Title: Carbon Copy
Author: Asuka Kureru (askerian (at) hotmail (dot) com)
Fandom: Naruto (Alternate Universe)
Lead character: Sasuke.
Genre: Futuristic AU (cyberpunk yay), prequel to Crossed Wires.
Notes: This is in the same universe as Crossed Wires, yes. No, this is not the story you are looking for. I still haven't found a real plot for this universe -- I have a few ideas but nothing coherent. What I do have, though, is more info on where Sasukebot comes from. So this short scene happens a few years before Crossed wires.
If I decide to make a real multichaptered fic out of this universe, I will probably reuse parts of it. Or use it as a prologue, maybe. For now, it's fine as it is.
And yes, the present tense is deliberate.
Sometimes it seems that Uchiha models are a dime a dozen. When Sasuke walks through the hangars housing the other detachments to save time, instead of circling around, he sees hundreds and hundreds of his fellow police androids.
They all have dark eyes; that's the only thing they all have in common. It's a necessity to protect the Sharingan when it isn't in use. Even then, most of these are dark brown. Sasuke's are a dark blue-grey that's not very natural-looking, when one is close enough to scrutinize that deeply -- but not a lot of civilians get to find that out, and besides they usually assume it's contacts, or cosmetic surgery.
Most of them have black hair. The country is full of people of Asian descent; it helps blending in. There are still blonds and a handful of redheads around.
Most of them are fit -- it's difficult to chase down criminals when your body type mimics that of an obese person; it's even more difficult to keep the perps down without having to injure them if you weigh half their weight. When you're too light to keep them pinned down, knocking them unconscious or breaking a leg works in a pinch, but then there are lawsuits.
Of course, he's been oriented to a Major Crimes unit; most of the time he has full permission to use lethal force. But not all of the other AIs develop the way he is developing, even though they all start from the same point. After all, AIs, like sentient people, grow into a personality; they're not born -- made -- fully formed. Though they can be directed; the acute sense of justice isn't an option. The only difference is the shape it takes. Sasuke doesn't like using lethal force -- if he did, he would either be sold to the military or directed to the Secret Services, or terminated -- but he doesn't let his distaste make him hesitate, and this is why he gets to chase down murderers.
Not all of them look young; though very few look older than forty -- it would be hard to hide the total lack of aching and weakening. Sasuke is in the lower age bracket -- he seems barely legal; maybe twenty with certain expressions and the right clothes. He is eight year old.
Vice has the highest proportion of pretty blonde girls and grizzled older men. The ones in charge of circulation and public disturbances look more conservative; lower breasts-waist-hips ratio, less false scars, shorter hair. The Special Victims squad looks older, more motherly, to soothe and reassure victims of sexual offences; there aren't a lot of male bodies in that hangar.
He walks through the barracks, such as they are, glancing at the other Uchihas, as they recharge in their see-through beds -- the techs joke about them looking more like coffins -- as they surf the net to perfect their knowledge on any number of subjects, or just interact.
They're all so different, he thinks, and is vaguely puzzled that the technicians think this is only skin deep. Only cosmetic. Underneath the syntheskin, they all have the same wires and gyros and weird mechanisms, the same processors. But humans are all made of the same kinds of cells and organs, too.
Unique... what was it again? Snowflakes? He can see the similarities in concepts, but he's still too new to true intelligence to understand the leap of logic that created that comparison. It's fitting enough, though.
The Special Ops hangar is a little out of the way, and these Uchihas -- ANBU models, elite and well-aware of it -- aren't the most welcoming of the bunch, but even though he doesn't have clearance to exchange anything but banalities with them, they're not allowed to discuss classified cases when they're back at the compound for downtime. And nothing around here is really private. So when he really has to, he doesn't hesitate to cut through their barracks either.
He doesn't do it often, though, and maybe this is why encountering a mirror image of himself makes his central unit ... stammer, as it were.
The other Sasuke has... lines, like parallel scars, in diagonal under his eyes. And his hair is long, and maybe a little reddish compared to Sasuke's blue-black; it's hard to say, with that light. Apart from that, he is identical. If there weren't the scars, Sasuke would only have to turn on his Sharingan and they would look like carbon copies.
Sasuke didn't know that they reused physical specs. Maybe someone in the Design division made a mistake.
The other Sasuke is training, throwing knives in the air and then throwing more knives at them to alter their trajectories. Sasuke tries to follow the calculations. He has never seen anything like that, and while it isn't anything he really would need, it's still...
... Neat. It's neat. He turns the concept over in his head, then decides to keep it. He has been told to accept emotional responses, so long as they respect logic. This is an original use of knives, and requires some very quick and extremely precise calculations. It deserves some admiration.
The other Sasuke stills, and turns to face him, silent. Sasuke wonders where the startled guilt he's feeling comes from; it isn't as if he had been hiding his presence.
"Is this an original skill?" he asks; he feels like he should say something. It's weird that they look so identical, and yet he cannot make predictions about the other's line of thought.
The silence stretches. Sasuke wonders if this model has ever had much socializing. Sasuke isn't big on politeness usually, but right now he's keenly aware that structuring interaction really helps to get it going.
"Unnecessarily convoluted," the other counters neatly.
"It gets your calculating speed up, at least." Sasuke hesitates; but they're encouraged to share information and tips, aren't they. "I would appreciate learning to do that."
The other stares, expressionless, and then he allows a smirk on his face. This isn't a Sasuke smirk; he doesn't know how to interpret it. Though it's still social interaction that doesn't rely on raw data exchange. He wasn't sure the other knew how.
"... You are UG-7-SA."
Sasuke blinks. "How did you -- you have clearance for the databases. Or did you see me around before?"
The other picks up his knives, pulling them free from the targets effortlessly. "I did not see you before."
Sasuke frowns. He cannot believe that any AI with high enough clearance to access the Uchiha listings at anytime would score that low in socialization, which means the other actually means to be that cryptic. It's annoying. "Who are you?"
There's a pause again. Sasuke wonders, irrationally, if the other is going to lie. Uchihas don't lie to each other. There is absolutely no need.
Well, now he has an ID. "What do you prefer to be called?"
Sasuke blinks again.
"You come through here because it's shorter. You took that into account. You have now lost nine minutes and thirty-two seconds watching me. You are late."
"Oh, crap." Sasuke starts moving to leave; the other lifts his hand, palm up, and crooks his finger in a gesture that he doesn't interpret right away; and then he remembers. 'Come closer.' He's going to be so very late. He obeys anyway. The other fascinates him, more than someone merely sharing his aesthetical specs should.
ANBU models move faster than GENIN models, of course; this still doesn't help him feel less annoyed when the other Uchiha's fingers tap his forehead, before he even sees him move.
"You are not at my level." For Sasuke, what he means is, 'you're of inferior quality.'
"I will be," Sasuke snaps back, glaring. "There's more to us than what we've been made with." Sentient beings are more than the sum of their parts; his human captain told him that, and he believes him. If he's inherently slower, well, he'll learn to think faster, to anticipate. He'll compensate. So what if that 13-IT guy has bigger guns -- it isn't the only thing that makes one a competent cop. Besides if he proves that he can adapt to the stress of handling the bigger influx of data and the physical changes, he can also apply for an ANBU upgrade, and then they'll be equals.
The other smiles again, a small, thin twist of the lips that he doesn't seem to have practiced much.
"Maybe I will teach you another day. Sasuke."
He sidesteps him, nudges Sasuke so that he's forced to take a step forward. Sasuke keeps moving, toward the exit, too-new, too-bright emotions churning inside him. He's still curious about what goes on behind that face. He's still admiring his superior abilities. But the annoyance at his shows of superiority isn't leaving anytime soon.
Sasuke is almost out of the hangar when the other drops casually, "my name is Itachi."