Author's Note: Ah, where to begin with how this came to be... I'm not sure if that's explainable. The first thing I thought of from the prompt was 'Tears in Rain', the quote and soundtrack segment from Blade Runner. So it just became this... tech-noir AU of Psychoville. My muse playlist included Vangelis, Dismantled, and Janelle Monáe. And yes, Jeremy's android number is Cindi Mayweather's, backwards. You could get no people more opposite than those two, trust me. On a side-note, OCPD has nothing to do with OCD. It happens to describe the human Jeremy perfectly, hence why it was mentioned. Anyway, please, enjoy, and let me know what you think! 3
Finney slammed down his vaguely-consumable mug of coffee, its weight implying that there was no more stewed drink to extort, and that there was no more time to waste. A night of concluding chapters had begun. And the timing was perfect; he'd made sure of it with great effort on his behalf. This job was his ticket out of the post-apocalyptic Earth he currently inhabited (whether that departure was by ship or by death), but that wasn't his reason for taking it on. As bizarre as it might sound, he just wanted the satisfaction of ending a few more android lives. He believed that every man should know their place; the mechanical man was never designed to relax, to rebel, to love. They might simulate such trivial matters, but it was all a mask, so not to stimulate suspicion that they might be less than human (which they were, as any intelligent person should know). And likewise, it was no man's place to ask why they had to die. That just proved Finney's point. They were just expected to fall off cliffs, or to be hanged, or to get stabbed by stationery, for their insolence. But, as he reflected upon while loading his weapons, today was a little different. Today, he was assassinating the ringleader.
He stepped out onto the streets of what once might have been called 'London', welcomed by a cold drizzle of rainwater after leaving the cover of the apartment block. His long coat tailed him like a cape while he took a brisk walk in the direction of Brooke Street. For a minute, he could be mistaken for one of the heroes of the tale... but as any sane being was well aware of, heroes were nothing more than morons; idealistic to the point of naivety and willing to let their morals get in the way of their work. Most of all? Heroes were boring. They were seldom willing to have a bit of fun in the name of justice, or the lack thereof. There was no way that a man of utter virtue existed. Even the programming of a perfect android could go wrong. Heroes didn't exist outside fiction, and Finney was glad of it.
The unlucky radical was apparently built by an Edwina Kenchington (Finney had heard the name plenty of times now, and it still didn't sound real), and then employed in a library after a malfunction. Story goes he started having hallucinations. Finney reckoned it was just good acting. Having spent all that time in an asylum, it made sense to adapt to the madness, perhaps to stay a while longer and avoid the perils of responsibility. How this... Kenchington managed to overlook that simple AI design fault, Finney would never know. Either way, he was rendered a suspect in Kenchington's fiery death and had ripped a dog to pieces since then. Nothing too dangerous, compared to the usual fare Finney had to deal with, but he had evaded capture for a couple of years, so he must be doing something outside legality.
Shortly after departure, he found himself at the hideout, which happened to be under the unimaginative title of 'Brooke St. Library'. Humans used to be so dreary... not that Finney wasn't human himself. No way might he be a robot reprogrammed to do his job... why, the fandom might consider it but it's never been proven by the author, right?
He heaved his way into the entrance, rather desiring to be heard. The sound of each door slamming against the hollow walls symbolized the gunshots 'Jeremy Goode' would be hearing soon enough, seconds before their electronic brains exploded. Finney always wondered why androids were given the privilege of real names, instead of allowing them to be addressed only by their identification number. Some degree of dehumanization had to be present, or who knows what might happen to an impressionable normal person. Perhaps they'd fall in love with some machine that promised that they'd be with them forever. And then the robot would gouge their eyes out. They liked that move. It showed their so-called insurmountable strength... and their inherent psychopathy.
He tried to turn on the lights; the bulb flickered a few times yet gave up on its job rather soon. It transpired that the 'meeting' was to be held in darkness, the only semblance of a light source coming from the red billboards glowing outside. 12875 (otherwise known as Jeremy)'s steps rang out in Finney's earshot, came closer, took on quicker tempo, and finally stopped. He was now visible to Finney; the android sat on a chair at the end of the long corridor marking the opposite end of the doorway, hands clasped in his lap. "Good evening," he said. "I hear you've been expecting my presence... and it'd be rather rude not to adhere, don't you think?"
"Oh, you found out that much, then?"
"I have my sources, Inspector, as you have yours." 12875 glanced to the side, at something currently out of Finney's line of sight. "She was named Lucy. Didn't put up much of a fight... nor did her owner, in fact." Rachel, Finney thought. Thank God he never let himself get attached to her. Jeremy's neck twitched, and rolled back onto the path of the visitor. "But to what do I owe the... pleasure of this visit?" His tone was unexpectedly soft and articulate. Even his appearance was a bit out of the ordinary, just by being so damn normal. Each phrase his sound-chip extracted was constructed with extreme care, like he was worried about what might come out if he didn't input that much concentration.
Finney sighed. "You know."
"I do, do I? Well, no, I can't really recall anything that'd precipitate our meeting, I'm afraid."
"How did this all start," Finney began, taking a second to decide upon how he'd address the android, "Jeremy?" He shuddered a little over the notion of bothering to use his false name. To him, it felt more impersonal than naming him by number. "The murders? The escape? Your time in Ravenhill Hospital?"
"Never heard of the last one," he returned, shaking his head with a slight pout, as if desperately trying to recall anything that might satisfy his guest. Ah, the lengths the sub-humans went to, Finney thought.
"I'm not here to interview you. The information'll be useless once you're dead."
"You've come here to kill me?"
"That's right. Not that it can really be called killing... what with you not being a living creature, and all. The actual term's 'retirement', as you'd doubtless tell me on a more pedantic day. But that's all you're good for, and if you can't consistently do that? You've outlived your use, Jeremy." Finney pulled a pistol from his inner coat pocket, cocking it and training it on 'Jeremy', its intimidation value increased twofold by the icy gaze accompanying each action. "But hey. No reason we can't have some fun beforehand, hm?"
"Tell me about your creator."
His face fell, eyes widening, as if he was hurt by the request. "I don't have a creator. I don't know what your agency tells you, but I'm human, alright?"
Finney snickered. The ones in denial were always the most fun to dispatch. "Is that so?" Andrews rarely told him much about the targets, whenever he'd been given the order to kill them. After all, she didn't want anyone forming a personal connection with the people they were supposed to assassinate. (Yeah, right. She had Finney down perfectly.) Anyway, she couldn't help but let slip the reason for this guy stumbling onto the radar in the first place: an overdue library book. His productivity trait was in overdrive mode, probably a misguided attempt on behalf of Kenchington of creating the perfect worker, when instead; she'd just get a bunch of OCPD patients with a wide tendency towards the realms of instability. No wonder he'd malfunctioned. So after hearing this frankly hilarious news, it was only inevitable that Finney had walked into the nearest bookstore and bought the very same book for five quid. If he couldn't get a word out of this guy, perhaps he'd need to go into a different profession. The task lost the majority of its entertainment value if one couldn't make the target squirm beforehand. And that, as I'm sure you understand, was out of the question. He edged a little closer, till they only had a couple of yards between them. He didn't need to say anymore, keeping the gun pointed at the android as he rifled through his pockets for the book: Fifty Great Coastal Walks of the British Isles, Volume II. Heh, that was inaccurate already. That hadn't been inhabitable coasts since 2015. Unable to stop himself from commenting, he finally decided, "I see you don't fear deactivation. Interesting reaction, I'll say." He opened the book, pulling it up to eye level. For a few seconds, Jeremy could only respond in stunned facial twitches. "I'm not going anywhere."
He felt no need to take things slowly. The only reasoning androids could comprehend was severe reasoning; it was the way they were hardwired (quite literally). And so he took his lighter, flipped it on, lifted it just that bit too close to the book...
It triggered immediate response. "Alright, alright. Look, I'll talk. Just... please. Let me have the book."
"Now we're getting somewhere." Finney placed the hardback on the floor, kicking it over to Jeremy. "Now. Tell me about 'Silent Singer'."
Jeremy collected the book in a hurry, still sitting. He wasn't sure why this strange inspector was here; after all, he had no sense of good or evil: only the notion of acting the way he was supposed to, and otherwise. However, killing animals – killing his creator — wasn't what he was designed to do. But still, he only did so – only dared to do so – because he needed more time. Brooke Street was going to let him get sent to the incinerator, as per the contract Kenchington had given them. He did what he had to. If he didn't do that... well, he'd just be melting his way to his slow destruction. What was so wrong with wanting to live a little past his value?
"You really want to... know it all?" He twitched some more, maintaining steady eye contact from below his eyebrows. The other employees had long been retired. He had let them be retired. A new batch was set to arrive tomorrow morning. He knew he wouldn't be there to greet them. He was ready to die, he told himself. Or rather, his programming told him so... the connection he thought was broken.
Finney kept the cold stare, his brows tilting inward. "Indeed, I do. Seems only fair you get the chance to... clear things up before your untimely demise."
'Untimely' was one term for it. But Jeremy discovered he didn't wish to agree with this demise. He refused to agree. He stood from the chair, slowly pacing towards Finney. He swallowed to some degree of success, mimicking human functions but not managing entirely, given his lack of saliva. The Silent Singer appeared from behind Finney, though only for less than a second. But after its manifestation, he knew exactly what he was to do. With a gasp of inhalation on behalf of the both of them, he rammed Finney against the wall.
"There's no use in fighting," Finney managed.
Jeremy ignored the proclamation. It was just a method for the intruder to buy time. He had to live on. Taking a pair of scissors from his jacket pocket, he held the blades to Finney's neck. Indeed, he was just about to make the first incision when the first shot boomed out.
Jeremy staggered back, his stomach fizzling, one hand covering the damage to some extent. One more bullet would kill him for sure, but more importantly, the first one had completely pierced his jumper. (The bastards.) Jeremy wasn't too concerned about that, but it was a bit like adding insult to severe damage.
"Forgot about that, didn't you?"
"I have to admit I did."
"Reminds me... you never responded to my request." Finney narrowed his eyes, almost playfully caricatured in his facial expressions. "So I'll say it again. Before I finish you off... tell me about your hallucinations, Jeremy."
Even struggling to pretend to breathe, Jeremy began, breathily, "Do you know... how many scientific breakthroughs have been made... completely by accident?"