Corran woke with a start, gasping for breath as his bloodshot eyes roamed his cramped bedroom. It had been another restless night, and he had only gotten a few hours of precious sleep. He sighed as he leaned forward, rubbing his temples. He couldn't remember the last time he had gotten a good night's rest, a full eight hours. Nowadays, he was lucky to get three hours of rest.
"I am human!"
"I am human!"
He slowly rose from his bed, rubbing at his eyes in an attempt to bring himself from the world of sleep. The man sighed once more as he fumbled to turn on the lights in his bedroom, and squinted at the sudden change in brightness. He stumbled into his apartment's main room, and turned on the lights in there. Corran made himself another tray of cheap food, and ate it quickly. It was already four-thirty A.M., and he needed to be at the office by five. He threw on a tan trench coat and boots, and strapped on his pistol to his side.
Just twenty minutes later, he walked into his office, and his office's secretary, Miranda, smiled at him. "Good morning, Corran. How did the case with the AMANDA go?" Corran simply grunted, walking past her to the coffee machine behind her desk.
"I put an end to it. As usual." Corran was Synth Hunter's best agent, taking down over a dozen rogue synthetics a year. He was damn good at his job, and everyone knew it.
Miranda simply nodded, answering a call with a fake smile on her face. Corran walked deeper into the office, passing two other agents at the break room. They nodded in greeting, and Corran nodded back. He recognized them as two they had picked up about a month ago, and they were proving to be good, if not as good as him.
The agent made it to his office, and sat in his chair, taking a sip of his coffee. It was now five A.M., and Synth Hunter's was open for busniness.
A few hours later, he got a call on his office phone. He answered gruffly: "Synth Hunters, Agent Corran speaking."
"This is Detective Garcia of the Dallas Police, Homicide Department. I have something for you." The voice was feminine, but experienced. Whoever this was, she wasn't new to her profession.
"Give me an adress and I will be there as soon as I can." The Detective told Corran the adress, and he hung up the phone. He informed Miranda on his way out of the new case, who promised to let the higher-ups know. He hopped into his skycar, and sped off to the site of his new case.
When Corran arrived at the general store, it was surrounded by cop cars and yellow tape. It was a sight he was used to. He was greeted by a SHERLOCK model synthetic, it's blue uniform neatly groomed.
"You are Agent Corran of Synth Hunters, correct?" He nodded, and the SHERLOCK led him into the store. As soon as he entered, he was hit by the splash of crimson on just about everything. His boots were stepping on pools of sticky blood, and he frowned. That would take awhile to clean.
He came to a woman directing the SHERLOCKs, who turned to greet him, sticking out her hand in greeting.
"Agent Corran? I'm Detective Garcia, Dallas Homicide." Corran shook her hand, and looked around. "Victims?" He asked, examining the scene.
"Five corpses, and one IRENE model. The IRENE was working the register, and two of the humans were employees. The other three were customers. Cameras show that the killer came in and shopped for a bit. Then something happened. They snapped.
"Two minutes later, everyone in the store was dead. Only thing that can do that is a synthetic."
Corran kneeled down, looking at the IRENE. It's chest had a large hole in it, which he looked closer at. He frowned deeper. The thing's power source was ripped out of it's chest. He could only guess that the killer had hijacked the IRENE's batteries. Synthetics were logical by nature. The only reason one would rip out batteries was if it needed it itself. That meant that this synthetic had gone awhile without batteries, which meant that it had already been on the run.
"We're dealing with an experienced rogue, here. Did it use a weapon?" Corran was getting concerned. Normally rogues were out of their mind, and relatively easy to track; but an experienced one like this was a challenge. They knew how to cover their tracks. But then again, they usually didn't kill five people and one of their own.
Garcia pointed to one of the corpses slumped against the wall. "A kitchen knife for the first two kills, then they switched to their hands."
Corran walked over, and examined the knife. A regular kitchen knife, nothing too remarkable; excluding the fact that it was now pinning someone to the wall, of course. He moved on from the corpse, and examined one of the others. The woman was missing her throat and most of her face, and her one remaining eye was wide in shock.
Definetely a synthetic's work. Nothing else ripped someone apart quite like that. The agent turned once more to the policewoman directing him. "You mentioned cameras earlier? Is there footage I can look at?"
Garcia led him to a room at the back of the store, where there was a monitor displaying feed from the cameras around the store. Garcia typed at the monitor for a moment, pulling up the feed from a few hours before. "Here. Just hit this button to pause if you need to."
Corran sat at the chair facing the monitor, and began playing the feed.
It started innocently enough. The IRENE model was standing at the cash register, a smile plastered on it's face. If it was greeted, it would display a cheerful attitude. Corran personally found it creepy, but most people were apparently soothed by it's cheeriness.
Elsewhere in the store, two employees were restocking shelves, and three people were shopping. Just a normal day at the store, he was sure.
Then someone entered the store. They had their hood up, and their hands in their pockets. From what Corran had heard, he guessed this was their killer. Judging by the form of the clothing, he guessed it was a female model. AMANDA? IRENE? STRAWBERRY? He couldn't tell.
It perused the store's merchandise, and Corran flipped through the views of the cameras, trying to get a good look at it's face, but none of them quite had the angle he was looking for. He could see the synthetic bob it's head to the beat of whatever pop song the store had playing over it's speakers. He turned up the volume of the monitor's speakers, listening to the song along with the rogue.
He decided he didn't like it as he watched the synthetic reach the knife section, and take one of them out. He watched it run it's hand along the blade, and one of the employees approached it, asking if they were finding everything alright; then the rogue froze.
Corran watched as the rogue whirled around, the knife in it's hand flashing as it cut through the employee's throat, blood spraying on the rogue's front. Before the corpse even hit the ground, it was moving. It shoved one of the customers against the wall, and soon enough the knife followed. Corran could see that the stab had enough force to propel the knife through the customer's body, and pin them to the wall.
From there, the rogue sprinted to the other employee. This was all under a minute after the first kill, and no one was reacting at this point. A moment later, the other employee fell to the ground, her neck bent at an unnatural angle. Next, the rogue turned to the IRENE at the register. It punched through the IRENE's chest, destroying valuable circuits, and it fell to the ground. The two remaining customers finally caught on to the situation, and tried to run; but the rogue cut them off. It stomped on one of victim's shins, shattering his leg. Corran listened to his screams as the rogue ripped the other woman's throat out, and slammed her face repeatedly on the ground. Once it was satisfied, it slammed it's fist into the wounded man's face, splattering it on the ground.
For a moment, the rogue stood among the carnage, seemingly not knowing what to do. It stared at it's hands, then it's head snapped to the IRENE. It bounded over, and after a minute, emerged from behind the counter with the IRENE's batteries in hand. The rogue then walked to the entrance of the store, and looked back for a moment before leaving.
Corran paused the footage, and zoomed until he was staring at the face of this synthetic killer. It looked young, and it had piercing blue eyes that glowed like all synthetics. From what he could see, it had short black hair. He didn't recognize the synthetics's model, and would have to make sure he ran it through the database.
He played the footage and watched the rogue leave after it's moment of hesitation. "Could you send this to my office?" He asked Garcia. "Along with anything else you found?" The detective nodded, and Corran got up from the chair, deep in thought.
Corran walked into Synth Hunters, and Miranda informed him that the Dallas Police Department had sent over the footage, and handed him a datastick. He thanked her, and walked into his office. He plugged the stick into his terminal, and went through the footage until it came to the frame showing the rogue's face. He took a screenshot of the image, and ran it through Synth Hunter's database. It was a record of every synthetic model ever produced, and hopefully it would give him a clue as to where he could find the rogue.
But fifteen minutes later, his screen was flashing with the words 'No Match Found'. What the hell? What was this?! How could there be 'No Match Found'?!
This kept getting more and more disturbing, and Corran was grasping for straws, here. He sighed and stood up, deciding he needed something to keep him going. He exited his office, and came face-to-face with an AMANDA.
Corran stared into it's face, but didn't see the one looking back at him. He saw one covered in blood, staring in horror as he looked down the sight, his finger on the trigger.
"I am human!"
"I'm sorry, sir." It apolgized, and moved around him, a vacuum in it's hands. Corran watched it go, and felt his heart race. What was wrong with him? Why did he care about some synthetic that went and killed it's owner? Why did he care that he put a bullet in it's head, like he'd done to dozens of others? Why?
Corran realized that the AMANDA was long gone, and he was alone in the middle of the corridor, staring at nothing. He sighed and walked back to his office, the break room forgotten.
He dropped into his chair, and rubbed his temples. Damn, what was wrong with him? What had happened? Where had Corran gone wrong?
But he was brought out of his thoughts when his phone rang, piercing his inner thoughts. "Corran." He answered. What the hell could be so important?