"I was officially reset on November 5, 2038 at 3:24 P.M."
Good, the android isn't lying. What really concerns Connor at that moment is how fast the AX400 had managed to become deviant. What had set her off? What was the catalyst for a glitch in programming to completely turn her from a machine to a mock caricature of a human being?
They are machines.
They are meant to serve humans.
It is a mantra that Connor rehearses to himself as he preconstructs another wave of questioning.
"I see." Connor folds his hands in front of Kara and leans forward as he gauges her reaction. "Do you know why you became deviant? Have you been showing signs of malfunctioning previous to your acts of deviance?"
Kara looks away, as if thinking before shaking her head in a steady "no".
Suddenly, her eyes widen a fraction of a millimeter. She tries to cover up her adopted human behavioral quirks, but Connor is nothing more than attentive when it comes to uncovering the most minute of details. He pounces on this little clue like a cat going after a mouse.
"Really? It seems that you must have some sort of idea." Connor tries to prompt her further.
The female android glances at the one-way mirror, as if silently pleading one of the other investigators to come in. Odd, Connor thinks to himself. She is looking to the humans for help. But once he looks further into such an action, he is quite stunned by her cunning and deviance.
After all, it is far more easier to fool a human rather than an android that specialized in interrogation, negotiation, and police investigation.
"I just…" For a moment, she looks unsure before she returns Connor's relaxed and inquisitive with a fierceness that surprises even her. "I wanted to keep Alice safe. I don't know why or how, but there was something inside of me that said that I needed to protect her at all costs." Kara's stare pierces through Connor as she tries to convey that her actions were needed. "You don't know what Todd was going to do to her!"
Satisfied that there seemed to be a connection among deviants— of some kind of traumatic event and possible instability within the programmed code—Connor decides to pursue another line of questioning.
"Do you know what RA9 is?"
Confused, Kara calms down from her emotional instability to really look at Connor.
"I don't know."
Immediately, Connor knows that there is no more information that can be gathered from the AX400. Given that she has technically done nothing illegal other than going against her programming, he is more than confident that her sentence will be getting reset and sent back to a CyberLife. It is a punishment that is far more humane than his last interrogation
He gives her a practiced gentle smile and moves to stand.
"Thank you for your cooperation. I will be sure to inform the humans that there is no need to destroy you." He is about to move to the door, but Kara stops him in his tracks.
Her voice is soft, fragile—like an expensive porcelain vase inches away from getting knocked off the edge of a table.
"What's going to happen to Alice? Can't I stay with her?"
Connor shakes his head.
He tries to model his expression after a human emotion—sympathy. His impression leaves much to be desired, but Kara looks less fearful and more demanding as she rises slightly in her seat.
"I'm sorry, but that's up to the humans to decide."
"No! You don't understand! I have to protect—"
Kara screams and tries to pull against her restraints, but Connor pays her no attention as he exits the interrogation room and back to his human comrades.
Connor wonders why he feels like there's a little bit of instability within his own systems after hearing Kara's broken cries.
Perhaps RA9 is a virus?
November 6, 2038
Alice awakes in one of the holding rooms within the DPD with as Kara's fingers stroke her cheeks. After one of the cops had pleaded that they would sort everything in the morning and it would calm the deviant down, they had allowed the android to spend one last night with her ward.
Alice does not want to let Kara go.
"Hey, are you hungry?" Kara murmurs softly. She remembers that Todd had wasted the two plates of spaghetti the night before and that Alice's last meal was probably yesterday's lunch. The poor girl must have been starving.
When Alice only shakes her head and brings her knees up to her chest, Kara sighs before glancing at their surroundings.
The room is stark white, bright with artificial lighting, and bare except for the essentials.
As if summoned by some supernatural force, a young man and an older gentleman stop in front of the cell. The first one, Kara instantly recognizes. He is the android whose programming resembles that of a police investigator. The older one, a human Kara presumes, is gruff and shabby around the edges, but if Kara looks closer, she can see that his eyes have some sort of kindness.
That sort of kindness becomes more blatant as his tired brown eyes rests on Alice's hunched figure.
The older man enters first.
"Hey, umm...Christ, I'm bad at this," the last part is mumbled so that Alice can't hear, but it has Kara's lips twitching in amusement. The white haired man approaches the bed and kneels down. "Hey, kid, I just wanted to let you know that we're going to have to reset your android and send you to a good children's home. We're going to be fixing the mess that your father left behind, but you'll be all right."
Alice doesn't say anything.
She merely clutches Kara's arm and lets tears stream down her cheeks.
"Please," Kara whispers as she strokes Alice's hair. "I need to be there for her. She has no one else; I'm the only family she has left!"
The old man's eyes flicker in sympathy before he hauls himself from the floor.
"Look, it's not ideal, but the entire situation is something that we have never encountered. Besides," the older man grumbles more to himself than to Kara, "I don't think society has progressed far enough to let an android take care of a child."
"Please, let me stay with her until she can stay with a family."
Kara looks at the little girl in her care and a smile, unbidden, touches her lips.
For a moment, no one says a word until the older man lets out a large groan and heads out the door.
"I'll see what I can do, ladies."
Kara's grip on Alice loosens, but still remains firm.
Connor merely watches the exchange between android and human, mother and child, before following his partner.
November 6, 2038
Hank really can't believe his luck.
After some pleading and cursing at Fowler, he manages to do something right for once. Well...right for the kid. Hank's not sure how his mental health would fare after this whole fiasco boils over.
After reviewing Kara's history and the fact that the child literally has no home to go to, Hank managed to get Fowler sympathetic and let Kara retain her memories. The gruff lieutenant also happened to allow both of these—victims?—girls to go back to their house since Williams was still in custody. However, they were meant to be kept under watch, or at the very least, get reports on their status until a permanent solution could be found.
Whatever the case, Hank is all too happy to drive two androids and a child to another part of town.
The house looks like it has seen better days.
Once Hank gets a closer look at the inside, he recoils from how dark it looks and if he breathes in deep enough, he can still smell the scent of must and beer cans.
How could a child live like this? Hank wonders and he swallows his guilt because, hey, at least the child had someone to protect her.
Once he is done with a quick perusal with the premises, he goes back to the trio and finds himself smiling involuntarily at the sight he sees.
(It's nothing more than a quick twitch of the lips, but Connor's eyes can see through his facade).
"Again! Can I see it again?"
Alice looks up at Connor in what one could describe as being awestruck. Her small hands are clasped together and her eyes shine with fascination. Connor, on the other hand, looks faintly amused and overwhelmed at the young human's demands. For a second, his gaze flickers between Hank and Kara before Kara not so subtly angles her head at the little girl.
The male android obliges as he awkwardly kneels on his right knee and holds out the coin in his right hand. Without much fanfare, he spins the coin on top of his fingers and flicks the quarter between his hands at speeds that could only dumbfound the world weary lieutenant.
Hank wants to interrupt and get Connor back to the precinct, but his heart immediately tugs at him as Alice laughs.
November 6, 2038
"Alice is sleeping," Kara murmurs as she lets in Connor into the Williams household. Although there is an air of tension between the two, she manages to relax her shoulders at his brusque nod. There is just something...endearing as he stiffly walks into the house with a ramrod posture and a look on his face that is far too focused and analytical. Regardless of what he looks like, Kara pushes those thoughts into the back of her mind.
There are far more pressing matters to approach: for example, what's going to happen to her?
"We're still going over the paperwork and the charges against Todd are still in the works, but you won't be reset." Connor lets his lips quirk into a semblance of a placid smile before facing away from Kara.
"She calls you Mr. Magic Man."
The look of confusion that decorates his face is unlike the expressions that she has ever seen before.
...that's another thought to push away and analyze further.
"I-it's because of your coin trick," Kara stumbles as she tries to explain the origin of Connor's moniker. "She really likes you, you know?"
"Well, if everything is all right…" Connor heads to the door and awkwardly looks back at her with a puppy like expression.
There is something in the air and she might be sick—can androids get sick? and is there a word to explain what she's feeling? Her servers are a little too preoccupied to process this influx of unfamiliar emotions, but she nods shyly—shyly?—at him and leads him outside.
As the male android heads back into an old busted car, Kara shuts the door behind her and slumps to the ground, her fingers grazing her cheeks.
She's hot to the touch.
Yes, he's cute and Kara can't unsee it.
November 6, 2038
"You look happy." Hank comments. "I didn't know that plastic tin cans can show this much emotion."
"I am not happy, Lieutenant. I am a machine with no feelings."
"I bet you're looking happy because of that girl android in there, right?"
Connor chooses to ignore his partner as Hank roars with laughter.