This one-shot explores a route in which instead of treating Cain's trauma through traditional therapy, they attempted to delete the event from his memory files, causing a chain reaction of corrupted data in his programing that turned him paranoid and hostile. Chronologically, it'd come after the events of "Fever Dream"
Everything seemed to have come crashing down so fast that day.
All of the little signs and abnormalities that have been carelessly overlooked for the past month suddenly came to light when sirens began blaring as the complex's PA system spat out the most dreaded protocol for a company such as Neosansus to have, one that once it's coined it is hoped to never be used.
[[ Protocol M-099 in order :: Company android has gone rogue within the complex :: Elimination on sight ]]
"We should have never messed with the programming."
Stanley looked up from his screens at the distressed programmer leaning against the door. Lillian's mind was racing so fast it was practically visible, with her eyes darting back and forth and shoulders swaying up and down matching her frantic breaths.
"We'll figure this out," he decided not to address the statement and looked back to the screens featuring an input that appeared as a jumbled mess even to the Chief Programmer. "Don't worry, he-"
"Don't worry?!" Lillian snapped, her eyes shooting at the man with such a glare that he could feel it piercing through his temple. "He unlocked his own power cap enough to elicit elimination authorization against him! It may be just a matter of time before we go into quarantine, how can you remain so calm?!"
Stanley kept staring in silence, as if waiting for something to happen, until eventually it did - all of the data input he reviewed has ceased, and he heard Lillian's broken gasp when she saw it too.
"No," he shook his head, balling his hands into fists and leaning back in his chair. "It's worse. Cain disconnected himself from being monitored."
Lillian fell silent, and her slow, shaky breaths alone were enough for him to know the shocked expression she wore. "B-but...can't it be another glitch?" she almost sounded hopeful.
Without a word the Chief Programmer reloaded the latest input strings, highlighting a certain part that came in just seconds before the transmissions stopped. "Buzz, can you please play that back?" he asked his personal A.I assistant, that sounded a series of beeps as it began picking up data from the various input channels within the highlighted area, compiling it to a phrase uttered in a familiar voice terrifyingly void of emotion.
"Are you proud yet?"
They both shuddered, Lillian covering her mouth as if she were about to get sick. "H-he...knowingly..." the words were stuck in her throat as it filled up with tears.
"There's nothing more we can do without physical access to his processors." Stanley ran his hands over his face, slowly letting out air in a deep sigh. "Buzz, security footage," he demanded, and soon the data on the screens was replaced in footage from various security cameras around the complex.
"What are you doing?" Lillian approached the screens, quickly scanning the footage showing several unconscious and partially paralyzed crew members littered around until she saw Cain, seemingly heading to the lobby. His walk was frighteningly serene for someone who has single-handedly neutralized several dozens of human personnel.
Stanley loaded up all camera input that came from the lobby area, revealing that most of the complex's security team had been neutralized as well, and now the rogue android was facing Officer Samuel Schmidt, who seemed incredibly composed for having most of the team under his command knocked down, even down to all C.A.S.S units.
"We can't contact Cain anymore," he clicked the screen showing most of the area to enlarge it, "but we can still guide those who can."
Even after fighting Abel numerous times and facing humans that were much more intimidating and well-armed, Samuel could feel the adrenaline surge as he found himself several feet apart from the company's prized android; one that he had considered a friend and still did, even with the alarms blaring all around them drowning the pained moans of his teammates sprawled across the way to the lobby, partially incapacitated and some suffering burn from the electrical damage.
He watched the electricity arcing around Cain's hands as he just stood across from him, patiently sizing him with his eyes carefully following every single movement he made.
"Listen to me, Cain. You don't have to this." he called to him, staying as still as he could as if he were facing a large predatory beast. "Please, no one here wants to hurt you."
"The order of elimination says otherwise," Cain's voice came out slightly choppy, as if spoken through a broken transmitter, its pitch varying at random every several syllables.
Samuel gritted his teeth, shaking his head. "If anyone heeded that protocol you wouldn't have gotten this far," he argued, tensing up when he noticed the android starting to move towards him. Normally he wouldn't be too concerned with Cain's agility, but in his carefully calculated uprising he took a pair of new bionic legs from the workshop that would enable him to close the distance between them with a single lunge. "This protocol states I should have shot you long ago, and I chose not to."
The android stopped, his shutter-like eyes slowly moving down to Samuel's right. "Did you, really?" he wondered, and the Officer immediately shuddered and tensed up once realizing he had instinctively reached to his holster, feeling his fingers grazing the cold metal.
Desperately trying to regulate his breath, he didn't take his hand away but met with the android's blank gaze again. "There's no bullet in you yet, is there?" he answered, feeling the piercing stare sending a chill down his spine.
"Yet." he repeated for emphasis, taking another step closer.
[[ Don't let him taunt you, Sam. That's his specialty. ]]
"Lill?" Samuel mumbled to his communicator once he heard the programmer's voice in his ear.
[[ Stan and I got you covered through the security system. This isn't really a time for a conversation, but we may know how to resolve this. You'll have to...to neutralize Cain, without damaging his processors, and bring him to us so we can physically reprogram him. ]]
Realizing this wasn't meant to be a two-sided conversation, Samuel just nodded in hopes that they were looking through a camera that could pick it up.
He was clearly in a disadvantage, moral and physical. He knew he couldn't outrun a robot but perhaps he could outsmart him, for once.
Seeing as Cain is most likely considering him as just another hurdle - and with Abel's absence, probably the last one that could potentially stand up to him - Samuel figured that it may give him the chance to coax the android into attacking him first. Turning his instinctive reaction to his benefit, he grabbed the hilt of his handgun and made an abrupt movement forward.
As he predicted, Cain read this as a threatening intention and darted forward into a counterattack. Samuel rotated his body with another step forward, turning his left shoulder forward and ramming the sturdy metal shell into the android's center of mass before he could stun him. Samuel threw his weight into Cain's body and knocked him down, stepping on his right arm to pin it's elbow to the floor and drew out his handgun, aiming it right between the robots eye's that soon re-focused beyond it, meeting the Officer's eyes again.
Cain didn't struggle and kept the same tranquil expression, interrupted by subtle ticks and twitches that matched the random shifts in his voice, giving him an eerie, nearly haunted feel. On the other side of the barrel, however, Samuel found himself breathing heavily even though none of this could be considered as straining physical action for him, and yet he felt something weighing terribly on his shoulders. He never thought he'd be aiming his gun at someone else from the complex, much less at one of the androids, much less at Cain, the hailed therapist and the face of the company.
He felt as if Cain was testing him, waiting for him to understand something that should have been blatantly obvious.
And it wasn't long until Samuel came to that realization.
He was scared.