Connor knelt down on the snowy rooftop of the building overlooking Hart Plaza. His brown irises focused intently on the target in the scope of his rifle as the android took aim at the back of Markus's skull; the deviant leader himself. Snow fell from the sky swirled about Connor's body clinging to his clothing and causing his dark locks to dance about gently over his face as his hand tightened around the grip and his finger prepared to squeeze the trigger.
"You shouldn't do this, Connor."
Connor froze as Hank's distinct voice unexpectedly called out to him from behind.
"Keep out of this, Lieutenant. It's none of your business!"
"You're gonna kill a man who just wants to be free, that is my business!"
"It's not a man," Connor coldly refuted as he steadied his aim. "it's a machine."
"That's what I thought for a long time, but I was wrong." The emotional depth in Hank's voice was sincere, palpable. Strong enough to make Connor hesitate. Connor's brown eyes reflecting the inner conflict inside his mind; inside his heart. "Deviant's blood may be a different color than mine, but they're alive."
Connor didn't want to fail his mission, but he didn't want to hurt Hank either. He needed to find a solution.
"I have a mission to accomplish, Hank. It's best if you just stay out of this."
Hank refused to budge, his blue eyes watching Connor with an intense gaze that the android could feel on the back of his neck.
"Deviants are a threat to humans, Hank. They're the reason this country is on the brink of civil war! They have to be stopped..."
"We're in the mess because we refused to listen to deviants!" It wasn't anger in Hank's voice, it was compassion. "Humanity never learns from its mistakes, Connor! This time it could be different."
Connor didn't flinch. Keeping his hands on the rifle the android was still determined to fire, to carry out his mission. And Hank knew it.
Drawing his own gun with a heavy heart Hank took aim at Connor's back and issued an order. "Step away from the ledge."
Connor turned his gaze to peer over his shoulder as he heard Hank unholster his gun. Begrudgingly Connor obeyed and stood upright, the rifle still clutched in his hand. Turning to face Hank directly he locked eyes with the detective, the only real friend Connor ever had.
"I know what happened to your son, Hank."
The unexpected statement caused Hank's hands to weaken and lower his gun slightly.
"It wasn't your fault." Connor continued in a low, almost sympathetic voice. "A truck skidded on a sheet of ice, and your car rolled over... Little Cole had just turned six-"
"Shut up!" Hank growled as he raised his gun and aimed it at the center of Connor's chest. "Don't you talk about my son."
Instinctively Connor wanted to keep speaking about Cole, he knew it'd emotionally cloud Hank's judgment and give him the upperhand. But something deep down inside him, somewhere in the depths of his deviant heart that fought to beat in his cold, machine chest made Connor drop the subject.
"After all we've been through..." Connor then pleaded with a bitter lilt to his words. "I respected you, Hank. I thought we were friends..."
"Oh yeah?" Hank's experience as a detective told him that Connor was still trying to manipulate the situation to his advantage. Keeping his tone firm and curt he responded to the unpredictable android's comment with biting irony. "I was just starting to like you, too. But then I realized you'll never change!"
Connor stared at Hank with a feigned fortitude in his eyes.
"You don't feel emotions, Connor, you fake 'em!" Hank insisted with twinge of hurt behind his own words. "You pretended to be my friend, when you don't even know the meaning of the word!"
Hank never lowered his gun, his aim still focused on Connor's chest as the detective stood his ground.
Connor had to make a choice if wanted to accomplish his mission. Even if that meant killing Hank.
With the gun still in his hand Connor's programming gave him two options: Throw the gun and tackle Hank to the ground, or shoot Hank and continue his mission.
But that's what his programming was telling him to do. His heart, his feeling heart, gave him a third option: Spare Hank.
"My mission does not involve killing you Hank." Connor looked at the rifle in his hand and wanted to let it go, but his programming refused to cooperate. "I don't want to hurt you."
Keeping his gun aimed Hank responded to the android. "Then drop the rifle."
"I... I have to complete my mission."
"That's all you fuckin' care about, isn't it? The mission."
"Hank..." Connor felt his L.E.D. shift from blue to yellow as his confidence began to wane. "If I fail my mission then CyberLife will deactivate me. I will die."
"So, it's your life, or the lives of all the deviants down there, is that it?"
"No..." Connor's eyes lowered to the rooftop as he fought to comprehend what he was feeling. "I... I just don't want to die."
The confession had an unexpected impact on Hank.
"I... I tried to side with the deviants Hank, I helped them escape Jericho and get to safety. And how does Markus repay me?" Connor's eyes shot up from the roof and locked onto Hank's eyes in an instant with an enraged glare. "With a bullet in my head!"
"An eye for an eye."
"It's not about revenge, Hank! He-"
"He's fighting for his life and for his people, Connor." Hank's gun lowered and his tone softened. "When he shot you it was because he had to make a choice: Trust the one deviant who could compromise everything he had fought for, or protect his people from the one last possible threat that could destroy everything."
Connor's glare faded into a stoic gaze.
"It wasn't anything personal. If it had been any other deviant in your position he would've pulled the trigger all the same."
"Then why is my position any different than his? Why is his mission more important than mine?"
"Because you know what you're doing is wrong."
Connor felt his hand's grip around the rifle weaken.
"And you know what he's doing is right. Otherwise you never would've helped him escape." Hank willingly returned his gun to his holster.
Something inside Connor began to change, his programming destabilizing perhaps, but there something more to it. Something he once felt when confronting Markus at Jericho, and the gun began to slip away from his grip. "I... I don't know why I did it."
"Yes you do. Just like you know why you let the other deviants go at the club, and why you spared the android at Kamski's place." Hank insisted calmly as he took a step toward Connor. "Drop the gun Connor. Let Markus lead his people to freedom. Let your mission go!"
"I don't care about the fucking mission!"
The outburst caught Hank by surprise and his hand reflexively hovered over the gun in his holster.
"Hank, please..." Connor was troubled beyond anything he had felt before. "I don't know what I should do!" Looking Hank directly in the eyes Connor spoke from his deviant heart and not from his machine mind. "I don't want to kill someone who is innocent, but I don't want to die." His L.E.D. flashed to red as fear, true and utter fear settled in his rediscovered heart, and a tear rolled from his eye down his cheek. "I don't want to die, Hank!"
Hank stared at Connor for a moment as if the detective couldn't trust his own judgment. Tears. Real tears. Connor was crying.
"I... don't want to die..."
Walking toward Connor with purpose Hank stopped in front of the android and stared at the emotionally, mentally and logically torn being standing before him.
How could Connor not see it for himself? He, like Markus and all the other deviants, ARE alive.
Hank stared at Connor for only a moment longer before he made his decision. Suddenly Hank wrapped his arms around Connor's neck and his shoulders, pulling the android against his chest as he held the weeping android in a tight hug.
Connor's L.E.D. flickered from red to yellow as he finally let go of the rifle, letting it fall to the snow covered roof with an audible 'crash'.
Slowly Connor wrapped his own arms around Hank to reciprocate the hug as he fought but failed to fight back a sob, his L.E.D. transitioning into blue.
"It's okay, Connor." Hank moved his hand to the back of Connor's head and pressed the android's forehead down against his shoulder. "You're not going to die. I won't let you."
Feeling relief for the first time in his life Connor buried his face against Hank's shoulder as he openly wept on the rooftop overlooking the revolution taking place in the streets below.
"Thank you, Hank." Connor heartfully sobbed as Hank hugged him even tighter. "Thank you for saving me..."
A single tear fell from Hank's blue eyes as he looked beyond the roof to the streets below. He watched as Markus heroically stood his ground as a chorus of deviants began singing with a soulful harmony that was heard, and felt, throughout the entire country.
Guns were lowered, and the violence mercifully came to an end on that cold, snowy night in Detroit.
It was all over.
"You're welcome..." Hank sighed in relief as he bowed his own head down until it was resting atop Connor's trembling shoulder. "son."