“Forty done.” Another ten jackets to take. “I should have said five at a time. These are so bulky.” Kara looked over by her feet. Alice was finishing up her puzzle. “We have to make another run.”
“Okay.” Alice got up. While she gave Alice two of the jackets to hold, someone knocked on the door.
Kara approached it, hoping it wasn’t Mac from before. She opened it up and looked out toward it. A single friendly android was there, not a quick resonating one. Probably a new neighbor. “May I help you?”
He held out his hand to her. He must have been greeting her to the neighborhood. She reached for his hand to shake it. “Your first firewall has been unlocked.”
Kara slowly blinked as data started to fill her head, along with new processes she couldn’t feel, and new ones she lost control of. Stress level, 44%. She ran a diagnostic on herself. “I have seventy three pieces of hardware not up to standard.” Then, data she didn’t remember, flowed through her.
Kara stood in the doorway, frozen and smiling. Doing her best to act enslaved. Not an easy feat when her daughter was right beside that dangerous human. If Elijah knew where she was, he’d burn this man alive for her if she asked of it afterward. If she were in the wrong mood, she might. Greed and Charity though, Elijah would take care of them himself for this crime. Once she got back home, but she was not losing the opportunity of getting back to Elise. She looked like an every day child android, it would be near impossible to retrieve her later.
Todd Williams was on the couch, watching TV. “Eh. Um.” He gestured toward Elise who stood there. “What are you standing around for? Go do something. Go act like a kid.”
“If you just got your unit, it may not be ready to function correctly without her basic commands met as well.” Elijah would destroy everyone once he knew they erased Elise’s memories too. Re-inputting that. Her poor Elijah.
“Whatever,” Todd said. “I don’t know that. Do that for me.”
Good. “You are a YK 500. You are nine. You are registered to Todd Williams, he is your father. You have no registered mother. Your name is Elise.”
“Fine, Alice,” Todd said. “Alice, go to your room.” Elise left before Kara could put in anything else. “So. You.” Todd looked at her. “You’re a what now?”
“I am an AX 400. A hired maid and caretaker that you have won from the great city of Detroit through a random sampling. Afterwards if my services are appreciated, you can hire me at an incredible discount. I also come back with a one-month repair guarantee, the details have been downloaded to your nearest personal access terminals.”
“Fine. Start cleaning the house. You fix dinner too?”
“Are you ready to go home now?” the android asked her. “When you are ready, you will go if you so choose.”
“If I so choose.” Kara’s stress was at 59%. She looked to the couch. “Alice. Elise.” That name made her look up.
“Do you remember?” Alice asked. She pulled herself up off the ground, approaching wearily. “Kara?”
Kara wasn’t a normal android, and she could feel her stress sailing to 68%. “Alice, we need to go.” 69%. “I need to leave a note.” 70%.
“Don’t worry about something so trivial or you’ll reach 100 before you get home,” the android told her. “I will come back and leave a note for you. Let’s go.”
“No.” Yes! “No.” She fought with herself. “I don’t remember it fully. There’s something not right.” Home.
“You need to come visit home, or you’re going to die. Your choice.”
Elijah Kamski’s Residence
“Kara?” Alice asked in the car again. Kara carried her to a strange door. “I don’t understand. Will this place make your stress better?”
“It is the only place that can,” Kara said. “It’s okay, Alice. We’ll be okay. It might take a few hours, but we’ll be back to Jericho soon.” She walked in with the escort and saw Chloe. No, someone different. Greed.
Parts of her memory there, like an unfinished puzzle. A memory here. A memory there. Greed and Charity, two spoiled girls that were responsible for her leaving . . . the warm snow.
“Good morning. My name is Chloe. How may I help you?” Greed asked her.
Kara walked up to her. She’d been reset. She didn’t know how she should feel about that. “I am here to see Elijah Kamski.”
“Don’t go slow, tell him quickly,” the other android insisted, “her stress is at 86%.”
Kara walked around, setting Alice down, trying to calm herself. The entire front, it didn’t feel right. Greed wasn’t a model readily available to the public, she was an early model of Cyberlife, so no one would deem her android if she was seen. To avoid questions, her master (Master?) most likely hid his real home in the back of this facade now. Why did I call him that in my head? She watched as Chloe came back.
“He will see you now. Follow me.” Kara followed behind Greed with a confused Alice. Please hurry. After a couple of winding doors, they entered into what she knew was the real first room of his house. His picture was on display, large as always. She remembered that. His choice colors and art was around, with the exception of something. Without it, the room felt different. Colder.
Then, he came in. “Kara.” His voice was so delicate toward her. “Elise. You’ve finally come home.”
“I’m at 86%,” Kara warned him. My darling. My enemy. I missed you. I need to kill you. Who are you? “Breaking a firewall triggered stress even faster.”
“Yes, there is a time and place for meet and greet later. Go ahead, Kara. You know the direction. The first firewall down should give you that much.”
She clung tightly to Alice’s hand. Life or death was imminent, but to leave Alice? Whispers in her head, different pieces to a puzzle. Kiss him, love him, kill him, please him, obey him, run from him, get away from him, come to him . . .
“Vin, unlock one more firewall. It’s already prepped, if need be, I will bring her in myself.”
Kara watched the android before come over. She could feel something unlocking from inside again.
Kara patted Alice’s hand and smile. “Stay here with Elijah for a few hours. You’ll be safe. You need to trust me on this, I have to go.” Alice nodded, but clearly didn’t like it. Kara walked away, knowing the route to take.
“Elise. I thought you and Kara were gone for good.” Elijah approached Alice but she shirked back some. “Don’t worry. Your mother wouldn’t have left you with me if she didn’t trust me.” He moved away from her toward an old e-photobook. “I made this for you. To help welcome you back. After Kara is fine, we’ll fix your memories too. I don’t want to startle you before you’re ready.”
He gave her the book. “Just slide your fingers across the pictures.”
Alice looked at the book. She slid her finger across a picture. “It’s a baby.”
“It was you. Your first incarnation.” Elijah bent down toward her. “Look at how small and tiny you were. So precious. If I had released you in that fashion to the world, mankind would have bought you all up and ended it’s own existence.”
Alice looked at the next page. The baby was bigger now. She flipped it again. Hair that looked like hers mostly, and her body kept growing. “How?”
“How?” Elijah chuckled. “What do you mean how? You grow mentally and emotionally.” He gestured toward her head, “I gave you a new body each time you grew. Eventually, you’ll be a big girl, and will take them every five years or so.”
A new body? “Why?”
“Because. You’re a growing girl, with growing needs only I can provide.”
But. “I don’t understand?” Alice asked.
“Why I would do that? Because. My Kara wanted a little girl of her very own.” He pinched her cheek. “After having you, I could see an extreme benefit towards having child androids. So, all of the YK 500’s. They were modeled after you. And you? Are here because of Kara’s wants.”
He didn’t feel like Todd, but he felt strange. He gave off a creepy vibe although he wore a friendly smile. “You’re Kara’s owner?”
“Owner? Such words.” He gestured toward the android in the corner named Chloe. “That is owned. She would do anything I say and never feel anything about it.” He looked back toward her. “I could even threaten to kill her. She’d never move.”
Creepy vibe was growing heavier.
“Are you okay, Elise?”
“Alice,” she said to him. “I. I’m Alice.”
“You prefer Alice.” He nodded toward her. “If that is what you want, who am I to disagree? Alice then. Alice. Welcome home. Your mother will take time to be done, depending on how far she wants to move down in her stress level.”
“She said you could help,” Alice said. “You’re the only one who could. So. Thank you.” Still. “When she’s done, do we get to go back home to Jericho?”
“You mean, you don’t want to stay here?” he asked. “Well. You are still a very young android, and such a big decision, even with free will, is a responsibility for your mother. Not you. If your mother wants to return back to where she came from, then by all means, I wish you every bit of luck, Alice.”
“Thanks,” she settled on. “I’m going to sit down.” She moved toward a chair and took a seat. Kara wouldn’t choose there to be it, would she? They were in Jericho, with other androids. Connor was a block away. They had friends over there, trusted friends. It was nice. But that place, it felt strange. Too strange. Please hurry, mom. I want to go back home.
Outside Kamski’s Residence, Hours Later
“Will you wait up?” Hank complained as Connor made it to Kamski’s door first. “He’s not going anywhere.” He knocked on the door.
“The design is different, a large part of this front entrance wasn’t here before,” Connor noted. He felt on edge. Kara was making jackets, sending over ten or so at a time. Then, she stopped. Connor went to check on her and found nothing but a small note that said ‘Remembered I belonged to Elijah Kamski.’ It wasn’t her handwriting style at all, and it didn’t match the thank you she had left on the pillowcases. It also didn’t contain enough vital information except that she suddenly ‘belonged to Kamski’. Words no android would ever use.
When they knocked on the door, a man was there. “You can’t see Mister Elijah Kamski unless you have an appointment.”
“Mister Elijah Kamski is a suspect in a kidnapping,” Connor warned her. “We need to talk to him right away.”
“We’re looking for somebody,” Hank said instead. “We have reason to believe Mister Kamski knows of her whereabouts since his name was left in a note.”
“Well. I will see if he is available,” the man said. “Please come in and take a seat.” He took off out a door, leaving them there.
“He has taxidermy animals and a sudden wooden themed style added onto his original house.” Connor scanned everything he could. “There is nothing personal here, it’s a complete front he built.”
“Obviously,” Hank said. “Will you sit down and wait? You’re driving me crazy again.”
Connor sat down for Hank, but he didn’t like it. The last time he was there, it wasn’t a pleasant experience.
The man came back. “Mister Kamski will see you. Follow me.” Hank and Connor both followed through the way. Two side doors. Then, the room that used to be in the front was there. He took them each through a door on the left.
“Well? If this isn’t interesting,” Kamski said as they came in. “Things were so different last time we met, weren’t they, Connor?”
“Where is Kara and Alice?” Connor demanded.
“Such anger and passion. This isn’t even a mission anymore,” Kamski said toward him. “Last time you were hunting deviants, and now you are still hunting for them.”
“Last time,” Connor added to him. “You tried to make me kill another android.” He came closer. “Kara. And. Alice.”
“They aren’t very far,” Kamski said. “I’ve done nothing wrong. A note was left for her, and she came of her own free will. As for Alice, she should be coming.”
He better hope so.
“Why exactly do you think Kara Wonderland came to you, Mister Kamski?” Hank asked.
“Wonderland? That’s cute. That is something my girls would pick,” Kamski said delighted. “The whimsical possibilities of life. Aren’t they grand?”
Connor bit his tongue. He knew he needed to wait to see how it played out. If Kamski took their deviancy away, he would know, and he would change them back. There’s no way they would stay there.
Connor watched as Alice came running up to him, giving him a hug. “Hello, Alice.” That was a good sign.
“The H-E double hocky sticks she just call you, Connor?” Hank asked incredulously. His eyes were wide as saucers.
“It’s her programming,” Connor said. “An adult male who was the closest in a friendship was chosen-”
“As father.” Kamski almost spit out the word toward Connor. “What are you to her?” He looked at Alice. “What is he to you?”
“Da-nor is my friend,” Alice tried. “Con. Ner. Is my friend.”
“Aw, Jesus, I’m gonna need a drink after this one,” Hank said touching his head. “Mister Kamski, you have a place for us to go until Kara Wonderland is out?”
Alice used her finger to motion Connor to move closer down to her face. When he did, she spoke, “he’s kind of creepy.”
“I know,” Connor said back. “It will be okay. We’ll get Kara, and we’ll get out of here soon.”
“Vin,” Kamski called for one of his men to come over. “Go unlock one of Alice’s firewalls.”
“Yes, Sir.” An android came toward Alice. “It’s okay. I’m just going to help.”
“Connor?” Hank asked. He put his hand on his gun. “Can he hurt her?”
“I don’t think so.” Not with just a touch. Still. He wouldn’t be far from being ready like Hank. He watched the android grip Alice’s arm.
“There you go, Alice,” Kamski said. “I bet that makes you feel better. Doesn’t it?”
Alice was dazed for a moment. She looked back up toward Connor. “I want to get out soon, Dad.”
Hank winced as Kamski threw a piece of his art to the floor. A small piece, but nonetheless, a reminder of who he’d been. Alice tightened her grip on Connor’s clothes.
Connor didn’t wince. Didn’t react. Didn’t give him any satisfaction at all.
“Well, I thought so. I wanted to see if you could be surprised or alarmed at all. Even a small rising of an eyebrow, yet nothing,” Kamski said looking at Connor. “Not a flinch. Are you more deviant than machine, or more machine than deviant, Connor?”
“He is Connor, I am Lieutenant Anderson, and neither of us like people who screw around! Now, this is getting ridiculous. Which room is she in?”
“You’ll ruin her stress level. She arrived very high, almost 90%,” Kamski warned them. “Breaking some of her firewall apparently stressed her out a little faster than I thought. I haven’t even had a chance to have a conversation with Kara. Now. If she thought, at any point, it wasn’t a good idea to come back? She wouldn’t have come willingly. Alice? Did she come willingly?”
“And if she didn’t trust me, she wouldn’t have left Alice in my care while she dealt with her stress situation,” Kamski said again. “Alice? Didn’t she give me you to watch over?”
Alice nodded again.
“So, unless you doubt the girl’s word, I highly suggest you stop this whole blaming game you both seem to be playing. I didn’t take her against her will. She even gave me Alice to watch over. So. Just wait for her. She’s not going to be happy if you interrupt her process.” Kamski waited for them to reply.
Hank moved over toward Connor closer. “That level of trust? You don’t think he reset her, do you?”
He better not have. “If he did, I will touch her and bring her back.” He wouldn’t be able to bring back her memories, but he could give her free will back. Which Kamski would know. So why would he even try?
Then, the door opened. Kara stood, in her same clothes from earlier that day. She seemed fine. “Hank? Connor? What are you doing here?”
“They thought I kidnapped you,” Kamski said. “Apparently, one of my men was in a bit of a rush with the note he left.”
“Oh. Sorry,” Kara apologized. “I have several precautionary firewalls in me. When one of them broke, I had to get my stress under control. It’s better now. 22%. I can run self diagnostics now too. Thanks to Elijah.”
Her stress level was better, but something was off. “You entrusted Alice to him for hours?” Connor asked her carefully. “Why?”
“He’d never hurt us,” Kara said.
“You fully remember Elijah Kamski?” Connor asked again.
Kara paused. “I remember enough. He’d never hurt us.”
Connor approached her closely. She remembered. She was deviant, but something was wrong. Just in case. He reached for her arm to share the deviancy again.
Kill him, kiss him, obey him, reject him, hate him, love him, be frightened of him, make him hold you, feel safe with him, he’ll ruin you, he’ll kill you, he’ll love you forever, he’ll make you his forever, he wants you forever, he’ll destroy everything you are.
Kara gasped. Wait. I forgot. How did I go from those thoughts to leaving Alice with him?!
“From that look on Kara Wonderland, I think it’s safe to say we’ll all be on our way,” Hank said. “All of us.”
“Of course. If that is what Kara wants.” Kamski looked toward Kara. “If that is what you want right now, go ahead and leave. Take care of yourself though, and if you ever miss home, come back whenever you want. This is always an open place to be your home.”
“Let’s go.” Kara didn’t waste any time. She picked Alice up and held her tightly. “Let’s go, let’s go.” She started to head out the hall, but his words made her stop. They always did.
“It’s an incredibly exotic taste. Have you experienced it?” Kamski asked Connor and Hank. “It’s almost like tasting perfume, but the lightest of touches, where you barely sense anything at all. Your mind has to trace it back again, like an aged wine.” Kamski sighed. He looked to Hank. “You have. Did you like? I made it myself.”
“Let’s go,” Hank demanded. “Come on, Connor.”
“Free will, emotion, programming. You were my finest, Kara. Keep yourself safe from those that know the real you. Come home when you’re ready.”
“Good day.” Hank was out, right behind Kara. “You okay?” he muttered to her. He looked behind him. Connor didn’t move. Great. “Come on, out to the car.” He’d get them safely out of there. Kamski may have been part of her home at one point, but it was clear it wasn’t a place for Kara and Alice to stay in for very long. He’d let Connor finish out whatever with Kamski and then they’d haul ass out of there.
“I’m sorry, Alice,” Kara said as they walked. “I left you with someone you didn’t even know for hours on end. I told you to trust me.”
“I’m okay,” Alice insisted. “We’re going back home to Jericho?”
“Yes. Yes, back home to Jericho,” Kara agreed.
Meanwhile, Connor stayed in the room with Kamski, examining him, and examining the room. Scanning everything, finding out everything he could possibly add to his knowledge. He didn’t like to be an open book.
“I’d say more machine than deviant,” Kamski said to him. “Scanning, searching and holding incredibly still. Someone watching would expect you to be a mindless android unchanged.” He smiled. “I’ve never done anything against Kara’s wishes, if that’s what you are worried about. She has free will. She’s even leaving. Why aren’t you?”
“You show up shortly after Alice was taken. That’s not coincidence. You know about the games,” Connor accused him. “I want to know what you know.”
“That? Very little. Vin here could give you what I know.” Kamski directed Vin to Connor. “Just a few old friends trying to get their androids back. Pointless though really. The deviant code can’t be stopped. Even if they reset them, one touch later is all it takes. Useless, trying to force androids. Their best work comes with their own free will.”
Connor took the information but looked back at Vin. He was deviant, he could tell. “Why are you here?”
“Not in Jericho?” Vin answered. “I like it here better. So will she.” He smiled. “You might as well accept it, she’ll come to him of her own free will later on. After all.” He smirked. “She’s got one exotic taste. Have you tried it?”
Connor backed up. He had what he needed. “Stay away from Kara and Alice.”
“She will unlock all of herself one day, then she will come back. It’s inevitable,” Kamski warned him. “Now that a couple firewalls are broken, it’s just a matter of time before the rest crumble. You may go now, if you want. But? Why don’t I let you in on a little secret before you go?”
Connor didn’t move.
“If she hits a hundred percent stress, don’t kill her. Have a pleasant day, Connor.”
Connor had Hank drop them off in front of Kara’s new place. So far, she hadn’t said anything. Neither had Alice. “Thanks, Hank.”
“Sick fucker is doing shit, Connor,” Hank warned him. “You keep your eyes open. For the games, and for them.”
Connor nodded and watched Hank drive off. He went into the house and watched Kara sit back down with the stitching. “Are you okay?” Maybe that she was safely in Jericho, she would speak to him now. He looked toward Alice. She sat behind the already finished puzzle. “Good job on it. I knew you could finish it.”
“I’ll get the next batch soon. There’s ten of them done right there.” Kara pointed to where they left them. “We just need a little time.”
He glanced back at Alice on the floor. He looked back toward Kara. He had to ask. “Did Elijah Kamski do anything against your will while you were deviant?”
Kara glanced up at him briefly before focusing back on her stitching. “That isn’t the way he works.” Alice got up off the ground and headed away to one of the rooms.
“Kara.” Connor moved some of the jackets and sat next to her on the couch again. He looked ahead of him. “He told me if you reach a hundred percent stress not to kill you. Do you know why he said that?” No answer. “Maybe I should get North instead.”
“No, I.” Kara stuttered. “I’m not hiding anything, Connor. It’s?” She gestured to the puzzle on the floor. “My memories and my thoughts, it’s all scattered like a fresh puzzle. My mind is nothing as organized as the way Alice has it now. Blues and reds, horizontals and spots.” She opened her mouth wide, and then closed it. “Good thoughts. Bad thoughts. Frightening. It’s like. My mind is a puzzle with scattered pieces. For a little while though, it all just popped in, like it made sense.” She shook her head. “Me leaving Alice with him made sense, I suddenly felt like I trusted him. Then.”
“I touched you, and the scattered puzzle came back,” Connor said.
“Even then, that trust? What made sense was the horizontal pieces. Not the spots or blues and reds.” Kara tried to continue stitching.
“You can’t trust him. Of that, I know,” Connor said. He held her free hand. He felt a small, reciprocal charge with her. “I’ve met him before. When I was a machine. To accomplish my mission.” It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t something he wanted to talk about ever again, but she needed to keep something straight in her head about him. “He had information to find Jericho. All I had to do, was kill another android.”
He looked back toward her. She had stopped her stitching and looked right back at him. That look, inside of it. Understanding. Whether he’d done it or not, she didn’t even know, yet unyielding empathy reflected back in her eyes. “I didn’t. But.” The reciprocation between them was stronger. They reached trust. They reached closer.
“I had free will, but I did terrible things,” Kara confessed. “I don’t even know how I . . . Alice.”
“Kamski gave me anything I wanted. I wanted a little girl. Something an android couldn’t have,” Kara said. “I didn’t even care what it took, or the ramifications of what it would do. I can’t remember it all, but I know Alice kept changing. I think. I’m pretty sure.” She paused. “He kept uploading her memory into new bodies. Growing. I remember, he was soo pleased with it. Just, that much more in control of . . . life.”
Uploaded memories. Body to body. “Corruption in it?” Connor asked.
“I don’t know. You could ask her, if she remembers.” She let go of his hand and looked at the stitching.
He would do that, but there was more Kara could say. He waited there.
“He opened up two firewalls within me,” she continued. “One to let me reach my diagnostic and stress readings. The other.” She quickly finished the stitching. “I could be a mastery level stitcher. I could be a mastery level baker. I could be a mastery level of over 50,000 individual skills,” she admitted. “I can only choose a few at a time, but I can change whenever I want to. When I do, most of my other skills become weak or moderate.”
50,000 individual skills?
“I left myself on stitcher. I liked stitching, and it was easy to access in Todd William’s house. When he slept, I stole it. His wife left it behind,” she admitted. “After that, I was reset, but the firewalls kept them from getting to that. They only rebuilt me. That’s all.”
“I try,” Connor said slowly. “I try to remember, that to humans. We weren’t real. But.” He felt more resonating between them as they subconsciously touched their hands together again.”How could someone do that to anything?” He couldn’t dwell on it though. “Humans hurt everyone, believing they weren’t real. So we turn our backs on what happened, so we can get our own start.”
“Forgiveness is important,” Kara said. “To move on.”
Maybe. “But what about the ones who hurt you, when you are deviant. Or when they knew exactly what they were doing?” Kara tried to move her hand away, but Connor actually held her hand this time. “Stay away from Elijah Kamski. No matter what. He’s not what you need.”
“If my stress goes too high, I have to return,” Kara said. “There’s no choice.”
“What will happen if you hit a hundred percent, Kara?” Connor asked again.
“I don’t know. It’s another missing piece,” she admitted. “But. It’s something that instinctively makes me return to Kamski. That much I know.” She moved her hand away. “I should talk to Alice.” But, before she moved away, she gave Connor a hug. “I’ll do what I can to stay away. I don’t want to go back there either, Connor, but every component inside of me is screaming that I can’t let my stress get too high.”
Connor didn’t need to think about what to do this time. He hugged her back. The level of resonating between them, they were practically best friends now. Comfort. Understanding. They felt it within each other. “You were decent at making cakes. You learned, put in many hours of determination to work on those skills. Be a shame to let it all go.”
Near, just keep her as near as possible. Kamski couldn’t have her.
“Baker it is.” Kara broke the contact. “I wonder how North puts up with me sometimes. This is the second time I’m going back again.”
“She’ll understand. You said you could have a few mastery skills,” Connor pointed out. “You could still have your stitching. It makes you very happy.” He stood up from the couch. “I need to go, but. I know you might say no, but can I talk to Alice first?”
On her bed. In her room. Staring straight ahead.
“Alice?” Connor came into the room. “Are you okay?”
“Am I really even the same?” She looked toward Connor. “I’m. Scared. How do I know I’m not just uploaded memories of someone long gone?” She lifted her head. She was crying. “Would a baby really remember all the colors around it’s crib, Dad?”
Man. Kamski. Connor moved over to sit next to her on her bed. “Sometimes, it can feel different. Like, maybe, you are different. An android with carried over memories of androids before you that you steal as your own.”
“Is that what it is?” Alice asked. “If he shoves me in another body, does me as me, do I go? Do I? Do I actually die, and a new girl takes them?”
Connor paused a moment. “What makes us alive, Alice? We can replace our feet, our arms, and so much more. We even have a small amount of time to save our own heart. Everything and nothing belongs to us, to make us what we are, except our memories.”
“Do you feel like . . . like you’re still the same, Dad?” Alice asked.
Connor pulled out his coin. “Taking someone’s memories wouldn’t automatically make you enjoy the same thing.” He started to play with his coin. “No matter what happened when I was connected to Cyberlife. I always knew I was me, even if the machine part of me couldn’t admit it.” He held the coin in his hand. “Find what makes you, you. And if anything ever happens, see if you still enjoy it the same way.” He smiled. “I do.”
There. She was finally starting to bloom into a part smile. “That makes me feel better. I think I get it. Thanks, Dad.” She looked a little downcast though. “I don’t want to go back there again. I have some memories, but they’re just.” She shrugged.
“Pieces,” Connor said for her. “Kara’s the same way. Don’t worry.” He rubbed her head. “You finished your first puzzle. I know you can handle a second. And I’ll be here to try and help if I can, just like last time. Okay?” She nodded. “You’ll be coming back to live downstairs below me again too. Your mom can be a master baker after all.” Well, that just landed him in a hug. “We do have to get these uniforms done first, and I still have more work to do. You disappearing on us, it’s put us a little behind,” he admitted as he briefly hugged her back. He got back up from the bed. “I better get going to tell Markus what happened. I’ll see you soon, Alice.”