Fiction is everywhere these days. Valerie, John and Dorian banter. Just playing.
The precinct was its usual beehive, Maldonado locked in her office, surrounded by giant screens and engulfed in her work, a flock of idle MXs at the ready, Valerie keeping busy, rushing in and out with a phone pressed to her ear in a flurry of activity, and a devastating combo of tight jeans and t-shirt. John Kennex closed his eyes. No, no, no, no. He sat back on his ergonomic chair, his leg twitchy. He breathed in and out slowly, resisting the impulse to go talk to her.
He had mixed feelings about their sharing scotch and watching TV in the deserted precinct. Maybe it would have turned out differently if Dorian had not decided to improvise and put his foot in. Maybe they were just colleagues who dedicated too much personal time to their work. A brilliant officer like Valerie would be star-struck by his previous track record but couldn't possibly fall for a broken old fossil. Not that she was that much younger, he tempered. According to her file, she was thirty four. Five years was not much, especially since rejuvenating treatments were standard procedure, -for people who could afford them. Too bad he couldn't.
After his initial reluctance to coming back to the force, he was finally ready to admit that he was here to stay. He'd be a fool to jeopardise his second career for some hot sex with a colleague. No need to rush into a relationship he wasn't ready to commit to fully either. Not to mention it was strictly against every protocol known to man. That, he couldn't care less. It feels even like an incentive of sorts.
Today was another day, and he had finally managed to clear all the paper work he had more than willingly fallen behind, a task dedicated to his DRN. It wasn't paper work per se, but Kennex still believed in good old methods. To be quite honest, flipping through real files also kept him busy on slow days. Days that filled him with dread because it gave way too much room for thoughts he'd rather left undisturbed. On those rare days, it was a relief to be able to butt head with Richard Paul, fantasize on a pretty brunette or hassle his favourite android. A handy commodity, really.
Stahl walked out of the bullpen in a hurry, followed by a babbling MX. His eyes automatically searched for Dorian. The android had been silent for some time, longer than basic background checks required of him. Standing rigid in the middle of the room, he was absorbed in his task. John Kennex stretched, grabbed his cup, and walked casually to his partner, sipping on his tepid coffee. He stopped right behind Dorian.
"I'm reading," Dorian merely commented, eyes darting from one screen to another. "It is quite instructive."
"Thank you for stating the obvious. I can see that," Kennex spat. It was going to be fun, he thought. He took a peek at the screens.
…. You changed the rules." Dorian's face flickered blue. "I did?" John moaned, his length rubbing rhythmically against the android thigh. He closed his eyes, focusing on Dorian's hand, slick with olive oil….
And he read on, his face slowly going several shades of pink and eventually turning out plain crimson. He looked around to check if anyone was watching them, but not even Richard Paul was in sight. There was a god. "Dorian? What the hell?" he growled in a very low voice. "Did you write… this?" Against his better judgment, he couldn't stop reading, and Dorian was right, it was quite instructive. "Are we… are they…"
"Yes, we seem to have engaged in repeated sexual intercourse over the past weeks. As you can see, the author favours your apartment in 57,89% of his stories, the cruiser being close second. 61,24% kisses under the mistletoe this last week. I guess it was to be expected, holiday season and all."
"The last week?" Kennex said weakly.
"You kiss me first only on rare occurrences," Dorian added with a concerned frown.
Kennex took a step closer, trying to block the screens from the view. "Stop with the statistics, god dammit! This, this is not kissing!" he hissed, pointing an accusing finger.
"We hit fifth base a long time ago," said the android.
I'm gonna wipe this unnerving lopsided smile off your face, tin man. "You mean, you and I, we've been… playing for the other team?"
"Indeed. The stories are well documented. It's quite fascinating. I actually learned interesting details. Did you know…"
"Pitching and catching?" Kennex's voice was barely a whisper now.
Dorian froze the screens and turned to his partner. "As much as I enjoy sport metaphors, I would rather you stop."
"You've got to shut it down, Dorian. Immediately. Does anyone else know?"
"You mean detective Stahl?"
"Don't even start again!"
"For your information, these files had been accessed hundreds of times already, from inside this precinct, from other precincts, all over the State, and even beyond for that matter. We're the toast of town," Dorian grinned with pride.
"What's with the gloating smug? I don't see anything in there I should be happy about. You should have erased that sh… long ago, you're supposed to be the smart one!"
Dorian gave him his special what-the-hell-are-you-talking-about-man face. "I traced the digital signature. It originated from our very own precinct."
"Our precinct? Man, that's bad."
Dorian shrugged his shoulders. "I tried. It had already spread like wildfire. I did not pinpoint any specific computer but it's definitely someone who works here, or has access to our network. I traced it back to an external drive. One file has been uploaded on the Intranet every day, each time from a different station for 58 days."
"The first one was posted on the fourth of November…" Dorian hinted.
"You've known for two months?"
"… the very next day you've awakened me. She's been busy."
"She?" Kennex screeched. Heads turned in their direction. He waved dismissively with a painfully self-conscious wince. "It's a she?" he whispered. "I thought you said you couldn't…"
"Statistics show that 85% fiction writers are female, but I give you it's only a pet theory of mine," he nodded thoughtfully.
"And it didn't strike you as something I had to know?"
Dorian shrugged. "Why? You wouldn't read it anyway, and I find it entertaining. You know I'm not always busy since you refuse to let me do my job properly."
"Your job? Unbelievable! Your job description doesn't include reading slash fiction on your… free time. You find a way to shut it down, permanently, and that's… an order!"
"Shut what down?" a female voice startled both of them.
Dorian's hand wiggled in ultrafast motion, Kennex blinked, took a deep breath, and turned around to face his colleague.
"Hey! Detective Valerie… Stahl…" he slurred. "Slow day, huh?"
"Well, not really," she cheered, "I'm not sure I'll be finished before the holidays. I had a trip planned to New Lake Tahoe, I'm afraid it won't happen, not this year anyway." For some reason, she seemed happy about it.
"Nice," Kennex chimed in lamely. What am I saying, Christ ! He glanced frantically at the screens that displayed innocuous maps and mug shots. He relaxed conspicuously, shifting his weight from his right foot to the left. To his utter dismay, his leg started acting out, very vocally. He swore through gritted teeth. Dorian rolled his eyes.
"What are you guys up to?" she grinned, ignoring the synthetic warning. "Another prank?"
Dorian tilted his head. "I haven't had the opportunity to apologize, Valerie," he offered, "I understand that should have I not intervene, your evening with detective Kennex must have ended differently."
The detective's eyes bulged out. "He didn't mean that, Stahl. Valerie … Detective," he stuttered. He shook his head. "I mean he's kidding. You're kidding, Dorian…"
Dorian's brow furrowed. He nodded obediently. "Right," he said, streaks of blue lights shimmering under his skin. "I'm the designated jester, my bad," he said with a see what he puts me through smile. Kennex could have sworn he saw his perfect teeth twinkle.
Valerie giggled. "It's okay. That was funny, a welcome change around here." She stepped closer. "I gather Dorian found out?" she said with a quizzical glance to the screens.
"Found it? Dorian and I, we were filing our last reports, right, man?"
Valerie bit her lip. "It's a miracle you can get any job done, you're such a bad liar, John. You should really work on your poker face."
"I have a great poker face!" protested Kennex half-heartily.
"And such a nice complexion when you blush, man," added Dorian with an ingenuous grin.
"So you've read it?" Valerie said again, with a knowing stare. "I've been wondering for months who wrote that stuff. Did you find out Dorian? Max couldn't, and he's hard at work."
"Max?" asked Kennex.
"My MX? I asked him to take down, you know, our stories" she blinked, "but he couldn't without totally disrupting the Intranet, so I told him to stop trying. It's no big deal after all."
"She wrote about you two? But MXs can't… I mean they're not equip… er… down there, you know," he finally gave up.
"She? Oh… You think it's a she, Dorian?"
"Yes, Dorian said it is probably a she."
Stahl frowned and shook her head in disbelief. "No, I don't think so. My first choice was Vogel, but now that... well, I was wrong, obviously. But I'm 99% certain the writer is male. Way too much intimate details, if you ask me, to say nothing of the sex. My money is on Richard now," she winked. "Anyway, you two are totally… hot," she giggled.
Kennex went beet red. "You read… that stuff?"
"Of course I do. I programmed an alert. I wouldn't miss it for the world. They really make my day. You two, you're nothing short of spectacular. I wish Max and mine were that fun, or even ours!"
"Ours?" Kennex croaked.
"No sweat. It's only fiction. To tell you the truth, the author doesn't know what he's doing, he or she misplaced my beauty mole," she said, eliciting a new shade of pink on Kennex' face. "And I'm pretty sure John doesn't have a big white couch or an elliptical trainer in the middle of his loft, that would be so 2010! Not to mention that Dorian never moved in with you." She waved her pad. "Well, still work to be done. See you next year, guys!"
Kennex watched her leave, and exhaled deeply. He put his head down. "I've been known to be irritable, grumpy and sometimes violent," he said in a toneless voice.
"Okay, just so we're on the same page. You send that prose to my pad, all of it. If I discover anything," he jabbed a finger at the android's chest, "you hear me, anything that incriminates you in any way, let me tell you, Dorian, you're a dead man," he glowered.
Dorian's mouth twitched.
Kennex sighed. "I mean you're back to the basement, with the Ken dolls. Like forever." Throwing away his empty cup, "Well, I'm going home." He handed him a fifty. "Buy some milk, 2%, will you? You may keep the change."