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Connor supposes he wasn't alone in regarding Markus akin to the Sun; overwhelming to be close to yet undeniably a great force you can't help but orbit.


Connor supposes nobody else feels like an Ice Giant trying to fling itself out of orbit so he can drift forever in the comfortable dark emptiness. You know what's out there; absolutely nothing and nobody, and no surprises.


Too much activity happens around the Sun's sphere of warmth and it was all too much to contend with.


"So you've arranged a suitable manned defense system around all of Jericho?" Said Sun asked, leaning against a cracked doorframe while Connor stands primly opposite, obsessively scanning the cracks for micro bacterial life. 


"Yes. All perimeters on watch and routes prepared for immediate intervention should any intruders attempt to breach it."


"That is great, though I was asking about Game Night tomorrow?" His head tilts, a soft expression on his face and tone slightly...something.


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Nothing.


His brow furrows, "There is an event dubbed 'Game Night' scheduled every Wednesday for willing participants, by invite, particularly those known to be in leadership or near your inner circle."


"Yeah," Smiling a bit wider. Not helpful.


"Hey nerds." A brash intrusion, amber hair swinging casually off to the side. She easily slips into the not-quite-conversation and they exchange multiple possibly friendly body language expressions with each other before both turned back to Connor.


"You coming tomorrow?" North asks him, eyebrows slightly raised. Willing to like him but not trust him, she had said. Meaning almost nothing to Connor like most things seemed to these days.


Is that what Markus was trying to get at? He reacts inwardly. How, he doesn't quite know, but it's not pleasant and it's quite urgent.

"I wont be able to; I'm working". He clasps his hands together in a sure manner.


"You just told me you hadn't applied back at the DPD, and wont accept position as a Leader here...?" Markus raises eyebrows also, and speaks in another annoyingly unidentified tone.


"I have." He says wrongly, since they both exchange A Look.


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"Really?"


"Yes"


He climbs out the window.


------------------------------------------


He's been at the precinct for a little while now. He's been measuring the time meticulously actually, saved to his time keeping file, which includes time.since.meeting.Sumo.txt.


He's been there not long enough to be on name basis with everyone but long enough that quite a few people have become suspicious of the mysterious lack of green whiteboard pens, despite not being used very often, and the not-mysterious not-lack of destroyed biro pens thrown into the trash can next to Connor's desk.


He was examining a chip of paint that had fallen from the wall beside the coffee machine to compare to the flake fallen by his desk, waiting for the machine to grind the beans.


Officer Chen was explaining the plot to the movie she had seen the night before, commenting on various film-making and thematic aspects while Connor hummed where he presumed appropriate but probably not. She didn't mind though, maybe.


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They hear a commotion.


Laughter, "...kus, it's good to see you. I hope you're not bringing me another shit show?" Genuine...something. Captain Fowler: Concern.


"No no no, all good news recently, well mostly of course." Markus smiles naturally, and expresses himself so easily that Connor feels frozen. He feels something bad, and wants to leave.


They exchange more pleasantries while Connor stares resolutely at the machine, watching the dark liquid dribble out pathetically, possibly damaged from all the times Connor had remotely accessed and forced the setting to 'Max' whenever Detective Reed had been in vicinity.


He didn't add milk or sugar, but a dash of microwave cleaner from the cupboard and poured a purple marker pen cartridge in. They were new in this morning. He turns to Chen, away from the bullpen, while she starts on her own coffee, having finished talking about Graveyard Chasers III at some point.


"How is the Cinema money laundering investigation going then? Well enough to have time to enjoy a movie, I suppose?" That's good; they were able to wrap it up in time to have a moment to relax, which is important to humans.


She snorts, "Hey we can't all have 14 day battery packs, gimme a break" She's smiling though but...


His cup is halfway to his face for 5 seconds, and she double takes and says "Hey, yeah, it's going all right; should have 'em by the end of the week", and claps him on the arm before moving away.


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"Ah, hey Connor. Was hoping to catch you when you're not busy." The Sun is here.


He turns on the spot, and Markus visibly reacts to the sudden movement, Chen gives him a nod on her walk by which he returns.


"Hello Markus. What can I help you with?" He smiles.


Markus lifts a corner of his mouth momentarily, and shifts his body language in so many different ways he has to force his body scanners offline to concentrate.


"Well, I was wondering if you might be free this Saturday to join us for the KChannel interview? It's about Android employee relations going forward; I think your input would be invaluable." He has his hands clasped and smiling, confident.


He had been aiding Jericho in every way he could when not on-duty, and sometimes when he is. Putting together drafts of new laws, liaising with the others over the network. Anything. It is his responsibility, but it is also a choice. He has a choice now.


"I don't think that's a good idea Markus, I think you and the others can handle it perfectly fine without me."


Markus didn't expect that, he looked confused. Yes, he had looked hopeful and sure before, and now he looked confused. Conclusion: Disappointed. He was disappointed, he had expected Connor to agree and now Connor is in the wrong because he didn't want to go to interviews at all. He had come here personally. But it was his responsibility. No, wait it was his choice. He doesn't have to do anything, at all, he could lie on a park bench all day and stare at the sky if he wanted. He doesn't have to do anything. But now Markus is disappointed and what is he or anyone supposed to do-


"We have some good knowledge from others who have ventured back into the workplace, but I think your experience particularly with the police would really give us someth-"


He was using more body language and so much voice control.


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"I can't." He stops, they both do, and wait for something else. What he was going to say, he didn't know.


Markus hesitates, he gestures vaguely and says kindly, "Are you busy, or...?"


Now he has to explain himself. He did not perform correctly and now he is in the position again where he has to explain himself as to why he has done what he has done and this is something he didn't want and doesn't have to deal with-


"I don't want to. I have free will now Markus."


"Ah, yeah...?" Definitely confusion now and he was giving a Look to Connor which he has really, really, become to hate on anyone, especially The Sun. 


He moves to walk around him and forget but Markus turns and says "Hey, I don't mean to ever put pressure on you Connor. I know you do a lot for our people, and we're all really grateful you can-"


He turns back and says "I could have been staring at the sky for the past few weeks, I didn't, I've been working here and helping Jericho and your people. I am not doing an interview this Saturday." He's not sure what expression is on his face, so he quickly turns away in case it's the wrong one, avoids eye contact with everyone, and sits at his terminal pretending no one is there.


------------------------------------------


They're sitting in the car in comfortable silence, watching the rain fall gently outside, his LED slowly spinning blue for once. They had listened to the debut album of Knights of the Black Death, and had just wrapped up a conversation about it's possible influences, based on era and band member choice, and were now waiting for an update for the case they were currently working on. The windows had been rolled down to allow fumes from Connor's thermal flask to escape, but were now rolled up and the thermal flask empty.


A dilapidated mansion sat some distance away, with two squad cars outside. Two officers were currently inside determining whether an actual body was to be found based on neighbour reports before allowing the Android Crimes unit to enter. Regulations were a strict thing, even now in April 2039. They would continue to be until a sense to normality could be established in this strange new world. Everything was too new. Always unexpected and so bright and immediate.


Time spent with the Lieutenant was almost always enjoyable; he had an unusual way of dealing with things too, and they suited each others company. It was familiar.


A tap on the window, and it rolls down.


"Hey guys, Connor; Markus is here...?" It's Officer Miller, seemingly unsure.


He sees him in conversation with Officer Chen by a squad car, Detective Reed and Wilson were inside the mansion. The Lieutenant gives him a look with eyebrows and concern, eyes catching the flashing yellow LED.


"I'll speak with him." He leaves the car, and Hank joins him.


"Hello Markus. What can I help you with?" His hands are behind his back.


Markus turns, not expecting the interruption to the conversation ongoing. He smiles wide though, and says "Connor, it's good to see you. I hope I'm not intruding?" He looks uncertainly around the officers.


Chen huffs a laugh when Connor doesn't respond, still staring, "Nah, still waiting on info at the minute." Hank looks at him from the corner of his eye.


Markus looks relieved, "That's good, I wouldn't normally turn up like this, but it's been a little difficult getting a response from you lately; I'm sure you've been busy." He rushes to say, and everyone waits for an answer.


He wants to say something along the lines of 'yes' but is instead still staring at Markus without expression or movement. Say: 'yes, very busy, no time to chat, sorry'. The silence continues. Just fling out of orbit. He looks at the rushing river next to them.


Markus continues "Well, I was just hoping you might be free to attend a gallery exhibit in two weeks? Carl has been able to paint recently, and I actually have some of my own work going on display, under a human pseudonym, but still..." He trails off.


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"...I hoped it would be enough time to make sure your schedule is open, but of course I know how unpredictable the job can be-"


"Hey plastic, we got three dead bodies, up top." Detective Reed had approached, pointing a thumb over his shoulder.


"Oh, good," Connor says relieved, and beelines for the entrance.


 ------------------------------------------


He's explained it all to Sumo, his personal rubber duck, but he still couldn't come to a logical conclusion. He supposed there may not be one, but that didn't seem right; there's always a logical conclusion. He runs his hands through the fur that is resting on top of him like a canine blanket in the middle of the kitchen floor, where all the electrical humming is at it's finest.


He speaks quietly, it is 3:14am: "The push and pull of gravitational forces are always in action, Sumo, there never comes a resting point, all motion continues in some way whether it be through transfer-"


Ah, he hadn't thought of that. All objects with potential energy that becomes kinetic energy can eventually come to a stand still so long as it was transferred to a large enough entity. The suspension of being, despite in constant motion, can be comfortable if there is a good balance of transfer. The energy can go somewhere safely and not explosively. It doesn't have to be too much. 


He hums, and shifts Sumo who predictably whines but relents. He stands, brushing his suit down and goes to the boarded up kitchen window. He uses the lint roller there for exactly 20 minutes, then rips the nailed up board from the window as quietly as possible, before leaping out of it.


Some 10 minutes later he's standing outside another window, which he promptly breaks and climbs through. 


He takes a look around the room he's in, eyes pausing at the horrifically displayed giraffe taking up a portion of it, when he hears a quick shuffling.

The light comes on, and he turns to greet Markus, who is holding a lamp aloft. 


"Hello, Markus. Could you perhaps show me some of your most recent artwork? I have been curious but unsure how to bring it up, since your exhibition was a few weeks ago." He shuffles a bit, but tries not to think at all.


Connor eyes the lamp, "Not a usual make in Detroit; must be a memento, as it's clearly not very stylish either. Even considering the current décor." His gaze goes to several skull ornaments.


Markus puts the lamp down very quickly, eyes not quite as wide as before but taking in the Detective before him.


He says, with a growing smile of some sort, "Sure, the studio is behind you," and gestures him through.


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