- The morning after Homecoming night -
Gennedy stepped in through the door.
“Alright Trevor, what did-”
His words came to a halt the moment he noticed there, in Trevor’s workspace, was a seated Freaky-D by the back wall. All lights off.
“What the hell
“Relax.” Trevor said, swinging around in his chair, “He’s in sleep mode.”
“Wake up.” Trevor said to the seated D, who promptly arose as directed, all lights coming to life. His helmet was still cracked and damaged, the image of his default face broken in several spots. “Jacket.” Trevor added, to which D proceeded to raise his hands up towards his collar. Gennedy watched with some mix of caution and confusion as D opened up his jacket to reveal…
Metal. Wires. Components. A mechanical endoskeleton, all wrapped in a body-shaped mould of translucent, near-black gel. Visible damage was present in several areas, the gel having been distorted and somewhat cleaved away to get to the center.
“He’s a fucking robot
?” Gennedy said.
“It actually makes a lot of sense, after everything he’s been involved in.” Trevor said, “His physical abilities, the impacts he’s gotten right back up from, how certain parahuman abilities didn’t work on him. And it explains how he seemed just fine after security spaced him.”
“This is a different entity from the first one altogether.” Gennedy said, putting two and two together, “A backup.”
“Yep. One of - I’m not sure how many total.” Trevor continued, “After he was arrested last night, some of your boys decided to take him somewhere private and rough him up a bit - real professional, by the way - and that led to trying to get his helmet off. Stuck on there pretty tight. They wouldn’t tell me what exactly they did, but eventually they made their way here with the helmet in one hand, and the headless body in the other.”
“What then?” Gennedy asked.
“Dug my fingers into him.” Trevor said, passing by how wrong that sounded, “Overwrote his systems and made him only able to act on direct orders. After that, I spent all the time figuring out how he worked. The riot gel coating his limbs and torso protects the endoskeleton against severe impacts. Batteries are connected throughout his head and gut on a separable cord. Figured he must have been sapping power directly from the station, he has adapter systems in both of his hands. And his feet - built-in skates and boost modules.”
“This is ridiculous.” Gennedy replied.
“Agreed.” Trevor said, “He’s ridiculously sophisticated
compared to most publicly known robotics companies’ projects.”
“Where did he-… where did it
come from? Who the hell sent robots
to this station?”
“That, I’m still trying to figure out. He has files in his head, but a lot of it’s either encrypted or corrupted. What wasn’t
though, was footage from last night. He got another solid look at-”
“Arianna. I know.”
“Look, you saw it, you have to understand by now. What happened to Radvi happened because of her
. The bodies, the breakout, you have nothing short of a direct confession to pin it all on her.”
“Yes, Trevor, I understand that.”
“And all it took was Radvi nearly getting killed to sway you?”
. I will
be putting more effort towards finding and apprehending her, and I expect you
to maintain directing your
attention towards null tech development. Wrath is pleased with your taser’s success, so he’s likely to give you more resources and manpower to work with.”
“Great. Awesome. ‘Bout damn time. I’ve still got plenty of ideas I can get rolling.”
“Good. Speaking of, where is
“It got lost out in the field, but I’ve got a tracking chip in it. I’m gonna send D to fetch it, make sure he’s working right. To that end, from here on out, I’d appreciate you telling security what the deal is and to not
try arresting him anymore?”
“Fine. As long as you can guarantee he’s under control.”
“Well, this one is. I don’t know how many other backups are hiding out there, but if I can get my hands on them and they’re relatively not
fucked up, I can bring them all in line too. Once you get inside his head, it’s pretty simple, long as you know what you’re doing.”
“I’ll take your word for it. When you find out more about where it came from and why it came up to this station in the first place, I want to know. But don’t let that take priority over the null tech.”
“You got it.”
“Good. That’ll be all.”
Gennedy took his leave. Trevor watched as he did, out the door and out of sight. After a couple minutes passed and he felt certain the Chief wasn’t gonna come running back for any reason, he slowly took to saying, “And… he… fell for it.”
D slumped his shoulders, letting out a few broken sounds that might
have been some random sound effect, were it not for his busted head.
“I didn’t have very high hopes, but it looks like you’re in the clear.” Trevor said, turning around to face D, “If the Chief’s true to his word, security shouldn’t be on your ass anymore.”
Still slumped, D responded with a thumbs up. Seemed sound clips were out for the time being.
“Now do keep in mind I very much could
have cracked whatever system you’ve got in that big red head of yours, put you under my command...” Trevor added, “But I didn’t. ‘Cause Rad, against better judgement, trusted you. And I trust him. So, vicariously, I trust you. For now.”
D didn’t respond any, just listened.
out of the game, for the time being. But you and I are still in, so we gotta do right by him and get
this murdering bitch. I don’t know who the fuck’s behind your controls, or if you’re just some crazy AI up here for no good reason, but whatever you came up to the Promise for at the start, you’ve done enough to prove you wanna help stop Arianna more.”
A nod from D.
“So that’s what we’re gonna do, and with Rad on the bench, you’re gonna be my new guinea pig for testing any null tech me and the other eggheads cook up. And you’re a robot, so that gives me room to take some normally implausible liberties. Gonna be fun
A short, distorted laugh from D.
“First thing’s first, though. This you
is pretty fucked up, and I don’t really know how to repair you, so maybe consider bringing another one of your duplicates up to bat.”
A thumbs up from D.
“And after that… you’re gonna go get my taser back.”
- About half an hour later -
Back at the scene of the crime.
D - a different D, third iteration, the previous and more damaged one still residing within Trevor’s workspace - dug his hands through some dirt by a tree, as the tracking chip’s signal dictated the approximate location of the taser to him. Trevor was beaming the signal to him through his somatic predecessor.
He held the broken components in his hands. Looked at them for just a moment before pocketing them both and standing up. Before heading back to Trevor’s office within R&D however, he turned in the direction of the forest deadfall, wandering towards it.
He stood on the edge, looking down at the exact location where last night’s events had all gone to hell. Where he watched helplessly as Radvi nearly bled to death, but thankfully, others were there to save him. Some of his blood was still on that damn rock, as a dried up stain.
He just… took in the scene, for a moment, and thought. He’d originally come up this station to have an all around good time, the tensions between humans and parahumans be damned. To just enjoy himself, screw with people, run around and be a fool.
Funny how intentions can change, just like that.
- Later that day -
Radvi was asleep.
He lay on his bed, all manners of medical equipment surrounding him. Monitor keeping track of his vitals, tubes feeding him nutrients intravenously. A nice, cozy blanket covering him. Head turned onto its left. His right - all patched up in white, the damage inflicted days ago obscured from view. He was still.
His necklace rested on the bedside stand. Still connected to his wife’s ring and his daughter’s bracelet.
Trevor was at his side, seated in a chair he’d pulled up. He watched Radvi for a while after entering the room, taking his time to think - about whether or not he should just leave, or… say something. His words might fall on deaf ears, but…
It felt right.
“So… hey, buddy.” Trevor began, “Lookin’ good.”
No response from Radvi.
“Last night, the uh… the taser worked. That’s good. Got lost somewhere, but it’s fine, D took care of it. He and I have teamed up, he’s gonna be my new field tester.”
“I, uh… saw it all. Last night. D managed to get me the footage. Little messed up but still got everything. You should work on your trigger discipline some time, man.”
Trevor chuckled for just a brief second. No response.
“Anyway, some good did
come of this. Gennedy’s all in now, force has started taking Arianna seriously. All it took was you getting your face split open. Bitchin’, right?”
“And Wrath was impressed with the taser’s success. He’s, uh… putting more resources my way, giving me more folks to order around. Get projects done faster. Not gonna lie, makes me pretty giddy. Might just let all the power go to my big bald head, right? Heh?”
Trevor paused. Sniffled a bit. Took a moment to find his words.
“You’re, uh… you’re out for now, but I’m still in. D is too. And your, uh… your various parahuman friends
, I guess. Arianna, she’s still hiding and… planning who fucking knows what. But it seems like you sold pretty much everyone on her being top priority. So… good job, man.”
Moment of silence.
“You’re just about the only person on this shit heap of a station that I’ve been willing to call a friend, so I promise you… we’ll find her.” Trevor said sternly. “We will find her
and we will annihilate her
He raised his finger to Radvi.
“I. Fucking. Swear it
Trevor gently placed his hand on Radvi’s arm. “Wake up soon, buddy.” He said quietly. Moments more passed, and then it was time for him to leave.
And Radvi was… almost
…“Might this provoke… intervention?”“Maybe. Time will tell.”