Hey guys it's me. Yes, this was for last week's prompt but I guess this one works too. The last time I uploaded here I was fourteen...now I'm fifteen. Crazy.
I stared at Colin with eyes full of wonder.
“Master Bailey,” He croaked, relief and concern leaching into his voice, “you’re injured.”
That’s what you’re worried about? I turned my head in a circle, a difficult feat, and surveyed the leveled prison around me. Rubble layered under flying particles of dust stretched out infinitely all around us in a muted grey. Pipes, bars, and human limbs sticking out of the mess, all of it surrounding me in a halo of destruction.
And its creator.
I was only able to take half a step forward before my body succumbed to the voices begging me to sleep, to stop fighting. There was a half-second where I was free-falling, tumbling through polluted air, before a pair of strong arms wrapped around me and pulled me close.
There was a part of my brain that was still conscious as I was lifted out of the newly massacred prison. A small part that echoed one phrase;
A hero would sacrifice you for the world, a villain would sacrifice the world for you.
Surely Colin being an android would allow him to not fall into this category.
I awoke to a gentle light effectively coaxing me out of my unconscious state. Along with it being comforting, it was also familiar. The dull white was a color unique to the underground facilities we had taken refuge in.
That was before I was taken.
I jolted upright with a shriek, memories flooding back in a hurricane. Frames full of too-tight cuffs, painfully bright interrogation lights, and dusty grey cells spun in the forefront of my mind, topped off by a final one, a roar of pure rage as it all came tumbling to the ground.
“I told you to stop calling me that,” the response was so natural, being something I had to say quite often, that I didn’t really register who I said it to, or that I had even said it at all.
I needed time to process. My head fell into my hands, fingers curling around my hair. My body fell into a steady rock, breath coming in and out a little too quickly.
Collin destroyed the prison.
Colin destroyed the prison to save me.
“Bailey?” I jerked away from his touch, a comforting hand on my shoulder.
“You destroyed the prison,” I hissed between gritted teeth, “You killed so many people,” the human remains I had seen were displayed in the forefront of my mind.
Colin went silent. Eventually, I picked my head up to look at him. I found myself studying his strong cheekbones, his symmetrical face, hair that framed his face in just the right way, his eyes, cloudy grey disks that stared back hard with certainty.
“If they were in that prison they were hardly innocent,” he whispered, “They deserved to die,”
“You don’t get to decide that,” I shook my head, “it wasn’t just bad people, there were others like us, like me, people who believe that people like you-“
“I’m not a person,”
“-androids like you deserve to be treated as equals,”
“There aren’t others like me,” His voice was flat, robotic, “I only exist because of a mistake on your father's part, I’m the only advanced android and I am tasked with protecting you,”
I stared at him, the harsh reminder of my father causing me to wince.
“And if that means destroying a prison and killing people I don’t consider innocent, to keep you safe, I will do it,”
With that he stood up, his gaze was firmer than I had seen it in a while. The way he was poised and the way he turned and walked away was more android-like than I remembered. I blinked and he was gone, the swoosh of the infirmary ward door the only thing that proved he was there in the first place. His look of certainty when he described the acts he had committed was burned into my eyelids.
A villain would sacrifice the world to save you.
I couldn’t deal with this right now, not alone. I swung my legs off of the bed and reached for my phone on top of the pile of toiletries Colin had brought for me.
(11:47 PM) come visit me hoe
(11:47 PM) Bailey?!!?!?
(11:48 PM) who else?
(11:48 PM) On my way!
(11:49 PM) someone’s excited
(11: 50 PM) you know it’s autocorrect stfu
I snorted and clicked my phone's power button, plunging me into darkness. I settled back in bed. Reaching for a phone was one thing, jumping off the bed and walking was a different story.
Good thing I had Caroline.
“Dude thank god you texted me, Dylan, Priam, and I were worried sick,” The door swung open and slammed into the wall behind it as my energetic and egotistical best friend strode in.
“You sound like a mother,”
“Well someone has to be, that hag of a mom you had wasn’t going to cut it,” I appreciated that Caroline was able to bring humor to such a dark topic. We were close enough that it didn’t bother me, and she didn’t sugarcoat it as Colin did.
“Are you okay?”
I nodded, my hand rolling over the deep gash on my neck, “only a scratch,”
“Hardly,” Her hand fluttered to my neck, observing.
“I was only gone for twelve hours,” imprisoned for twelve hours.
Caroline nodded, sitting on the foot of my bed, “we all knew Colin would get you out, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t hella stressful,”
“Him ‘getting me out’ was by ransacking a government building,” I wrapped my arms around myself, “People died, Caroline,”
“Sounds like they had it coming,” she said, “They should have known who they were messing with,”
“And the prisoners?” I challenged.
She shrugged, “Criminals,”
“I’m just a girl,” I murmured, “no reason for him to be so…destructive,”
“Not to Colin,” she looked at me with mock puppy eyes, “you’re his world,”
I shoved her, “Shut up, if I wasn’t so exhausted I would mock you and Dylan,”
“There’s nothing to mock,” I didn’t miss how quick she was the change the subject, “plus I think it’s cute how Colin was programmed to protect you,”
That was a soft spot, “Was,” I snarled, not at all apologetic for my aggressive tone, “I had Fisher override it ages ago,”
“He destroyed a prison to save you,” Caroline shot the elephant in the room, “I don’t think the override worked,”
I glared at her, “He’s barely an android anymore,”
“What did Fisher say was left? 43%? I wouldn’t consider that almost,” she smiled mischievously and added, “I wonder if they got his dick yet-“
She shrugged, “Valid concern,”
Colin was over half-human. My father created him in the wake of my mother's disappearance, replacing parts of him with real human flesh and blood to create the ‘perfect robot’. Now with the loss of my father, all that was left was a grieving girl and an imperfect bot. A bot that was slowly dying as his two halves rejected each other.
“We need that 43%,” I shared my thoughts out loud.
“I know,” I appreciated Caroline not voicing the obvious problems with that.
We fell silent, and Caroline snuggled closer. My arm looped over her waist and I buried my head into her hair. Breathing in her fruity conditioner, I felt comfortable for the first time in a while.
“I missed you,” I murmured.
“You were only gone twelve hours,” She quoted.
I laughed and squeezed her tighter. Our breathing matched as we slowly fell into lapsed slumber.
“This mission isn’t for the faint of heart…”
“Shut your headass up, this isn’t bookclub,” if there was one thing I could admire about Carolina it was her attitude.
Fisher narrowed his eyes as the group burst into laughter, “just spicing things up a little,”
I didn’t miss the blush that crept up Fisher’s cheek, and by the way Dylan plopped his arm over the back of the coach where Caroline was sitting, he didn’t either. My eyes moved to take in the whole circle; Dylan, Caroline, Fisher, me, Priam, and Colin, all sat together in the bunker’s library. It was amusing to me that we called this room a ‘library’, all books were digital now. The roof consisted of white walls, white floors, and comfortable (and white) couches and chairs. Most of which were occupied.
“We all know what we’re here for, correct?” Fisher asked, “Or rather, who,”
“Mmh,” Caroline readjusted her position on the sectional, effectively leaning into Dylan’s contact “mister 57% over here,” Everyone’s eyes shifted to Colin, and by default, me. He looked sheepish, almost as if he was embarrassed that this group of people had been called together to help him.
“I called this group together because I have a plan…”
“Okay actually stop it with this narrator act Fisher,” Dylan said, “you sound like an idiot,”
Fisher crossed his arms angrily, “Dylan if you have a better way of breaking into the pentagon by all means-”
It was my turn to interject, “breaking into the pentagon?” I yelped, “I can’t do that,”
“We know,” Fisher turned to me, “That’s why you’re not coming,”
What? I didn’t know what was worse, attempting to break into the pentagon, or not attempting to break into the pentagon.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Bailey, you just got bailed out of prison,” Fisher's condescending tone was quickly getting on my nerves, “no one expects you to be ready for this,”
“That’s ridiculous,” I stood up, rage boiling in my bloodstream, “Of course I’m coming, this is for Colin and he’s my-'' friend? Boyfriend? Robot?
“Mast- Bailey,” I heard someone stand up next to me. I didn’t have to guess to know who it was, “I agree with Fisher, I just don’t think it’s safe”
“You’re going! This is dangerous for you too,” I rounded on Colin.
“Well I can handle myself, you’re only human,” Colin said, “you were the only captured which means their after you,”
“That’s hardly fair!” Priam interjected. It was the first thing he had said so far, and it was in defense of me. He never got to finish his statement though, because that was when I exploded.
“Do you ever stop to think that maybe they're after you?” I screamed at him, eyes blazing and fists balled so tightly I could feel my skin tearing under my nails. “Do you ever stop to realize just how special you are to the rest of the world? You’re the only advanced android, the only threat to everything these people stand for, and you have the audacity to think that I, a regular old human is what they're after? Look around you, all of these people are sacrificing their lives to save you, and you’re wasting your energy trying to pin blame on me? To try to stop me from coming when the only reason they captured me in the first place was for my tie to you?” I stopped to catch my breath, and marveled at the effect my words were having on everyone, “This goes for all of you, stop wasting energy worrying about other people, worrying about me when we should all be worried about the one thing we need to get for Colin-”
“Half a thing,” Caroline corrected. My eyes flashed to my best friend. She had a wide smile plastered on her face and a look that said ‘you go girl’, “43% of a thing, actually,”
“Yeah…” I was out of breath, trembling a little, “so stop…please,” I settled back down in the armchair I was seated in. My cheeks were pink with embarrassment at my outburst, in fact, I felt a little dizzy.
“So why exactly are we breaking into the pentagon?” Dylan asked. Caroline made eye contact with me and we had to fight not to break out in laughter. Apparently, Dylan being so cool and collected after my temper tantrum was amusing to us.
“Because that’s where all dead bodies are taken now for this exact reason,” Fisher explained, also ignoring my outburst. My eyes instinctively searched for Colin. His eyes were hard with acceptance, but there was something else hidden under them, fear.
Dylan made a sound of realization, “The government doesn’t want other androids to play Frankenstein so they…take all dead bodies?”
“Yes, if you have any online presence in the last fifteen years, the government has your information and your body is collected upon death and taken back there to be incinerated,”
“How did we not know this?” I asked, glad that all of us (or almost all of us) had moved on from my episode.
“Well if you hadn’t noticed, we have been living underground for like…forever,” Priam said with a grin aimed at me.
“Speak for yourself, I went on a little adventure not too long ago,” I joked.
“How was that by the way?” Praim asked, grinning widely now.
“Why would you ask her that?” Colin snarled.
I felt rage from my last episode resurfacing, and the best way to deal with it was to ignore it and ignore him. “Pretty good actually, it was nice to get out of the house,”
“I heard it’s a hit vacation spot, was there a nice view?”
“Oh the best,” My smile was wide, “The courtyard really was something, front row seats to all the deathmatches, don’t even get me started on the lighting, I really appreciated the burn of the interrogation lamps, very comforting”
“I’m jealous,” Priam frowned, “maybe if I’m lucky I’ll get a chance to experience it myself when this mission goes to shit,”
I sucked in a long, sarcastic breath, “sadly, the prison and all its inhabitants are six feet under right now, no summer vacay for you,”
Priam went white and his mouth fell open in shock. Unlike our whole conversation, this was genuine.
“I-inhabitants!” He jumped up, “You said they're all dead right?”
I nodded, wondering where this was going.
“Well…it was a maximum-security prison, most of the prisoners being there for life, right?”
I confirmed once more, still curious.
“Most of its inhabitants would have been there longer than fifteen years, right?”
Fisher and Colin caught on with small gasps, I was still clueless.
“What is it?”
“Bailey,” Priam breathed, “we don’t have to go into the pentagon, we just have to go back to the prison,”
That was when I understood. These prisoners were imprisoned for life, starting well over fifteen years ago, before the government started keeping track.
They weren’t in the records.
More importantly, their bodies weren’t to be collected.
Making their 43% ripe for the taking.
We just had to go back to the prison.