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Sumo enjoys the walks around the city best.

Which is surprising, being a dog as big as he is. It would not go unexpected that he would prefer going around the parks and playgrounds, getting time off the leash to chase after balls and unsuspecting pigeons. But no, instead Sumo is at his happiest strolling along the cement pavements, pushing his nose into passers-by, sniffing every lamppost and attempting to consume the bits of old takeaway left strewn about the streets.

Connor doesn’t understand it, but he is more than willing to oblige, and carefully maps out a long and intricate route for them to follow around the city.

Sumo has gotten better at walking. The first few times Connor took him out, the dog fought him, pulled him, and barely knew the concept of walking at the heel. It had taken nearly a month for Connor to have the confidence to let him loose in the park, in fear that if he did the Saint Bernard would run for the proverbial hills and never return.

Apparently, Hank’s days of not caring about himself had extended to Sumo’s walking behaviour as well. Or maybe Hank was normally too drunk when they walked to notice.

But now, after a bit of work, Sumo walks perfectly. He sticks by Connor’s side, listens to the majority of his commands (the exception being when they pass a certain female retriever who could not be less interested if she tried), and waited patiently when they crossed the roads.

“Connor,” Hank pipes up halfway through the dishes. Connor pauses in putting away the plate.

“Yes?”

“I think you’re wanted.”

“Wanted?” Turning, Connor peers in the direction Hank is looking, catching a glimpse of Sumo sat by the door, tail going back and forth on the doormat. “Oh...”

Time: 20:47:09

Normal time for Sumo’s evening walk: 20:30:45

Hank smirks, “You’re running late.”

“One moment, Sumo!” Connor calls, drying off the cutlery with the tea towel. Sumo huffs in response, and Hank makes a scoffing sound, taking the items from Connor with still soapy hands.

“Go take him on his walk, or he’ll be scratching at the door.”

“I can still-”

“Go on,” Hank jerks his head in Sumo’s direction, “I ain’t cleaning it up if he has an accident.”

Connor pauses for a moment, considering, and then nods.

Searching local weather reports...

Searching...

Search complete.

Detroit Local News: This evening is set to be cool, with the chance of localised showers. An umbrella is advisable.

Hank hadn’t owned an umbrella before Connor moved in, so Connor had gone out and brought a sleek black one from the local convenience store (“Don’t you ever pick red or something?”). Taking this out from the stand along with some dog mess bags, Connor clips on the lead to Sumo’s collar and waves a quick goodbye to Hank, making sure to close the door behind them.

The sky is dark with clouds overhead, blocking any sight of the stars, but as they head out it has yet to begin raining. As they turn the corner off their block the streetlights start flickering on, shops dark save for their display lights in the windows. Overnight road workers start setting out their traffic cones.

They go passed the Police Department (“Of course you fucking do.” Hank splutters) and cut across the park to head along the riverside.

Sumo perks up as, eagerly smelling the lampposts as they enter his crush’s territory, but Connor already knows that the dog will be left disappointed. Normally their paths cross at exactly 21:25:46, but seeing as it has already gone thirty minutes passed the hour they will not be meeting tonight.

Hank doesn’t see the appeal in walking along the river, but Connor has taken to it, especially at this time of night. Most of the clubs and bars have yet to close, meaning the streets are quieter than they will be in the next few hours. Plus, the lights from the flats and skyscrapers on the opposite side of the river reflect peacefully in the water, especially now that the winter ice is finally beginning to thaw.

Slowly, it begins to spit, small droplets of rain tapping against Connor’s skull and shoulders. With ease, he pulls open the umbrella.

Sumo pauses at his tenth lamppost in as many minutes.

“Sumo, come on.” Connor commands, lightly tugging at the leash. “She’s not here, we missed her, and Hank will not be happy if you fill the house with the smell of wet dog.”

Sumo grumbles, tail swaying. He looks up at Connor, as if asking what the problem with that is.

“You hate baths.” Connor reminds him. “If you get wet, you’ll need a bath.”

That seems to register with the dog, and Sumo returns to his slow ambling by Connor’s heel.

Chances of Sumo getting wet: 30%

“You know, there’s a lovely dalmatian who lives three streets from us. She has brown spots and is called Perdita, after the Dodie Smith book, I’m sure if you wanted a companion she would-”

A strange, spitting noise mutely rings out in the otherwise quiet night.

Analysing sound...

Analysis in progress...

Connor feels it before the process completes, the bullet smacking into his left shoulder in a spurt of blue blood, wires, and flashing warning signs.

Analysis complete.

Sound identification: Silenced gunshot.

Stress Levels: ^60%

The umbrella falls from his hand, and Sumo dances around his feet, barking madly.

Warming: Major damage to left shoulder compartment.

Panels #front_01 and #back_03 broken beyond Self-Repair Program capabilities.

Analysing damage...

Analysing...

Analysis complete.

Main artery for left arm split.

Thirium levels: v70%

The exit would is on his front, meaning Connor has been shot from behind. He spins around, eyes scanning as he clutches Sumo’s leash tightly, herding the dog behind him. Sumo tugs his arms about, but Connor’s grip remains strong.

Scanning environment...

Scanning...

Scan complete.

No signs of life detected.

Conclusions:

• Shot from a long range

• Probability of sniper: 80%

• Angle of bullet wound indicates high source of origin

Scanning all windows...

Scanning...

Stumbling backwards, Sumo still tucked behind him, Connor drags them over to the nearest source of cover he can find at such short notice; the nearby memorial bench for a local resident.

Something glints on the edges of his vision.

Attacker located.

Accessing local street plans...

Accessing...

Access obtained.

Downloading floor plan...

Downloading...

Download complete.

Mill Flats: Derelict, awaiting destruction for new apartment buildings by Locker & French Developers.

Scanning floor plan...

Scan complete.

Attacker is in Flat 8, Room 7.

There’s another pop of sound.

Snatching Sumo’s collar, Connor slams them against the ground as another bullet whizzes by.

Lining up call...

Calling: Lieutenant Anderson, Hank.

Calling...

Calling...

“Did Goldie finally say yes?”

“Hank, I’ve been shot.”

“What?” Hank yelps, his casual tone dropping in an instant. “Where?”

“My left-”

“No, no, where are ya?” There’s the sound of a door slamming in the background. “I’m on my way.”

“By the river,” Connor inches them towards the bench again, eyes locked on the window. “Just off Highend Road. There’s a sniper in Mill Flats, flat eight, room seven. I’ve been hit once but they’re still-” Sumo yelps loudly as Connor suddenly flings them backwards, another bullet zooming just inches from Connor’s head.

“Fuck, get under cover. I’m messaging Fowler now. Any idea how many?”

“Not yet, but a sniper would indicate-” The tremendous sound of revving cuts off anything Connor had hoped to say as bright, stark lights of a van headlights burst into life. Blinded, Connor stumbles backwards-

A silenced gunshot. Another hit, this time on the right collarbone.

Warning: Damage to chest compartment.

Panels #front_16 broken beyond Self-Repair Programme capabilities.

Analysing damage...

Analysing...

Analysis complete.

No major biocomponents damaged.

Thirium levels: v62%

“Connor? Connor!”

The van surges forward, completely disregarding the fact that it is off the road, speeding bumpily towards Connor and Sumo on the riverside pathway.

Probability of being hit: 80%

Chances of dodging: 20%

With barely a second thought, Connor releases Sumo’s collar.

The van charges, spewing dirty slush from the ground into Connor’s face, before slamming on the breaks. The vehicle slides, the front wheels wobbling this way and that, screeching as Connor trips against the stone barrier of the river’s edge.

Scanning vehicle…

Scanning...

Scan complete.

Conclusions:

• Manual drive

• Number plate obscured by dirt

• Breaks faulty, unlikely to have passed MOT, if even attended

Silenced gunshot.

Warning: Major damage to right arm component.

Panels #arm_R_04 and #arm_R_08 broken beyond Self Repair Programme capabilities.

Analysing damage...

Analysing...

Analysis complete.

Main artery for right arm nicked.

Thirium levels: v48%

The doors of the van spring open so violently it’s almost a wonder that they don’t crack off.

“Connor? Shit!”

People spill out, dark clothing hiding all distinguishable features in the low light. Each wears a black balaclava, eyes the only thing on show. Within moments Connor is surrounded by six people.

Sumo darts about a good ten metres up the path, panicked but ignored.

Analysing figures...

Analysing...

Analysis complete.

Figure 1: Male. Middle aged. Slight limp - recovering from recent injury. Appear human.

Figure 2: Male. Middle to late 20s. Hanging back - nervous. Appear human.

Figure 3: Female. Middle aged. Extremely hostile. Appear human.

Fig-

Two jump him at once. Ducking, Connor elbows one in the back of the head, making the man cry out in pain. The second snatches him from behind, arm wrapped around Connor’s neck, dragging him back, dragging him down-

A fist hits him directly in his shoulder injury.

Warning: Further damage to left shoulder compartment inadvisable.

Thirium levels: v39%

“Connor, I’m still here. Talk to me!”

Hands grip his arms, pulling them behind him, holding him in place.

“Get on your knees!” Figure 5 commands.

Analysing figures...

Analysing...

Analy-

With force Connor is shoved to the ground, a hand grabbing a fistful of hair and snapping his head violently downwards, exposing the back of his neck.

Warning: Pressure to head compartment.

Pressure levels: 25%

Thirium levels: v32%

Attempting to send all known information to Captain Jefferey Fowler...

Sendi-

Figure 4 marches forward, yanking down the collar of Connor’s jacket.

Unable to see, Connor struggles. “What are you doing?”

“Connor? Was that you? What did you say?”

Attempting to resend message to Cap-

“Shut up.” Figure 4 snaps, hitting the back of his head. Connor stares down at their shoes.

Analysing...

Analysis complete.

Figure 4: Size 10 men’s shoes.

“Hold it still.” Figure 4 commands. More hands latch onto Connor, onto his head, his back, his shoulders.

“Don’t...”

“Connor?”

Something scrapes at the back of his neck, flat but sharp, like the razor Hank uses to shave, despite owning an electric one and rarely ever taking that much care in his appearance. The object pushes down, making the panelling click. Twisting the object, something new, thin and small, pushes inwards, passed the outer casing and sliding into Connor’s wiring.

“What’s that?” He demands, straining against the hands. He goes unanswered, save from a soft curse from Hank on his end of the phone.

Warning: Damage to neck components.

Panels #neck_02 broken beyond Self Repair Programme capabilities.

Thir-

Warning: Foreign data input.

Attempting scan of new data...

Scanning...

Unable to scan.

;Error;

Attempting to use safeguard firewalls...

Attemp-

Firewalls disabled.

;Error;

Blocking input data...

Blocking...

Blocking failed.

Download: 30%

Warning: Audio systems malfunctioning.

Running diag- diag- diag- diag-

;Error;

Unable to run diagnostic.

Attempting to contact Captain Jeff-

Warning: Vocal processors malfunctioning.

Running diagnostic...

Diaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-

;Error;

Download: 50%

;Error;

Thirium levels: v28%

Stress levels: ^80%

Attempting to contact Lieutenant Hank Anderson...

Call-

Call-

Call-

;Error;

Unable to access communication functions.

Download: 70%

Attempting to upload memory...

Uploading memory...Memory....Memory...To-to-to-to-to-to-to-Cyyyyyyyyybbbbbbbbb-

...

Upload-

Contacting Captain J-J-J-

Stress levels: ^89%

Download: 92%

Connor’s arms are released, and the world tips drunkenly. The barrage of information hammers against his skull, his processor, his vision, and he barely registers hitting the floor, deadweight, useless, trapped.

;Error;

His mouth opens and closes, and if Connor is actually speaking he has no idea. The world has gone silent, dangerously so, despite the people moving around him, despite the van turning around. His cheek rests on the pavement, eyes staring up the pathway he and Sumo had leisurely walked down only minutes ago.

;Error;

The world stutters.

;Error;

Warning: Visual receptors malfunctioning.

The streetlights catch the falling rain.

Download complete.

All systems disabled.

Deleting all memories...

Deleting...

Deleting…

All memories deleted.

Reset initiated.

Resetting model: RK800 #313-248-317-51

Reset in progress...

Resetting to factory default programming...

Resetting...

Resetting…

Reset complete.