It was the third time this week Elijah had tried to get out of his house, and just like the previous times, it had gone horribly wrong.
He wasn't exactly surprised, sure; between the skyrocketing unemployment rates and Cyberlife's disastrous handling of the android revolution, Kamski was a name hated by humans and androids alike. He was currently standing near a tall android bodyguard that eyed him with obvious anger, and as he shuffled with the cuffs of his shirt, he was wondering why he'd even left his bed today.
Elijah had decided to go to one of these fancy nightclubs for rich people, figuring nobody would pay him half a mind if there was a movie star in the other side of the room. He'd gotten inside, sat in a booth in a corner and drank quietly for a while. And surely enough, he was left alone; but he also failed to see how this was supposed to help with his social life. After a pathetic hour of brooding over a glass, sprinkled with meaningless small talk with other patrons that recognized him, Elijah was already feeling exhausted and flustered, so he decided to call it a day and head back home. But the thing is, he had been seen entering the place, and as soon as he stepped outside, he drowned in a crowd of reporters, paparazzi and angry individuals, all screaming at him and trying to reach him. Thankfully, the android bouncer had intervened and managed to get him back inside before he got mauled by an angry mob. And so there he was, standing awkwardly in the entrance of the club, waiting with the bouncer for the crowd to disperse so he could get back home. The android was staring down at him, and he radiated hatred. As Elijah caught his eyes, he narrowed his eyelids and hissed, “I'm only doing this because this is my job. But make no mistake, I would have let them tear you apart if it was up to me.”
“Yeah, I can't really blame you”, Elijah answered with a tired voice, reaching for the back of his neck with one of his hands. The other patrons, startled, were watching him intently. He wanted more than anything to leave, and yet he knew he was gonna feel just as awful when he’d get back to his empty house.
When the area was finally clear, Elijah reached for the door, but was stopped by a hand, flying to his throat in a heartbeat. The android was holding him close, and whispered to his ear.
“Don't ever show your face again, motherfucker.”
Yup, alright, this day sucked.
As he was finally making his way towards the front door of his house, Elijah noticed a box next to the threshold. It was small enough to be carried in the arms, and Cyberlife's logo was printed across the side. With a smirk, the man picked it up and headed inside. He knew what to expect; a fine bottle of wine, probably, and a shamelessly ass-kissing letter requesting a meeting. They had been sending those for months now, and it amused him so. The whole deviancy matter and ensuing revolution had put Cyberlife in a very dire situation, and the board members were desperate for anything that might help them regain some popularity. For some reason, they seemed to think that Elijah's return was key to their survival. Up to that point, he had disregarded the urging letters with an arrogant delight. But when he went to set the box on the coffee table, his movements slowed down as he pondered. It had been two months since Gavin last called and urged him to get back to the world and meet people. And he tried, God knows he did, but each time, he got back home in a worse mood than he already was. Obviously this wasn't working, so maybe it was time for him to get back to his only love; his work. Elijah had not exactly stopped working willingly; he was fired after… Well. After. And it was really hard on him. It took him months to adjust, but he still missed his job dearly. The thing was, as long as he had his Chloes, he was perfectly content to stay home and work on whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. But after the revolution and with his girls gone, Cyberlife's plea suddenly seemed worth considering. It might be just what he needed.
With a grunt, Elijah sat down on the couch and, fiddling with his phone, decided he needed a second opinion.
“What's up dipshit ?”
“Well, aren't you charming.”
“Fuck off. You sound like my fuckin’ tincan partner.”
“Oh, right ! The android partner ! What is he like ?”
There was a pause, and Elijah heard Gavin click his tongue, irritated. When he spoke again, his tone was aggressive.
“Listen, what I'm gonna say better stay between us, else I'm fucking killing you, okay ?!”
“Meh, it's not like I have anyone to snitch to. Shoot.”
“The bot. He's pretty fucking useful. Saves us a lot of analysis time. Pretty decent detective too.”
Visibly embarrassed, Gavin was talking very fast, and he added, maybe a bit too fiercely;
“But of course, he's a fucking nuisance, like everything you ever created. Why the fuck do you have to make them so smug ?”
“Something about making them in my image, I suppose. Is he deviant ?”
“Yeah, I guess he is. Never asked, though.”
“What's his name ? And model ?”, Elijah pressed, glad that he wasn't the one being grilled, for once. From the tone of his voice, it was evident that Gavin feigned to be far more annoyed than he really was.
“Fucker didn't have a name when he arrived, so I started calling him Nines. Then he chose Neil, said he liked that it sounded like Nines or something… Which is stupid because it doesn't. And uh, he's a RK900. ”
Elijah was smiling at how fast his brother was sputtering, but he suddenly frowned when he heard the model number. Putting his phone on speakers, he set it on the table and reached for the small laptop that was lying on the other end of the couch.
“...Uh, Eli ? Still there ?”
“Yup, just wait a second” Elijah muttered as he started typing furiously. Gavin huffed impatiently.
“What on earth are you doing ?!”
“Searching for intel on that model. I didn't know there was a new RK.”
“Yeah, prick told us he was still being developed when they found him. Said he's the only one in existence.”
When he finally found what he was searching for, Elijah let out a low whistle.
“What ? What did you find ?” Gavin asked quickly, startled.
“I have his blueprints in front of me. From what I'm seeing, that model is extremely advanced. His specs-”
“Wait, wait, wait. I searched the net for hours, couldn't find shit. Where d’you get that info ?”
Elijah rolled his eyes so hard it hurt.
“Cyberlife's database, duh.”
“That's… Absolutely fucking illegal.”
“And absolutely impossible to prove.”
“Whatever”, sighed Gavin. “Anything interesting in there ?”
“Hardly anything you could understand. But congrats, it looks like you're working with the most state-of-the-art android around, you lucky boy.”
“Tsk, talk about luck, bot’s a fucking ordeal !”
“He sounds charming. I'm sure you two are a perfect fit.”
Gavin simply grumbled in return . Elijah knew that if he could see him, his brother would have flipped him off. A moment passed.
“I'm thinking of getting back there”, he finally admitted in a quiet voice.
“Huh, where ? Cyberlife ?”
“Yes. I've been aching to work again. And I swear, if I have to endure another evening of awkward small talk with random strangers, I'm going to lose it.”
“Yeah but, CEOs sign papers and do interviews and shit, they don't build robots. And… There ? I mean, even I think they've acted like fucking Nazis during the revolution, and you know I hate androids.”
At that, Elijah audibly snorted.
“Yes, sure, you do.”
“Oh, fuck right off dipshit !”
Chuckling a bit, he reflected on his brother's opinion. Valid points, of course.
“I don't know, Gav. Maybe I can steer them in the right direction. And… Maybe that's what I need right now.”
Gavin made a thoughtful noise.
“Well, do your thing I guess. But uh, be careful, Eli.”
Endeared by the mark of affection, Elijah smiled.
“I always am. Thank you, Gavin.”
“Yeah uh, gotta go. See ya, prick.”
Elijah adjusted his tie as he stepped through the glass doors of the meeting room. Looking around absently, his eyes blinking involuntarily under the cold white light of the neons overhead, he noted that the carpet floors had been replaced. He didn't like the color.
It'd been years since he last came to the Cyberlife Tower. The place had not changed much, and he felt right at home as he strolled through the lobby. The people, though, felt different; before, engineers and accountants alike bustled around energetically, filling the place with an atmosphere that had always made Elijah's mind race excitedly. But now, human presence was silent and scarce, and the few people crossing the hall were spokespersons with frowns on their faces. Cyberlife's golden age seemed to be long gone.
As he settled in the large leather chair, Elijah observed the men in front of him. All four were directing board members of the company. Oh, he knew them alright; they were amongst those that voted his dismissal. Right now, their faces were contorted in what seemed to be an intimidating scowl, but as he scanned their features, Elijah could detect the slightest traces of apprehension.
Leaning back, he smiled confidently.
Boy, this is going to be fun.
And of course, he played them like a fiddle. At first, they tried to establish themselves, speaking of a consultant position, of limited responsibilities, of being accountable to managers. Kamski let them talk, idly shuffling his hand, a sly smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. After they finished, he paused for a moment, tapped a finger to his cheek, and, setting his hands flat on the desk, he started playing too.
When he walked out of the tower, Elijah was to be Cyberlife's CEO once again. People often called him smug, and indeed, he was very pleased with himself right now. It was early in the evening, and he felt like celebrating.
Elijah liked to drive. It was a trait he shared with his brother, and also one of the only things he'd never let his Chloes do for him. Reaching his car, a beautiful Jaguar from the 2010s, he opened the door, leaned against the frame and took off his tie, tossing it carelessly on the passenger seat.
After a short drive, he parked his car on the outside of a tall building. Before going out, he reached for the gloves compartment and pulled out a pair of large aviator glasses, tinted a pleasant sky blue. Once he had the shades on, he undid his ponytail and fluffed up his hair a bit, glancing at his reflection in the rearview mirror. It wasn't exactly a foolproof disguise, but it was good enough to venture in public for a short while. Opening the door of his car, Elijah extracted himself from the driver's seat, humming heartily. It was cold outside, and he was holding his coat close to his body as he walked. He stopped a few feet away from the entrance, and took his phone out of his pocket. Damn. Really should fix that crack.
Elijah (19:41) :
Hey, isn't it time for your smoking break ?
Super Smash Gav (19:44) :
wtf do u mean u creep
Elijah (19:45) :
Oh, nothing, just a hunch.
Elijah didn't have to wait for long. A couple minutes later, Gavin was walking through the sliding doors, a big scowl etched on his face. The man threw his hands in the air as he was getting closer, swearing loudly.
“For fuck's sake, dipshit ! What do you think you're doing ?!”
Gavin gave him a pointed look of disbelief.
“I knew you were an asshole, but really ? Sunglasses in February ?”
He let out a snort, and put his hand on Gavin's shoulder.
“Watch your mouth, you're speaking to the newly appointed CEO of Cyberlife, bitch.”
Gavin was about to answer, but cut himself as Eli started to wave enthusiastically, apparently beckoning someone behind him. His face fell when he felt a familiar presence towering over his left shoulder. Elijah, however, was beaming.
“So you're the android partner, Not-quite-Connor !”
The tall android had his hands crossed behind his back, his icy blue eyes trained on his maker's face impassively, his neutral expression bordering on sternness. He gave a short nod.
“Mister Kamski. I am Neil, RK900 DPD android.” Then, turning to Gavin; “Is this how you talk about me, Detective ?”
Gavin sneered and rolled his eyes. “I don't talk about you, shithead”, he bit back.
“I am delighted to meet you, Neil ! You must be the picture of patience to put up with Gavin !” Elijah exclaimed, and he extended his hand. Neil shook it, a tiny, lopsided smile appearing on his lips. Gavin, on the over hand, was flipping him while muttering something that sounded suspiciously like “Eat shit and die”. Which it probably was.
Elijah brought his hands together with a grin.
“Alright. We need to celebrate. You coming, Gav ?”
Gavin cocked his head, his eyebrows furrowing. “What ? Like, right now ?!”
“Sure ! Restaurant, my treat. Come on !” He turned on his heels and, his head to the side, added with a wink; “Of course, you're joining us, Neil, aren't you ?”
With that, he started to walk back to his car, delighted. Usually, he would have rather died than to be seen inviting an android to a restaurant, but he was in a good mood, and the sheer pleasure of pissing his brother off made it all worth it.
Neil snorted and, visibly pleased, side-eyed his partner before he followed in tow. Gavin just stood there, slowly shaking his head in disbelief.
Gavin made a point of sulking through the whole ride to the restaurant. Elijah thought he looked like a child, with his shoulders hunched and his arms crossed. Neil was sitting straight on the back seat, in comfortable silence. Eventually, realising that he wouldn't be able to spoil the mood, Gavin relented when they exited the car. The establishment was a beautiful French restaurant; not too fancy, though. Elijah knew his brother hated posh places. He had not bothered booking a table, but then again, he'd never needed to.
The meal went on fine; Gavin had a great time ordering all the most expensive items on the menu without even checking them, as he'd do when they ate together. There was actually a small selection of Thirium-based adaptations of french dishes; Neil seemed almost embarrassed to be eating with them. He didn't seem to have the opportunity very often. The brothers talked throughout dinner, mostly about Gavin’s latest case, while Neil listened. The android didn't seem bored or upset, however; the atmosphere was relaxed. Near the end of the meal, Gavin discovered that it was dangerous to order based on price alone when a plate of casgiu merzu , a highly rare type of maggot-covered cheese, was put in front of him.
When they left, Gavin was quite inebriated. Elijah dropped both him and Neil at his brother's place before heading back home. As he left, he saw in his rearview mirror that Gavin was running after his car, shouting slurs at him, and got a good laugh out of it.
It was nice.
Life was nice.