Title: The Heart is a Machine
Pairing: Quinn Fabray/Rachel Berry
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. Just having a little fun.
Summary: AU. Future fic. Quinn Fabray, former Blade Runner, is called back into the force when a group of robots crash land on Earth and go on a killing spree. When a seemingly unique in her own way robot weasels her way into Quinn's life Quinn begins to question what it means to be human.
A/N: Hey! Can't seem to write one-shots anymore; I'm stuck in chapter fic mode, which doesn't bode well for my sanity, but that's another story. I'm here with a new one! And there's probably a lot to explain, so let's get to it.
Several months ago I watched Blade Runner in a film class and fell in nerd love with it. And it occurred to me about two months ago that it would be cool to read it in a Faberry fic. So I wrote it/am writing it. This is a future AU fic. Quinn is twenty-one. We're dealing with robots, cliché love and all that good stuff. It's a fast paced movie, and this fic will probably be just as fast paced. Any questions, please ask. Most will be answered as the fic progresses, though. :)
Things to note:
Replicant: the name for androids.
Skin-job: a derogatory term for replicants.
Twenty-one was supposed to be a milestone, an age of reckless abandon once alcohol drinking became legal. It was an age of just old enough without being old at all. But for Quinn Fabray, as she turned twenty-one in November, 2019, it was nothing but a number, really.
"Come on, Q, hurry up so we can get out of the rain!" Her best friend, Puck, laughed. "You know how much you hate storms!"
Just then, a crackle of thunder shook the heavens violently and Quinn, walking on a very busy sidewalk, halted, a trickle of dread shooting down her spine as she tried to look inconspicuous as she began to walk a little faster. "Thanks, Puck," she grumbled as she walked faster to catch up with him. Thunderstorms made her uneasy, always had since she was a child and she had carried the mild fear into her adulthood much to her embarrassment.
"Excuse you," Quinn grumbled bitingly toward a woman who bumped into her. "Freak." She winded through the people with her umbrella held securely in her grip to keep her freshly curled hair from becoming rain soaked. Her heels, sensible wedges that could sustain her ankles while walking around all day squished against rapidly forming puddles in grooves on the sidewalk.
She felt a warm hand settle in her unoccupied one and looked over to find Puck walking beside her. The only sensible part of his outfit was a sweater to fight off the chilled night air. Otherwise, he was in a pair of shorts without an umbrella to protect his slicked back mohawk as they winded down the sidewalk.
The door to the restaurant was already being opened by a tall, slender woman as Quinn neared it and she sped up even more, catching it with a grateful smile in her direction. Puck walked up a moment later to hold the door, and, one foot poised as a needless, habitual stopper in front of the door, Quinn wrung out her umbrella before closing it and walking inside. For a Thursday evening the restaurant wasn't very crowded and her tense shoulders drooped somewhat at the possibility of being served quickly.
It was a quiet atmosphere with dimmed lights, the perfect place for the non-eventful birthday dinner Quinn had been hoping for. She caught a waitress's eye, a short brunette, and smiled while pointing to a nearby table in question. The waitress nodded with a grin, and Quinn began to take off her coat as she and Puck walked toward a nearby booth.
"Okay, I don't know what the fuck to order here, Q," Puck admitted as he settled into the booth. There were already menus there and he grabbed one, opening it with a confused frown. "I can't even pronounce half this stuff."
"American," Quinn scoffed with a teasing smile. "Look, I'm ordering the Kapow chicken—you can get that if you'd like."
"Spicy?" he asked.
Her head tilted. "If done correctly."
Puck closed his menu with finality. "That's what I want." He flagged down the same waitress they had seen earlier and they ordered quickly. Once she was gone, Puck waggled his eyebrows at Quinn across the booth. "Going out drinking tonight?"
Quinn settled further into the booth with a sigh. "I don't know, Puck. I kind of don't feel up to it."
Puck frowned. "Come on, Q. You've been a wet blanket for the last few months. What's gotten into you?"
She glanced out the window to the rivulets of rain streaking down in various patterns on the other side. "I don't know," she said quietly.
"I think you miss being a blade runner."
Quinn laughed once, hard, and turned to Puck. "I hated that job."
"It gave you a rush, though."
"Risking my life by retiring androids does not give me a rush, no."
He shrugged. "Gives me one."
Quinn eyed him for a long moment. "How's it been lately? You don't talk about it much."
"Nothing's going on," Puck admitted. "I just sit at my desk all day collecting checks while we wait for something interesting to happen, like one of those skin-jobs getting away from Schuester Corp and onto the streets."
Quinn hummed noncommittally at his answer. She drew the straw in her glass nearer and took a sip. Extra money in her pocket would have been great right now.
The door to the restaurant chimed, and Quinn's eyes cut over to the man standing in the doorway. Then they rolled. Sam Evans, still wearing his scrubs, walked into the restaurant.
Puck turned around as the sight of annoyance of Quinn's face. His own face split into a grin. "Hey, buddy, over here!"
Sam caught sight of Puck and waved back, making his way over. He was the youngest intern at Lima Hospital, a young man with a bright, promising future. He, Quinn, and Puck all grew up together. They had a long tangled history that included Quinn rebelling against her parents and dating Puck for a short, meaningless stint when she was sixteen because her parents had kept pushing for her to date the young blonde boy with a promising future. Sam had had a crush on her ever since, though Quinn suspected it had less to do with her and more to do with the fact that Puck had got to sleep with her and he didn't. It was a past that they all decided to not mention when all three of them were together, but frequently talked about when one-on-one situations presented themselves.
"Hey, Q," Sam greeted with a wide grin as he saddled up to the table. "Happy birthday."
He brought his hand from behind his back to produce a bouquet of roses that Quinn smiled indulgently at. "Thanks, Sam."
Puck smirked at the two of them in amusement, hiding it behind a sip of his Pepsi.
"Are either of you guys gonna give a guy a seat?" Sam asked, looking between the two of them. Puck subtly slid toward the end of his booth. Quinn caught the movement with a glare and sat the flowers down beside her in the seat.
"I wouldn't want to squash these flowers," she explained. "It's probably best if you sit beside Puck."
Sam and Puck looked at each other for a long moment, wondering how they were going to be able to fit their shoulders into a single booth. Finally, Puck sighed and stood up. "You've got inside, dude."
"Fine," Sam grumbled as he slid into the booth, Puck following him. "Did you guys order already?"
Quinn nodded. "Do you want me to get the waitress so you can order?"
Sam waved it off. "Just saw my first triple bypass today." He shuddered. "It just does something to a person. I don't have much of an appetite."
"Softy," Puck scoffed.
"You try watching that and having to take extensive mental notes, and see if you can eat afterward."
"This is Puck we're talking about," Quinn cut in. "This is the guy who fell shin first on a nail when we were kids and only cried because going to the hospital meant he wouldn't be home when the ice cream truck came around."
"He didn't come around every day!" Puck defended with a laugh. "I wasn't sure when I would see him again."
Sam made an incredulous face, and slid his eyes from Puck to Quinn. "So, Q, been well?"
Quinn shot him a look. "I work the same dead end job everyday—what's not to be well about?"
"Oh, come on, Quinn, it can't be that bad," Sam cajoled.
"No, of course not," Quinn bit out sarcastically. "I just sit around every day answering calls from women who have cats stuck in trees or dead beat boyfriends who won't pay child support, or—"
"How're your ribs doing, by the way?" Sam asked. About two weeks ago Quinn had come in with bruised ribs from doing just what she had described, chasing a man down who hadn't paid child support.
Since resigning from a blade runner, a law enforcement agent who specialized in retiring replicants, Quinn had since fallen down the food chain of importance at work. She had gone from running down androids to running down men who refused to pay child support. Two weeks ago she had chased a man down three blocks and into an alleyway. She had been rapidly gaining on him when out of nowhere he threw a trashcan into her path. She had fallen over it and landed harshly on her side.
He had gotten away.
And that was when Quinn had realized that her life had bottomed out. She was in a rut at age twenty-one, and had nothing that could really get her out of it.
"Should have stayed a blade runner," Puck sing-songed.
"Bite me," Quinn shot back.
Puck shrugged and leaned back in his seat to look over at Sam. "Are we gonna have to drag this chick with us to the club tonight, or what?"
Sam grinned. "She's legal now, so she won't have to hold the bartender at gunpoint until he forgets her age and hands her a shot anymore."
Quinn's lips quirked at his comment as old memories came to mind. "I wasn't that bad."
"You nearly got as us all banned that night!" Sam laughed.
"Umm, excuse me, Ms. Fabray?"
All three of them looked up to the waitress in front of them. Quinn's eyes briefly drifted to the cops standing by the doorway before she looked over at the waitress again. It was the same waitress who greeted them with a smile when they stepped in, looking worried now. Quinn plastered on a fake smile. "How may I help you?"
"Those men over there are looking for you," she said, gesturing to the cops by the doorway.
"Holy shit," Puck whispered.
"And you as well, Mr. Puckerman."
He straightened in his seat to eye the men behind him by the door. He swiveled back around to face Quinn. "Those are my guys, Q. No idea what they're doing here, though."
"I'm not going with them," Quinn declared flatly.
"It's probably best if we do. Don't want to get arrested on your birthday, do you?"
It would have probably been the most exciting thing to happen to her in a while, actually.
"C'mon, Q. Let's just go see what they want." Puck slid out of the booth. "You go home, Sam. They don't seem to want you, and there's no reason for you to have to go downtown."
Sam slid out of the booth with a sigh. He held is hand out to Quinn, who ignored it as she stood up. "Call me when you get home so I can know you're okay?"
"Yeah, sure," Quinn replied noncommittally as she stared at the cops. There were three of them, burly men who stood straight with guns in their holsters that Quinn didn't doubt they knew how to use well. If they were Sue's men, then they knew how to aim and shoot. "Slip out through the kitchen," was the last thing she said to him as she walked in the opposite direction towards the men who were looking for her.
She came to a stop directly in front of them with belligerent posture as Puck stood at her side. "I heard you wanted to see me," she said quietly, eyes darting to all three of them.
"I have a proposition for you."
Sue Sylvester, Quinn's former boss, chuckled heartily as she sat at her desk, feet propped up on important documents like they meant nothing. "Come on, Q, hear me out."
"No," Quinn reiterated. "You had your men arrest me from my birthday dinner with friends to bring me down here because you want me to work for you? No. You've gone drunk on power and you think you can boss everyone around, but you're not going to do it to me."
Sue's lips twisted as she stared at her desk. She removed her feet and scooted closer to the desk to clasp her hands on it and look at Quinn with narrowed eyes. "I'll increase your pay. You'll make more here with us in a week than you'll make in a month as a run of the mill cop."
Sue sighed. "I'll throw in enough to pay for those acting classes you want."
Quinn opened her mouth, but paused, closing it again as she mulled over Sue's deal.
"Come on," Sue goaded. "That's what you've been saving up your money for, right? The chance to go to an acting school? I can make it happen, Q. Just hear me out."
Quinn folded her arms tightly across her chest as she glared across the desk at Sue. "You have two minutes."
"I'll need five," Sue said nonchalantly. She steepled her hands together over a stack of papers, took one look at it, and glanced up at Quinn again with sobering eyes. "Two weeks ago a spaceship crash landed on Earth. Twenty-three humans were killed by five replicants who are now on the loose."
"Two weeks ago?" Quinn hissed incredulously. "This happened two weeks ago and you're just handling it now?"
"That's because it's just been brought to my attention now. An hour ago, to be exact. Schuester Corp had been trying to keep this under wraps and handle it themselves. Problem is they don't even know where their own replicants are."
"Don't they keep tracking devices on those skin-jobs?" Quinn spat.
Sue shook her head. "Apparently not. Now look, I'm offering you extra pay and a team to work with if you can hunt these androids down and retire them quietly. I don't want the public to know about this, Q. You know how nervous they've gotten about replicants lately."
"And with good reason," Quinn insisted. "You remember what a hot mess it was two years ago when Schuester tried to give those replicants emotions."
It had been a disaster. The once docile androids had turned into disobedient terrors who often threatened the lives of their owners. They had started being reported one by one to the blade runner precinct until Schuester Corp was shut down. Recently, the replicants had been used in outer space to aid technicians in their plans to create life sustainable atmospheres on other planets. Quinn had heard nothing out of the occasional act up for months. But this was simply horrific. Twenty-three dead, and the murderers were all over Lima, Ohio and could truthfully be anywhere by now. It had been two weeks, after all.
"The only good thing is that they're not like their predecessors," Sue said. "These are right back to the basics. They may look like us, act like us, but when it comes to this—" Sue gestured toward her heart. "Nothing but a light show. You'll be able to spot them."
Slowly, Quinn shook her head back and forth. "I can't do this," she declared with finality. "No, I can't. I said the very last time that I quit. Do you know how dangerous this job is, Sue? Do you even care?" Quinn quickly stood from her seat and grabbed her coat. "You probably don't because you aren't going to be the one fighting something three times as strong and fast as you are. I won't do this."
Quinn walked over to the door, and grabbed the handle to walk out.
"Okay," Sue chirped. "Then I'll just haul your father in for extortion. Put him away for probably five to ten years considering he's been doing it for most of his career."
Quinn stopped dead in her tracks. Her shoulders rose with tension as she spun around to face Sue. "You wouldn't dare."
Sue smiled roguishly. "I'll see you Monday."
After leaving a rather colorful and lengthy voicemail on her father's answering machine last night, Quinn had reported to work the next day. Nearly everyone who worked there several months ago when she was still a blade runner was there now. Everyone was in one giant room, several desks strewn about with loud ringing phones. Mrs. Jackson still worked in the same desk towards the right. Luke still sat at the edge of his desk taking personal calls as he had when Quinn had been working there. She did not miss this job by any stretch of the imagination. The clacking of her heels became muffled as she continued walking, stepping onto carpeted floors.
Quinn turned to find her best friend, Noah Puckerman, heading towards her. He looked like an excited puppy, and Quinn could practically see big floppy ears on his head as he hurried towards her and wrapped her in a bear hug. "Didn't think you'd show," he whispered in her ear.
"I didn't have much choice," was Quinn's wry retort. She was cursing her father from here to Bermuda for her having to work this job. The only good thing to come out of this was literally the double pay she would be receiving considering hunting androids was an unpredictable and risky line of work. They were made to be non-violent beings, but living in a violent world often taught them new tricks.
Puck pulled back to rake his eyes appreciatively down her body. "Looking good, Q."
"Get off it, Puck."
"Again? Are you fucking serious?"
Both Puck and Quinn turned to the man screaming on the phone in the corner of the office. He was a short, balding man who Quinn thought was too old to be working a job that could overly excite him like this.
"Fuck!" the man declared, glasses falling down the bridge of his nose. He lifted them higher with a shaky finger and looked up to find the office mostly silent save for about three ringing phones. Everyone's attention was on him, and he murmured a brusque goodbye, face grim as he hung up the phone. He heaved a deep sigh. "One of our EPR test administrators was killed by one of those damn skin-jobs," he growled.
It was like a hush fell over the room; even the phones had stopped ringing. Quinn watched critically as the old man seemed to crumple back into his seat. He brought a hand to his mouth as his entire frame shuddered.
Blinking, Quinn looked around as people slowly went back to their desks, the room solemn and silent. She jumped when Puck placed a hand on her shoulder and looked up at him. His lips were twisted and he bit his bottom one before speaking. "This is the first time any of them have actually killed anyone on Earth. Things are a lot closer to home now."
Quinn nodded, feeling rattled as the severity of the situation began to weigh down on her.
One of the doors in the back of the room dramatically swung open and Quinn turned around as her former boss turned current came storming out of the office. She took one look at Quinn and pointed at her then hooked her thumb over her shoulder. "You—in my office."
Everyone in the room looked at Quinn as she walked forward into Sue's office, Puck following.
He closed the door behind them, and Quinn's gaze washed over the new person in the room.
"Santana—Quinn. Quinn—Santana," Sue introduced with disinterest. "Now that we've all caught up, we can't talk business." She sat down at her seat around the desk and looked up at Quinn, brow furrowing in confusion. "Have a seat," she cried incredulously.
Quinn walked over toward the seat beside Santana and sat down, giving her a small smile.
"So, you're the Q who used to work around here," Santana prompted. Her eyes raked down Quinn's body for a moment. "Cute," she concluded. "I see you're still in shape. Good. Just don't get in my way."
"Don't get in mine," Quinn instantly retorted.
"Great, we're all out of each other's way," Sue concluded as Puck sat down on the other side of Quinn. "We need to get down to business." She picked up a blue folder in front of her and opened it. There was a stack of papers inside and Quinn leaned forward in interest as Sue turned them around to face the three of them.
"Five, right?" Quinn asked as Sue spread the five sheets of papers out.
"Five," Sue confirmed. "Five replicants that we need to retire. As you know they have superior strength and speed, so tread lightly." Her expression was grave as she eyed all of them. "We already have one human dead on Earth, twenty-six total now. I don't need my operatives dying, too."
They all remained silent, glancing at the names on each paper to acquaint themselves with the replicants they would have to be tracking down in the streets later. It was a pain that replicants were androids, looking so much like humans that finding them was needle-in-a-haystack difficult.
Sue stood up, bracing one hand on the desk and pointing at the paper in front of Puck with the other. "Finn Hudson," she said.
Puck snorted. "They have last names now?"
"Schuester had ordered so many built over time that they needed first and last names as a way of classification." They all focused back on the paper and the the descriptions that were listed below Finn's name. "Combat model—and freaking huge from what I've heard from our surveillance."
"I hate surveillance," Puck grumbled. "They don't do anything but…look."
"Makes you wanna kick 'em in the lens cap, if you know what I mean," Santana griped, and Quinn cracked a small smile. She liked a fellow smart ass.
"Anyway," Sue continued, "just watch out for this one. He's bigger than all of you." She shot Puck a lingering look, then turned to the next sheet of paper.
"Wait, was that a joke about my size?" Puck asked. "Like, my dick size? 'Cause I can whip this bad boy out right now and—"
"No," Quinn cut in. "Absolutely not. Sue, continue please."
Puck deflated in his seat to glare at Quinn with squinted eyes. "Like you don't know," he grumbled, and Quinn rolled her eyes to fight back a blush.
"Hold up, sexing in the workplace is cool?" Santana asked, looking at all three of them "I'd likes to get my fraternizing on."
"You will not be fraternizing, boobs of steel; you'll be too busy hoping to live through this catastrophe."
Santana waved the insult off. "Only one person on Earth has died so far. I wouldn't call it a catastrophe yet."
"I would," Quinn said quietly. She looked over towards Santana. "They're strong. Stronger than us, and if they've started killing then we don't really stand a chance unless we isolate them and retire them one by one, which would be difficult because they travel toge—"
Sue snapped her finger and pointed in Quinn's face. "Beautiful thought, Q. Hold it like a butterfly so it doesn't get away." Her lips curved into a lopsided smirk. "I knew I brought you back for a reason. It's like we share the same brain—Siamese twins."
"Kinda gross," Quinn muttered.
"As I was saying—" She pointed to the second paper. "Mercedes Jones—loader for nuclear fission."
"That doesn't sound too good," Puck said.
"Just make sure when you trap her, she isn't near chemicals," Sue muttered as she moved on to the third paper. "Blaine Anderson—pleasure model, for sex."
Quinn's face twisted as she stared down at the colorful descriptions of all he could do. "Oh, eww."
"They couldn't have gotten anyone hotter?" Santana wondered with a frown as she read through his description and nearly gagged at 'bushy eyebrows'.
"Android building supplies were obviously at an all-time low," Sue concluded with a nod. She placed her finger on the fourth sheet of paper. "Mike Chang—entertainment. Says here he was a good dancer."
"Entertainment?" Puck spat. "See—this is the shit I'm talking about. They build all of these fucking androids and expect us to clean up the mess when one, two, or all of them go crazy!"
"This really is stupid," Quinn agreed as her eyes scanned over all the papers. Of them all, Finn seemed to be the biggest, Blaine the smallest and possibly the easiest to take down since his only function was literally sex.
"Luckily the government has stepped in and stopped production," Sue said. "After this it'll finally be over."
"If we're alive," Santana grumbled.
"Oh, so you're taking this seriously now?" Quinn couldn't help but inquire in sarcasm.
Santana shrugged a shoulder, crossing her arms over her chest. "I got a girl. Won't be of use to her if I'm dead, so…"
Quinn's lips parted in muted shock at the admission. She bit her lip and turned back to Sue who was on the fifth sheet of paper. "Sebastian Smythe who specializes in communication. From what I've heard he's a sweet talker, so be careful."
"Sounds cute," Santana commented.
Quinn rolled her eyes. "So, where do we go from here?"
"You and you," Sue began, pointing to Puck and Santana. "I want you to work closely with surveillance today. Gather what information you can about the replicants and report it back to me." Her eyes then focused heavily on Quinn. "And you, conjoined twin, will be going to Schuester's Corporation. Dr. Berry will be waiting for you."
Quinn's face turned ashen as her lips curled back in disdain. "Why do I have to be the one do talk to him?"
"Because of your impeccable charm," Sue deadpanneed.
"Q? Hey, Q!"
Quinn turned around at the exit of the precinct to find Santana jogging towards her.
She came to a full stop in front of Quinn, panting lightly. "You don't mind if I call you, Q, do you?"
"Great!" Santana grinned deviously at the grim expression on Quinn's face. "Anyway, I was wondering if you wanted to have lunch. I mean, I'm trusting you with my life; the least you could do is buy a girl some breadsticks."
Quinn shifted her weight to her other foot, rolling her eyes in exasperation. But she wasn't too keen on going to Mr. Schuester's Corporation either, and stalling with lunch at Breadstix wasn't too bad of an alternative. "Sure. I'll drive."
"And pay," Santana added.
"So, why did you get into blade running anyway?" Santana asked around a mouth full of breadsticks. Quinn was quickly learning that Santana was crude and lacking in the manner department, but she was starting to like her anyway. "A chick like you just screams housewife, teacher, or real estate agent."
Quinn chuckled at how apt the description was as she drew her straw nearer for a sip of her ginger ale. "I was looking for a job," Quinn said simply. "And Puck—the guy we're working with?" Santana nodded. "He's my best friend. He was already a blade runner and told me they were paying pretty well, and that I could use the money for my acting classes."
Santana's eyebrow shot up. "So, are you and muscles-in-Baby-Gap-shirt fucking?"
"I—no," Quinn said in hesitation. She didn't really know how to answer the question, because yes, she and Puck had slept together once in high school, but it wasn't good and ancient history between them now. History that she didn't want to share with someone she just met. "You can 'get your fraternizing on' with him if you want."
Santana looked affronted at having her own words thrown back in her face. "I gots a girl, all right?"
"So I hear," Quinn remarked dryly. "What's her name?" she then asked, turning the tables.
"Brittany," Santana answered. "My super-hot dancing, motor cross loving girlfriend." She leveled Quinn with a glare. "Keep your hands off."
Quinn laughed heartily despite the threat. "I haven't even seen her."
Santana cracked a small smile at seeing an echoing one on Quinn's face. "So…" Santana began. "Got a boyfriend?"
Quinn instantly thought of Sam Evans vying for her attention, which just really made her laugh.
Santana's eyebrow shot up in suspicion of the private joke she wasn't privy to.
"I don't have one, no," Quinn answered after a moment.
Santana's expression was very much the same when she prompted, "Girlfriend?"
Her senior year in high school Quinn had gone through a bad streak, chopping all her hair off and hanging out with a group of girls who spent their days smoking and drinking. Quinn had gotten involved with the valedictorian, a smart girl with a promising future. Their romance ended when neither of them wanted to come out to their parents for various reasons that all boiled down to the same thing: they didn't want their parents' opinions about them to change, especially the valedictorian who ended up attending an Ivy League university.
Having only been with two people in her life, one male and one female, at age twenty-one, Quinn really couldn't pinpoint her sexuality and didn't seem to care to. All she knew at this point was that she wasn't interested in Sam Evans.
"I'm single," Quinn answered simply.
"Weird. You're hot," Santana commented with a shrug.
Quinn chuckled quietly. "Gee, thanks."
"I'm here to see Dr. Berry," Quinn declared flatly once she had made it past the different levels of security of the Schuester Corporation. It was heavily guarded day and night because over the years Mr. Schuester had acquired many enemies over his production of androids. Quinn being one of them, but she didn't have the energy to be upset enough with the guy to want to kill him.
The woman behind the desk was Shelby Corcoran, if her nametag was anything to by. She seemed no nonsense with a strong jaw and sharp eyes that ran over whatever dataset she was glancing over on her computer behind the desk. "Ms. Fabray, you don't seem to have an appointment."
"Detective Fabray," Quinn corrected with a flash of her badge. Shelby's eyes widened slightly, and Quinn stifled a smug smirk at the sight of it.
"Dr. Berry is busy."
"Then send me upstairs. I'll wait."
"I'm afraid I can't—"
"Listen," Quinn cut in sharply. She was starting to hate this woman already. "You can either send me through now, or I can call for back up, wait until they get here, then we can all storm right upstairs to talk to LeRoy ourselves."
Shelby looked wholly put out by the idea as the mild worry creasing her face smoothed over into impassivity. "There is no need for all of that, detective Fabray."
Quinn tilted her head, gesturing to the elevator to her left. "Then I'm free to go, aren't I, Ms. Corcoran?"
Shelby leveled her with a hard stare for a long moment. When it was clear Quinn wasn't going to be deterred, she sighed. "Yes. You can go."
Quinn flashed a false smile. "Lovely."
She turned from the desk and walked toward the elevator, pressing the up button and stepping aside. It dinged open with no one inside and Quinn stepped in, pressing the appropriate floor number and sinking back against the railing in the back of the elevator.
Inhaling a deep breath, Quinn rolled her shoulders back, trying to reacquaint herself with this line of work. Though it had only been months, she was still on edge about the possibility of working with androids again. They weren't the most stable despite what Schuester Corporation promised in their commercials. When faced with termination the androids became almost primal in their need to defend themselves. Though this was the first time any of them had ever killed anyone.
They were largely a group of androids that were supposed to be working in outer space with space technicians who were trying to make the moon and neighboring planets life sustainable. The androids came in different kinds to provide different functions. But every once in a while one or two would escape Schuester Corporation and when that happened, blade runners were sent out to track them down and retire them. This was the first time a fleet of androids had overpowered an entire spaceship full of people, killing them, and fleeing the spaceship once it landed on Earth. They had been on Earth just over two weeks, thus far only one person had been killed, leading Quinn to wonder what exactly the replicants were up to.
The elevator came to a smooth stop and opened silently. Quinn stepped out, looking around to reacquaint herself with the hallway as she walked toward the only room on the floor. The doors were slightly ajar, and she opened them further, taking a cautious step inside. Sensory lights began to flicker on one by one with each step Quinn took into the massive room until every light was lit. There was only a single table in the room full of chairs. Quinn's grip around her briefcase tightened as she looked over her shoulder at the sound of wings flapping.
An owl rested atop its perch in the corner. It took one look at Quinn, then turned away, eyes flashing as the evening light hit it. Quinn's lips pulled back into a sneer at the sight of it. "Everything's artificial in this place, even down to the pets," she muttered.
She shook off the odd feeling of dread shooting down her spine and walked further into the room, walking around the table and taking a seat to keep the door and the rest of the room in her line of sight. Her briefcase landed with a thud against the polished wooden table.
The door creaked and sharp hazel eyes looked up as LeRoy walked into the room, tall and slender in a white lab coat. A second pair of feet could be heard and Quinn's eyes squinted at the sight of a much shorter woman in a pair of clacking heels walking just behind him.
She was slim yet stout, dark brown hair curled into waves that bounced down her shoulders with every step she took. Her bangs swept down just above her eyes, making her look young in a way that made Quinn question her age as her youthful look conflicted with the pair of heels she wore. She had on a long sleeve white button up with an argyle sweater vest over it that Quinn had the urge to vomit on as the girl came closer. Her skirt was scandalously short and not at all professional enough for this meeting.
"Good evening, detective Fabray," LeRoy greeted jovially. He wore a grin on his face that the young woman matched as she, too, walked closer. They both stood behind the chair across from Quinn, smiling down at her. "It's certainly been a while. I thought you had quit."
Quinn's eyes darted to the woman at his side, giving her a once over before turning back to LeRoy. "Well, you know, when androids decide to show their asses I clean it up. Simple."
LeRoy's smile wavered a bit as he regarded her. "I always wished the public went a little softer on the replicants. After all, they only learn what is taught to them." He looked over to the young woman by his side and wrapped an arm around her shoulder. "Have you met Rachel?" he asked Quinn.
With a shy smile, Rachel stepped forward and extended her hand across the table. "I'm Rachel Berry." Quinn's face fell flat as Rachel softly continued. "It's a pleasure to meet you, detective Fabray."
Quinn's jaw clenched as she looked from Rachel to LeRoy. "Berry?"
Rachel grinned proudly as she looked up at LeRoy. "He's my father."
Quinn had known LeRoy for over a year while working as a blade runner and not once had he mentioned having a child. Dazed, her hand unwound from a fist to shake Rachel's without enthusiasm. "Hi."
"She's interning here for a few months to see if she likes it," LeRoy supplied as he took in Quinn's puzzled expression.
"I see," Quinn said quietly. She felt wholly uncomfortable and grabbed her briefcase, wanting to get this over as soon as possible. It clicked open once unlocked and Quinn spun it around to face Leroy. "The reason I'm here is because our EPR test has been improved upon and I wanted to test the latest on a replicant that you may have lying around."
Rachel's brow furrowed. "EPR?"
"Emotional and physiological response test, sweetheart," LeRoy answered sweetly. He straightened his tie absentmindedly as he said, "I'd be more than happy to help you out, Quinn." His head tilted, a devious smile lighting his face. "Perhaps you should try it on Rachel first."
Quinn lifted an eyebrow. "I thought you said she was your daughter and, therefore, human. I need a replicant."
"What better way to know that your test truly works than to test a human?" he challenged. "You wouldn't want to overlook such a crucial step and end up mistakenly retiring a…human, do you?"
The last thing Quinn wanted on her conscious was killing a human in her overzealous need to rid the world of replicants. Back stiff, she motioned for Rachel to sit down as she arranged the briefcase directly in front of her.
Rachel hesitantly sat down in the seat, her fingers gripping the seat of the chair as she stared at Quinn. "This isn't going to hurt, is it?"
"Not if you're human," Quinn replied flippantly. She looked up to find Rachel wide-eyed and staring distrustfully at the device in front of her. Quinn rolled her eyes. "It's just a series of questions. I'll monitor your eye dilation and visible physiological responses. And when we're finished you'll be free to go. Maybe."
Releasing a deep breath, Rachel nodded and settled back in her seat. "Okay. I'm ready."
A bright, thin ray of light flashed directly in her left eye and Rachel squinted before her pupil adjusted to the change.
"What's your full name?" Quinn asked brusquely.
"Rachel Barbra Berry," Rachel immediately responded with.
Quinn looked over at her for a long moment, before continuing. "What's today's date?"
"November 8, 2019."
That made Quinn pause. Her gaze washed over Rachel's face with a critical frown. "You don't look it."
Rachel grinned. "I've always looked twelve," she joked. "It's because I'm tiny. But I can assure you, detective Fabray, I'm twenty."
"Okay." She reached forward into the mesh pocket of the briefcase to grab a stack of papers.
"Are we done?" Rachel asked hopefully.
"No." Quinn glanced over the questions on the paper. There were hundreds of questions, though most replicants didn't make it past thirty. So far Rachel was showing signs of being human, but a niggling thought in the back of Quinn's mind kept her asking questions. But Sue had said that only five replicants existed, so it was possible Rachel would check out as human. She looked up to watch the way Rachel fidgeted in her seat into a new position. "You're watching TV and suddenly realize there's a wasp on your arm," Quinn prompted. "What would you do?"
It was a test designed to weed out typical human reactions from the more peculiar ones that replicants had come up with in the past. A typical response would be to swat the wasp away, kill it, even hop up and scream. An atypical response that Quinn had come across in the past? Shooting it.
Rachel's eyes widened at the question in some semblance of earnestly as she demurely replied, "I'd gently swat it away without harming it."
Quinn stared at her for a long moment, her mind leaning towards Rachel being human as she took in her round eyes and sincere demeanor. A replicant couldn't feel and the replicants Quinn had run into in the past couldn't even begin to mimic emotions correctly the way Rachel was.
Several questions later had Quinn sucking her teeth and switching to another page with harder questions. "You're reading a magazine and you come across a full-page photo of a naked woman—"
"Is this testing whether I'm a replicant or a lesbian, detective Fabray?"
Hazel eyes shot up at the question. The light flashing through Rachel's eyes showed a slight dilation of her pupils as she regarded Quinn evenly. Quinn ignored the question and continued.
"You show it to your significant other and they hang it on the bedroom wall."
"I wouldn't allow it," Rachel said quickly.
"Why wouldn't you?"
Her voice was soft when she challenged the question with, "Why aren't I enough?"
Quinn's jaw clenched at the question as her gaze dropped to the papers in her hand. She had never gotten an answer, or rather, question like that before.
"Your father dies; what do you do?"
"I would be devastated."
"Yes, but what would you do?" Quinn reiterated.
Rachel stared at her for a long time. "I would cry, detective. Mournfully."
"You're at a crowded party with loud music, and everyone's dancing and having a good time. What would you do?"
That made Rachel pause. Her mouth opened, her bottom jaw trembling for a response. Finally, she settled on, "I would dance, as well."
Quinn stood abruptly from her seat. "We're done."
Rachel's eyes rounded to make her look almost concerned as she slowly stood from her seat. "Do I pass, detective Fabray?"
Quinn ignored her. Her eyes were hard as steel as she stared at LeRoy who was several paces behind Rachel.
LeRoy pushed into motion, walking up to Rachel and placing a hand on her shoulder. "You did very well, Rachel," he murmured. Rachel's attention was still on Quinn as if seeking her approval, and LeRoy gave her shoulder a gentle squeeze. "Why don't you go ahead back to your office and I'll get detective Fabray here a replicant to test on."
Rachel sighed as her eyes finally left Quinn. She gave LeRoy a tentative smile as she smoothed her hands down her skirt as if she was nervous. "Very well, then. I'll see you later, daddy." She turned to Quinn. "It was a pleasure meeting you, detective Fabray." She turned around to swiftly walk out of the door, closing it soundlessly behind her.
"She doesn't know?" Quinn asked as soon as Rachel was out of earshot.
LeRoy wore a roguish smile as he turned toward her. "She was good, no?"
"I'll admit she's good at…portraying false emotions. And her instant recall of things like the date and her birthday is pretty exceptional. What—did you give her a faster processor than the others?"
LeRoy made a face at her choice of words, but didn't comment on them. "What gave her away?"
Quinn shot him a wry look. "She was good. But she sucks at social cues and situations. She faltered a little during the funeral question and completely sucked during the party question."
LeRoy hummed softly, hands clasped behind his back as he pondered over her statement.
Quinn sighed heavily as she reached down to collect her papers, turning the briefcase around and stuffing them inside. She closed the test inside, hesitated, then placed her hands firmly on the table, curiosity getting the better of her as she looked up at LeRoy. "What is she?"
LeRoy's jaw clenched as he angled his head towards her. His eyes flashed with pride as he told Quinn, "She's special."
Quinn sipped gingerly on a fresh cup of coffee at eleven at night as the phone cradled between her neck and shoulder began its third ring. She rested her forearm horizontally on the cabinet above the counter and laid her head against her arm as the line clicked over.
"Puckzilla on the line."
"Puck," Quinn hissed urgently into the phone at the sound of his voice.
"You're go for 'em, babe. What's up?"
Quinn sighed heavily. "Sue was wrong."
"What?" Puck's voice perked up suddenly, and a twinge of excitement laced his voice. "Wrong about what? Spill, Q, this is serious."
"She was wrong about the number of replicants. There aren't five, Puck. There are six," she babbled uncharacteristically.
"Six fucking replicants," Puck spat incredulously. "Are you serious?"
Quinn nodded, though she knew he couldn't see. "It gets even weirder. The sixth replicant? She thinks she's human."
"Yeah. I put the EPR test on her today, and she almost passed it. I had to ask almost a hundred questions." Realization gripped her and her eyes widened as she stared down at her marble countertops. "If I had quit at the standard thirty, she would have passed that test, Puck. And I almost did, but something told me to keep going."
Puck was quiet for a long moment. Finally a whispered curse floated through the line before he asked, "And she doesn't even know?"
"LeRoy told her that she passed and told her to leave. And get this—her name is Rachel. Rachel Berry."
"As in LeRoy Berry?" Puck asked needlessly.
Puck paused for a long moment. "His daughter? Are you sure the test isn't just wacked, Q? Maybe she really is human."
"She failed the test," Quinn insisted. "Besides, LeRoy admitted that she's a replicant."
"And you're sure this chick doesn't know she's a replicant?"
"She was sitting there asking me if she passed the test, Puck. There's no way she knows." Quinn lifted off the cabinet to run a hand through her hair in frustration. "Besides, I stayed with LeRoy afterward and talked to him about it. He-he called her special. How sick is this man? Anyway, they're doing something completely new over there, Puck. Rachel's the first of this new kind of replicant who can generate emotions based on previous experiences that have been implanted into her hardwired 'brain'."
"What the fuck are you talking about, Q?"
"Memories," she whispered. "LeRoy said he gave her memories—false ones. And he completely reconstructed her make-up. He says she's basically human. A human made by a human."
"What the fuck are they trying to do over there?" Puck asked rhetorically. "Don't they remember when they tried to give those skin-jobs emotions and it completely backfired? Those things went crazy. They're not human, Q, and they're not meant to be."
Quinn snorted sardonically. "Tell that to Dr. Frankenstein."
"Well, where is this Rachel chick now?"
"Schuester Corp. LeRoy seems to be able to keep her under control under the guise that he's her father and she's interning there for a few months."
"She seems harmless, Q," Puck admitted after a moment. "She doesn't even know what she's capable of. I mean, she thinks she's human," he laughed. "Plus, she's cooped up at Schuester's for now, so she's not an immediate threat. I say we take care of what's out in the streets now and get her later."
Dread churned in Quinn's stomach as she chewed on her lower lip. But Puck was right. There were much more dangerous replicants on the streets now that needed to be taken care of. Rachel was a sitting duck at Schuester's Corp where she would be once Quinn, Puck, and Santana managed to get rid of the others.
"Yeah," Quinn agreed after a moment. "You're probably right. Hey, listen, just don't tell Sue about this, okay? She'd have our asses for this."
Puck chuckled. "I like my ass just fine. I won't tell."