Some days, it's hard getting out of bed. Not because I’m exhausted, or I'm too sore from the bruises covering my body, but because I can’t stand to look at his face knowing that I’ve only delayed the inevitable. Death.
No matter how many lives I save and deaths I prevent, I can’t help but feel like it won’t matter in the long run.
Although I have changed this city into a place where people feel safe, I am responsible for the high crime rates. Despite the fact that no criminal would dare do something major and get me involved, there are more new criminals than if I had stood aside and done nothing.
When people look at me, they see a hero, I'm not, I, am more guilty than everyone in this city combined.
I am responsible for all their suffering.
“How are you this wonderful morning?” Keith Turhe, my grandfather, asks as I lurk through the dark hallway.
“Miserable as always.” There’s really no point in lying, he knows where I go whenever there’s a major crime.
“Well the day is young.” Despite the sky high crime rates, he has never failed to look on the bright side of things, and to be honest it has helped a lot of people, other than me.
“Anything important we have to attend today?” Despite our family name being almost cursed by my great great grandfather the Turhe family had gathered a pretty profitable reputation. People had even started paying us to just attend their gatherings to make it seem like we were interested, and if the Turhes were interested, then everybody was interested.
“Well the Mayor is hosting a ceremony in the honor of the many officers that died during the Kurtlin Bank robbery.”
“Yah, another reminder that I need to update the Failure Board.” I slink down into the armchair opposite my grandfather, feeling the soft fabric and getting into the position that hurts the least.
“I don’t know why you haven’t taken that thing down.” My grandfather frowns. “All it seems to do is make you mournful.”
I sigh, as he was regularly badgering me to take it down and replace it with something else, his most recent recommendation being a list of people I’ve saved. If only he could see just how much I need it, a constant reminder of my need to improve and train. Something to keep me going when I lacked incentive from everything else.
“Being ‘mournful’ is what’s keeping me from making the same mistakes.” I remark as I pick up the discarded newspaper from yesterday and begin picking through it for clues, or anything that could help me when I go out on patrol later.
“Yet you seem to make the same mistake of not trusting yourself.” My grandfather comments, as I flip a page, the rustle filling the uncomfortable silence that lasts a few seconds before I answer.
“The only person I trust when I’m out there is me.” I state as I divert all my attention to reading the latest article written by Riley Atro, a rant on how they believe our city relies too much on technology to solve our problems.
In all honesty, I could see where they were coming from, though for an entirely different reason then what they wrote about. The androids that were going to replace most of our police force definitely weren’t the same when it came to empathy and understanding situations that called for charisma. They were necessary though, especially since the Kurtlin Bank robbery. Thinking now, I realised that the ceremony was where the mayor is probably going to announce the change of guard.
“I can see the gears turning in your head.” My grandfather notes, as I set down the newspaper. “What exactly is it you’ve thought of now?”
“When is the ceremony?” I query, things clicking together like jigsaw pieces as a plan slowly began to fit into the big picture.
“Shortly after five, I believe.” He proclaims, checking his watch as he answers. “It runs for about an hour before the mayor is supposed to give a big speech and an announcement.”
His half of the puzzle clicks in with mine as dots connect and recognition flickers in his eyes.
“You think they're going to go ahead with it tonight, don’t you?” He questions, as he takes a sip of his coffee. I give a tiny nod. “That would be quite foolish on their part.”
He scoffs as he takes a swig of his drink before pushing himself out of his chair.
I’ve never really liked tuxedos. Sure they’re stylish and can make you look like you belong in the type of situation I was in now, but they are very uncomfortable. They are not uncomfortable however, if you are only using them in the way you're expected to use them, which is to stand around and mingle in some sort of galla or ceremony. Since this is nowhere close to my case they’re very uncomfortable.
“Stop acting weird, people are starting to stare.”
“If you had let me wear my compact suit underneath then this wouldn’t be a problem.”
“You have got to stop expecting something to happen all the time, enjoy yourself for once.”
“Why would I do that? All I would get from it is distracted.”
He sighs and stops arguing, this has happened before and we both know it will lead us nowhere. Instead we made our way towards the stage where the speech was about to take place. The mayor, a short, rather plump fellow, climbs up onto the stage and waves in response to the applause from the crowd.
“Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, I hope you’ve been enjoying yourself.”
He pauses and takes a breath, preparing himself for what he's about to say.
“As you all know, we lost many officers in the robbery of the Kurtlin Bank, and I would like to have a moment of silence and remember who were lost that day.”
There was silence. Everyone had already stopped talking when the speech began but now everything was dead silent. At least, that's what everyone thought.
While they were being as quiet as possible, my ears were picking up even the quietest of noises and searching for anything that might be even the slightest bit suspicious. Thankfully I didn’t hear anything, which I wasn’t sure meant that nothing happened or I should be disappointed with myself for not being able to hear it.
“And now,” The voice cut through the silence, ruining my train of thought, “I have something to tell you all.” He paused, most likely for effect.
“The streets have been full of crime for years now, and we have barely been able to keep it in order with our faithful police departments. So as of this day, all officers will be removed from any situation that is too dangerous for a human being, and instead be ‘replaced’ with Darwin Devices’ newest edition to the market.” He stepped to the side as the curtain behind him flew open and revealed a dozen black and blue androids standing at attention.
“The SB Mk12!”
The hall erupted with applause and drowned out any chance that someone had to retaliate. I barely heard any of it, I was staring into the same face that had been this city’s biggest problem since day one. The sleek metallic overlay, the opaque visor and the same cold aura of the deranged drone of a man, the Automaton.