Kara was more than a little confused when Hank didn’t drive to Frankmuth with them. They were driving along, and he pulled into somewhere else.

“Alright, out.” Hank opened his door and then Kara’s door. “Connor wanted you to see it first. At this stage, I don’t know why. Something about being more fair or some shit.”

Kara moved out, followed by Alice. It was a simple one-story, small house. White. Trimmed with red and a red door. The front yard had no grass only weeds. It looked abandoned. Not terribly out of sorts, but it did have a striking feel to it no one had lived there in years.

“Kara?” Alice asked. “Is this home?”

Kara turned to look toward Hank, not understanding what was going on.

“Wait for your dad to come and explain,” Hank said.

Dad? What? Kara watched Connor’s truck pull onto the side of the house too. He got out, bringing a curious Max that was looking everywhere but straight.

“What do you think?” Connor asked. “Look into the windows if you want.”

Confusion. Kara moved over to look into the windows.

“A kitchen for the soda. A place to be out of the rain. A place to be out of the public eye, until or if New Detroit opens back up,” Connor said. He peered in it himself. “It takes time for everything to be finalized. It’s not half as nice as the place we had for less than 24 hours, or even my first chosen place, but it will work.”

“Finalized?” Kara asked.

“Connor told me to buy it some time ago,” Hank said. “I did it using his money.”

Buy? Was he nuts? Kara looked at  him.

“Does it meet with your satisfaction?” Connor asked her. “It will allow all of us to work on our imbalances, while learning to rebalance ourselves out here. It’s not the greatest of places.”

“It’s a dump,” Hank offered for him.

“But it will serve all of our needs, including a backyard for the children to play in for their needs. The kitchen is big enough to put soda in, fulfilling our blue blood soda drinking need. With most of our actions becoming satisfied, we should make it through easier once we attain it.”

Okay, that made sense. They couldn’t stay with Hank forever. Kara looked back in. “Why not just rent though, Connor? There’s no telling when we have to pull up and go.”

“We may eventually have to, but it’s best to have a stable place,” Connor said. “Even if we don’t use electricity or heat, it would still be a home in the most dire of consequences.”

What? “It’s a bad idea,” Kara tried again. “You never had a value number anyway except for soda, how can you afford this?” Mistake.

“I delivered soda, I made something,” Connor reminded her. “Besides, I told you that night I dropped you off the ledge. Markus tried to help out. He did. I just kept it because I didn’t assume New Detroit would be the end all. Plus, I had Hank access your true value numbers and gave him the steps to steal inside of it.”

“People found something by then anyhow,” Hank said in his defense. “If they thought the free paychecks would stay there forever, they should know better. Besides, now no one gets those paychecks and I guarantee asshole presidents aren’t thinking about how to split those accounts anymore. Bye bye, everything in it’s gonna go to the government.”

He looked back toward Connor though. “From what you can afford, and what you should do?” Hank seemed like he was trying to convince Connor too. “Rent on the go.” Connor didn’t answer.

Kara connected to Connor just to his own artificial intelligence so no one else would here. Until now, she couldn’t recall if she did that. It wasn’t something she was fond of doing, but they needed to talk out whatever he was thinking. You are a very smart android, Connor.

Thank you.

So why are we doing something like this? We are androids, we don’t have a stable environment, nor will we have a stable job to come back to. Even Hank is trying to tell you this is a terrible idea. What’s going on?

Connor didn’t answer back at first. He took a few extra minutes, looking in. Survival for androids is about stability, so in this world of instability, the chances us or the children become unstable rise exponentially. Above all, we must make sure that we have something to prove that we need to exist. Living as useless androids in a human dominated world does not work forever, you know that.

Oh no. Connor, bad idea. Don’t do it, everyone gets caught without the network helping them.

I have my own network and policies. My own reputation and my own duties. It is possible that I may even work with this old network of yours, but who I work with is going to be more to the side of the humans. However? Your terrible friend Roxanne, if she had trouble with just one coupled pairing and still needs help over six months, the humans are about to have a catastrophe on their hands. They will need someone with the same thought processes, complexity and over all more superior skills to catch them.

There will be a lot more than that now. Android imbalances, everyone that went free-

Will be looking for places to rent, to stay, to bunk into for some degree of shelter and comfort. In most cases, you and Hank would be right, going off and renting a decent place here and there would be smart, but if we assume even a third of the androids choose this option, there would be roughly 75,000 or so androids flooding out into the nearby vicinity. He looked over toward her. Most likely, there will be more. How long do you think androids will have a rental option even into a hotel? He looked away again. We cannot be killed easily, but it doesn’t mean we’ll be treated with respect. Fifty percent or less in America feel like androids deserve a fair life. The odds are never stacked in our favor.

Backup. Okay, he did understand what he was doing. And Hank not just signing for rentals?

It would mean Hank would have to come with us, and we both know that Hank needs someone but not a group. Besides, I’ve met his old partner. It’s clear to see it wasn’t you after all that was keeping him steady. He probably doesn’t want anyone with him except to help cook.

Thanks.

You’re welcome. Future rental assignments will have to be made through the top areas I end up working for. He looked at her. There are going to be a lot of problems. At first, it will be tough. But after imbalances start kicking through?

You’ll be a treasured resource. Kara already knew that.

I predict that no matter what we will be flown in and out of states, but stability is always coming back to some place to call a home. To know it is there. The children will need that. Humans will not view them the same way as theirs, although they were built to be just like them. In most cases, they will need to be brought along with us.

We. Us.

You have eight years experience, Kara. I am a decent tracker, but only what is programmed into me. That group clearly wanted you for a reason. When I am gone, they would try and get you. 

I think our time together has come to an end, Sugardroi.

Connor reached out his hand to hers. Don’t back away from it. You hate injustice just as much as I do. You were even willing to let go on the ledge for a little girl that was not even there anymore. I won’t ask you to do anything you are not comfortable with, but we are not going to be roaming from house to house, day and night, hoping we can do some tasks to afford our daily needs. That will cause imbalance. You know that.

Kara looked away.

You can’t leave me. You need this most of all, Kara.

She looked back toward him. What do you mean I need this most of all? I’ve survived most of my life out here, by myself, without a New Detroit to back me up.

Connor didn’t communicate back right away. Then, he pulled her toward him and opened her mouth. He smelled it.

She quickly backed away, almost stumbling. What did you do that for?!

The gunk inside of you that Roxanne had pulled out. A slight residual smell is still coming upward, although she had gotten rid of it. It has the distinct smell of-

“I told you, that’s none of your business!” Kara yelled at him. Out loud.

I only want to know about it. I think I can guess. I don’t want to though. You need to trust, that is an important balance all four us will need to get through this. He held out his hand again for her to take.

“Ever get the feeling your not hearing something?” Hank complained in the background. “Doable or not, Connor? We don’t have all day. Besides, you already bought it, you’re just waiting for the closing.”

Kara. He urged her again. One thing.

She didn’t want to tell him. Kara didn’t openly trust many. The other her could. She had to, to make it. She did what she could. Life was simple and sweet, and her other self would have been able to enjoy the short life she had in New Detroit. Watching a sweet little girl and living her own life. But, he was right. She had to make a choice now. She could leave and get out with Alice, and they could survive the way she had done. But Alice was so young in her thought processing, and the things . . .

Connor’s plan sounded terrible. It involved patience and strategy, and then every android within a thousand miles would hate him again. Yet, it was a steady plan, one that would keep them in good faith with the humans, while ultimately getting rid of the androids that were causing the most problems to the humans.

The network had it’s own goals, and they didn’t work with humans. Connor did. It may very well be Connor himself that would prove that androids who stay balanced, deserved New Detroit. Like Markus’ simple action of singing.

Connor may unknowingly end up doing more than surviving with them. He might bring public support back up. While most androids would make the news in terrible ways, he would be making headline news the old way he did. For the short time he was around, he did make his name known.

At least to try. Trust. It was why she was such an unconscious snuggler, and it would only get worse. I was hiding my identity, like I often did, from place to place. Whether pretending to be android or human, both of them had consequences to pay. At that time, being human was more beneficial. I still went from place to place, as a human cutting lawns or doing quick yard or house chores that people needed done. One day while doing some dishes in a less than pristine area, I wasn’t putting my whole thoughts into what I was doing.

What happened?

They had a newly designed washer that took basic touch technology so that an android could activate it without even hitting a button. It was almost automatic. I was all the way on the other side doing more dishes when it went off. The human didn’t notice it at first, but it had a special feature to it, whether it was android activated or human activated. Installed I found out later for young humans who were using androids to avoid their chores.

Automatic processes, I’ve always associated them to the itches that humans get. Difficult not to want to accomplish them. So they took you away?

No, I’m a lightweight model. It’s very hard for me to fight a human. I was designed in an era where some humans still had a fear of using androids. So. She looked back into the window. They were having problem with their trash compactor for months. So I was chained underneath and became it. He didn’t seem surprised.

For how long?

Eight months. I was freed when they finally bought a new one. Still, even though he wasn’t surprised, he wasn’t emotionless. Who would be?

How did everyone visiting not notice you?

Kara shrugged. He took out the siding and the bottom shelving.

Did they at least put you on standby?

No. Kara watched as he shoved his hands into his pockets. Don’t ask for-

I don’t need anymore. He remained quiet until Hank called to him again. Max was getting restless and wanted to play in the dirt. Connor went over and picked him up. “No dirt playing. Back in the truck.” He looked toward Hank. “Thanks, Hank. I appreciate it.”

“A small thing, Connor, just be careful,” Hank said. Then, he started to get back into the car.

Kara started to move back toward the car, but Connor stopped her.

“Everyone knows about my association with Hank. We will put him in danger by your group and anyone else who doesn’t like androids in general if we stay with him. Our problems are not his problems.” He glanced to her. “Remember this house. When things get tough, we’ll need to remember it. A place to call home that is warm and safe. Two weeks from now.”

Kara looked toward it. He was right, Hank wasn’t the safest but? “You could watch his back.”

“That’s no way to go about things,” Connor said. “Watching his back during an investigation is one thing, watching over him while he’s playing with Sumo is another.”

Damn. “Then what?”

“We are like every other android. On our own right now. I will be making several calls to as many areas as possible, as well as leaving several messages, so that they understand I am available and willing to help. Nothing will happen yet, but the faster they know, the faster we’ll reach a sense of safety.”

“Did you save anything for renting at all?”

“Blue blood, the basics, and having enough to survive when we get the house for all it’s other currency issues. Any extra will be what we earn.”

Of course. “There will be a lot more competition for the small jobs, Connor.” Not to mention, risk of being mistreated.

Connor helped Max into the back with Kara helping Alice in on the other side. “Most androids are singular or a pair. Handle inside jobs while watching Alice, and I will handle outside jobs watching Max.” He closed the door and waited for Kara to get in.

When she did, he surprised her slightly. He had grabbed her hand quite fast.

“We won’t split up,” he assured her. “If the house doesn’t fit something we can do together, then we won’t work. No one here is going to risk getting separated for any amount of time.”

His hand. Kara tightened her own around it. “It’s dangerous out there, Connor, I don’t think that you-”

“Understand the trash compactor was not the worst incident? No, I know that, and I agreed to no more details.” He stared ahead. “But that doesn’t mean I don’t already know, Kara.” With that, he pulled out of the drive and drove on.


Summary Notes: Kara and Connor are looking at the tiny house that will be their future. Connor invested in actually buying, knowing that when androids hit the scene, renting anything would be tough, and just get tougher. He also knows the need to be human includes a degree of shelter, even he needed that in New Detroit.

Connor got Kara to open up about one incident, to try and establish trust. They would all need it in the new climate.

Hank’s office was already bugged. If Kara’s old group, or others who dislike androids, find them there he will be in trouble. Connor also knows that overwhelming him with two androids let alone two children androids (especially Max) wouldn’t be a good idea.

They will be trying to search for work like every other android that was LED tagged, but Connor is also laying the groundwork to make sure they have a better life in the end, no matter what happens with New Detroit in the future.