[ NOVEMBER 19, AM 7:56:02 ]
“Y’sure it’s okay for you to leave already, Connor? I mean, you could barely walk straight earlier.” Hank questioned, the two standing at the doorway of the Lieutenant’s house, Connor about to leave after having spent the day there to heal.
‘Of course, Hank. The alcohol left my system through my tears and staying in stasis mode overnight helped my systems recalibrate.’ The android responded, wrapping a coat that the Lieutenant gifted him around his thin frame. Hank begrudgingly let out a sigh, not willing to put up with the android’s stubbornness at 8 in the morning.
“Fine, if you say so.” The man spoke up, before adding on in a hushed tone, “and, uh, that shit about dying soon had better have just been the alcohol talking and not some weird android premonition shit.”
‘Of course, Lieutenant. I would never lie to you.’
And that was the last that Connor heard from the Lieutenant before he left for the bus stop.
Connor awkwardly nudged open the gate to the abandoned house and let himself in. Before he could place his items down, he was nearly tackled to the ground; his L.E.D flickered red in alarm before realizing the gesture was simply a hug from who he realized to be his friend, Ralph.
“Connor is back! Ralph was worried because Connor was gone for two days! ” The deviant cried out, squeezing his arms tightly around his friend before releasing the tight hug in confusion. Ralph’s eyes shifted to what Connor was holding in his arms. “Are those… succulents?”
Connor shifted the two plants and water jug in his arms and set them on the ground with a small nod before typing a response. ‘Correct. I wanted to give you a present - or rather, an apology for my absence. I’ve heard that many deviants continue their designated profession after deviating, and since you were a gardener, I decided to test it.’ Was his logical response, although the true reason was that it was simply a gift.
Ralph’s face lit up with a smile as he admired the plants from afar. “Yes, Ralph does like gardening… he always did, even though he is a deviant.” He knelt down next to the plants and examined them both, before picking up and moving the succulents into the sunlight, leaving the water jug in the corner of the room. “Can Ralph name them?” He asked, turning to Connor, who gave a gentle nod.
Ralph turned back to the plants and thought of appropriate names, taking a few minutes to do so. He seemingly decided on names, as he turned back to the android who had been patiently waiting. “Ralph has decided to name them Connor and Markus.”
Connor’s L.E.D blinked to yellow for a second before settling on blue. ‘I understand why you would name one after Markus, but why me?’
“Because Connor is Ralph’s friend, why else?” Ralph answered honestly, a wide smile on his face, which Connor hesitantly returned with a slight grin.
‘I… guess that makes sense. Thank you, Ralph. We are friends, after all, and it was a mistake on my part to think twice about that. I’m sorry for that and for leaving often. There have been matters that required my attention, so I had to leave for a bit. I hope you understand, but I’ll have to be leaving again tonight.’
“Ralph thinks it’s okay, as long as Connor comes back safe…” The deviant responded with a concerned tone, his L.E.D flickering yellow for a few seconds.
Connor let a smile form on his face and typed out a message, ‘Also, I need to go get something for my mission tonight.’ He paused before opening his mouth and speaking the next line, his voice somewhat staticky, “and I was wondering if you wanted to come with.”
Ralph gasped in surprise, quickly speaking up, “Connor shouldn’t speak, it could be harmful to him. Ralph would like to go along, though.”
Connor sighed, switching back to his screen. ‘I need to start talking more, since my screen can’t be used in public. Plus, the biocomponent has been slowly healing, though not too much. It should be okay for me to speak now in minimal intervals without harm.’ Ralph processed the information, before giving in with a nod and a frown. ‘Thank you. So, where we’re going is just the old abandoned house that we stayed in. I left something there that I need to get. Taking a bus would be too risky in case we’re spotted by a human, so I’ll get a taxi.’ Connor explained as they stepped outside, putting his beanie on while Ralph flipped his hood up and nodded to his message.
Connor mentally ordered a self-driving taxi to their location as he pushed the gate open, Ralph following close behind. They walked to the corner of the street away from the house to avoid drawing attention to themselves, the taxi pulling up as they neared the crosswalk. Entering the car quickly as to not be noticed by any passerbys, Connor entered the location into the car’s GPS and sat next to Ralph as they waited to arrive at their destination.
“Wait here.” Connor mumbled to Ralph as the taxi pulled to a stop and climbed out of the car, fixing his beanie. He quickly located the spot where the fence was cut and climbed under, trying to avoid attention from anyone nearby, although anyone in the right mind obviously avoided the unsettling abandoned house.
Connor’s eyes quickly adjusted to the dim lighting as he entered, scanning for what he was looking for. He quickly spotted the smeared blue blood (although a human obviously wouldn’t) and made his way over to the body - RK900’s body. Carefully, he poked the unmoving corpse with his foot, and upon seeing no reaction, relaxed. He reached down and slowly removed the overcoat from the android’s body, taking the article of clothing and folding it neatly into his arms.
It was his key to success, after all.
Upon closer inspection, Connor noticed that the RK900 had supposedly not died upon being shot and lasted a few seconds - or minutes - afterwards, as concluded by the perfectly written cryptic message next to the android’s hand, the ‘ink’ being RK900’s own blue blood:
‘YOU CAN’T RUN FOREVER, RK800.’
In a state of mild panic, Connor quickly fled the house and made his way back into the taxi next to Ralph, who seemed to notice what he was holding but didn’t say anything about it. He set the coat on the seat next to himself and turned his screen to Ralph, ‘Is there anywhere that you’d like to go now?’
“There’s somewhere that Ralph has in mind…” Ralph responded nervously and simply dialed an address into the GPS, leaving Connor to wonder where they were going.
After about 10 minutes, the taxi slowed to a stop and Connor looked out the window. It seemed like they were in an average neighborhood, with some apartment complexes, a park, and store chains. Neither android said anything as Connor followed Ralph out of the car, staying close behind as they headed to the park.
They still didn’t share any words even after they had already made their way across half of the park, Connor watching Ralph’s eyes scan the botanics. Finally, Ralph spoke up, his voice hushed, “This is where Ralph was stationed. Before they came.”
Connor’s L.E.D spun yellow under his beanie as he inquired further, “Who are ‘they’?” His voice was still slightly mechanical, but it wasn’t too noticeable.
“ Humans . Nasty ones. They- they took Ralph and tortured him for their amusement . That’s how he got his scars,” Ralph paused before continuing, “but even though Ralph has bad memories here, he still likes the garden.” He finished with a soft smile as his eyes continued to trace a pastel colored bed of flowers.
Connor added the information to a memory file labeled ‘important’ before he placed a consoling hand on Ralph’s shoulder. “I’m sorry that happened to you. They can’t hurt you any more.”
Ralph gave a small nod and they both stayed silent, Connor letting his friend enjoy the moment and Ralph admiring the scenery. But Connor eventually had to ask the question that was burning his processors.
“Ralph,” Connor spoke to get Ralph’s attention before continuing “what would you do if I disappeared?” He asked with a calm tone to his voice, silence being struck between them as Ralph blanked on a response. Connor noticed a soft, flickering red hue radiating off of the android’s temple.
“Ralph- Ralph wouldn’t know what to do,” He started with a troubled voice, which dropped to a whisper. “I would be alone again.” Ralph mumbled in fear, his voice shaking, even going as far to drop speaking in the third-person, but picked it up again soon after, “Ralph has only known Connor for a week, but he feels that they’re best friends, and shouldn’t be apart… he hopes that Connor feels the same way.”
Connor smiled slightly. “Of course I do, Ralph. It was only a hypothetical question.” To which Ralph nodded and hugged Connor tightly, the latter returning the gesture with his arms finding themselves wrapped around Ralph’s torso. Maybe having a friend wasn’t so bad after all.
“How about we go home now, Ralph?”
“Okay. Ralph knows that Connor has to leave tonight so he’ll help Connor get ready!”