Endangered

Androids have all but won the war against humanity, and the remnants of the once-great human civilization are reduced to miles of wastelands and hidden communities struggling to survive. Dirk and his friends are sent out to scavenge for supplies, while AR is sent to hunt down and exterminate the dwindling human population. Their fated meeting is the beginning of a union between species that was once thought impossible.

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23. Chapter 23

In the pitch blackness and silence of the maintenance tunnels, time seems to run differently.

During your days as a scavenger, you often wandered away from your friends, driven by a restless curiosity that would have eventually gotten you killed someday if AR hadn’t found you first. Still, your friends were always within earshot, no less than a block or two away, and you always had your shades to contact the base’s network if something went wrong. Even though the city has never been safe, and going outside was always a risk, you took your chances together. No matter what happened, you had each other, and knowing that always made you feel safe.

Now, as you follow the metal pipes and wires above your head by the glowstick’s dim light, for the first time in your life, you’re completely and utterly alone.

The concrete tunnel is dark and narrow, forcing you to squeeze past filthy pipes and metal boxes of strange electrical equipment, while the cold slowly numbs your fingers. The sound of your unsteady breathing and footsteps echo against the walls, and every other unidentified sound in the darkness is enough to make your heart race, until it flutters in your chest like a frightened bird. You’ve already passed multiple splits in the tunnel, each time choosing the path that looked the widest, or trying to feel the direction of the air currents, or picking randomly after realizing that you’re hopelessly lost.

Finally, after navigating the endless black tunnels, there’s a hint of light in the distance. You follow it with renewed vigor, rounding several bends in the path until there’s a door in front of you, broken and leaning on its hinges. Forcing it with your shoulder eventually opens up enough space for you to crawl through, into the entrance of an unknown subway station. You waste no time finding the stairs that lead up to the street, lit by the sharp angles of setting sunlight. The glowstick is tucked into your pocket, before you brush yourself off and climb the steps to the surface.

When you reach the sidewalk above, the buildings and streets are entirely unfamiliar. You’re closer to the center of the city than you’ve ever been before, unsure of your location after wandering underground so long with no sense of direction. Even the processing plant’s towers, which you’ve always used as a landmark while outside scavenging, aren’t visible from wherever you’ve ended up, and the best you can do is roughly determine the direction of west by the sun’s position. Now that you’re above ground, the distant sound of rhythmic, interrupted thumping and the occasional louder impact is evident, but the surrounding buildings are tall and close together, blocking your ability to see more than a few blocks in any direction. Even the wreckage of vehicles and broken pavement is strangely dense in this area, suggesting a long-past, catastrophic event.

Listening carefully, you pick the direction from which the sounds are loudest, and follow them. It’s an awkward, improvised navigation between alleyways choked off by wreckage, and fractured buildings held up only by their steel skeletons over mountains of concrete and metal debris. You’re conscious of how exposed you are, sacrificing caution for speed as a cloud of dirt appears like a plume in the distance, before the wind quickly blows it away. The cold air cuts through your clothes, but climbing over the uneven terrain keeps you warmer than you were before in the tunnels. Whatever happens, you need to move fast. From the sounds of distant conflict, you might not be too late, but you’re still too far away to be sure.

Eventually, the buildings move apart as they decrease in height, and you get a first glimpse of what Jane was talking about when she relayed Jake’s story to you this morning. In the distance, hanging motionless in the sky, its vibrant red color obscured by the atmospheric haze, is what you can only describe as an impossibly massive structure. It’s just like Jane said- like a skyscraper has somehow lifted itself into the air, but the similarity stops at its bizarre shape- all curves and sharp points, casting a strange, broken shadow on the city beneath it. You’re mesmerized for a long moment, trying to wrap your mind around how something so huge could just float like that, but the sun is close to the horizon now, burning out your vision and forcing you to squint.

There’s a shop on the side of the street, its door missing and the inside hollowed out by a past explosion. You duck inside through the missing front door and lean against the wall, then blow into your curled fingers to regain some of the sensation, enough to feel around in your pocket for your shades. The stems unfold after a minute of fumbling, and you slide the eyewear on your face, dimming the harsh light from the street. You’re leaning out of the empty doorway and scanning the distance for signs of movement, when something flickers on your screen.

TT: Hello, Dirk.

Your heart practically stops as you stare at the message, before a wave of conflicting emotions almost drowns you. The first feeling you manage is confusion, since Calliope told you this morning that the compound’s network had been deleted.

TT: AR??
TT: Yes.
TT: Your implied confusion at my identity is uncharacteristic of your typical response pattern.

“Holy shit,” you breathe, leaning against the wall and waiting for your heart to slow down.

TT: How the hell are you doing this? I thought the network was deleted.
TT: Your settlement’s network was indeed deleted, an action that I carried out at the request of your brother in order to conceal the location of your settlement from HIC.
TT: I am conducting this conversation by utilizing the ambient worldwide network that is accessible to all units of artificial intelligence, as a means of information transfer from remote units to the various structural hubs that my civilization built over the ruins of your civilization’s major cities.
TT: It is the primary method of all electronic communication.
TT: So I’m connected to some kind of android internet?
TT: This is an approximate, although significantly less technologically advanced comparison.
TT: I didn’t know my operating system could do that.
TT: I am your operating system.

You blink at the built-in screen, before remembering how AR got your shades working again after Bro wiped them. He must have somehow replaced the computer with himself, which is utterly fascinating in its own right, but you have more important things to worry about.

TT: Where are you?
TT: I am several miles east from the location of your settlement, with your brother and his ‘volunteers’ as they systematically lure in and eliminate the drones that have emerged from the battleship.
TT: Is there a reason for this inquiry?

You know what you need to do, but as you try to find the words to warn him about your brother’s intentions, something inexplicably holds you back.

AR has demonstrated repeatedly what he’s capable of, both in speed and ability to shred anything in front of him. Bro will probably take this into account and try to catch him unaware, in all likelihood using Jake to actually carry it out, but there’s no guarantee that it won’t backfire on both of them. AR might already be expecting Bro and the others to attack him after HIC is dead.

You ignore the quiet voice in the back of your head, telling you that AR will likely turn on them regardless.

The cold air burns when you take a deep breath, wrapping your arms around yourself. Now, more than ever, you need to reach them before it’s too late. You still haven’t the slightest idea what you’re going to do once you’re there, but somehow, there’s got to be a way to save them all and end this vicious cycle. AR’s red text is waiting for an answer, and there’s only one thing that comes to mind anymore.

TT: I love you.

There’s a short pause, before another line of text appears in response.

TT: I am aware.

You can’t help the warm smile it brings to your face, despite the complete lack of empathy in his words. After a minute spent listening for distant sounds, you step out into the street and continue on your way, taking a short detour around an overturned truck blocking the road.

TT: Did the android empress show up yet?
TT: No, however most of her drones have already been eliminated, and it is likely that she will soon emerge as planned.
TT: Are you nervous?
TT: No.
TT: Despite your brother’s insistence that our probability of success is insufficient, it is relatively unlikely that HIC will instead utilize the battleship’s weaponry to destroy this city in its entirety, rather than physically engage me directly.
TT: Furthermore, there have been no human casualties, which is significantly less than I had initially estimated.

Another cloud of dirt appears briefly, as the rhythmic impact of footsteps causes the pavement to vibrate beneath your feet. There’s a hint of movement at the end of the street- something large and red- and you crouch down behind one of the rusted cars, waiting for the ground to stop shaking, before cutting through one of the alleyways to follow the next street over. Most of the buildings here are collapsed, and you’re starting to recognize some of the rooftops, although you’ve only seen them before from a distance.

You’re relieved to finally have an idea of where you are, but the feeling is quickly replaced by a knife of fear to the gut when you turn down the next road, and the flash of color you’d mistaken for another overturned truck blocking the center of the street is actually a hulking, unnatural conglomeration of vaguely humanlike limbs, tall enough to dwarf the row of buildings beside it. The drone’s slanted, featureless face and slitted eyes are already directed towards you- an empty stare that has you frozen in place, until you’re startled by a sudden shout.

“Dirk?!”

A human figure steps out from behind the robot’s wide leg, cradling a familiar rectangular device in their arms, and the glasses are the only thing you recognize at first under the heavy layers of clothing. Jake stands on the sidewalk near the motionless drone, staring at you in stark disbelief. The fact that he's ignoring the robot means that it’s probably not a threat anymore, and now you can actually see the thing's angular shoulder leaning against the building next to it. You’re torn between staring back at Jake and gazing up at the drone’s looming figure, but he quickly loses his patience at your silence.

“What in the bloody hell are you doing here?” he hisses, a sharp edge to his voice. Several different explanations immediately come to mind, none of them the truth, and his incredulous frown deepens with every passing moment that you fail to answer, until Roxy’s words suddenly echo in your mind. The next decision comes easily, one that you should have made a long time ago- to trust her.

“I’m sorry.” You have to force your voice above a whisper, watching as Jake’s frown slowly turns from anger to baffled confusion. “About before, with AR, over that chat the other day. I shouldn’t have…” you trail off, swallowing hard. “I’m sorry, Jake.”

He’s quiet for a long moment, staring like you’ve gone insane.

“Wh-” he stammers incredulously a few times, blinking at you. “O-okay then…fine, yes, I’m grateful for the apology, but Dirk, seriously, what are you doing here?”

He approaches as he talks, stopping in front of you with the gun in his arms, as the sound of distant fighting echoes down the street. Meeting his eyes is almost painful, especially since you know what comes next, but this time, it’s Jane’s words you need to trust.

“I had to come back,” you tell him, resisting the urge to fidget under his hard stare. It’s almost like you’re confessing to Bro, but you know the reality of that will be far worse.

“You left the group?” Jake demands, before shaking his head angrily. “What the bloody fuck is wrong with you? And don’t you dare tell me this is about that wretched tin can, I swear to hell and back…” he trails off, demanding an answer. You force yourself to breathe, bowing your head for a long moment before forcing yourself to say it.

“I-I’m… in love with him, Jake.”

It comes out quiet as an exhale, and after you say the words, his expression slowly warps into something unfamiliar to you, despite all the years you’ve been friends with him.

“You have lost your god damn mind,” he whispers, staring at you like a stranger. “I didn’t want to believe him, but your brother was right. Do you have any idea…any bloody, fucking idea of what you’ve put us through?!” His voice lowers to a rough whisper. “I had no idea you were this far gone.”

“Jake, I’m sorry,” you insist, unable to say anything else, as he shakes his head.

“I’m having a hard time believing that, mate,” he answers bitterly, before shouldering the gun and letting out a harsh sigh. “Either way, I suppose we’ll just have to let your brother sort you out now. Come on,” he gestures down the street, glaring ominously when you hesitate. “Don’t make me drag you there, Dirk. I’ll do it.”

You give in quickly, recognizing the genuine threat in his voice, and he positions himself behind you, just in case you try to run. When you pass the drone’s hulking, alien figure, he notices you staring at it.

“Don’t worry, I already shot it,” he mutters. “Damn thing died standing up.”

TT: I was under the impression that your brother had mandated your evacuation from this city, along with your settlement’s other inhabitants.
TT: Given that his intentions for this action were to promote your safety, I am uncertain as to why you are seemingly disobeying his orders.

Jake guides you away from the drone, and AR remains silent after you refrain from replying to his comment. You’re directed along the sidewalk and through a series of narrow alleyways, and you’ve already considered and vetoed the idea of confronting Jake about what he may or may not be planning in regards to AR, since trying to explain yourself to him already went far worse than you’d hoped. From the sound of it, your brother must have gotten to him first, and now your only real hope of stopping all of them from killing each other is by confronting your Bro. Jake is directing you into familiar territory, and you’re starting to recognize more and more of the surrounding buildings- even a few of the street signs.

Jake soon pauses as someone shouts to him from a nearby roof, waving up at them before gesturing for you to keep walking. You’re suddenly overcome with a terrible sense of déjà vu at the motion, before forcing yourself to remember the image of Caliborn in handcuffs and telling yourself that it’s Jake behind you. He’s only doing this to save everyone he cares about, just like you are, and for that, you refuse to give up on him.

“I don’t know if I can make you understand,” you tell him softly, entering another narrow alleyway that you immediately recognize, with an overturned car at the other end. “Or if you’ll even let me try anymore, and maybe I deserve that.” You turn to make eye contact with him, putting as much force into your words as you can. “But I care about all of you, and I want everyone to come out of this alive.”

He frowns at you, meeting your determination with dark skepticism. “Well, I wouldn’t go betting on that outcome quiet yet, old chap.” He gestures again for you to keep moving, and you comply after a long moment, once again racking your brain for some way to get through to him, since confronting your brother will likely go much more smoothly with him on your side. “That blasted airship could still firebomb the entire city right now with us in the middle, I hope you know,” he mutters. “Your brother is going to have your head for coming back.”

Your shoes crunch against the broken glass on the ground, as he directs you down the street at the end of the alley, towards a familiar, single-story building with shattered windows and a caved-in roof. It feels like ages since you were here last, frantically searching for Jane among the rubble, while AR taunted you with morbid threats and promises. There’s a faint light coming from within, followed by the garbled crackle of a communicator, and Jake motions you inside.

You hadn’t wanted to admit it, even to yourself, but part of you was already convinced that you’d never see AR again. Bro is with him, standing at the window next to a makeshift table and array of communication devices, and they both turn when you walk in, followed closely by Jake. AR’s red eyes stare at you passively, and you can’t deny what it does to you.

Bro’s startled, angry words go ignored, as you cross the short distance and pull AR’s metal body into yours, wrapping your arms around his back and pressing your face into his neck. He doesn’t react beyond blinking curiously when you pull away to lean your forehead into his, holding the red glow of his eyes like a priceless treasure, before turning to face your brother.

“What the fuck are you doing here?” Bro demands slowly, with a dangerous undercurrent of rage that has your voice shaking in reply.

“I had to come back…” You offer him the same explanation you gave Jake, but it does nothing to appease him. If anything, it only darkens his glare, until he turns around to reach for something on the table, and when he turns back, you’re staring down the barrel of a loaded gun.

“I will lead you out of here at gunpoint myself if I have to!” he shouts, and even Jake’s eyes widen, as you reflexively try to stumble backwards into AR’s shoulder. AR glances down at you, before he looks up at Bro, and suddenly there’s a blur of black metal as a clawed appendage lashes out, clamping onto the gun in Bro’s hand and wrenching the weapon out of his grasp, before it’s crushed and tossed aside onto the floor.

“You will not threaten him.” AR’s voice is low and ominous, as Bro stares back at the android. “I will not allow it.”

Jake meets your wide eyes as the two of them enter a dangerous, silent stalemate, his shocked expression mirroring yours. Then he suddenly looks up, as the ground begins to vibrate and something else catches his attention.

“Sir, it’s coming,” he says, taking a step towards your brother. Bro glances sideways at him, before returning to glare at AR, and the android meets his stare for another moment, before turning to leave as you grab his arm.

“AR,” you plead, unsure of what you’re asking for with too much to count. He meets your eyes for a long moment, before turning away and continuing out the shattered door and into the street, as the rumbling grows louder and something darkens the sky. Bro silently dismisses Jake, who glances at you one last time, his expression difficult to read, before hoisting the EMP gun and exiting out one of the windows into the alley nearby. Then Bro turns to where you’re still standing, furiously gesturing you to his side.

“Bro, I’m s-”

“If we ever make it out of this alive, I will deal with you later, Dirk,” he hisses, cutting off your apology as you kneel down next to where he’s crouched at the window, staring out at the flat expanse of metal where the sky used to be. AR is slowly walking down the end of the street, before he turns the corner and you lose sight of him. When you look up at Bro again, he’s listening intently to the communicator, and you decide against interrupting him. Your heart is still pounding from what just happened, and you’re trying to work out how to feel, but apart from a keen sense of betrayal, there’s a undeniable sense of guilt beneath it at seeing what you’ve driven him to.

Another minute passes, before Bro’s expression suddenly changes as he lowers the communicator. You crane your neck up to see, and catch sight of something moving in the sky, just beneath the hovering airship. At first it looks like a huge mass of cables- hundreds of them- but then you notice something reflective and vaguely human-shaped in the center. Bro is watching it intently, his knuckles white against the windowsill.

“What is it?” you ask softly, wary of provoking him again, but he doesn’t even look at you.

“It’s her.” His reply is brief, and the words stiff. You let the meaning sink in, before turning back to watch the writhing mass of cables slowly descend, losing sight of them behind another building. The two of you wait for a long, tense moment, before there’s a hint of sound from the next street over, just out of sight- the chaotic sound of metal on metal.

Turning back towards the empty, ruined drugstore, you lean against the wall and stare at the collapsed shelves, as the sounds echo. Bro is still watching the street, the communicator forgotten in his hand, and you’re left just trying to remember to breathe, forbidding yourself from thinking about what’s happening around the corner of the street. The seconds pass like hours, each one only compounding the fear building at the base of your spine, until the sounds of conflict fade out, and the communicator in Bro’s hand crackles.

He lifts it to his ear, listening for a long, silent moment, before he suddenly stands and turns to you.

“Get up, we’re leaving.”

“Wh-wait, what?” you stagger to your feet, as he grabs the equipment from the table.

“The plan failed, we’re leaving.” He tells you again, his voice hard, and your stomach drops sickeningly at the implications of those words, as the life practically drains out of you.

The plan failed…

“No,” you whisper, feeling the world fall away from your feet. Bro is ignoring you, shouldering the equipment as he gathers the last of it together.

“Come on,” he orders, motioning for you to follow him. Your eyes suddenly meet his, and something in your expression causes him to stop, his countenance slowly darkening.

“Dirk-” he begins, a dire warning in his voice, before something inside of you breaks.

Bro’s next words are a frantic scream, as he drops the equipment and chases after you, out the drugstore and down the street. His deep voice cracks as he shouts your name, and you can hear his feet pounding behind you, growing fainter as you outrun him and sound eventually stops, but you keep going, sprinting as fast as your legs can move. The twinge of old injuries returns, but you ignore it- ignore everything, as you round the corner of the next street and catch sight of a looming wall of cables at the end. The figure suspended at the center is a reflective black, and outlined in linear patterns of geometric pink, but your eyes are drawn immediately to the figure lying in the dirt beneath her, held down by dozens of claw-tipped appendages. His circuits are still glowing red- a sign he’s still alive, and you try to run faster, forcing through the agonizing burn in your lungs at the icy air. Your mind races- eyes traveling to the pile of wrecked cars on the side of the street- the crumbling building next to them- the rusted fire escape trailing up the wall- and you grab the edge of your shades as you desperately try to close the distance.

TT: AR send me the virus!
TT: Now!

-- timaeusTestified [TT] sent timaeusTestified [TT] the file “964271ħʸɉdï▓▒▒█▅▓

You set the file to upload, before removing your shades and clutching them in your hand. The larger, tangled mass of an android is still ignoring you as she leans over AR, but you veer off to the left, towards one of the wrecked cars on the side of the road. Your feet almost slide off as you jump from the hood to the roof of the vehicle, then to the larger truck next to it, before your hand finds the lowest rung of the fire escape. You pull yourself up, then kick out at the brick wall next to you, vaulting towards the black cables, their metal tips shining as they leisurely coil in the air.

When you hit the nest of cables, your hands blindly grasp for the figure in the center, finding an alien pair of shoulders before reaching between them. Something catches between your fingers just as your body slides off, and you’re left dangling, holding onto the thin, black wire, as a pair of toxic pink eyes stare down at you.

The android empress’s mouth slowly opens as you stare transfixed, exposing thick rows of unnatural, needle-like teeth as it widens. A horrific grating, hissing sound reaches your ears, before the sound resolves into erratic words, rattling from her mechanical throat like she hasn't spoken the language in years.

"Hello...little human..." she purrs, filling your ears like a waking nightmare. The metal coils around you begin to writhe, threatening to wrap around your body, before you snap out of it and reach up to connect the wire still grasped between your fingers to your shades, then let go.

Your back hits the ground hard, and you blink through the pain, glancing over at AR a short distance away as he stares back at you, his plating further scratched and damaged, but still intact. He looks up a moment later, and you follow his gaze, towards the hundreds of cables twisting over both of you as the android empress leans down, her face spread into a vicious grin, while your sunglasses dangle from the wire behind her neck, forgotten.

Suddenly, her eyes lose their predatory shine of amusement, as the writhing appendages still and her body ceases to move. You eventually remember to breathe, gazing up at the frozen, looming figure as you push yourself up on your elbows and wince at the ache in your back. You’re about to check on AR and make sure he’s okay, when a strange, wheezing sound comes through the empresses’s pointed teeth. Her jaw suddenly falls open in a shrill, ear-splitting scream, and the mass of cables begins to thrash wildly, kicking up a choking cloud of dust as the pink android erratically flails. You struggle to back away from her, before she suddenly stops, and her wavering pink eyes find you, locking on, and this time when her mouth opens, it lets out an enraged, violent shriek.

Her appendages dig into the ground around her, quickly dragging her twitching, dying body as she lunges at you. There's isn't enough time left to react, before something roughly grabs you from behind, and you’re suddenly flying across the ground. For a long moment, you’re unable to make sense of what’s happening, blindly reaching for something to grab onto, before your hands find the warm, smooth metal of AR’s arm, wrapped securely around your waist as his appendages pound against the ground. The lashing wall of cables is following close behind him, breaking through walls, tearing apart the paved streets, and even toppling some of the decaying buildings- destroying anything and everything in its path. AR’s gait is lopsided as he tries to run with a missing limb, wrenching your body around as he ducks into alleys and around every corner, even pulling you through a window and out another into a brief free-fall before his claws scrabble against the side of the building, fleeing in a blind sprint through the city as the empress follows his every move, her claws straining for your body, just out of reach.

AR turns down the next street, an empty stretch of pavement, and you follow the faint sound of shouting to see Jake trying to run after you, unable to keep up as he’s forced to duck out of the way when the empress rounds the corner, her thrashing cables almost filling the street. You can make out Bro’s voice for a brief moment as he and several others emerge behind Jake, but they’re quickly left behind, and you lose sight of them a moment later.

Inevitably, with AR’s three limbs to the hundreds behind you, the empress eventually catches up to him, grabbing at one of his appendages and sending both of you skidding and rolling painfully across the pavement as she trips him. You end up lying face-down, lifting your head to see AR a few meters away on the ground, and the cataclysm of writhing cables fast approaching- every single one of them pointed directly at your body as the empress drags herself towards you, her mouth hanging open, mindless with rage.

AR's red eyes meet yours for a brief moment, before he quickly lifts himself and closes the distance to you, wrapping his limbs around your body just as the twisting mass descends, and the next few moments are a senseless chaos. Your body is immediately, violently wrenched around in ways it isn’t supposed to move, the pain almost unreal and dreamlike as your mind shuts down in self-defense, but even through the veil of semi-consciousness, something inside you feels like it’s gone terribly wrong. The next sensation that comes is the cold ground against your upper back, like someone is holding your legs in the air, but you realize a moment later that your entire lower body seems to be missing.

Disoriented, you reach down, trying to find the side of your leg. Your fingers meet the rough fabric of your pants, but it’s like touching someone else’s leg, and that’s when the pain hits you- a deep, visceral agony that has you gasping for air, but your chest feels like it won’t expand far enough to fill your lungs. Something is pressing against your stomach and through it, like you’ve been nailed to the ground, and you don’t have the muscles anymore to sit up. Your hands search, finding the edge of your shirt and traveling up, until they contact something smooth and hard.

When your eyes open, there’s a twitching mass of cables sprawled across the ground a short distance away, the empress android’s eyes flickering as her circuits fade and the virus finally takes its toll. Your hands feel along the thing jutting out of your stomach, finding it attached to the body leaning over yours, covered in blurry lines of red. AR’s arm is buried in your stomach, his eyes staring down at you intently, and you blink up at him, choking on something warm when you try to speak.

“Wha….what…” you slur, unable to do more than roll your head back and forth as the pain darkens your vision. The taste of copper is unbearable. “...are you…d-doing…?”

“Your lower aorta has been severed,” he replies, his tone robotic. “Along with your spinal column and a large percentage of your abdominal organs. I am attempting to reduce the rate of blood loss through direct compression.”

Your head won’t lift enough to see anything more than his arm, soaked in blood along with your shirt at the bottom of your vision, and when you try to inhale, the pain becomes infinitely worse, but your lungs are burning for air. You gasp and choke in vain, as the sound of Bro’s voice faintly echoes, along with the soft pounding of multiple human feet. You blink against something wet and hot in your eyes as AR stares down at you, and Just like before, when close to death, your friends are at the center of your thoughts - the suffering you’ve put them through, the struggle you’ve all endured just to live something close to normal lives, the grief every time someone was lost to the androids in the city. Your mind settles on the hundreds of thousands of billions of people you’ve just avenged, but now, in the end, you’re starting to realize that it wasn’t enough.

“All…” you swallow, fighting for enough air to speak and struggling to keep the sense in your words. “Killing…all this, death…genocide…please, please tell me it’s over…please…please…” you repeat the word, begging AR for something that hardly makes sense. His red circuits are the last thing you see, as your vision slowly fades.

“If that is what you want.” AR's voice is faint and soft, as the approaching sound of Bro and the others gets louder. Your mind finally begins to slip away, along with the sensation in your body, and the darkness of oblivion is a mercy.

 
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