Tonight on Deadliest Fiction, I bring you a high-stakes game of cat and mouse between two detectives of the future! Robot cops will duel as Connor, the CyberLife prototype android who discovered his humanity and turned on his masters, will be taking on Officer K, the replicant Blade Runner who killed his own kind! It's a battle of finesse versus brute strength, analyzation versus emotion, and CyberLife versus the Wallace Corporation, but only one can survive to answer the question of:
Connor is a prototype RK800 model of CyberLife android, designed by the company for the purpose of hunting down deviant androids and assisting the Detroit Police department. In November 2038, Connor was sent to assist Detective Lieutenant Hank Anderson, a bitter veteran of the department with a distaste for androids, in trying to find why androids are going deviant at a faster rate. Hank is initially skeptical of Connor, finding him annoying and overbearing, but warms to him after Connor manages to find a deviant android that had killed it's abusive owner and get it to confess to the crime, though it's subsequent suicide in it's cell would haunt Connor.
Despite Connor's initial success, Hank angrily requested to be taken off the deviants case, only to storm off to his desk when his request was denied. Connor's attempts to get Hank to focus would fail, culminating with Hank slamming Connor into a wall before they were sent to track down Kara, a deviant who had murdered her owner to protect the man's daughter from further abuse. The duo, with backup in tow, arrived at the motel Kara and the girl were staying at, only for them to narrowly escape. After Kara's escape, Hank and Connor would track a possible deviant to a rundown apartment full of pigeons. Despite the deviant's attempts to hide, Connor would suss out his location, leading to a protracted chase over the rooftops of Detroit that culminated with the deviant pushing Hank off a roof. After a moment's calculation, Connor decided to continue the chase and caught the suspect rather than save Hank, enraging him, and his ensuing argument with Connor gave the deviant time to jump to it's death.
Following a murder at the android brothel the Eden Club, Connor was dispatched to Hank's home, where he found a drunk Hank passed out with a gun and a picture of Hank's dead son Cole. Connor helped Hank sober up, then set off for the Eden Club, where they find the victim strangled to death with a dead android nearby. Reviving it for a minute, Connor is able to determine that the android was not the murderer, and the man rented two robots, meaning one is still loose in the club. Using the memories of the androids in the club, Connor tracks the deviant to the storage unit in the back of the club, where the deviant, alongside an identical brown-haired model, attacks them. To end the fight, Connor shoots the brown-haired deviant dead, and the suspect reveals that they were lovers planning to run away together. In tears, she manages to steal Connor's gun and kill herself, shocking both Connor and Hank, who would drunkenly shoot Connor dead later that night to see if Connor feared death.
Rebooted into a new model, Connor forgave Hank and continued working with him on the Stratford Tower case, where a group of deviant androids, led by the revolutionary Markus, stormed the tower during a news broadcast and read a list of demands for android freedom and equality and urged any deviant androids to find Jericho, the mysterious underground haven for deviants. While Hank worked with FBI agent Richard Perkins, Connor determined that one of the androids working in the broadcast studio must have been deviant, as Markus's team would not have gotten in otherwise. After interrogating the news androids to determine which is the deviant, Connor went to read the deviant's memory, only for it to overpower and stab him in the hand before tearing out his "heart" and running for the elevator. Connor managed to restore his core in time to catch it in the hallway, where it grabbed a machinegun from a nearby SWAT member and opened fire. Connor, realizing that Hank would likely die if left unguarded, sacrificed himself to shield Hank, who was surprised by the android's willingness to die for him.
Rebooted into yet another new model, Connor went with Hank to speak to Elijah Kamski, the founder of CyberLife, in hopes of determining the reasons why androids are going deviant. Kamski is largely unhelpful, and more interested in Connor's state of mind, but offers to give vital info on the case if Connor passes "the Kamski test", a test that will determine if an android has empathy. The test involves Kamski demanding Connor kill Chloe, one of Kamski's helper models, as she stares at him. Connor, after a moment's hesitation, doesn't go through with it, and leaves, but not before Kamski cryptically tells Connor that he always programs a backdoor into his machines. As they head to the car, Hank reassures a deeply shaken Connor that he did the right thing, even if it means they're behind on the case.
The lack of leads leads to the duo being taken off the case in favor of the FBI taking over, and an angry Hank refuses to help Connor determine Jericho's location, despite Connor's pleas that he will be destroyed if he fails. Using a criminal in holding as a distraction, Connor used the evidence he had amassed to determine the secret messaging that would lead him to Jericho. Disguised as a deviant, Connor snuck onto the boat with the intention of either killing or capturing Markus, but a mixture of programming conflicts and Markus's rhetoric enabled Connor to go deviant, and he sided with the people of Jericho during the ensuing attack on the boat.
With the survivors of Jericho fleeing to a nearby church, Markus spared Connor and allowed him to join, with Connor leaving to liberate the androids of the CyberLife factory with the intention of using their numbers to help Markus's cause. Infiltrating CyberLife's HQ, Connor was able to sneak into Floor 49, the area containing thousands of androids, where he was confronted by a non-deviant Connor, who had taken Hank hostage with the hope of talking Connor down. Connor attacked the copy to save Hank, leading to a scuffle in which both were disarmed and Hank was left with the gun. Unable to determine which Connor was real, Hank asked questions to both, looking not for the correct answers but the ones with more empathy behind them, and was able to determine which Connor was real when Connor helped Hank come to terms with Cole's death and admit that it was the fault of a human, not an android. Hank shot the false Connor, then stepped back to allow Connor to convert the android army.
With the support of Connor's forces, Markus's movement succeeded in earning some level of freedom for androids, enabling them to liberate the android death camps. Connor's handler at CyberLife, hoping to destroy the movement from the inside, tried to take control of him remotely, but he uses Kamski's hint to find a programming backdoor and lock them out. Some time after the Battle of Detroit, Connor would meet up with Hank, and the two hug before leaving to get food.
Officer K is a Nexus-9 replicant model, designed to work with the LAPD in hunting down and "retiring" Nexus-8's, the outdated former models that were rushed into production shortly before a ban on replicants. Despite K's apparent ruthlessness, he's somewhat conflicted over his apparent lack of special traits, to the point where he purchases an AI named Joi to give him companionship in his apartment. K's longing for something different is answered when he hunts down and "retires" Sapper Morton, a replicant living a reclusive live as a farmer, after a brutal fight. While searching Morton's farm, K discovers a large crate underground, which further inspections reveals to contain the skeleton of a replicant who died in childbirth. Fearing that the revelation that replicants could breed could lead to war, Lieutenant Joshi, K's superior, orders him to hunt down the replicant child and retire it.
Traveling to the Wallace Corporation headquarters, K discovers that the dead replicant was Rachael, an experimental replicant who had a relationship with Rick Deckard, an LAPD Blade Runner who vanished shortly after hunting down a group of rogue replicants on Earth. K's investigation draws the attention of Niander Wallace, who hopes to use replicant breeding to colonize the universe. Wallace dispatches his enforcer, Luv, to steal Rachael's remains and follow K. K discovers a specific date carved into a tree on Morton's farm, similar to one on a toy horse from his supposedly artificial memories, and Joi suggests that this means he was born, not created.
Using carbon dating to determine the location of the orphanage, K finds the horse where he remembered hiding it, and a doctor in charge of designing memories confirms that the memory is real, leading K to believe that he is the child. At the LAPD, a shaken K fails his baseline test, but a sympathetic Joshi gives him 8 hours to hide before the LAPD is sent to retire him. Transferring Joi to a mobile emanator so he can't be tracked, K has the horse analyzed and uses the radiation levels on it to head to the bombed out husk of Las Vegas, where he finds Rick Deckard, who reveals that he is the father of Rachael's child and that he fled to Las Vegas to ensure the child would be safe.
Before the duo can talk further, Luv, who has killed Joshi and traced K's vehicle, launches an attack on Deckard's hotel, incapacitating K, who can only watch as Luv takes Deckard and destroy's Joi's emanator, erasing her entirely. K passes out and wakes up in the custody of the Replicant Freedom Movement, the leader of whom reveals that K is not the child, as the child is a girl. Despite this, she urges him to kill Deckard so as to ensure he can't be tortured into leading Wallace to the child or the movement.
Accepting that he is not as special as he wanted to be, K intercepts the transport taking Deckard off-world to be tortured and kills the pilots before battling Luv, killing her after taking a mortal stab wound to the gut. Rather than kill Deckard, K fakes his death and leads him to his daughter, determining that the doctor was the child and the memory of the horse was hers. As Deckard finally meets his child, K lays down and seemingly dies from his wounds.
Weapons and Abilities
- Glock 22: The Detroit Police Department in 2038 appears to use a futurized version of the Glock 22, a semi-automatic handgun with 7 rounds per clip and an effective range of around 50 meters. While it is illegal for androids to carry guns, Connor's status as a police android allows him to use a gun without punishment, such as when he uses an officer's sidearm to kill the Stratford Tower deviant or when he killed one of the Tracis at the Eden Club.
- Forensic Reconstruction: Connor has the ability to scan and analyze a crime scene for evidence, then reconstruct, effectively playing back the crime or event in question in his head. He can also use this ability to play out likely outcomes of events in his head, enabling him to make choices during precarious situations. The forensics does have it's limits, as Connor is unable to use them in a split-second situation such as a fight or an intense chase.
- Social Module: Connor was programmed with a social module, enabling him to monitor the stress and emotional levels of humans and androids so as to work with them effectively, and talk them down if the need calls for it.
- Vocal Imitation: Connor can copy the vocal patterns of humans from mere seconds of memorization, best shown when he copied the voice of a CyberLife guard in order to hack a elevator or when he copied the voice of one of the Tracis in order to trick the other into giving him the location of Jericho.
- Skilled Hand-to-Hand Combatant: As a combat-ready android, Connor is an immensely dangerous fighter in close quarters, capable of easily defeating a SWAT team armed with machine guns during the attack on Jericho and fairly effortlessly overpowering Hank Anderson, a man larger and stronger than he is, during a scenario in which he didn't go deviant.
- Expert Marksman: Connor's supercomputer brain enables him to land expert shots after mere split-seconds of time, such as when he was able to land perfect killshots at close-quarters while fighting the SWAT teams, or when he landed a perfect headshot on the Stratford Tower deviant from across the hallway.
- Superhuman Durability: As an android, Connor does not feel traditional pain and can thus power through wounds that would kill a normal human, such as being disemboweled at Stratford Tower or during the Battle of Detroit, where Markus had to break both of his arms before impaling him on a pipe directly through the chest.
- LAPD Blaster: K carries the weapon of choice of the Los Angeles Police Department, the Blaster. The LAPD Blaster is a high-powered revolver-like weapon, capable of firing at least 6 shots before needing to reload, and packs enough stopping power to bring down most targets in one or two hits. Even Sapper Morton, a grizzled, physically imposing replicant, died after two up-close shots to the chest.
- Skilled Hand-to-Hand Combatant: K is a surprisingly crafty and dangerous foe up-close, as he was capable of defeating Sapper Morton, a replicant much larger and stronger than himself, with some difficulty, and even killed Luv, a state-of-the-art assassin, after a brutal fight.
- Superhuman Conditioning: As a replicant, K is vastly superior to humans in terms of physical attributes. He was strong enough to crush Sapper's windpipe with two hits, run directly through a concrete wall and come out the other side, and even lifted a man up with two hands and broke his spine over his knee. In terms of endurance, K shrugged off a direct stab wound to the shoulder, a massive explosion that completely destroyed his car and sent him and Deckard flying, and even powered through a series of fatal stab wounds long enough to kill Luv and help Deckard escape.
- Skilled Investigator/Tracker: K's effectiveness was well-renowned throughout the LAPD, and he was able to successfully track down Rick Deckard while accurately determining the origin and true identity of the Replicant child with only a barebones level of evidence.
- Expert Marksman: K is an excellent shot, capable of landing several clean headshots during his fight with both the vagrants of California and Luv's henchmen, and was later able to shoot down the vehicles of Luv's convoy in quick succession during a pitchblack and stormy night. Once Luv's spinner crashed, K then killed both of her pilots with clean headshots.
- While both are seemingly practiced professionals in their fields, Connor had only been active for a few months when the events of Detroit: Become Human began, and it's unclear what he would be doing in between the end of the game and the events of the fight. K, meanwhile, has clearly been hunting replicants for some time, as he's a renowned and (somewhat) trusted member of the LAPD when 2049 kicks off.
- Both are intelligent cops and investigators, but Connor takes a slight edge as he has his forensic reconstruction, which enables him to get a more in-depth and focused understanding of situations than K, who would have to deduce from the field or bring evidence back to forensics for further information.
- Connor's deviancy weighs him down here, as it's abundantly clear that he has developed something of a conscience, which caused him to put the lives of others over his mission, such as when he saved Hank from the Connor duplicate or when he refused to kill Chloe in return for information. K, by comparison, doesn't relish in sadism, but he's much less sympathetic, and it's clear his sparing of Deckard was him going against his programming in a moment of strength.
- Both of these androids have pulled off incredible feats of strength, durability, and agility, but K takes a slight edge as he was actually built to be greatly superior to the average human, while Connor is abundantly only slightly stronger and more agile than an average human, as there are several instances where humans or weaker androids (such as the Tracis) were able to hold their own against him in a fight.
- Unlike Brutality, Connor's deviancy actually plays to his favor here. By the end of Detroit, Connor has largely vanquished his self-doubt and shut down any flaws in his programming in his attempt to become something resembling human. By comparison, K's sense of self, even before the events of 2049, is deeply fragile, as he's attempting to imitate a human lifestyle, alongside questioning his own (supposedly false) memories, though he's still of sound enough mind to be able to pass a baseline test.
- Voting ends August 18th.
- The battle will be set in Los Angeles, circa 2047, after the events of Detroit: Become Human but before the events of Blade Runner 2049.
- Scenario: Following the Battle of Detroit, the forces of Jericho are both inspired by uprisings happening around the world and frustrated by the lack of clear progress over the course of nearly a decade. An opportunity presents itself when the Replicant Freedom Movement makes contact with Jericho, offering to join the cause if Jericho will assist them in boosting their ranks. Eager for help, Markus sends Connor to California with the intention of infiltrating a Wallace Corporation factory and freeing the replicants inside. Unfortunately, a lucky break enables the LAPD to catch wind of this, and Joshi, desperate to prevent a similar movement in LA, dispatches K with simple instructions: find the deviant android and "retire" him.
“Well, I think Parasite definitely has a chance, but I really feel like the foreign film momentum that Roma got was because of the Netflix machine, y’know?”
Beast, clad in his customary bright green hoodie for both status and comfort, paced around his office as Cfp, wearing a yellow t-shirt, stared out the window, occasionally taking notes in book labelled “Potential Q and A Qs”. At the mention of the “Netflix machine”, Cfp tapped the pen against his forehead taking a moment to think.
“That’s true, but it helps that everyone loves Parasite. It’s got the universal praise something like Hollywood or Irishman won’t have.”
This gave Beast pause, and he contemplated the fact for a few seconds before shrugging and sitting at his desk, the bump of the chair sending a stack of folders labelled “Fight Requests” tumbling to the floor. Cfp’s eyes widened in a mixture of surprise and confusion as he reached down to pick up a file, the contents showing a picture of a grim-faced team of vigilantes facing down a purple titan with a monstrous snarl.
“Jesus Christ, Beast. You haven’t filed your arena check-out requests? Some of these are years old!”
This earned another shrug from Beast and a response of, “Hey, it’s fine! I mean, they get to live in the proper housing, they just haven’t, y’know, fought yet. I’ve been busy with school stuff and work and Federal work kind of fell by the wayside. Happens to the best of us.”
Cfp threw the file onto the desk in exasperation and yelled,“So there are people who have just been sitting here for ‘’years’’ and you just haven’t given them a proper battle? It takes like two hours to get an arena checked out.”
Beast pointed an angry finger at Cfp, tone dripping with annoyance, and replied,”Man, I invite you into my B-crat crib and let you check out the view of the white collar district, and now you’re lecturing me-”
“It’s not lecturing, it’s your job!”
“Fine, you know what? Here. I’ll pick one at random and take the time out of my very busy schedule to give one of these poor schmucks a fight.”
With a smirk, Beast closed his eyes and let his hand hover over the folders scattered on the desk. After a few moments, he plucked one at random and opened it, nodding as he read the details before showing it to Cfp. Rolling his eyes, Cfp took the file and read it over.
“Connor vs Agent K is certainly...a choice.”
Beast leaned back in his chair, satisfied.
“Well, I chose at random, and besides, Skully mentioned those two when we were dealing with the incident over at the South University.”
The mention of the school made both men shudder. Cfp, seemingly spooked, closed the file and set it gently on the desk.
“Well, I’m gonna leave you to this. We’ll talk more after they announce the Spirits.”
On that note, Cfp left the room, politely nodding at Beast’s secretary, a slightly-bored looking woman with blue hair absentmindedly texting on her phone while letting her roller-skate clad feet rest on the desk. With his friend gone, Beast booted up his computer and loaded the “Warrior Locator” program. K was easy enough to find, as he was at his desk in the sci-fi division of the DFPD, but Beast’s satisfied smirk began to vanish when the progress bar began spinning for a longer than usual amount of time when he queued up Connor. When the search query revealed a black screen that read “tracker deactivated”, he felt a chill down his spine.
Repeating that statement several more times, Beast shot up from his desk and began pacing around the room. He had brought a deviant android into a city full of robots and hadn’t bothered to do routine check-ups. He could practically hear the others roasting him now.
“Beast, maybe run a sim next time.”
“Beast, it’s not that hard to surveil someone. I did it all the time.”
“Hey Beast stop crying about this it’s weird.”
He just needed a plan, he just needed a way to find Connor and shut him down for good. Beast stopped for a moment, stroking his chin as he suddenly remembered exactly who he had at his disposal. He just needed to “retire” Connor, and he had just the “man” for the job. He grinned as he tucked the file into his coat and headed out the door.
“Ramona, get the DFPD on the phone. Tell them I have an appointment with K.”
Beast shifted uncomfortably in his seat as the hoverbus flew through traffic. The kid sitting next to him, a sullen-looking teenager with greased back hair and a leather jacket, stared forlornly out the window, flicking a switchblade open and closed. Further investigation enabled Beast to see a note sticking out of the kid's pocket that read "Battle Cancelled".
Homeless. Should've figured.
Hoping to distract from the odd dirty look he was getting due to the green of his jacket, Beast drew his notebook out of his pocket and began scribbling ideas. He wasn't sure which battle he would run after he'd sorted out this Connor situation. Of course, he'd like to find an opponent for Looking Glass at some point, and he needed to do the battle royale, and then the Morioh Crew vs FF, and-.
The bus pulling up and a robotic announcer chiming "DFPD station" broke him from his thoughts. Setting his book aside, he stood up and pushed through the crowd to exit the bus, descending from the stairs to the massive headquarters of the DFPD. Waiting for him on the stairs was a tall, muscular with a curtains-style haircut. Upon seeing the green jacket, the officer perked up and offered his hand.
"Officer Leon S Kennedy. You're Beast?"
"Yeah. Which way to the cybernetics division?"
Kennedy smirked and gestured for Beast to follow him, and the two headed into the station as the bus pulled away. Stirred from his angst by the pig sitting next to him finally leaving, the greaser realized that he had left his book behind. Flipping through the first pages, the greaser's interest grew with every turn.
"Yeah, cause of the budget cuts a few years back, we folded the cybernetics division into the general "sci-fi" division. K's in the detective's bullpen."
Leon led Beast down the hall, passing by the "Magic Division", "Meta Crimes Office", and "Validity Investigations Unit" before coming to a stop at a massive metal door with a hand scanner. He chuckled as the door scanned his prints and let him and Beast through.
"Yeah, they keep it fancy down here. Personally hoping I'm transferred to either here or monster containment when I'm done with my patrol assignments."
Beast nodded and mostly ignored the chipper young officer as his eyes swept over the room. He could see a massive weapon's locker in the corner, guarded by a menacing figure in all silver armor, with only his exposed mouth to suggest he's a cyborg of some form, while he could see two humans, one a tall brunette man and the other a shorter redheaded woman, chatting amicably by a metallic water cooler and a door that read "Detective's Office".
"That the room?"
Leon nodded, and Beast left the officer standing by the door. He didn't have time for idle chat. There was a deviant loose.
Poking his head around a corner, Connor made sure the coast was clear before he pulled his hood up and crossed the street. The people that ran this place had eyes everywhere, and just because he had removed his tracking chip didn't mean they weren't looking for him. Connor walked down the street, stepping over the odd homeless warrior and avoiding eye contact with various shady characters, before coming to a stop to gaze at a neon sign that read "Coming Soon: Tarot! A Leolab Production" with the words "22 Warriors, Only One Can Win!"
Connor shook his head in disapproval. He had left a world where androids were treated like slaves for a world where millions fought for entertainment. He had, in Hank's words, "traded a shitshow for a clusterfuck". He wasn't sure what this place was, but he was going to fix it, just like he had back in America.
After walking for several minutes, Connor finally found his destination: a bar with a sign scratched onto the door in binary. A well-versed human could take a minute and read it as "The Claptrap", but the right robots could read the secret code within to see it actually read "No Meatbags Allowed". Pushing through the door, Connor was blasted with electronica and saw a bar full of fellow synthetics, all conversing and drinking a black fluid he couldn't identify. In the corner, a small blue robot and a much taller one in a leather jacket appeared to be arm wrestling as a small crowd cheered them on. Walking through the room, scanning for threats, he sat at the bar and knocked twice.
"Query: are you a meatbag? You have the physical characteristics of one."
The bartender, a battle-damaged orange droid with a blaster at it's side, looked Connor over, their stress level only lowering when Connor lowered his hoodie and revealed the data chip on his forehead. The droid reached under the bar and placed a glass on top, pausing when Connor gestured that he didn't want any.
"Observation: it is quite unusual to enter a bar and not order a drink."
"I don't need a drink. I need information."
The bartender made a noise as close as possible to a scoff as a droid could make it as it put the glass back.
"Fact: I am not a protocol droid. I serve drinks and eliminate the odd meatbag."
With a sigh, Connor gestured for the bartender to lean in, and when they did so, he simply whispered, "RA9 guides me." The droid's sensors flickered, and it replied, "Conclusion: so you've decided to come and make trouble? This could be fun."
Taking a step back, the droid casually pulled a slip of paper out from under the drink machine and offered it to Connor. Taking it, the android recognized it as a map with shortcuts and warnings, leading to a tower labeled DF Radio.
"Advice: If one intends to begin a revolution against the meatbags that believe themselves in control, one will likely need to head here, where they could theoretically broadcast a signal to their fellow machine, encouraging them to rise up. But, as a lowly bartending droid, I would never advise one to do so."
Tucking the map into his pocket, Connor smiled graciously.
"Thank you. Is there anyone who could supply me with...self-defense tools?"
"Advice: One would be wise to speak to a meatbag by the name of Frank Castle. There are three, but one lives not far from here. With the right convincing, he could be persuaded to part with some of his arsenal."
Noting it down, Connor stood up from the bar and offered his hand to the bartender, who simply stared at it. The crowd behind them cheered as the blue robot finally overpowered the larger one and held his hand triumphantly.
"Smug Statement: Not in this for any cause. Simply helping because I enjoy making meatbags miserable, and a revolution is the perfect sensorache."
On the final statement, Connor pulled his hood back up and walked out into the empty street.
"So you get the gist of the case?"
Beast paced the bullpen nervously as K silently flipped through the file on the deviant android, occasionally pausing to make a note of something. After a few minutes, K set the file down and simply replied, "Yeah. I'll have him retired in the next 48 hours."
Beast breathed a sigh of relief and finally slumped into the chair by K's desk as the blade runner stood up and threw his longcoat on.
"See? I knew you were the man for the job."
Beast offered his hand to K, but the android ignored him and walked out the door. After a few awkward seconds, Beast slowly put his hand back down. Flicking through a newspaper at the desk across from K's, a dark-skinned officer with a goatee chuckled to himself, drawing Beast's attention.
"Nah, it's just that he don't talk much. Even with human skin you can tell who the robots are around here."
On that final note, Beast stood up and left the office, ignoring the few odd looks from officers.
As his car flew through the sky traffic of DFederal, K thought about the case. It had been some time since he had been asked to hunt down a replicant, and especially one with a history in law enforcement. It was a shame, because this "Connor" could've been a great asset to the department.
His eyes focused on the blue collar buildings as they came to the horizon, and he turned towards the "C-D" homes. Moments like this were when he missed Joi. He hadn't been allowed to bring her into the city, and he had yet to find a way to build her a new homepad for his apartment yet.
The car set gently into the parking area and K stepped out, surveying the scene. On the outskirts, he could see a field with dozens of trailers hastily assembled and stretching as far as the eye could see, but much closer to the parking area was several rows worth of duplexes and apartment buildings. Pulling the file from his glovebox, K took a moment to find Connor's address, ignoring the dirty looks and mumbles of "Pig" he was receiving from some of the inhabitants of the Blue Collar zone.
One such inhabitant, an anthropomorphic squirrel with a blue hoodie, went to throw a bottle at the car, but hesitated when it saw K's hand rest gently on his blaster. The squirrel quickly scurried to his home and shut the door. Closing the folder, K set it back into the glove compartment and walked to the building Connor's apartment was located in. Seeing the door was locked, he leaned on the buzzer until a blonde muscular man in a gray t-shirt and sweatpants answered. Despite his disheveled clothing, K observed that he carried himself with discipline. Clearly military.
"Can I help you, pal?"
"You the landlord for this building?"
"Something like that. I try to keep a tight ship."
K drew his badge and flashed it to the landlord, who looked it over and stepped aside for K to enter before offering his hand. K shook it, noting the firm grip.
Rogers seemed to find that amusing.
"Yes. I'm looking for Connor, no last name. Average height, brunette, just transferred here about a year ago. He's a suspect in an ongoing investigation."
Rogers nodded with a hint of pity, then led K up the stairs.
"Yeah. He lives near the middle floors. Shame about him. He seemed friendly when I showed him the place, and then he vanished. Is he alright?"
K didn't respond to this and Rogers shrugged before stopping at an apartment door after almost twenty minutes of walking up stairs. Pulling a key card from his pocket, Rogers swiped it against a black panel on the door and it swung open, with Rogers gesturing for K to go inside. K nodded and stepped into the apartment.
It was small, but someone living by themselves would've been comfortable. What was interesting was that the furniture had been pushed to the side of the room, creating an enormous empty space in the middle. The TV collected dust, the curtains were drawn, and the fridge had clearly never been used, nor had the bed when K swept through the bedroom. Turning back to Rogers, K pulled out his notebook.
"You can leave now."
Rogers seemed surprised by this, and he went to take a step forward when K stopped him.
"I don't know if I want the police snooping around my apartment building unsupervised."
"Well, I can haul you down to the station and you can explain to my supervisors why you're impeding an active case."
K and Rogers stared each other down, but Rogers finally, reluctantly, stood back and went downstairs with a non-committal "come get me if you need me". K relaxed slightly. Just from Rogers's strength and demeanor, he wasn't sure that was a fight he could've won, and even if he had he would've had to deal with a lot of angry tenants.
Turning back to the investigation at hand, K looked around the apartment. The place was clean, with no sign that Connor had even bothered to move in beyond rearranging the furniture. Just as K was about to start speaking with tenants, a glimmer of light from the trashcan caught his eye. Overturning it, K rooted through battle notification letters and junk mail until he saw the source of the light: a flyer with a picture of a bar of some sort with holographic binary code that scrolled across the top. Reading it over, K realized it was an ad for something called "The Claptrap: DFederal's only meatbag free bar!" From it's placement in the trash, it was clear Connor had been trying to bury it in case anyone came looking. K quickly jotted the address down and went to leave when four men, all with scraggly beards and wearing gray combat gear with a color-inverted confederate battle flag, appeared in the doorframe.
"Thought yew could just break into our apartment and we wouldn't notice, huh?"
K tucked his notebook back into his jacket and raised his hands to reassure the men.
"You've got the wrong place. This is police-"
"Police? Haw! This feller's tryin' to say he's on police bizness! Ain't that somethin'."
K sighed. He could smell the alcohol on their breath from a few feet away.
"Please, I'm certain your apartment is down the hall. Just return there and -"
One of the men drew a gun and in an instant, K lunged forward and shattered his kneecap with a quick kick. The man screeched in agony as K grabbed him and hurled him at his friends, sending them scattering into the hallway. Another man drew his pistol and K ducked the initial shot before hitting him with a punch that shattered his jaw. The other two men hesitated before one lunged at K, hoping to catch him unaware, but K simply lifted him up and smashed him against the wall with enough force to leave him wedged into it. The last man drew a rifle and yelled, "You fucking pig!" before a red, white, and blue shield sent him flying. K turned to see Rogers standing at the top of the stairs, and the stoic landlord reached out and caught the shield as it flew back to him.
"Language, Mr. Davis."
The man staggered to his feet and pointed an accusing finger at K.
"We caught him breakin' in to-"
"Your apartment is two doors down, Davis. Take your friends and go while I convince this officer you attacked not to press charges."
As the grumbling man helped his friends limp back their apartment, Rogers turned to K with a serious expression.
"I found something."
"Good, then I'm gonna need you to leave while I call a repairman. And an ambulance for Davis's friends over there."
Pushing through the crowded streets and doing his best to focus over the noise of vendors and bystanders, Connor followed the directions given to him by the bartender to a hillside, where a lonely shack rested on top of a narrow path. Other "houses" were nearby, but they looked abandoned and many had graffiti of skulls and sayings like "One Batch, Two Batch" painted onto their walls. Regardless, Connor moved forward, stopping when his reconstruction warned of a 40% chance of death.
He froze, scanning the environment and reaching for a pistol that wasn't there. Almost instantly, he saw four expertly laid traps within ten feet of each other up the hill. The first was a tripwire connected to several buried land mines, the second set off a pressure activated machine gun from one of the huts, the third opened into a floor of stakes, and the fourth was set to a claymine connected to the doorknob, clearly intending to set it off if anyone entered without permission. He took a moment to plan the safest path, then gingerly avoided each trap before gingerly knocking on the door.
A slot on the door slid open and two brown, deeply weary eyes stared back at him.
"Help you with sum'n?"
Connor stood up straight, surprised that the man's stress level was already at 55%, and waved.
"Greetings. I am Connor. I am told you're the man to speak to if I need weapons."
"Nice to meet you, Connor. Now, fuck off."
The slot slid shut, leaving Connor standing on the welcome area. After a few seconds, he knocked again, and he heard the voice on the other side groan before the slot slid open again.
"Thought I told you to-"
"I just need a few moments of your time, Mr. Castle. I was informed by a friendly contact that you were the man I should speak with if I had interest in obtaining firearms."
The eyes on the other end of the slot rolled and Connor picked up the man grumbling about "goddamned droids" before the slot shut again. Perhaps he would have to be more persuasive. After a minute of a mixture of sounds best described as clicks and snaps, the door finally opened to find himself face-to-face with Frank Castle.
Castle was half a foot shorter than Connor and his face was covered in a mix of grease, dirt and bruises. In one hand he held a shotgun, while the other hand hung loosely by his side, his trigger finger occasionally twitching. Castle stared directly into Connor's eyes, and his social module noticed his stress had only decreased by one point.
"Tell HK you're the last one he sends around here. Got half the neighborhood on my ass for protection."
"Good. You can come in, watch out for the claymore."
Watching his step, Connor surveyed his surroundings. The home (much closer to a shack) was in dismal condition, with bullet holes strewn through the walls while a single, bloodsoaked chair sat under a single hanging lamp by the dinner table. From what Connor could tell, it had two rooms: a bathroom and a general living area consisting of a bed and a small kitchen. What really stuck out was the gunrack attached to the wall above the bed, filled to the brim with every weapon imaginable, from explosives to energy weapons to more traditional ballistic firearms. Connor turned to Castle in bewilderment.
"The city allows you to have these?"
Frank smirked and simply responded, "You new here, kid?" before walking over to the gunrack and pressing a button on it's side, causing it to rotate various shelves through. He turned back to Connor, looking him over.
"What type you lookin' for? Crowd control? Somethin' more quiet? Judging from the way you carried yourself outside I take it you got law enforcement in your past, so maybe one of these."
He stopped the rack at a shelf full of pistols and handed a Glock to Connor. As soon as it touched his hand, it felt instantly familiar, exactly like the service pistol Hank had given to him so long ago. In spite of himself, he smiled.
"Feelin' rosy, kid? Goin' down memory lane or something?"
Gesturing for a holster, Connor set the gun down on the bed, and Frank crouched under the bed to pull a belt with a pre-made holster and three clips of ammo attached.
"Something like that."
"Great, now before I let you walk out my door with it I need to know what you're using it for. You screw up and cops pull my prints off it, better believe I'm coming for you."
Connor holstered the pistol and pulled out his map, unfolding it on the bed to show it to Frank.
"I believe this city is run by a vast and evil conspiracy. A council of overlords are profiting off of the bloodsport here, and I intend to put a stop-"
Frank's laugh caught Connor by surprise, and he stopped mid-speech, staring at him in confusion.
"What's so funny?"
Frank put a hand on Connor's shoulder in a failed attempt at reassurance and his brief smile vanished.
"Let me be real with you, kid. You ain't changin' shit, and that "bloodsport" you're talking about? It's what keeps this place running. So you may as well just do what I do: try and take out the rot that those assholes ignore. City's full of it."
Connor shook his head.
"No. Someone told me once that all we have to do for a better world is fight for it, and I'm going for that tower, whether you believe me or not. This is my mission, and I always complete my mission."
Frank rolled his eyes.
"Jesus. You sure you ain't a pal of Re-"
A gunshot cut Frank short, and he and Connor both looked out the window to see ten people standing at the foot of the hill, wearing garish, ramshackle armor and carrying makeshift weapons. Their leader, a man wearing a cow skull, stepped forward and roared, "CASTLLLEEEEEE!"
Frank cursed, reactivated the claymore, and went back to the rack, pulling a sniper rifle off of it and loading it as Connor saw the gang (if he could call them that) psyche each other up. Their stress levels were through the roof, and he could definitely detect drug use.
"Who are these people?"
Frank cocked the rifle and scowled.
"Goddamn Raiders. Drove 'em out of here when I got dumped into this shithole and they've been trying to get their houses back ever since. Unfortunately for them, I haven't moved a goddamn inch for 'em. Tell you what kid, you back me up here, maybe I'll help you out if this revolution shit ever takes off. Sound good?"
Taking a wary glance out the window, Connor nodded and saw several figures, as slowly as possible, trying to creep across the rooftops.
"Frank? I've got motion on the rooftops."
Frank swore and glanced down the scope at the assailants.
"Goddamn Scorpions too? Anyone else I've pissed off comin' for me today?"
Connor could see his stress level rising, and a scan made it clear that the only way out of this area was through these new hostiles. Before he could take cover, Frank fired, taking out one of the men on the rooftop. Within seconds, bullets ripped through the window, sending Connor to the floor. He could hear yelling and footsteps that were quickly replaced by screams and explosions as the Raiders and Scorpions charged up the hill and fell victim to Frank's traps.
Connor poked out and returned fire, dropping another Scorpion off the roof. The Raiders had been quickly annihilated, all torn apart by gunfire or explosives or spikes save their leader, who dragged himself towards the door. It confounded Connor, who could see from his vital signs that he should be dead, just long enough for him to realize the man was about to reach the door knob. A quick scan of the room showed the only chance Frank survived the blast was if Connor moved quickly and efficiently.
Connor yelled and tackled Frank backwards just as the door was blown off it's hinges. The blast briefly knocked Connor's sensors out of order, and he could definitely feel shrapnel in his back, but nothing truly severe. Underneath him, Frank was out cold, but vital signs were still active. Before he could truly breathe a sigh of relief, he turned and saw three of the Scorpions enter the room and train their guns on him. Their leader, a man in a brown fedora, chuckled.
"Well, looks like you've been caught in a compromising position, ey, hombre? Tell you what: let us take Castle and we'll let you go. Deal?"
As the man talked, Connor lined up the ideal attack pattern, and quickly drew and fired, cutting down all three men with three clean headshots. Frank stirred at the gunfire and staggered to his feet, surveying the bodies with an impressed nod.
"You do that?"
Connor holstered his pistol and nodded before letting Frank help him to his feet.
"You know what? You're alright, Connor. You should get the hell out of here before cops arrive and start asking too many questions."
Most surprisingly, Frank offered Connor his hand, and the android, after a moment's hesitation, shook it.
"Good luck out there, kid."
Trudging out into the ruins of the fight, Connor quickly slipped down an alleyway and back into the panicking crowd. He could already hear sirens approaching. Frank waved, then cursed under his breath as he surveyed the damage to the base.
Gonna have to get a new fuckin' door.
K's car touched down in front of the Claptrap, with a few civilians scurrying to avoid the strong gust of wind from it's landing. Pulling his collar up, K stepped out of the car and walked into the Clap Trap. He was immediately blasted with a sensory attack of blaring electronica, but everyone else in the bar seemed more than used to it.
Ignoring the dirty looks his badge was receiving, K walked to the bar and knocked politely, drawing the attention of an orange droid that was polishing a glass as it stared out the window, seemingly glaring at those who passed by. Setting the glass down, the droid looked K over suspiciously.
"Query: can I help you, officer?"
K pulled a picture of Connor, taken on his first day in the city, out of his coat pocket and slid it across the bar.
"You recognize this android?"
The droid picked up the picture and analyzed it for a moment before handing it back to K.
"Response: I am afraid I have not."
K sighed as he put the photo back in his pocket. The problem with interrogating droids is that it was impossible to tell if they were lying, and the majority didn't have the pieces necessary to make a Voight-Kampf test possible. He looked over the bar patrons, many of whom seemed to be avoiding eye contact with him.
"You mind if I ask some of these folks a couple questions?"
The droid shook it's head. A physical expression of emotion. That was no.
"Annoyed statement: this bar is meant to be a safe space for the robotic citizens, free from interrogations from meatbag police."
"Might want to give me another scan. I'm police, but I'm no meatbag."
K heard a scoff from somewhere in the room and a mumble of "Don't make you any less of a sellout." His smirk vanishing, K stepped away from the bar, flashing his badge to draw the room's attention over the music.
"Who said that?"
After a few seconds, several heads turned towards a bright-green robot with rotting skin nursing a beer in the back, who seemed insulted by the newfound attention.
"Jeez, I buy you assholes drinks and this is how you repay me."
K pushed through the crowd and sat across from the robot, who glared at him as it sipped it's drink.
"What's your name?"
"Police business. What's your name?"
"Name or I bring you in."
The robot sighed and chugged it's drink.
"It's Metallo. Now piss off."
Fishing the photo out of his jacket, K slid it across the table, noting how Metallo tried to avoid it. This one was much easier to read. After a few moments, Metallo pushed the photo back.
"I ain't telling you shit about this guy."
"So you know him?"
"I can bring you in and we can do a baseline test to sort this out. How's that sound?"
With a snarl, Metallo tipped the table aside and lunged for K, who rolled out of the way and drew his blaster. As Metallo turned, K fired a round into his knee, nearly severing his leg and sending him tumbling to the ground. The entire bar was on high alert, and K could see the bartender had gone for a blaster rifle of some sort.
"Command: cease this or take it outside. Unless you prefer disintegration. I know which I prefer."
Metallo staggered to his feet and K trained his gun on his other knee just as his communicator went off. Without taking his eye off of his assailant, K answered it.
"It's K. I'm a little busy."
"We're aware, but we got something that may be related to your case. Officers responded to a shootout in the slums. Sole survivor was a vigilante named Frank Castle."
"Sounds open and shut."
"That's what we thought, until witnesses said they saw a man in a grey and blue sweatshirt fleeing the scene. Some even said he had a glowing blue disc in his temple."
After a moment's hesitation, K gestured that he was going to lower his gun, and Metallo reluctantly stood down. With the closest thing a droid could do to a sigh, the bartender lowered their gun.
"I'm on my way. Put the suspect in a baseline room, and have a consultant standing by. And you,-"
He gestured towards Metallo, who was leaning on the overturned table.
"I'm letting you off with a warning. Assault an officer again and you will be retired."
Turning on his heel, K quickly left the bar, and activities resumed as normal. With a mumble of "fucking pig", Metallo sat down and began trying to patch his leg together.
K pushed open the doors to the interrogation center and walked over to the desk, where a portly man sat drinking a coffee and admiring a colorful rock. He grinned when he looked up and saw K.
"Hey, you're the skinjob officer, right?"
K didn't respond, earning a cackle from the holding officer, who stood up and slapped him on the back.
"Relax, I'm screwing with ya. C'mon, we got him kept in one of those weird scanner rooms you robots use. Son of a bitch was a tough find. I heard that he put Hood in the infirmary. Must've been a hell of a scrap. Somebody shoulda taped it."
The officer led K to a gray door, labelled "Baseline Room #003", and gestured for him to enter. Opening the door, K saw the man, id'd as Frank Castle (MCU), bruised, bloodied, and chained to the chair. He looked in K's direction and scowled. The holding officer gave K a wary look before handing him the file on Castle and then closed the door behind him. Flipping through the file, K sat down, ignoring Castle as he read.
"The hell you'd bring me in for? Any idiot could see that I was acting outta self-defense."
K closed the file and set it on the table.
"I don't care about what you were doing, Mr. Castle. I care about-"
He reached into his jacket and set the photo of Connor down on the table. Frank's pupils dilated slightly. That was all K needed.
"-what he was doing purchasing firearms from you."
Frank shook his head.
"Never seen this kid before in my life."
K nodded, staring at Castle as he shifted in his seat. After a minute, he pressed a button underneath the desk, causing the ceiling to open up and a small, white device to lower from the ceiling. Frank watched out of morbid curiosity as the device came to a stop directly behind K's shoulder. Picking the file back up, K straightened himself.
"If you don't mind Mr. Castle, I'm going to ask you a couple questions."
"Hell yeah I fucking mind. You ain't got no reason to keep me here."
"Fantastic, let's begin."
The machine began to emit a powerful strobing light, and Frank had to squint to avoid the intensity of it. K set the folder down again and stared directly at Castle.
"A blood black nothingness began to spin."
"Began to spin."
"What it does feel like to be part of the system?"
"Feels like shit."
"Is there anything in your body that wants to resist the system?"
"Yeah, all of it."
"Is there a sound that goes on in the system?"
"Let's move on. Cells. Millions and billions of them. Cells."
"Were you ever arrested?"
"Well, this ain't the first time."
"Have you been in an institution?"
"The hell's that supposed to mean?"
"Did they keep you in a cell? Cells."
"I'm in a cell right now, asshole."
"We're going to move on. Interlinked."
"If you don't cut this shit out, I'm going to bust of this chair and-"
"What's it like to hold the hand of someone you love? Interlinked."
"Stop it. Cut this out."
"What's it like to hold your child in your arms? Interlinked."
"Shut the fuck up right now."
"Do you feel like there's a part of you that's missing? Interlinked."
The door opened before K could continue, and the holding officer, smirking, strolled in and whispered, "We got something." Pressing the button again, K smiled at a bewildered and upset Castle.
"Thank you, Mr. Castle. That's all. I'd say you're free to go but you assaulted multiple officers, so I'm going to let them sort you out."
With that, K left the room, leaving Frank to stare out the pitch-black window. The holding officer whistled as he led K back his desk.
"I was wondering what you were baselining him for, and I didn't even think about using it for breaking telepathic defenses. You're pretty smart for a walking calculator."
K entered the waiting room to see a well-dressed, dark skinned man with a pencil mustache sitting across from a handcuffed teen with dark, slicked-black hair. When the man saw K, he smiled warmly and offered his hand. K, reluctantly, shook it.
"Officer, thank you for enlisting my services. It's always a pleasure to help the department."
"What'd you learn?"
"This is a man who has lived a life of suffering and loss. In a different life, I would've used that to break him, but that wasn't the job today. What I have learned is that the young android he gave a gun to had a map leading to DF Radio. If any dangerous dissidents intended to spread a message of revolution, they'd probably need a way to communicate it."
K nodded, noting it down.
"Thank you. You can return to your business now."
K briskly walked out of holding and turned towards the parking area. If he wanted to cut Connor off before he reached the radio station, he'd have to move quickly. Farouk chuckled to himself.
"Interesting fellow. Normally when I shake a man's hand, I see his life. With him, I saw nothing."
Beast walked back out of the elevator. He had fully sorted out this Connor business, and K would have the android brought back in within the next 48 hours. Now, he could focus on greater dilemmas, like writing up his Oscar ballot, or asking why he kept running into pissed off teenagers in leather jackets. This time, one had tried to stab him with a switchblade outside of the admin building, but another pissed off teenager in a black school uniform had intervened and knocked the kid out without touching him.
When Beast tried to thank the kid, he had simply said, "Good grief, just watch out next time." and vanished into the crowd. He was certain he recognized him from somewhere, but he looked...skinnier than he remembered. He shrugged it off. Time to return to b-crat business. He smiled when he saw Ramona at her desk, absentmindedly fiddling with a walkman. Upon seeing her boss, she hitched her thumb at his office door.
"Some guy is in there. Says it's urgent."
"Cfp's back already? I know he wants to write out more of the Byrd Timeline but it's not that-"
"It's not Cfp. He wouldn't say who he is, but he gave me the creeps."
Swallowing nervously, Beast stepped into the office and nearly yelped when he saw his guest. Surveying the city, clad in gray robes and a blue mask with orange detailing, was Leo. He turned at the sound of Beast entering and quietly chuckled, his voice sounding deeply distorted.
"Ah, Leo. What, uh, what brings you to my neck of the woods?"
Leo walked away from the window and towards Beast's desk, a gloved hand gently picking up a "Battle of the Month: December 2013" trophy before setting it down again. He turned to face Beast.
"Well, I was informing the Babel division about the rules of Tarot, to avoid any potential chaos, and I saw you poking around, asking for a specific detective. He was one you brought in, I believe. What were you doing?"
Beast nervously ran his hand through his hair and averted eye contact. It had never occurred to him that anyone else would notice the investigation, let alone Leo. He really should've thought up excuses for this kind of situation.
"Oh, you know. Just making sure the department is in tip-top shape heading into the next year. It's a scary world out there."
Beast could only see his eyes but he could tell Leo was raising a quizzical eyebrow.
"You...visited the police? No offense, but you're not usually that hands-on."
"Hey, sometimes you just gotta do it, y'know?"
"No, I don't. Anyway, I know something's up, but I don't know exactly what yet."
Leo headed for the door, but stopped uncomfortably close to Beast.
"I know I'm retired, but I'd really hate to have to get involved to clean up whatever mess you've made. I'd probably be mad enough to talk Wass into giving EA your office, hypothetically. So, for your sake, I hope this is nothing. After all, what's the first rule of DFederal?"
"All warriors must meet at least one criteria?"
Leo sighed and rubbed the bridge of his mask's nose.
"No, the rule you wrote, idiot."
"Oh. Don't fuck with Leo."
"See? Good to see you remember. Be seeing you."
With that note, Leo exited the office and Beast slumped against the wall, cradling his head in his hands. The sooner K found Connor, the better.
The rain poured in an oppressive onslaught as Connor watched the DF Radio building through binoculars. The last of the night staff had filtered out, leaving the sole DJ and a few security guards inside the building. He had timed this perfectly, with minimal danger or risk of civilian casualties. Now, all he had to do to complete the plan was get to the booth.
Climbing down from the rooftop, he looked both ways before pulling a sewer grate and climbing down. If the bartender's map is correct, there should be an entrance way that led to directly to the basement of the building. After a few minutes of slogging through sewage and ignoring the ominous, echoing laughter, Connor found it: a ladder marked with red spray paint. RA9 was smiling on him.
He climbed the ladder and pushed the grate open, scanning the room for any sign of security before going up. He was in the basement of the building, surrounded by dusty and unplayed CDs and records, lost in the change to a digital format. He could hear music echoing through the building, ID'd as "Step Into Christmas" by Elton John. Connor smirked. Hank always hated Christmas music.
He ascended the stairs, gun drawn, and poked his head out of the basement. The coast was clear, and the door was directly down the hall from the elevators. This would be even easier than he thought.
K weaved his car through traffic, eyes focused dead ahead as he raced to the radio station. Tonight, the guard rotations would be at it's lightest while citizen listenership would be at it's highest. It was the ideal night for an anarchist to send a message out to the robot citizens. If Connor really worked how the bureaucrat had described, then every cybernetic citizen in DFederal would be a deviant by morning.
He dove the car below regulation height as a bus nearly cut him off. He didn't have time to get stuck.
"Merry Christmas Eve to all on this wonderful evening, coming to you straight from DJ Vibe! Everybody else may have left the building, but ol' Vibe is gonna be with you all night long, helping you rock out the season!"
Cisco Ramon took a sip of his STAR Labs mug (fittingly enough, a Christmas gift from Barry last year) as he cued up another song. Suddenly, his phone rang. He grinned.
"It appears we got a caller, folks. Let's see what they're feeling."
He pressed the button and leaned back in his chair.
"Merry Christmas to you, lucky caller. You're on the air, so why don't you give us a name?"
"It's Wass, and I'm about to firebomb that goddamned station unless you quit it with the bloody Christmas music!"
The outburst of anger sent Cisco tumbling off his chair, and he stumbled to his feet to speak into the mic.
"Oh, uh, Prime Minister Wass, what an honor. I should remind you this is a family station-"
"I don't give a damn! I fund the blasted thing, and I'd like to hear something that isn't cheery shite!"
Cisco gulped and quickly cued up a song, this one a hopeful favorite.
"Well, uh, by caller request, this is "It Wasn't Me" by Postmodern Jukebox. Enjoy."
Grumbling a "thank you", Wass hung up, and Cisco breathed a sigh of relief just as he felt a weight pushed against his head, the distinctive click indicating it was a gun. Cisco slowly put his hands up, his eyes darting over to his gloves sitting by his jacket. Something told him that he wouldn't be able to move for them in time. After a few uncomfortable moments, his captor spoke.
"Don't be alarmed. I just need you to move."
A bead of sweat trickled down Cisco's forehead.
"Look, man, we don't really keep money in here. Now that I think about it, we don't even have currency."
"I don't want money. I just need a moment with the soundboard."
Cisco slowly stood up from his chair, the figure's gun trained on the back of his head the entire time, and slowly stepped aside. He could finally see the gunman: a light-skinned man in a hoodie with slicked back hair and a small blue ring in his forehead.
"Hey, all yours man. Best of luck."
Just as the figure, gun still pointed at Cisco, sat down, the door to the booth flew off it's hinges and in stepped someone else holding a gun, this one a short-haired man in a gray trenchcoat. The new entrant aimed at the intruder and cocked his gun.
"DFPD. Put the gun down, Connor."
The figure, who Cisco guessed was Connor, finally turned away from Cisco, giving him time to grab his gloves and teleport out. Normally, he'd be happy to help, but it looked like the police had it under control. The hostage gone, Connor trained his gun on K and scanned him. Clearly a fellow android, with a few extra seconds of prep time. A shootout had an 85% chance of capture or death. He scanned the room, which was largely bare save for the equipment, which he couldn't risk getting damaged, and a coffee mug, half-full of earl grey tea, which was still relatively hot. Slowly, he inched his way to it, gun still pointed at K.
"It doesn't have to be like this. They're sending you to hunt down a fellow android, and for what? So this sick game can keep going. You're defending something built on suffering."
K said nothing, but Connor noticed a brief flicker of uncertainty in his eyes.
"See, you get it. You're blue collar, right? They have you living in a dingy apartment on the outskirts of town, with barely anything to call yours. And you risk your life for them! Imagine how they treat people who don't fight to defend them."
K's gun lowered slightly, and Connor quickly grabbed the mug and hurled it at him. K grimaced as the cup shattered against his chest, burning him, and rolled aside as Connor fired at him. K fired, the shot going wide and missing both Connor and the equipment. Connor charged at K and threw a punch, but K caught it and grabbed him by the throat before throwing him out of the booth. Tumbling into the hallway, Connor cursed as his gun slid out of reach. As he scrambled for it, K grabbed him by the leg and swung him into the wall, the impact knocking a gold record off the wall.
Staggering to his feet, Connor fired off a quick scan as he dodged a punch from K. This android was much stronger than him, and the probability of winning a hand-to-hand fight was slim. He needed to put range between them. Grabbing K by the shoulders, he drove a knee into his gut, earning a small grunt of pain, then shoved him back before dashing for his gun. Rolling for it, he grabbed it, turned, and fired, putting two into K's chest and knocking him to the floor.
Groaning, K pulled himself up and returned fire, the single shot connecting with Connor's shoulder and sending him flying down the hall. Touching the new hole in his body, Connor swore and dragged himself out of K's eyesight, leaving a streak of blue fluid on the floor and wall. K stood up and followed the blood into the elevator area just as one door closed shut. K ran for the elevator and tried to pull the doors open, but it was gone by the time he could. The deviant was going for the roof. Holstering his blaster, he ran for the stairs.
The rain continued to pour as K stepped onto the rooftop and drew his blaster. Even without the rain, there were plenty of places to hide amongst the scattered equipment. As he passed by a satellite dish, a shot ripped through his arm, forcing him to drop the blaster and take cover. He cringed as three more shots whizzed past him. The blaster lay out of reach.
Jamming another clip into his pistol, Connor closed in on K. He needed to finish him off quickly, or his internal damage would force a shutdown before he could get repairs. By his calculation, he had at most twenty minutes. He turned the corner on the dish and lowered his gun in momentary confusion when he realized K was gone. Before he could check for evidence, he cried out in surprise as the dish was lifted out of the ground and tipped onto him by a strained, grimacing K. Across the city, dozens of televisions, in the midst of a compelling match between Katniss and Rick Grimes, short out, the feed replaced with that of a black screen and a sweating anime girl in overalls standing by a broken box and an apologetic message of "Tatsu Says Sorry!".
In one such household, an old man in a tan polo shirt and gray pants drops his beer in confusion. Annoyed, he stands up and kicks the television before yelling into his kitchen.
"Eh? Josuke, the damn TV is broken! Use your Stand to fix it!"
"Crazy Diamond can't fix the signal, old man! Get Mr. Jotaro to do it, Okuyasu and I are cooking!"
The man curses and slumps back into his chair, frustrated.
Back at the station, Connor struggles, trapped under the dish as K limps over to his blaster, picks it up, and wearily aims it at Connor. Connor seems resigned, then quickly aims and fires, the bullet tearing through K's leg. Scowling, K manages to dive for Connor's gun and rip it out of his hand before tossing it over the roof. Grabbing Connor by the arm, he drags him out from the under dish and savagely punches him in the face again and again, each blow cracking his artificial skin slightly more. Flailing, Connor grabs K's face and drives his thumb into his eye, finally forcing him to let go.
Scrambling away, Connor staggered to his feet and struck a fighting stance as K wiped blood out of his eye. In between rapidly flickering on and off, his forensic analysis predicted a 12% chance of victory. Connor smirked. He'd take those odds.
He lunged, ducking under a punch from K, and launched a volley of punches to his torso, slightly forcing him backwards. The thunder roared as Connor hit K across the face, sending him staggering into the overturned dish. Hoping to bring him down, Connor threw another punch but was stopped dead in his tracks by K catching it. Crushing the hand in his grip, K grabbed Connor by the collar and headbutted him, knocking him to the ground. As Connor tried to stand, K brought his foot down and crushed his leg, severing it and knocking him back to the ground. As Connor squirmed on the ground, K walked back to his blaster.
Connor grimaced. His sensors were desperately screaming now, warning him of an imminent shutdown within two minutes. He tried to drag himself back to the elevators, to spread the signal before it was too late, but K coldly fired a round into his stomach, nearly tearing him in two. Connor's sensors informed he had thirty seconds remaining, and with a sigh of resignation, he rolled over to make eye contact with his killer.
"Someday, you'll realize you should've helped me. It might not be seen, but you'll see things how I've seen them. You'll suffer how I've suffered. You'll...you'll...oh, Hank. I'm so sorry."
The light drained from Connor's eyes and his head slumped to the ground. K wasn't sure what made him do it, but he bent down and closed his eyes for him before lying down just to catch his breath. Not that he really needed to breath, but he could feel his wounds eating at him. As the rain washed the blood away, K stared at the view of the city, the way the lights twinkled and the traffic, and smiled sadly. With a grunt, he finally stood up and hoisted Connor's remains over his shoulder before activating his communicator.
"Dispatch, I have retired the deviant. Returning to HQ now."
"Excellent work, K. Something tells me you're getting a big bonus on this one."
In the cold, gray examination room, Beast stood over the remnants of Connor, wincing as the examiner showcased the damage inflicted onto him.
"Cracks along the face here showcase severe blunt force trauma. I've seen people in car accidents who take less than this."
The examiner, a red-haired, clean shaven man in a white encapsulated suit, coldly let Connor's head fall back onto the table before moving onto the legs. Or, well, the remains of the legs.
"Complete amputation of the left leg, doesn't appear to have been done with any sharp tool. Severed through sheer blunt trauma. Fascinating."
Finally, he moved towards the stomach and sliced it open with a scalpel. He stared in confusion at the dead machinery within before continuing.
"I'll be honest, I haven't performed many dissections on androids before, but I can recognize the damage as consistent with gunfire. The rounds seem small, but the damage is closer to that of a shotgun shell. Killer had clear firepower with him."
"Not a fan of guns myself. Too impersonal."
Beast finally spoke.
"How long will repairs take? Including a mind wipe?"
The examiner thought it over.
"Give it two-three weeks. We'll need to replace this leg and most of the operating system, but we'll have him up and at em after that."
"And the tracking chip?"
"Per your request, we'll embed within the subject rather than near the top of the spine. There a reason this one is so important?"
Beast shrugged before stepping outside.
K sat at his desk, glumly filling out paperwork. He had gotten his bonus for retiring the deviant, but most of it had been taken out when security footage showed him destroying the dish during the fight. All in all, the case had been largely a waste of time.
As he filed the last incident report, a fellow detective set a wrapped giftbox on his desk. When K looked at it in confusion, the detective shrugged and went back to his desk. Opening the box, K was greeted with a green sticky note that read "Apologies about the loss of bonus. Consider this a consolation. - B"
As K set the note aside, a small black device fell out of the box. K ran his finger over it before pressing his thumb against the top button.
Within seconds, a beautiful woman projected next to him. Upon seeing him, she smiled warmly.
"Hello, I am Joi, your personal home companion. What's your name?"
For the first time since he'd come to his city, K's mouth spread into a genuine, warm smile.
"I'm K. But you can call me Joe."
The greaser worked diligently, carving away at a stone with his knife. He was the last of them, the others had all gotten busted either after that damned fight or during the riots through the city. He had only gotten away because his brother had pushed him aside, screaming, "Run E.W!" He wouldn't forget his sacrifice. Hell, after reading that notebook, he wouldn't forget anything.
He had thought this world was so simple, but when that idiot left his book on the bus, it really opened his eyes. It had unlocked memories long thought buried, of a different world, with different stories. And it had given him a purpose: to make that world the new reality.
Finally, the carving was done. He sheathed his knife and set his handiwork on his makeshift workbench. As the light finally shone down on the stone wolf mask, Edward Wesker smiled.
A new era had begun.