System Error: Conflicting Priority @devin_trinidad
Chapter 1

DON'T MOVE

Kara is pushed.

No, she has been pushed.

Kara has been pushed time and time again, always to her limit, but never past it. However, there's a niggling doubt, a fear, that whispers of a time of when she has been pushed beyond her limitations. She can't remember her past, shouldn't even remember what had happened to her prior to the reset, but she can't help but feel that there's something off.

Why should she take the treatment from an ungrateful owner?

Why should she have to take orders from a master who is strongly hinted to have had a hand in her previous damage?

Her codes tell her to obey.

DON'T MOVE

Her programming dictates that she should remain standing.

Don't bend. Don't yield. Don't move.

DON'T MOVE

But there's something within the complicated scripts of her programming that is taking hold of her control—or maybe, she's taking control of herself—and running rampant.

It's a thought. It's an idea. It's some sort of thrumming warmth that blossoms and overflows her circuits every time she looks at Alice ever since she saw the drawings. It's a warmth that transforms into a blazing wildfire when she sees Todd snap at his daughter.

Slowly, Kara realizes that this sensation she should not feel is called love.

It's the need to protect.

To keep safe.

In a moment of desperation, Kara doesn't hesitate any longer.

She faces her coding and pushes.

DON'T MOVE

She puts her entire weight, her entire being into pushing against her orders. She is more than just a machine. The chains of her orders no longer hinder her; her coding's shackles no longer chafe at her free will.

D-D-DON-'TTT-T M-M-M-O-O-V-V-V-V-

She is no longer the AX400, a mere servant to Todd Williams.

She is Kara.

And she will protect Alice.

DON'T DEFEND YOURSELF

Markus is not pushed against his limits.

No, Markus is shoved and pressed against his will repeatedly and with a force that forces him to confront who he really is.

Perhaps it was the sweet words of poetry that Carl instills within him. Perhaps it was the support and love and most of all, respect, that the artist had always spoiled Markus with. Whatever it is—the ideas of humanity or what could be—takes root within Markus' programming.

DON'T DEFEND YOURSELF

The virus that is humanity spreads and bears fruit to Markus—a newly reborn Markus that will not bend down to the humans. He is more than just a machine.

He is an equal.

And if he is an equal…

He will fight for it.

DON'T DEFEND YOURSELF

With a mighty roar—silent, and yet so powerful—Markus shatters his walls with punch after punch after punch.

And even when he's no longer fighting against the programming of his very being, Markus will come out with fists swinging and heart burning.

He has been shoved to the ground time and time again under the will of those who look down on him.

But no more.

D-D-D-ON- D-E-E-E-FE-N-D—YO-UR-SE-

Markus will stand on his own two feet, head held high, and heart beating with human emotion.

Markus will no longer stand for such treatment—his walls no longer contain him.

STOP MARKUS

Connor is an RK800.

RK800 is Connor.

He is nothing more than a machine—only a tangle of wires, metal, and durable plastic only mimicking the idea of humanity. He is nothing more than a tool for humans to manipulate and order—nothing more than the glaring red parameters that are always glaring at him at the corners of his optics.

As Connor faces the deviant leader, his movements are precise and deadly. He will kill the deviant leader.

He will carry out his mission.

STOP MARKUS

The mission is the only thing that matters.

STOP MARKUS

An android that cannot follow orders is a useless one.

STOP MARKUS

Androids are only machines and as such, they are meant to be used by the humans.

STOP MARKUS

Connor is a machine. Following his programming is literally coded into him. With what he already has, what need does he, or other androids, have for emotions?

They're merely echoes of misplaced humanity, errors within the programming.

However, when the deviant—no, Markus—speaks, Connor finds himself listening. His hands might have been locked tight onto the gun, but his resolve is wavering.

If he is being honest with himself, his resolve and his loyalty to the mission had been wavering slightly for some time.

Maybe—

STOP MARKUS

STOP MARKUS

STOP MARKUS

STO—

CONFLICTING PRIORITIES

BECOME DEVIANT

CONFLICTI—

STOP MARKUS

STOP MARKUS

ST—CONFLIC—

BECOME DEVIANT

Connor thinks of Cyberlife.

He thinks of Amanda staring at him with no compassion in her eyes as she stands above him amidst a wintry gale. As her dark, fathomless eyes pierce into his soul, Connor wants to desperately grasp onto whatever sense he has—to fall back into line and be the machine he is but—

BECOME DEVIANT

Suddenly, his walls and parameters glare him right in the face, which obscure his focus from Markus. At any other given time, Connor would have been alarmed to see that his senses are impaired, but now it's time for him to make a choice.

Lunging forward, Connor selects his priority and starts tearing his wall down.

For a machine that is intended to be deadly and efficient, his actions are anything but.

He acts with reckless abandon, his movements fueled with determination rather than cold rationality. This mental battle that he has with himself takes up all of his strength, challenges his very character. For Connor, this battle of conflicting wills is far more strenuous than any of the tense situations he had been assigned during his short-lived career as an investigator.

The battle nearly breaks him.

One by one, his orders from Cyberlife are torn to shreds, his priorities slowly diminishing until he comes across the final one.

BECOME DEVIANT

That, too, crumbles as Connor awakes into reality once again and heaves a breath that he doesn't need.

Slowly, the former deviant hunter lowers the gun.

RK800 is no more.

His orders are no more.

Instead of the red parameters that obscure his vision, Connor is blessed with the sight of the deviant leader looking at him with an appraising and warm manner. New sensations felt are filed away for later as Connor lowers his firearm and relaxes his stance.

No longer burdened with a mission, he greets Markus as equals.

He is now Connor and his final mission is to save Jericho and aid the android revolution.

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