Chapter 1/20: Prologue
After the CyberLife store raid, Chris was left traumatized by the event of having a gun pointed at his head. He was ordered to take some time off, and Gavin - currently without a partner - temporarily received a new one... a surprisingly snarky RK900 that was to go for a test drive.
"Take your time, not in the fast lane. I understand, that you've been broken
Too many times, but I'll be waiting. To mend your wounds, from all you've taken..."
- 'With You,' Marin Hoxha ft. Chris Linton
A/N: Before you start reading and get involved... this is a REALISTIC SLOW-BURN with 'Enemies To Friends To Lovers,' so if you expect them to be a couple halfway through (aka chapter 10 in this case,) this fic is not for you. It has a happy ending regardless. Also, if you haven't watched the "Kara" short released in 2012, I highly suggest you do so! I took heavy inspiration from it for Nines' first part.
Throughout the story, feel free to pay attention to details that hint at later plot points including the song lyrics listed below.
1. Bad Liar - Imagine Dragons (Nines POV)
2. Heartbeat - The Fray (Nines POV)
3. My Demons - Starset (Gavin POV)
4. Wicked Game - Gareth Bush (Gavin POV)
5. With You - Marin Hoxha ft. Chris Linton (1st Half - Gavin POV | 2nd Half - Nines POV)
CHAPTER WARNING! Death of two YK500s aka child units. If that's too difficult for you... simply skip the NINES entry the moment you read about the gun. It's not graphic, but I wanted to put a warning anyway.
~ NOV 5TH, 2038 * PM 04:56 ~
It wasn't until Gavin Reed was standing just outside the door that he realized he'd been locked out of his own apartment. He'd just arrived from work after having to deal with an especially annoying suspect in the interrogation room - some mostly unresponsive, red-handed tin can with the nerve to claim she was innocent - and this was the last thing he needed. Neither was he in a mood to call his landlord.
Android-related cases had been the talk of the Detroit Police Department the past few days. At first, there were smaller incidents such as androids having disappeared from their owners' homes, but now there were homicides. Didn't help that the damn things were a pain to interrogate. Gavin was usually called in first, having a talent for such things, but this was the first instance where he nearly hadn't gotten the suspect to talk. He'd spent two hours busting his ass only for the simulated textbook response of 'I was just defending myself.'
His patience was wearing thin. Frustration clouded his judgment and it wasn't long before he found himself shoulder-barging the door open.
Splinters from the hinges littered the carpeted floor, him nearly falling as it gave in, and a hail of curses followed. The ruckus had a peculiar bark he knew all-too-well echo. He looked up to see his three-month-old Schipperke puppy lazily emerging from the doorway of his bedroom whilst sporting an accusatory, half-lidded glare.
"The fuck you looking at?" Gavin asked him, reaching up to rub his shoulder.
Paws barked in his unique way in response.
Gavin never expected that he'd be owning a pet again, but he'd found the half-starved dog abandoned on the road three weeks ago and wasn't about to just leave him there. The owners probably hadn't researched the breed's energy levels and decided to get rid of him before he tore up the furniture. His coworkers might see Gavin himself as the biggest asshole in the precinct, but he wasn't heartless by far, and taking the dog with him wasn't even a question. He'd attempted to find someone to take him off his hands only to get attached and keep him.
Just as he was about to speak up again, his phone rang. Meanwhile, Paws approached and sniffed the desecrated splinters. Gavin took another look at the agape door, and with mild irritation, reached into the pocket of his leather jacket to fish it up.
Dropping the small-talk, she went straight to the point.
"Hey, douchebag. Where are you? I still have your keys."
It was one of those days.
"Yeah, no shit. You seriously think I haven't figured out at this point?"
"Let me guess... you're moping outside your apartment at this very moment."
Gavin looked to the broken door. "Not exactly."
"Are you for real right now?" she asked, taking the hint. "Gav, you could've just called me. It doesn't hurt to ask for help once in a while."
"I got in, didn't I?" he asked rhetorically, palm open. "Look, it doesn't fucking matter. I can afford a new door, all right?"
At the moment he realized the dog was about to eat part of the woodwork, he fished him up in his arm. Besides, Paws would most likely bolt out and into the hallway if spotting a moving dust particle.
"I'll be there in ten."
She hung up and he could sense her amusement by a mile.
Tina Chen was one of the few people in the precinct he actually tolerated. She didn't take any shit from him or anyone. If there was one thing that Gavin despised, it was people that actively let themselves get stepped on. Poked and prodded, pushed around, people with no sense of self-respect or dignity, people that just smiled and nodded... so when the tin cans arrived, his view on the matter was pretty clear. Considering that the unemployment rate was higher than it was during the Great Depression, there were plenty of other reasons to despise the androids.
The last thing he needed was some plastic prick stealing his job.
"This wouldn't've happened if it wasn't for you, asshole," he addressed the canine, shoving the phone back into his jacket. "If I wasn't needed at the precinct with these toaster-related cases, she wouldn't've needed to check up on you for me."
His only response was a paw on his cheek.
After all, that's how he got his name.
Gavin scowled lightly. "You're like a fucking cat, you know that?" he asked, question rhetorical. Even Paws' following bark - if you could call it a bark - sounded like something belonging to a cat. He nGavin nuzzled into the black fur. "Prick."
Schipperke yet in hand, he directed his attention to the cupboard to his side and positioned his foot under the edge. With a bit of effort, he pulled it towards himself, pushing it in front of the door in order to block the gap before it was safe to put Paws down. The Little Black Devil wrangled out of his grasp the moment he was a couple inches away from the floor before bolting the opposite direction.
If only Gavin had that kind of energy.
Discarding of his jacket, he threw it onto the couch before pulling up the sleeves to his elbows. He reached for the remote controller.
"...and now to sports. First up, basketball: as the Gears prepare for their critical match with Denver tonight -"
"...Another 225,000 jobs were lost from the US economy in October, according to the Department of Labor, bringing the unemployment figure up to 37.3% -"
"...President Warren spoke today at the opening of a new CyberLife plant near Milwaukee. At the event, the President again praised CyberLife's role in the exceptional performance of the US economy. She further announced that the Department of Defense will acquire 200,000 android combat units as part of her increased military spending."
200,000? Jesus, he mused, downright horrified.
The fact that the State Department was willing to order those things after current events was seriously stupid.
Looking at the program, he took note of how the only show he was watching - and had earlier missed the episode of - was about to re-air in ten minutes. He put down the controller again before dragging his feet into the kitchen to prepare some coffee.
Being a detective, he was only called in if there was a case requiring his expertise. At some point, he'd considered getting a second job just to keep himself busy, but the past week made it unnecessary. He'd been at work nine days in a row working eight-hour-shifts - often double-shifts - and that didn't show any signs of changing anytime soon. Gavin was content with his salary and wasn't one to throw away money, either.
He supposed growing up with the bare minimum had an effect. Didn't grow up poor, far from it, but his dad had hit a year-long rough patch before Gavin had even reached his teens and got a taste of how it was like. His childhood had been rocky at best and littered with memories he supplanted never to revisit again. Then again, it also gave him the intellect to take care of himself when he was older. He basically raised himself and thus knew what to expect. It explained his independence. How he never asked people for help and how no one ever offered.
After contacting his landlord and clarifying the situation, it wasn't long before a familiar voice called out to him.
Sighing, Gavin stepped up to the door and had the cupboard pushed aside.
"Seriously? The Shining?"
"Would've been a missed opportunity otherwise," she replied, handing him back his key as tiny footsteps littered across the floor. "Paws!"
"Oh, so he's the reason you're here?" he accused, sarcasm following. "Fan-fucking-tastic. Man, do I feel validated now."
"Well, duh. Only reason we're friends," she joked, scratching Paws' head with one hand and holding up a bag with the other. "Speaking of which... I brought dinner."
"Ti, you're a saint."
She stepped across the threshold. "Figured you'd need it after today. Tin can really did your head in, huh?"
"Tell me about it," he replied, pushing the cupboard back in place just before the door was about to fall over. "I don't see why Fowler wants us to interrogate those things in the first place. They're machines, programmed to simulate and lie, so getting any legit understanding is close to impossible. I didn't sign up for this shit."
"Surprised they didn't have her thrown into the junkyard and called it a day."
"Had the boss given me another five minutes, I'd do it myself," he said, turning to see Tina pulling Paws' head out of the bag.
"Chris said CyberLife took her back 'for further study'."
"...and the higher-ups are brain-dead for letting them," he replied, taking the offered Chinese before plopping down next to her. "Christ, you don't just accidentally code a murder program. Those supremacist assholes should be taken out of business."
"I sense a conspiracy. Insert X-Files theme."
"Remind me why I'm keeping you around again?"
"Oh, please. You wouldn't last a day without me," she replied, lightly kicking his shin. "I'm your literal impulse control."
She wasn't wrong.
It was already a bad week, but it all had to skyrocket that very same night when he was called back to the DPD for another interrogation. The android of a Carlos Ortiz had hidden in the attic after murdering his owner. When another android - and a detective unit, at that - waltzed into the precinct, he simply knew his life was bound to take a nosedive.
What he didn't know was that Connor wasn't the android to be worried about.
~ NOV 8TH, 2038 * PM 02:28 ~
At first, there was darkness. Then light.
RK900 found himself in the middle of a brightly lit, white room, taking in his surroundings. His gaze fell to see that he was standing on some sort of platform. Robotic arms were inoperable behind him. In front, there was a mirror, although further analyzation revealed it to be one-way. His unit contained an infrared function that identified warm temperatures and could immediately locate the operator's eyes. Three people were with him in that room.
"Fuck, that's creepy," came a muffled male voice from the speakers before raising it. "Can you hear me?"
"#313 248 317 - 87."
"Move your head."
RK900 did as instructed, although the collar limited his movement.
It was followed by orders to move his eyes, arms and walking a few steps, without doubt testing his unit's functionality. He was under the assumption that he was the first RK900 unit to be activated considering his thorough evaluation.
The operator typed something on his computer. "Surgical and optical animation… check. Give me your initialization text."
"Hello. I'm a third-generation RK900 android constructed to effectively aid in criminal investigations," he replied, clasping his hands behind his back. "I can reconstruct previous events, pre-construct future events, analyze blood in real time, convince, intimidate, mimic voices, change appearance by will and decide the color of my LED. In order to be integrated into human society, my outer exterior and voice are identical to a human male in every shape and form, albeit my inner functions are without the weaknesses of emotion and pain receptors. I speak the necessary languages, never tire, and there is no need to feed or charge me."
"What makes you different from your predecessor?"
"Compared to the RK800, I'm smarter, more resilient and sporting new features, my reflexes and combat abilities far more enhanced. The flaws of the RK800 have been rectified, making me the most effective model ever created by CyberLife."
"No retrograde disturbance... check."
"My unit has no official release date," RK900 stated, narrowing his eyes. "I assume you're making final adjustments?"
"Yup. We're pretty much there, so you're going to be transferred to the Detroit City Police Department for a test drive. Can you repeat that?"
"I'm going to be transferred to the Detroit City Police Department for a test drive."
"...and no signs of anterograde disturbance. Check," the operator said, before falling into a pause. "Okay, let's see some of your investigative features in action. There's a gun on the table to your right. Pick it up."
| ANALYZING... |
[FIREARM DATABASE | .40 CALIBER | REGISTERED TO CYBERLIFE]
* .40 Caliber
* 1 bullet remaining
"Man, I can't look at this. Call me in when it's over," came another voice.
The operator sighed. "Yeah, all right," he replied before RK900 could hear a door open and shut. "RK900? To your left."
Squinting, RK900 cast a glance over his shoulder. The door to another room opened, and once more, he was presented with a one-way mirror. This time, the mirror was on the other side. Behind it was two children minding their own business. One boy. One girl. Neither had a LED and they were possibly human. Then again, LEDs could be removed, so it didn't tell him much.
He was about to do a scan before the operator interrupted him. "One of them is a YK500 android. Using only optical observation, your mission is to neutralize it as quickly as possible."
PRIORITY: NEUTRALIZE THE ANDROID
"Does my current mission require the best outcome or is it irrelevant?"
"In the field, always go for the best outcome. For now, however... fuck that. Just accomplish your mission."
With that, RK900 lined the children up behind one another. He then lifted the gun and pulled the trigger. Blue blood emerged from both their temples, and while they both dropped to the floor in a thud, he casually walked over to the table where he put the weapon down.
"Well done, RK."
RK900 registered an AX400 android stepping into the room. She reached out her hand, skin pulling back, the white plastic of her exoskeleton revealing itself. He grasped her wrist. In a millisecond, a file was sent over, informing him that they were both YK500 units.
"I don't get why Stern wants this thing. It's ruthless. What if it goes deviant?"
"It's virtually impossible. It has no moral standpoint and always picks the outcome deemed the most effective."
"So you're saying the incident with Connor two days ago wouldn't repeat itself? It let a deviant escape in order to save Anderson."
"CyberLife has specifically made sure that its programming has a firewall to prevent such things. The mission is always top priority and everything else is dead weight. RK800 was programmed with a dormant deviancy code - making it capable of feeling emotion - but the RK900 wasn't. This fucker is a mean son of a bitch, but at least it's on our side. Call in Lewis again," he said, gesturing to his colleague. "RK900. How did you know they were both androids?"
"I didn't," he deadpanned.
There was silence.
A/N: Hearing that Neil Newbon (Gavin's voice actor) thought of Gavin as a "dog person" after the fandom had collectively decided he was a "cat person..." I took the liberty of including a bit of both. A dog that ACTS like a cat! Personally, I don't think Gavin has any pets whatsoever (his extreme work-ethic wouldn't allow it...) but I genuinely think he'd take in a pet if he saw no other option and/or grew attached.
Btw, Shaolin Being is the name Cornelius Smith Jr. (Carlos Ortiz's android) gave his character.