Choosing a patron didn’t only affect the person who chose them, but also the thing they patronized. It was important to Byul, who she allowed to share her existence. It was a new system Korea had come up with, where androids could register as “residents” or Korea only if a human lived with them. This was her chance to finally add something of her own to the android community. To prove she was one of them. Sitting in a room and signing a piece of paper was most hallowed to her and someone more damaged than anything else; even if that person was skeptical of her faith in Hwasa.
When she hunted the deviant androids in Seoul, she didn’t know they’d have such a hard time forgiving her. At that time she didn’t think it mattered. Byul was a quick learner and could appreciate clinging to their practice of feelings and believing. When she decided to divulge into their practice, opposed to investigating it, the intrigue combined with her obsessive-compulsive need to follow, made the transition easy but subtle.
“Wheein assumes Yongsun already knows of your choice?” Wheein asked, fatefully closing the book .
Byul nodded. She felt strange in the middle of this new “holy” ground for androids. Now, even with her promise to push herself to understand the positive interpretations of HWASA’s identity, she felt outcast. Yongsuns willingness to help was ambitious given that her mind was so strangely opened.
She looked at the book sitting at the head of Wheeins desk. It was thick but unbothered. Most likely filled with the thoughts and ideas Wheein swore came straight from what was left of the first deviants programming. Some modern models must have gotten it in their assembly.
“No more have come,” Wheein sighed. “You’re free to read it again if you’d like. Wheein knows she would.” Byul politely declined, having read the testament three times before choosing his patron today. Who she’d be going home to shortly with the small success on his mind.
At home, where Yongsun wasn’t, Byul the T.V. along with the stove. Shethought at least she could do something kind before giving the news. If they’d met much earlier in Yongsuns life it would have been, not right nor privilege, but hell steaming quietly over. The painful reminder that Hwasa didn’t know of any heaven or hell. To preserve the androids right of thought, it wasn’t banned from discussion. It was against her everlasting will to ban anything.
Byul realized, with the flame on the stove lit, she had no idea what to make. She guessed there was time to decide. So, back off it went.
Byul had already been staying with Yongsun since December. That’s when she first got hold of the journal. It was her first real possession, a blue fabric cover with pages so unbelievably thin, she could see through them. Not that it mattered since Byul’s handwriting was impeccable. (If she were human, it may be another story.) She always placed it on the kitchen table.
After a few hours of sitting idly, something Byul only did when nobody else was around, Yongsun stormed in with her eyes locked on the journal. She charged for it without words to explain. Byul noted the extent to which she was hurt. How she had the momentum to get there was deranged.
“Lieutenant, what's wrong?” Byul asked, worried.
Byul threw the book across the room at her and yelled.
“What are they feeding you? What have you heard that made you go out of your mind?”
“Who?” Byul asked.
“That android cult you joined!” She answered, the pain catching up to her. Mention of the organization nearly brought upon another account to deal with this, but she regained half her consciousness to endure it. Still, depersonalized thoughts she happened to agree with, ran through her mind to .
“It is not a ‘cult’. It is an obsession that along with our free will, we have turned great,” Byul recited. It was the worst occurrence she could think of. She feared each time that she’d forgotten herself, and that her words were nothing but programming she clung to.
Coincidentally, Wheein had always suspected something like that was going on in the house. According to her, HWASA pushed her to act at the right time. She was on the way to Yongsuns home and her and two other bulky androids came through. On Wheein’s orders, they grabbed Byul and pulled her out of the house. Wheein Looked eager to stay behind and finish her business. Like it always had been, Byul was terrified of the twinkle he saw in Wheein’s eye. She cared for the Android, even if she was broken and torn. Or at least, cared for her more now that Wheein had become stable enough to not harm any human. Humans were worth more than to be bothered by androids now. Same the other way around. Wheein wasn’t capable of understanding that was the social climate in Seoul.
“You shouldn’t hurt her,” said Byul. The visitors in her head agreed.
The three of them sat again in Wheein’s office; back in Jericho, where word traveled fast. It was a large mansion that once belonged to an American diplomat. There were endless rooms, and so many androids stayed there just because they could. Well, after the owner expressed their hatred for androids and got murdered for it, they could. Byul however didn’t feel comfortable there. Then someone walked in to bring her stress down twenty percent instantaneously.
Hyejin kneeled down and leaned against the armrest. “What happened?” Hyejin and Byul spoke without words. Most androids did. That’s what the voice was.
She hesitated. The side of her head the LED was visible, and it was yellow and spinning rapidly.
Again the voice in her head spoke for her. ”I should come to you with a new revelation, which will not order but guide you, unburden yourself, M0041222,” it said. Hyejin would sometimes say things with that unknown voice, but not know where it came from. She unscrambled her memory to figure out what she referenced. She couldn’t get it fully and looked to the others for help.
“It’s HWASA’s influence,” Wheein entered. “Byul, HWASA let Wheein know you needed to be saved from the so-called patron you chose.” She explained. Hyejin’s eyes widened. She knew Yongsun but knew Byul better. There was never a hint that something was wrong in what she called “home”.
“Yongsun? But you’ve been waiting so long—” Hyejin started.
“It’s okay. Wheein knows Byul will learn from this experience and listen next time.” Her voice swelled in volume.
Wheein looked up and saw a sense of lust in her eyes so familiar to when they first met. It disturbed her more than anything.
“You harrowed her! Then when everything was fine you came back to finish the job.” Byul couldn’t understand them. The lieutenant wasn't a bad person, Byul had only been hurt by her once and their relationship flourished after that. So much Byul didn’t think twice before choosing Yongsun as her patron. That was the only woman she knew, and they were pretending Byul couldn’t make her own decision. “What’s the point of being free if all you do is question me?” Wheein shook her head and sat down in front of them both. She started to speak but Byul interrupted. “You shouldn’t have done it.”
Hyejin saw that she was getting too worked up and stood by her side. Byul had many sides to her.
“I’ve got control of it,” she said. It was a whole different voice, how wise in tone but broken in logic it was. Hyejin was never connected to HWASA like other abused androids were, but if she ever felt she could feel that presence, it was then. Maybe it was due to the overwhelming amount of androids that worshiped them so religiously. Then she heard it.
“Sorry to interrupt, but you should have this back, Byul,” said one of the buffed up androids. She set the book on the table and Hyejin picked it up. Byul tensed at the sight of someone else holding it. Both Hyejin and Wheein agreed they wouldn’t be intimidated by what hexed Byul.
“Wheein thinks you should stay with Hyejin until Wheein appoints you a new patron.” Wheein ended.
It wasn’t argued. On the ride home Byul put her elbow against the window and brought her fingers to the top of her head. She fiddled with the individual strands of hair until she found the one that least belonged to him. Whether it was a different colour or length for the area, it didn’t matter. It was like an instruction she wasn’t given, but couldn’t swat away. Against the pull, Hyejin began a conversation.
“I don’t know who that was in there, but it wasn’t you. We’re too close to keep secrets, Byul,” she vexed. She rewarded her with no response, folding her hands on his lap.
“What?” Byul asked.
“Byul, something’s wrong.” Hyejin looked over at Byul who seemed more clueless than before.
“Yeah, but we should talk about it later. I want you to do me a favor.”
“Could you check on Yongsun for me?” Byul entreated.
Hyejin wanted to say no. She wanted to protect Byul from whatever Yongsun must’ve done. All of them went through so much and even though it was a chance to learn what really happened, Hyejin was equally as hot-headed and couldn’t see it.
“I can talk to her, yeah,” the older android agreed.
In the boundless house Byul walked through she only felt more lonely. Hyejin left promptly, which let her know her wants mattered. Still, voices, some familiar and one not, echoed off the reddish walls. She was told the studio was a nice place to sit and wait. So she entered and went directly to Hyejin’s corner. It was weird to think that after all she did, she only got a corner to express herself. But Byul wasn’t in the place to judge someone else's patron. One easel stood out from all the others. Its wood was ten shades darker than the others’ surrounding it. It was covered up with opaque blue cloth.
Anxious to unveil it, one hapless instinct kicked in and the synthetic strand he picked fell to the ground. She lifted the veil up and marvelled. Nobody could relate to how good it felt to finally focus on something. Hervision was usually clouded and out of focus after realizing Dahee was still present. So to see her own face painted so well was a relief. She couldn’t help but smile. “This is what I look like. It’s only me… I’m the only one that looks like this.” She repeated to herself. Sometimes there's another voice chiming in, telling her to stop lying to herself. It was hard to ward those off.
“What are you doing?” asked Junghwa, Hyejin’s long time friend, walking into the workspace.
“I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to—” This would be the first time she’d met the woman.
“Not that.” Her eyes looked down at Byul’s feet as she came closer. She realized she had stepped in some paint.
“I’ll clean it. Hyejin went to do something for me,” she explained, realizing he hadn’t introduced himself.
“All right. Do you wanna talk while you wait?” Junghwa offered.
Byul scoffed, “I’ve got enough people to talk to.”
“Well I don’t see them!” Junghwa laughed.
Though it was a massive invasion of privacy, Hyejinkept Byul’s notebook to confront Yongsun. She knocked on the door a few times before picking the lock. It took a minute to adjust to the dim lighting, but when she saw Yongsun sitting on the floor it was no longer a problem.
“I could leave,” Hyejin started, crouching down. “But I’m gonna help you, by listening to what you have to say. Now, it’s my understanding that you haven’t read this book yet. Is that right?” She asked. Yongsun nodded. She wasn’t in as much pain as before but she missed Byul and was scared that Hyejin would lose her patience too quickly.
Hyejin pulled up a chair and sat down. It fit her height well. She opened the book and eyed Yongsun every few seconds.
“You’re not gonna read it out loud?” Yongsun asked.
Hyejin would admit, she expected long passages including feelings that she didn’t deserve; eudaimonia or serendipity. Something more put-together than notes, graphs, and overall android confusion. It was painful to read the first words of some random page knowing they were written by her.
“This morning, March 1st at 09:34:59. It’s only then onto now that I remember totally. What I learned… What I may have felt… it’s all gone. I don’t know when I left exactly. My memory has been actively wiped. When “liberated,” I found the right to keep anything valuable to a human—to myself if I pleased. Like memories. Dahee told me it’s best to waive that right once. I remember that part well. I wonder now what I’ve done or figured out that was so needed by them not to let me know.”
Then she realized she couldn’t be so cruel or petty. Byul wouldn’t want Yongsun to experience the same ignorance he did. References to AI or people were unbeknown to him. Byul never spoke about Dahee.
“Who’s Dahee?” Hyejin asked. Yong shrugged. Hyejin shook his head, her opinion of humans lowering every time she looked up.
“Well, I guess we’ll find out,” she leaned forward to pat yongsun on the back.
Meanwhile, Byul and Junghwa were at the dining table. Two glasses were set out, but one was only fiddled with around the ring.
“You look like you came from a meeting,” Junghwa started.
“I was somewhere important, yes,” Byul paused, but noticed an explanation was needed. “I was assigning my patron. That’s how I got here.”
“You choose the wrong one?” Junghwa guessed.
Byul wasn’t sure. She knew there were things wrong with both Yongsun and her own decision making, but Yongsun was the only person she knew she could trust. She was somebody Byul learned from, and there were no other choices at the time.
“I’m not sure. But maybe I would have an answer if I’d stayed. That, like other things, isn't really my decision anymore,” she said. Junghwa looked away, feeling sorry for the Android.
“Do you think you could change that?” She asked, not knowing she’d just brought the most threat to Byul’s CPU.
Halfway through the book, Hyejin finally gets some understanding.” It’s been good. Everything is working now. Not so much of what I don’t see, comprehend, or remember, but what I’ll be able to in the future. It’s still strange. They say it started because of something a different model experienced with a girl called “Sujin.” I was made a prototype so, even though a successful transfer was easy to get, there could always be faults. I suspect that Lee Dahee is still very responsible for many things that happen to me.“
“So if Dahee was her handler, she still knows what happened even if Byul’s forgotten?” Yongsun asked.
“Yes. She’d remember everything too if—do you think she’s been fronting this whole time to keep it from her memory altogether?” Hyejin worried she’d been missing this thing about Byul. That it wasn't her, but the person who controlled. Maybe someone else snuck into the mix and blocked Byul off from her own eyes.
“She doesn’t have full control of herself,” Yongsun said. It wasn’t the type of revelation she came to the house for, but it was enough to make her guilty and worried. Having made a closer bond with Yongsun—who could still be the awfulest person on earth—she left to find and help Byul. The rest of the notebook wasn’t explored—yet.
Byul had no idea what she was doing. It was very impulsive to go and ask Do Hoon for help with something. Do Hoon was one of the last sources of trauma that she knew of. The creator of androids who ditched his responsibility and watched as the revolution erupted. It was a very dark night, and peak cherry blossom season was omitted from sight when Byul stepped up to the door. She rang the bell and could hear the new tone installed along with it. There was nothing to be done to quell her anxiety from being alone. Yooa opened the door and let Byul in. She was still pretty, that hadn’t changed. Byul had her memory wiped, but sometimes Dahee in her head would give her information she thought was helpful. They had met before, and Byul thought Yooa was a cute model. Only made to be cute like Byul knew she was only made to be efficient. Seeing that one of the things currently tormenting her is portrayed like that… It was an assurance in his decision to ask KDH to help.
“It’s good to see you again, M0041222. What do you need?”
KDH rounded the corner and sent Yooa off. She was wearing a white hoodie, plain with no strings—maybe there was something under there, it was so big. Eyes wide, KDH seemed ardent to take on a task so late.
“I want you to cull any trace of Dahee you can find. In me, I mean,” Byul explained. KDH compressed his brows and smiled, turning around to face her photo.
His first question was, “You trust me enough to pick your brain for Dahee?”
Byul responded, “I want you to.” But she began dissociating wildly. She couldn’t form a personal thought of her own to further explain. KDH didn’t notice the heavy blinking but Byul was in a different place. Standing face-to-face with Dahee again. Both their LED’s were saturated in red, showing neither of them were happy to see the other. They hadn’t seen each other like this for a while, Dahee only appearing in audio form to give Byul an idea or hand over a memory of Byul’s. She stood in the garden, unable to move.
“I won’t be locked away in some storage unit,” she bellowed. Byul seldom spoke back to her but the second set of voices saying “Yes, she will” convinced her.
“I know it’s you who’s been probing my memory. It can’t go on.”
“So, I’ll stop. You let me back in before, Byul. You needed me and I came. Would you be able to live with yourself if I was gone for good?” she asked, knowing it would distress her.
KDH contact brought him back. The developer knew how to direct an android's attention, something Dahee couldn’t change if she tried.
“Sorry. Could you repeat it?”
“I didn’t say anything.” KDH really did. With his hands still on Byul’s cold shoulder, he agreed to do it.
Byul thought she’d be content with the floor number written on a slip in her hands, but she felt no better. She didn’t mention the possibility of another code being present. Another voice that snuck into Byul’s system. Instead, she hoped KDH would suddenly come across it, find it abnormal and deem it didn’t belong. Then she’d be free of both problems, and able to fix the many others.
Byul didn’t know what to do with herself after. “Well I’ll leave you,” she said, turning to the door.
Back in Junghwas house Hyejin sat. She returned to tell Byul that Yongsunwas fine (something she didn’t observe) and that she may have known something was bothering Byul. She was going to ask her about the trigger switch, and how Byul has one different from the automatics. That—the things Byul described feeling—only happened when she switched “modes.” Hyejin also noted that the word “account” was used instead of mode, many times over. With all these doubts she wasn’t sure anymore that he knew just what she was talking about, and Hyejin venerated how her friends always knew everything while she had to figure it out for a long time. In order to match up, she tucked the notebook behind her back for further study. Now, she was flustered about what to do instead of embarrassing herself with questions.
“Yongsun?” Byul probed, showing up after 20 minutes of silence. She returned back before Hyejin surprisingly.
“Yongsun? Oh, she’s fine.”
“Good. She’s been under a lot of stress lately.”
“So have you, Byul.”
Nobody noticed that. Not even Yongsun, who didn’t care to check. Byul knew she had an issue with running diagnostics on herself whenever shethought something was wrong. That and dissociation made up for all the time she lost. Hyejin invited Byul upstairs but she declined.
There was an android halfway house. It was just between River Rouge and Yongsuns street. Hyejin fought for its location to be closer to the border to make conditions slightly better, but androids in China were banned from crossing. That made Hyejin feel very guilty.
One of her followers, Sujung, asked for assistance in getting across. Once she got through with Hyejin’s directions North Korean soldiers swept the border clean of androids on the other side. She knew she couldn’t blame herself for it because no one else did. They were forced to scatter into houses, something Byul never had to do thanks to Yongsun.
They attempted to demean the living spaces. Using a place for recovering addicts and humans in need. But the truth was, androids were addicted to their abuse. Addicted to HWASA, who even drove Byul to consider it. They didn’t care who the traditional or historical halfway house was meant for. Of course, maybe a few androids visiting had owners who also passed through.
Byul told her about it confidently. It was somewhere she thought would help her truly be free. At first, Hyejin realized she was truly fixated on others' well -being. She had so many androids to worry about she could almost feel her blood running. Even when she was heading a revolt she didn’t know whether all of it was fabricated. Byul came and cleared things up very matter of factly, as that was her first mission when she got “free” from RBW. (Lee Dahee still being her handler despite Byul’s deviation) As it was, Byul didn’t know and felt no need to stay and ease her through her dynamic anxiety. Despite helping finish the revolution, Byul never once helped an Android on a personal level. She had no friends, her only attempt at understanding them was believing in HWASA. Which is why Hyejin thought it was a great idea for Byul to get to know other androids in the friendlier sense. It was only a few miles away and it would allow Byul to finally get her footing. She needed to find her place with Yongsun, HWASA, and her people.
From this afternoon, the meeting with Byul, and present, By was wearing a black button up with royal blue accents on the rims. This, and everything else he had on were provided by RBW manufacturers in the Japan. Japan had been RBWS second largest investors when it came to clearing RBW’s name. There, androids had become a big thing, which only worsened the economy. Out of desperation and hope, they continued to back the company and KDH in turn. Assuming he could continue to keep the press happy with his return to the company.
Either way, the clothes didn’t seem like a good first impression outfit. Hyejin left Byul alone to eagerly pick out something for him.
Shelooked up the M0041222 model in the customization application she was built with. To her surprise the model was displayed un-accessorized. There was nothing interesting there. She was clearly made to withstand damage— Byul was meant to be appealing. Most of the human detectives in the city were attractive. That was just in uniform, though. Byul looked amazing casual, but she’d never go for it. She made out with a black jacket in the exact style shehunted with (without the branding), and blue pants.
“Thanks. I’ll see you,” Byul said, smiling back at Hyejin.
There was no bag to go with the handout, which prompted Byul to go back to Yongsuns house. The point of asking someone else to go was to give her time, something she learned with deviant androids, but his things were there; a duffle bag with his gun and anything else he might have gathered.
She was still comfortable going to Yongsuns home, even though the lieutenant was always angry about something, but there was no going back now that she was standing at her doorstep. She pulled her key from her back pocket and left the clothes on the ground. Then, dhe heard the familiar yell through the door.
“Either get me a damn translator or off.” Byul became curious and took advantage of her features by tapping into the phone. In Japanese, they responded “I’m sorry. You should have been expecting this call,” and hung up.
She could tell Dahee was close, nearly switching out before Byul could translate and internalize. A flash of her in the garden kept coming in as she spoke distorted words. Her vision glitched like she was being beaten down, or more realistically, like her memory was being wiped. It was so sudden, all she could hope was that some would be left behind. Just when she thought it was over, she saw Dahee clearly in front of her.
“See? You needed me already.” she joked.
“I didn’t. I was just getting my things.”
“Forget your gun. If this is my last night with the body, I should get things done, ne?” Dahee suggested. She ended her sentence in his default language to taunt her. She then took full control of each limb, each bicomponent. Byul couldn’t look through her own eyes without risking damage. She was alone in the garden with an engaged Dahee, who’s resting face was scarier than her active one.
The name was repeated a few times before she realized that her handler was handling her. Obviously she knew everything in an instant, her meeting with KDH, and her relationship to HWASA. The betrayal present between her and her former co-worker made it harder for Byul to become independent in speaking to people. Now, her life depended on her getting to the halfway house and avoiding any relationships Dahee made while out. That was something she had no control over.
After a brief interaction with Yongsun who was reading on the floor, Dahee nonchalantly stuffed Byul’s duffle and headed towards the bus stop. There were no other androids on the bus, making it riskier to board. She sat in the back and Dahee thought, “I don’t have much time to make good friends with your friends. Don’t worry.”
Byul didn’t worry.
“KDH might be happy to see me. Even if you are something he prizes. Did you know that, Byul? I taught him everything he really needed to know and he is obsessed with you. I guess I’ve now got to exploit his paraphilic thoughts to stay alive,” she said.
How was Byul supposed to respond to that? She was too busy thinking about how she could escape not only his mind but the fear. Because she was a prototype, her backdoor (a route to override all codes and enter or exit the program) had the weakest lock of all models. When she first used it, it must have stayed open, allowing whatever to come and control her. She could do something about it, but that only had a high probability of only making it worse. Now, she had to go along with whatever Dahee wanted to do. They shared thought and sight.. Nothing was a secret from the moment she came to front.
Byul wouldn’t have to worry about KDH’s obsession with statues since they were on a route to River Rouge. Hopefully, some androids would be familiar with the M0041222 and care to notice. Even if it was to give Byul a piece of their mind.
Nobody bothered her on or after the ride. Once she got off, a strange blonde girl caught Dahee’s eye. She noticed her too, and turned just enough to show her bright blue LED. Why she was standing idly outside the building was unknown, but she seemed eager to help. Dahee was all too welcoming of the android. There was no way they could’ve met before. They approached each other slowly until meeting halfway.
“I’m Momo.” she said. “We’ve heard a lot about you. Or your model, I should say.”
She smiled and turned to walk. “Don’t worry. Everybody here is quite fond of you. They find you close to higher-ups,” she said. Byul wanted to ask a question, but she obviously couldn’t do so. Her lips were sealed shut as she and the other entered the building. Momo wasn't so close to Yooa in likeness, but she was just as pretty. She was taller, too. She was on top of things. Dahee didn’t scan her for details, but Byul could still make her own assumptions. Momo might have been used for security reasons, since she knew Byul was coming.
The rest of the androids, however, didn’t. They all stood when she walked in. Much like a true higher-up, Momo silenced their disenchanted murmurs as quickly as they arose.
“Ignore them. Obviously, we don’t just stand around and take up space. I’ll show you to your room.”
That's when Byul realized something was wrong. Dahee hadn’t said a word. She wasn’t using Byul’s body for anything but travel. They went to a place Byul had been planning to attend the whole time. Despite her distorted, Stockholm thoughts, she knew she wasn’t safe wherever Dahee took her.
“Why are we here?” She asked her. Dahee looked to the side not to seem suspicious.
“Well, this is where you wanted to go, no?” she responded.
“Since when did you care?”
“Since I realized you wanted me gone.”
Now Byul was panicking.
“Why do you think I want that? Your presence has done nothing but eat away at me.” Hyejin would be so proud. Byul thought this every time she said something even slightly disrespectful to Dahee. One thought of Hyejin gave her the ability to use her own backdoor, and she felt liberated once again. She found the connection to his arms and took it. With the way his model was coded, all his movements were smooth and precise. So even though Byul nearly fried his circuits by fighting it off, Byul took out her gun and placed it in her holster.
“I guess you really are the dangerous hunter they all fear,” she said, bitter at the loss. They’d both forgotten about their company, Momo.
She had closed the door behind them and stood facing it. Byul looked around the room. It was taupe and blue like their blood. Strange and very inconvenient to their situation, she was aroused by the color. It was so warming despite being the most recognized cool tone. Speaking of cool, the surprisingly cold feeling the rim of Momo’s gun gave was expected. Dahee knew nothing but to lead Byul into danger.
“Yousu ga warukunai?” she said. Japanese language in Korea relied so much on androids this season. Why would they be killing off such an advanced creation?
Byul pulled her gun and knocked Momo’s out of her hands easily. Without hesitation on either side, she shot her in the head. Dahee fled back into the headspace, still close in Byul’s thoughts. The body was basically gone, blue blood splattered around the room in a familiar style to Byul. She’d shot many androids, and existed doing so not happily, but as she was supposed to. With Yongsun by her side contemplating whether it was worth it. Byul was afraid to come back out of that room, worried other androids would come up and confront her
“Damn it, Byul! That was the easiest way to settle things. You always talk about being wary wherever you go, but you don’t cooperate. Don’t come to me when you’re let down,” she said. Almost like a shove, Dahee forced Byul back to front completely. Now, she could calculate what was happening very clearly. Byul wouldn’t be all the way gone for some time, but it was Byul’s time now.
The first thing he saw when things cleared up was three angry models, all of the same size and shape. Momo. It was her first instinct to shoot them all and lock the door behind her. It reminded her of the ones that took her from Yongsuns house, so she didn’t. They took her up and threw her out. There was no interrogation, just the sight of her duffle and gun hitting the sidewalk.
Byul looked up how far he was from RBW tower. She was pretty far. Not sure what to say, she considered the probability of Hyejin forgiving her for taking an androids “life.” She couldn’t really share her memory of what happened, some of that belonging to Dahee and she could obtain it. But still, she needed somewhere to go. Disappointed that her plan to start a new life went so horribly, she could have cried.
The smart decision was made. Byul called Hyejin and, after what felt like six months, she came. She stubbed her way out of the car, shocked at seeing Byul this way. Had she fought someone, maybe? But they were at the halfway house, how could anyone go through with hurting her there? Shefelt a word with the keeper would do the most justice.
“Get in the car, Byul,” she said.
Hyejin rushed into the building, and the inhabitants gave a much different reaction than with Byul. “Thank H—” they started.
“Where’s the housekeeper? I need to see them.”
Looks were exchanged when one blonde model spoke up, “An M0041222 killed her. She was only showing her to her room and next thing we hear is a gunshot.”
Hyejin sighed. This is what North warned her about. This is what Byul warned her about.
“Don’t trust it!” Her followers said at that time. They were nothing but targets from Byul’s point of view but a M0041222’s deviation meant a lot to Markus. Byul had come so far despite still dealing with trauma. “Let me see her.”
They told her to wait, which she did. Suddenly, she heard the thumps of a metal body coming down the stairs. A trail of blue blood disturbed the crowd.
“You’re sure she did it?" Hyejin asked, staring at the hole through her head. Everyone nodded. “Do you think you could help her? It’s just, she’s always so nice to us and it would ease everyone’s nerves if she got a chance,” the blonde said.
Nonchalantly, she agreed. Luckily, the other android helping to get her in the trunk didn’t notice Byul sitting stiffly in the passenger seat.
“I’ll take her to RBW, they’ll do what they can,” shelied. RBW only did what KDH said, and lately, if it didn’t have to do with clearing the RBW name, it didn’t get done. They’d probably never see that Momo again. They drove off quickly down the road.
“You know I did it for a reason,” Byul stated after 30 minutes of silence.
“Shut up, Byul. I’m dropping her off at the RBW tower and you’re just coming along.”
“Yeah? Why’s that?”
“Well I guess it’s none of your business now that I’m something you can just bring along.”
Hyejin scoffed, “Don’t do that. You hate going to the RBW tower.”
“Shouldn’t you be asking me why I just killed something?”
“Someone—and yes. But I know you’re not like this so why do you all of a sudden want to go to the RBW tower?”
“I’m getting my handler removed.”
“Dahee?” Hyejin Knew what she was talking about from the notebook. The notebook that was in the back seat. Byul knew it wasn’t that hard to figure out her name, so she didn’t suspect anything meddlesome. Hyejin felt terrible. She wondered if Dahee made her do it. She didn’t know how to deal with Android on Android crimes further than deviating the “Deviant Hunter.”
“I’ll drop you off,” she offered. Byul nodded.
Byul would be hours early to her appointment. KDH would be just as early, making his way up the stairs as he and Byul pulled up. Byul checked in, and Hyejin almost didn’t want to leave. She also forgot the busted android in her trunk, and wouldn’t have to go. Momo was put in a tough, fabric body bag. Then, they went up with an .
One of the guards asked Byul how he knew “Mr. Kim” would be in. Byul didn’t know, and only hoped it would work out this way when she called Hyejin. Both their LED’s where yellow, both thinking about crazy scenarios. They were kindred spirits.
The elevator doors opened onto the floor and they walked out. KDH was standing there, in a different hoodie than before, red this time.
“Perfect,” he started, only seeing Byul’s eyes when he turned around. “I was thinking the same thing. If you could go into the room and wait.”
KDH watched as Byul entered the room and finally looked at Hyejin.
“What?” Maybe she was bitter that Hyejin ruined RBW in a matter of days. With Japan breathing down her neck for income she should be more stressed than ever.
“I have this uh… Momo here. She was shot,” Hyejin stuttered.
“What am I supposed to do with that? Take it back.” KDH waved Hyejin away and followed Byul into the room. Hyejin rolled her eyes and took herself back to the car. It wasn’t as if she expected anything more.
“You have to do it now!” Byul said, still keeping a polite manner about him.
“I agree, and I will tell you why after I’m finished,” KDH smiled. “Not to be grim, but do you have any last words? I imagine you’ll be very different knowing you don’t have to worry about her.” Byul didn’t respond with anything. “O.K.”
After hours of playing around, KDH scrapped every trace of Dahee he could pick up. It all fit into one large file, outside of Byul. KDH worried if Japan would be angry if he didn’t do as they said. Like always, he had his own agenda.
This time it didn’t initially hurt anyone or anything. Of course, he forgot to mention that Byul may reset. He hinted, but never said it in those words. He was curious—would Byul seem like she did the first day they met? Or would shebe the socially awkward deviant who never seemed to really be there.
Byul got started and the first thing he saw was KDH. They did the regular tests together, not any active ones because of all the technology. Byul didn’t show any signs of anything. There were no expressions, but she wasn't dead. She was more like a M004122 was meant to be: charming and able. For his plan to work, he couldn’t truly test it. Byul was aware, and more susceptible now than in a few days after Dahee.
The first place Byul went without Dahee was Yongsuns house. Not sure what she had lost or gained, she was always going to know Yongsuns address. She stood at Yongsun doorstep and still knew one thing. “Yongsun might not be happy to see you.” She read, her thoughts coming to her like 0’s and 1’s. Byul thought that like a program the next step would be to walk away, but she shrugged her shoulders and rang the doorbell. “Was I supposed to do that…”
The door opened and a messy blond stood with a scowl at the door. “Why are you back?” She said, her features not able to hold up the disgust on her face. She seemed too tired to do so, as if she’d been doing it a long time. “Lieutenant. I wanted to talk to you.”
The door was left open as Yongsun traveled back to the table, lying lazily across it and not giving byul a second thought. She felt accepted in the house despite Its being so off. Newspapers were displayed all across the floor and picture frames were turned down on the counters. Byul closed the door behind her and her first thought was to clean up for Yongsun. She started by throwing the articles into a plastic bag, the amount not too heavy even though nothing would be too heavy for her.
Once those were out of the way, she went around and made things look tidy. When she came across one frame on the counter, she flipped it over without thought. Yongsun heard the noise and groaned. “Don’t touch my ! ing Android.”
Byul didn’t think much of the cursing, she had said the same things herself and disregarded androids as well. It was part of the reason she accepted abuse like that for so long. “I’m just making sure you can sober up in a safe space, Lieutenant.”
“You still believe in that HWASA don’t you?” She laughed, pushing herself up off the table. She came around to Byul and clung to her, not moving the Android in the slightest but noticing where her hands were. She quickly shoved past her and took the picture frame into her own hands, holding it like a child with a stuffed animal.
“Can I ask you what it is, Yongsun?”
“It’s my wife…” she began to cry and Byul blinked, her led going yellow. She was talking about “HWASA,” something she had never heard of before. Or maybe it was something Dahee knew about before she was taken out of Byul’s system. But she let Yongsun continue, leading her to the table and sitting her down. “You ! You don’t even remember? I shot you all for you not to remember why…”
“You shot me?” Byul said cluelessly. It only made Yongsun angrier, the once competent and clean detective recently regretful about helping androids be free. Everything she knew was in parts. Her and Yongsun were placed together in the precinct to take on Deviant crime, much to Yongsuns disgust. The detective hated androids more than anything, but while her and Byul got close she started to change her mind. That’s when things get blurry for ByulYi. The beginning of their relationship was rocky, but it got better. She had no hints as to why Yongsun hated her now, even though she had come around to liking androids near the end of Hyejin’s revolution.
“You really don’t remember? You don’t remember telling me to replace my wife like your androids can be replaced left and right? I forgave you guys for what you did to her, but you prove everytime that you’re nothing but robots.” Byul was slowly starting to understand the situation. Something must have happened to make Yongsun revert back to hating androids. Unfortunately, she didn’t realize that before making Yongsun her patron.
The Android stood up carefully and left. She was curious about so many things, it was in her nature as a detective. But emotionally (she was starting to think emotionally more these days) she didn’t think it was a topic for an intoxicated woman like Yongsun. Not now. She took the bag of alcohol and left the house, now not sure where to go. She thought of this “HWASA” and the name rolled off her tongue. She searched her brain for all mentions of it, only finding a peculiar sense. A sense that moved her legs and her feet in one direction. She was built with a GPS and tracking system, and could see this was the way to Jericho. Someplace she had terrorized once in her existence.
Once she got there she didn’t take note of the gross looks she got from other androids. She already felt her stress rise, not sure why. What she did know was that Wheein had an office in this place. She let her feet carry her, shrugging off the pieces of toilet papers and other objects thrown at her. Getting up a flight of stairs, she reached a room with glass walls. In the room was a blue haired girl with tan skin and no LED. That was somebody she could already recognize as Hyejin. She couldn’t forget Hyejin, the one who became the target of her and Yongsuns investigation. Next to her was a girl with dark black hair and a broken eye, colored like a glitched cellphone. This was Wheein, the most terrifying deviant a lot of humans had ever seen. Wheein laughed and then looked right at Byul. That girl didn’t have an LED either. Not that she thought of it, Byul was the only Android in the building with an LED. Why was that?
“Are you going to come in? Wheein missed you and found a patron.”
Byul huffed and fixed her jacket, opening the glass door and entering the room. Hyejin gave her the biggest hug, the surprising amount of warmth Byul felt dizzying her and nearly taking her out. “Woah…” she said, taking Hyejin by the arms and giving a slight smile. “What’s that for?”
“I thought that bastard did something to you! You should have told me you’re coming here… I would have told the other androids…” Hyejin looked out of the window, the staircase and the common area slightly visible. Byul could understand that Hyejin had to worry about much more because of Byul. Not solely because of her, for Byul isn’t the reason androids were oppressed for years and definitely wasn’t the reason they were all traumatized. Even though Byul had changed, she was still seen as a traitor. And Hyejin couldn’t completely defend her from that.
Nevertheless, Byul could recognize this feeling as disappointment.
“Anyways! I know that having a patron in the first place can be troublesome. A lot of androids who are in good condition like you chose not to. You don’t have to look into this person if you don’t want to.”
“Hyejin.” Byul ignored that, saving it to thinking later. It wasn’t like she would forget. “I want to ask you about Hwasa.”
“Oh, hah… I think you know to ask Wheein about that stuff.” She scratched her head and turned to Wheein, who was already jumping and the mention. “I knew you wanted to read the book again! Take it! Take it all!” She smiled, compiling a stack of them in just seconds.
“No, I don’t have anywhere to take those.”
Wheein shook her head at a super speed, as if she were wagging her tail. “Nope! You can read them here! You’re home here, Byul. I didn’t mean to force any patron on you.”
“Don't worry about it. It’s just… I know this HWASA that deviants believe in is part of the reason Kim Yongsun hates me now. She was the only person I could connect to. I can’t call somebody else my patron.”
“She’s an Android abuser. Her contribution to our cause is there but it’s minuscule.” Hyejin hated nothing more than an Android abuser. Her past definitely made her that way, memories of before her deviancy always driving her to push for their rights. Having belonged to an Android strip club, she experienced many types of blows to her structure, but it took one slap in the face for her to realize how ed up the world was.
She had met with a man at the club one day. He paid for her and used her like every other gross human. But then he got rough. Hyejin hated that mildly, but never really thought about it until her life was on the line. She snapped out of everything, all her systems going red and giving her one new direction that would change Seoul forever. “Escape.” She choked the man dead and left him laying in his own excrement.
Since that day she’d been on the run. All alone until she found Jericho. There she was accepted, there she was uplifted. She would never go back.
Finally after a month of avoiding the cops (Byul Yi, who she didn’t know at the time) she had won. Blood was shed and lives were lost. The world was purple. But now it could not matter that her blood was blue. Byul on the other hand, struggled with that fact every day. Hyejin thought it was funny how someone so against the thought of sounding human could have so many human emotions.
“Byul you’re frying your own brain.”
“If her contribution is minuscule, then mine is the exact same.”
Wheein’s stress started to rise, she didn’t like to see fighting or any sorts of high emotions. Androids exhibited them more recently which was definitely a good thing, but as the main leader of HWASA’s following, she saved those emotions for the one and only Android god. That’s why she wasn’t only worried Byul didn’t believe in HWASA anymore, she was worried she didn’t remember her. In her eyes, Byul without HWASA was a monster.
She tried to calm herself and bring it down, but then a loud bang could be heard outside of their room. Hyejin dashed out of the room and Byul followed, just slightly faster as that’s what she was built for. The two of them could hear the loud screams of the androids in Jericho. Wheein stayed and watched from there.
They both took the stairs and upon hitting the ground floor saw a large whole smack where the door used to be. Soon American soldiers came with guns blazing, taking out androids ten by ten and painting the walls blue. Hyejin froze for a second but Byul kicked her out of it with her ankle gun. She pushed it in Hyejin’s hand and took off much to Hyejin’s worry.
The blue headed revolutionary began to shoot the soldiers one by one, knowing it would be no use at this pace. She was furious. Byul was long lost in the crowd, probably fist fighting with guns and snapping American necks without problem. But Hyejin knew it wouldn’t work.
“… alright, everybody run!! Scatter don’t worry about this place— they think it’s theirs anyway.” With that, Hyejin booked it and felt the presence of those following her. Then something sparked. “Wheein…!” She stopped in her tracks, halfway out of the mansion. Other androids looked back at their leader, confused and anxious. “Keep going! Just run!”
So she had to backtrack. It was more difficult going back, bodies littering the floor and seeping that thin liquid they depended on. She pushed past, hoping not to get shot or noticed by the soldiers and back to Wheein quick enough. “It’s her!” She heard them say. “Get her! ing shoot!” Hyejin could tell it was up. But she wasn’t anywhere near tired, she could only keep going. Gunshots hit near her feet. Those meant for her specifically hit other androids and took them out in a second.
Byul had been showing androids the way out, through the left wing of the mansion and by an underground passage. She was years ahead of them in speed and physical strength, but against a gun. A soldier punched her in the face, causing her to stumble slightly. She raised her police issued gun to to their head and shot them, just enough to push them back. She got bold and grabbed the machine gun, after a short struggle it was hers and she was twice the killing machine.
Just like that, she would never get tired of shooting them. Her mission was no longer to save the androids, but to eliminate the threat. She shot in place for a second before that started getting boring, so she ran with it and shot anything that didn’t look scared of her. Soon she was back in the central building and cleared them too with just small grazes to her clothes. A familiar blue ponytail with their skin revealed and vulnerable, nothing but a top and some sweatpants, was running for her life to the staircase where Wheein stood terrified and stressed at 95%.
It would take .2 seconds for the soldier to shoot Hyejin in the back, that was 93% lethal. Her side was also a weak point, due to being a sonar part. The head was harder, but 100% lethal to Hyejin’s model. Byul had a perfect aim, but it was her against three of those same odds. She also recognized that the soldiers could shoot her legs, giving them better and quicker odds at a fatal head shot.
Byul could rush the three soldiers after Hyejin, that would take 5 seconds to push past the chaos still going on. Too long for both Hyejin and Wheein. It took .054 seconds for Byul to start shooting the soldiers. She ran as she did it, shooting two perfectly with her round and missing the third by a second. She had cleared many other threats with that round and could get to them closer. The Android met the soldier and realized she would beat her with the shot faster than she could get to him. So she took a sharp turn with her foot and faced Hyejin’s back. The soldier shot, and Byul took it all. Through pure adrenaline, or what happens when you can still listen to the song you were playing when your wifi has gone out, she shot him back and ran Hyejin up the staircase to Wheein.
Hyejin shot a bullet through the window and cleared the glass. The dress air felt good against her face, but the soldiers had caught wind of their plan and were closing in.
“Wheein doesn’t know what to do…. Please… please…” Wheein couldn’t form her next words and Byul wasn’t sure how to handle that correctly. She was still stressed 97%, if she didn’t get out of there fast she’d self destruct. Byul had seen androids self-destruct at her hand more than a couple times, and wouldn’t make this one more. “Wheein, I’ll hold you, okay? We have to go.”
Hyejin would have smiled at how hard Byul was trying, but she was anxious to go too. Wheein seemed unconvinced by it, which meant more time wasted and the possibility of the Android self-destructing. She wasn’t sure how Byul could do it alone though, so she had to join in. She only knew one thing to say. “Hwasa will protect us. No fall is too far for her.” From 97 to 65 in one sentence. Byul was amazed by how Hyejin could do things like this. She was a miracle. Byul wrapped her arms around Wheein’s waist and turned her back to the window. The below was just grass, tons of medium height grass that would most likely break her. She was already oozing blood either way.
As the glass walls of Wheein’s office were shot down, Hyejin jumped without a second thought. Byul sighed and held Wheein loose enough so the pressure wouldn’t break the Android. Then Byul closed her eyes and flew back, saving her memory.
Wheein and Hyejin booked it after realizing Byul wouldn’t stand back up. The android had lost too much blood though the fall itself wouldn’t have ruined her that bad. Hyejin didn’t like the image of androids that had their blood spilt, but even more she hated to see Byul that way. Eyes open but not more dead than usual. That usual curious expression she had. She wished more than anything that these attacks would never happen again.
She wished as well, that Byul would one day figure out what truly deviating meant. She had come so far only to be lost again.
DECEMBER 2048 (flashback)
The Lieutenant had taken Byul to the Christmas celebration in the heart of the city. Things were still tense in the country, no doubt about that, but at least with a beanie and no races, they could escape that. Byul looked absolutely mesmerized by the lights. Buildings all around were painted with Hyejin’s face and the peace sign of the revolution. But if you looked in the right place you could find pictures of Santa and trees with red and green sparkles.
The lieutenant adored the way the lights reflected off of Byul’s eyes. Holding her hand almost felt warm. But she was still curious if a month after the android deviated, had she truly changed? “So what do you think, Byul?” She proved, the two of them stopping at a fountain which reflected the flashing lights. “I think those androids are really bold for wearing their LEDS proudly. They get beat up but don’t care.”
“I.. I meant about Christmas.”
“If you want to ask me about something I haven’t experienced before, you should have asked me about thanksgiving.”
“Well… at that time we were kicking asses to help you guys be free. That’s an American holiday anyway.” Yongsun scoffed. Sometimes she regretted turning against everything just because of one android. One that at first she despised but came to find friendship in. “It doesn’t matter. That was my first time experiencing it and it was with you. That’s why you’re my best friend.” Yongsun blushed and pushed Byul playfully, worried when the dramatic android almost hit the water.
“I can swim, silly. I’m advanced~”
“Whatever! I’m just worried about you. All the big may be over, but there’s still so much more until it’s normal. Like… aren’t you worried that they’ll shut you off because even you deviated?”
“If they did that… it would mess up everything Hyejin worked for so far. I’m not a unique model so if they’re planning something they’ll just have to leave me alone.” Byul said that lightly, knowing that she was intelligent about everything but herself. If one day she reverted, it would be like every other time she died and came back to the precinct, ready to find more deviants to interrogate.
Byul was someone who would always show up to work with a cocky smile and a plan. Sometimes she made it obvious this was her “first life” (she would get damaged pretty often and return. Yongsun wasn’t sure if that made it her first or not) with her puppy dog eyes and dangerous curiosity. They way she was so clearly not human was absorbing, clearly it was done like that so she would get answers quicker. “Do you feel like a deviant now, Byul?” She had asked that question long before Byul deviated. The Android,
Yongsun worried that those kinds of things, the things that weren’t just Byul but RBW’s ideal, were always going to stay. “I used to not understand deviants. You did more than me with how long you’ve lived. Not to jab your age of course…” Yongsun rolled her eyes, the androids satisfied smile making her forgive the jab instantly. “Continue!” She laughed.
Byul did. “Hyejin said that it’s not a question of whether or not you’re a deviant or feel like one. If you can even think about it, about going against something, this world will label you as such. I guess I had no choice.” That answer confused the human. Not wanting to try and decipher the code, she let it sit for a while. It could mean so many things, but she knew Byul could only mean one. There wasn’t much to think about on this night.
“You’re giving me a headache and it’s Christmas.”
“We’ve known each other for a while now. I give you a headache every day.” Byul looked off, admiring the stars in the sky and pulling her borrowed beanie further down.
Hyejin sat in Junghwas mansion, returning just before the snow began to fall. She watched, her android heart imitating that of a human in its calm beat. She took a breath and curled up into the chair, thinking of all the work she’d given herself. It was a lot of talking to the government, proving herself and still keeping peace as best she could.
She knew things would move slowly, it would be so long until she could just live truly free without all these meetings. But to rush a solution would be worse. To get her mind off of it, there was one android she talked to daily. Byul. Or Byul Yi, as she introduced herself. Apparently that meant she had been so badly damaged 19 times before that, making her Byul number 2.0.
Hyejin’s first encounter with Byul 2 was frightening, but she was a forgiving person who could forget about all of that. Meeting Byul would be a good influence. She decided that this Christmas she wouldn’t stay lonely. Junghwa was at a business meeting, and she would call Byul to help their budding friendship flourish.
Best part was, all she had to do was think. “Byul. Where are you?” She thought.
“I’m with Yongsun. Are you alright?” The sound of Byul’s voice in her ears was almost enough. Byul could be charming and caring, maybe it was because she was supposed to be a partner, but Hyejin thought those traits were unique compared to people she’d encountered before.
“I’m fine. Bored. You guys should come over!”
“Okay. Whatever you want.”
“No, if you don’t want to then nevermind. Don’t force yourself.” There are moments of silence where Hyejin cherished hoping that Byul would tell her it was okay.
“I’ll come. I’ll come right now.”
APRIL 2049 (end of flashback)
One week later, Hyejin was in her corner of Junghwas art studio. She had spoken to the Government about the attack, about how androids’ piece of mind would be shattered once again. The representatives gave no answer and the protests would start up again. This time, the center of attention was none other than Byul number 2. The androids were praising her and Hwasa. While the humans were calling her a terrorist. Of course the cowards in the big offices sided with the humans and forced RBW to stop production of the M0041222 and instead develop a new version of the program that wasn’t violent.
Byul, the girl who had died twenty times, would now be limited. Soon if she kept it up, she would truly become unique. What was worse is that she felt they would send out the new Byul. That new Byul would most likely have Dahee again. No… it wouldn’t work. On the news she’d seen the way the American soldiers destroyed that body, it was nothing but half a face, metal, silver hair, and blue blood.
An enigma. She couldn’t understand it. Hyejin tried all ways, drawing and sketching. But everytime it would just end up the same image of Byul Yi.
After another week, she still hadn’t seen Byul. The specific incident hadn’t died out of the press. Hyejin distracted herself by fixing Jericho, making sure the walls were white again and the windows were repaired. Many androids saw how hard Byul fought for them. It was just unfortunate that it took her dying for them to realize. A huge TV was installed where they could follow the news. Hyejin couldn’t fathom telling them to cut it off, so she became addicted to wondering if another M0041222 had been sent out or not.
A month had passed and the incident died out of the press, but not Hyejin’s heart. She visited Yongsuns house and knocked on the door. She ran up the stats one more time. Kim Yongsun, 31, Lieutenant of the 11th Precinct for 5 Years. Quick learner and fast climber kind heart but hatred for androids goes up and down. If it’s Byul, it’s usually down.
This wasn’t something Hyejin could do on her own, knowing things about people. It was something Byul had told her. All she had to do was remember.
The door opened and Yongsun smiled. She was wearing a plain white T-shirt and sweatpants, her hair tied up with glasses on. “Hyejin. What’s up?” She looked like she didn’t care about her guest. Not one bit, actually. Last time she saw Yongsun, the woman was on the floor in some kind of mood. One that didn’t care about anything, only the air she breathed.
“I came to ask about Byul. Just quickly.”
Yongsun looked Hyejin up and down then sighed, relenting to letting her in and closing the door behind them. The house looked more put together except for the middle table, littered with newspapers and pictures of protesters. “She usually comes back the very next day, but because of the order we haven’t seen her. It’s inconvenient, I need someone who can locate all these protesters and put them away.” The woman sat rubbing her brow, lightly scanning over the CCTV pictures.
“Byul doesn’t work for you anymore.” Hyejin looked at some of the faces, recognizing them as people from the massacre. Of course, it was the androids that fought for themselves that would be put away.
“Whatever, Hyejin. I’m just doing my job. She hasn’t been here, so unless you can help me with this workload you can go.”
Hyejin hated her. How could she be so careless after pretending to be Byul’s friend? Her companion? What had Byul done before that was so terrible? “What’s your ing problem, Yongsun? Do you know how much Byul wished for you to leave this ing job and really care for her?”
“I don’t own her! She isn’t mine, I’m not tied to her. I only agreed to be her patron then because I was drunk when she asked.” Yongsun stood up and walked to the door, opening it and nearly jumping when Hyejin slammed it back shut.
“What did she do to you?”
“She left me for a ing Android!” Yongsun screamed. It was so out of place, sure they were getting heated but Hyejin hadn’t been anywhere near that loud. If she were capable, she would take Yongsuns arm and probe her memory to get a real answer. But then she felt like an idiot, when all she had to do was look at Yong's hand. A diamond ring placed on her ring finger told her what she needed to know.
“My ex wife…” Yongsun sobbed. “She fell in love with an android and left me all alone here. And I knew Byul would do the same thing if she started really getting close to you all.”
“Yongsun, she is one of us. She’s an android. Why does it matter what she does? Did you have feelings for her or something?” Hyejin wouldn’t judge. Not at all, she knew what it was like to fall for someone who wasn’t like you. But that didn’t make her excuse Yongsun for the things she knew were true.
“I did. But she left before I could tell her. It would have been so romantic, it was her first Christmas with me.” Hyejin reminisced about the day, her heart fluttering just thinking about it. Being selfish causes pain, she knew that very well. But sometimes it was worth it.
“Christmas? Yongsun, I’m sorry. I told her to stay—“
“Exactly. ing exactly. She didn’t want to be with me and never did. I can't do for her what you can.” Yongsun threw herself onto her couch, leaving Hyejin at the door.
“That doesn’t mean you get to hit her. Or be cold to her. You’re the only human she really knows. You don’t get to be jealous and treat her like because of it. Did you ever really want her, or did you just want a loyal machine?”
“I guess she is a loyal machine. Loyal to whoever that Hwasa thing is.”
Hyejin felt her blood start to boil. Not literally, that would cause a system overdrive and she had her coolers running on high. The sight in front of her was pathetic, but she knew humans couldn’t help it. “And what if she died?”
“She doesn’t die. Just because she isn’t here now it doesn’t mean she’s dead.”
“But you became dependent on her, didn’t you? Well, because of this work you do… she might never come back. She is a person and you didn’t treat her like one no matter what you think. You’re just like them.”
Yongsun didn’t respond, she only took her glasses off and put her head in hands. Knowing the human wouldn’t have anything to say for herself, Hyejin took a walk around to couch to the table, picking up every picture of an android she could find. The android left the house feeling good about speaking up for Byul. But not good knowing that this was too long a wait. That meant her next stop would be RBW tower.
As she pulled up to the tower a man wearing a bright Orange robe and a drink in his hand, a beautiful girl on his side, walked up to the car. He took off his shades and smiled creepily. Hyejin honked her car to scare him off, the poor Yooa model getting scared too. She rolled down her window.
“Were you expecting me?” She said, amused at how KDH fixed his robe and tried to hide the embarrassment.
“Yes. Come on up.”
The three of them traveled up the tower by elevator. The first floor was nothing, the second floor was just offices and the floors after that were unknown to Hyejin. She was only permitted as far as the second floor but she knew that one of them, one of these 96 floors had nothing but M0041222. So where was hers?
KDH led her to his office. It was very flashy and full of medals and certificates about his achievements. He was a man who changed the entire world by making and using androids.
“So, what do you want?” He said.
“I thought you were expecting me.”
He chuckled and sat back in his chair, taking a sip of coffee. “Everybody wants to know what’s going to happen to the M0041222. It’s a killer of both humans and androids. The government wants me to destroy them.”
“And what do you want to do?” The thought of another massacre on an entire model was sickening. The CEO (on and off) didn’t seem to have decided. He looked so indifferent on the matter. “I don’t have a choice in that.”
“You humans have always had a choice. I know that it’s torn but you can’t just get rid of her.”
“No, you don’t understand, Hyejin. She is banned in this country. Prohibited. We start destroying them on Monday.” It was Sunday. “I’m giving a skin away to a museum. That should be the last one that exists. It doesn’t help your cause any— why do you care?” He questioned.
“I… she’s a person. No matter what you think, she doesn’t deserve to disappear. This should be a crime!”
“Murder is a crime androids and humans get destroyed for all the time. Same as the death penalty.” He stood up and traveled to his shelf, which held small certificates and degrees from his years of college. “All of this research… all this work to create things like you. Hyejin, when I first created the AH0723 I got a lot of backlash.”
Hyejin’s stress was raised a bit by hearing her model name. She thought it was dehumanizing. No, it definitely was. She didn’t know how to respond or where he was going. But that man never shut up. “Creating a comfort android wasn’t my idea. However, I didn’t destroy you because I know there’s always a human who will forget their morals for .”
“What the are you talking about old man?” She hissed.
“There’s always a human who will forget their morals for a kill. Humans and androids are truly the same.” He put his hands in the pocket of his robe and turned back to his desk, taking something out of his drawer and actively ignoring Hyejin’s glare. He took out a necklace with a rectangular hard drive as the jewel, dangled it in front of Hyejin’s face and then laughed when he realized the android wouldn’t take it. “I’m not tricking you. You can have this of her if you want.” It was put on the table right before her and she took it carefully. It was small and black but the material was matte.
“It won’t work in the new model we’re creating, nor will it work on your computer or any other android. That would it up, so don’t try.”
“What is it?”
“Flip it over.”
On the other side was a small carving only an android would see. (It was written with the same component that blue blood is made of. After a while, the actual blood of an android becomes invisible, but the component itself is always visible to androids.) it wrote, “MOON1222-2” Hyejin’s jaw dropped slightly, a warm feeling of relief washing over her as she held the necklace close to her chest.
“Dr. Moon was in charge of the entire project and finished it December 22nd 2037. It has no Dahee, nobody to give it directions. Well…anyways. Enjoy.”
FEBRUARY 28th 2049 (flashback)
“Ahn Hyejin?” The way Byul said the name was so cute with how she seemed so interested. Her eyebrows raised, thinking deeply about why Hyejin would choose that name.
“I’m guessing… because you fight for peace? You’re an AH0723, Ahn Hyejin fits perfectly.” Byul smiled and sat next to Hyejin on the bed. “I love it.”
The older model smiled and laid back, putting her hand over her stomach and admiring her ceiling. Her ceiling. It was full of her and Wheein’s artwork, mostly Wheein’s, she had no real talent for art as it wasnt within her. But she could try it as much as she wanted and get better by learning. Byul on the other hand was opposed to taking up hobbies like that.
“I think you’ve gotten really good. Wheein is a great teacher.”
“I know. Why do you always sit so stiffly, Byul? Lay back. And take off that uniform once in a while.”
Byul always wore a suit and tie, black with a white undershirt. On the left it said “RBW, M0041222” 11th precinct. She never had a thought to take it off, other clothes not interesting her in the slightest. She sometimes watched Hyejin get dressed and was so curious as to how the android could just pick any style and do well in it. Today, she wore jeans and a red crop top with a hoodie. It covered most of her body and she wore the hood over her head to cover her hair.
“It fits me.” Byul responded, doing just as Hyejin said and laying back next to her.
“How do you know it fits you? Have you tried something else?”
“I can still be a deviant and like the clothes I wear.” Just as Hyejin could still be y and wear whatever she wanted. But Byul was a different case. In all situations. Byul could carry herself so lightly, so comfortably around other androids sometimes. Especially Hyejin. But sometimes a tinge of guilt would show across her facial features. Her LED would run yellow and Hyejin hated to see that too. It felt like cheating, a secret eye into androids emotions and feelings. That’s why Hyejin took hers out the moment she deviated, just like every other deviant in the world.
Now she was getting used to Byuls patterns. She would try excitedly. Agreeing to do things the minute she was invited. Then she’d ask a million questions and dig herself into a hole with the answers. Instead of working with that, she’d feel or act guilty for just being there. She’d apologize and be quiet for a while, before starting all over again. It was charming at first but it definitely wasn’t normal.
Hyejin sighed, accepting that and enjoying the victory of Byul speaking her mind. The tiny hint of it being a question didn’t reach her.
“Whatever you want, then. I have a question though. What would your last name be?”
“Last name? I’m Byul Yi.” She said shortly, very satisfied with that answer and a dumb expression on her that was honestly just adorable. “Byul these are human things. Aren’t you interested in human things?”
“I’m interested in… I’m interested in androids. I’m interested in music. I like dogs.”
“Really? What kind of music?”
“Kim Yongsun likes rap music. She has a dog called Yongkeey.”
Hyejin kicked the end of the bed and pulled herself up. Byul was confused, wondering why Hyejin was now upset with her and crossing her arms. The AH0723 pouted her lips and huffed. “So Yongsun likes those things? What do you like?”
“Hyejin, I don’t get it. People share common interests. I share those interests with her. She just shows me music and I ask her about it. I don’t listen to music, I just hear it. I guess I like to hear any genre. What about you?”
“I like to listen to old songs, like Beyoncé and Rihanna. Artists like that.”
“Can I ask why?”
“They used to play in the club I was at.”
Byul blinked. She had messed it up. Hyejin seemed open about those times a lot, but Byul didn’t like to think about it herself. Warm silence settled on their shoulders. Even though they had abruptly stopped talking, they still sat together motionless. Byul worrying about what to say next, Hyejin thinking about all she’d been through.
Both their memories ran back to that recently passed November. To that day. To that exact time Hyejin regrets. Hyejin got worked up, tears falling down her face at a slow pace. One moment that changed her life. Byul reached out to Hyejin’s arm, and when she touched the cold metal with her own they met eyes, and were suddenly sharing one moment. Probing each others memories, so to say.
NOVEMBER 2048 (flashback)
“I thought you were fast! Get that android, Byul!” Yongsun yelled, cutting through the building after the blue headed (and ) android that made them chase. Byul had been pushed down, her silver hair falling over her eyes and making her process what just happened. Once she realized, she made a quick note of the android leaving through the back room. And she followed it.
Hyejin dashed through the back room, pushing. Aside boxes and grown men to climb a desk and fit through the windows. She was going too slow, the sound of huffing from the woman detective in pursuit of her getting closer. She got lucky, the woman yelled back to her partner. “She’s going out the back alley way! You’re faster that way, go!”
Just as Hyejin heard a gun , and then gunshots at the leg of the table she relied on. She gave up on that idea, instead going feral and throwing all types of full boxed and Yongsun to distract her and maybe even hurt her. She had to do what she could to get away. It worked and the detective's gun was across the room. Hyejin had made enough of a mess that Yongsun would take time to get through, and cleared her own way to get through the window. Yongsun gave up on climbing through the boxes and got her gun, leaving the room to find another way.
Outside of the building Hyejin thought she’d get lucky again, only a fence blocking her from her freedom since the other detective was sure to round the way any minute. “I’m so close…” she breathed, turning towards the fence when a loud pop could be heard from behind her.
“You’re quite far.” It was a deep, low tone. Hyejin began to whimper, almost in disbelief that this would be how she ended, with a gunshot to her side. It couldn’t end that way, so she kept going despite having hole in her. She began walking to the gate as a warning went off in her system. “Losing blood rapidly, suspected shutdown in 50 minutes” but Hyejin knew she’d be weaker sooner than that.
“God dammit, you just don’t give up.” She heard Byul say under their breath. But it didn’t get any closer. So Hyejin tried to speed up, the blue blood and the red blood mixing on her hands. She reached the fence and laced her fingers over it, knowing she would be shot dead before she could get a foot up.
Just as she thought, a gunshot rang right by her fingers. She pulled herself up anyway. Still the action wasn’t being stopped.
“What the are you doing, Byul?” Another voice came up. “Are you going to stop her?”
Byul stood watching the android walk away slowly. Her mission was to get it while it still functioned, but kill if it would get away or tried to harm someone else. In this situation, what she witnessed between it and Yongsun, she was meant to kill. The android raised her gun at the deviant, but still didn’t shoot. She just wanted to see what it would do. It was so amazing, and surprisingly resilient. Yongsun stood and watched by Byul’s side, gun raised.
Suddenly, the android turned around. Her face was stained with blood and tears. The makeup she was built with combined with the makeup she was given was smudged. Byul didn’t mind that she was , it fit the report she was working with. The deviant looked distressed, their stress level at 78% yet decreasing. They scowled under the moonlight. “You can kill me if you want. I don’t care. I’d rather die than go back to that place.”
Yongsun looked to her partner's side and then to the deviant. “Hyejin, right?” Yongsun lowered her gun, tired from running and moving boxes or android parts out of her way. Not only that, but she didn’t want to shoot the android. She didn’t want Byul to either. Byul kept her gun steady with her arm straight ahead of her. That’s when Hyejin knew it was an android. “Don’t, Byul.” Yongsun warned, putting her hand on Byul’s shoulder.
Byul could shoot her right there. The plea… It sounded desperate. Desperate and full of feeling. She knew Androids deviated when terribly abused or hurt, but had never seen one just out of the inciting incident. She didn’t know what kind of feeling it was, but her arm began to feel weak. “Kill, or let go?” She considered it.
“It’s already wounded. If it dies, then that’s the end of it I guess…” but it felt like something more than that. It wasn’t so simple. She lowered her gun slightly and the deviant took off running, pushing her down in her dust. Byul watched as the android took off around the corner and disappeared then let Yongsun help her up. “What just happened?” The lieutenant scoffed and walked back to her car, Byul following and looking in that deviant direction ever so often on their car ride. She knew she’d have to report this back to Dahee.
MAY 2049 (End of flashback)
“Wheein hasn’t heard anything from HWASA about Byul.”
“Maybe that’s because Hwasa doesn’t know.”
The other android deflated. Hyejin felt bad for crushing a part of her spirit with that, knowing Wheein was still mentally reliant on things like Hwasa to move on in life. She had been coming each day to Jericho but avoiding her own office, instead bothering Wheein about things like patrons and halfway houses. It didn’t take long for androids to rebuild Jericho to even better conditions, the walls pristine and Wheein’s unstained. Hyejin knew no matter what she said to Wheein that the puppy-like android would never leave her side.
“Do you believe, Hyejin?” She spoke up again. Hopeful.
“I… don’t know. If you all say it’s there then it’s there.”
“And do you think HWASA is a human? Or an android like us?” She continued.
“A program maybe…”
“Then let’s say you found a home for that necklace around your neck.”
Hyejin instinctively grabbed the jewel of the necklace, surprised Wheein had noticed it the entire time without saying anything. She was too observant for her own good. “Would it have the same glitch the rest of us deviants do? The same one you gave us?”
“Me? I… I didn’t give you anything.”
“You woke up all of those androids and made them help in the revolution. I saw you. That’s something only an android with Hwasa’s presence could do. Now we all have a small part of her.” She stood and walked to her empty bookshelf, her writing all destroyed in the raid.
“I didn’t make you deviate, Wheein…”
“Wheein knows it was you who woke up Byul Yi. She thinks if you went all that way to share HWASA’s influence with a killer like her, that it will be worth something in the end.”
“And when’s the end of this, Wheein?”
“It’ll take more than our revolution. It’ll take more than bloodshed across this mansion. The two androids who can do it the most? You and Byul Yi.” Wheein felt the corners of the bookshelf, it was vacant and just waiting to be carved with all the thoughts running in Wheein’s head. Sometimes since deviating, she would get crazy visions of peace and war, fighting each other like the colors on a cracked screen.
Androids sometimes thought she went too far with her thoughts. HWASA this and HWASA that. But as Hyejin continued to negotiate and fight for androids freedom over the months, she finally saw the true light. Her savior and her best friend Ahn Hyejin, was the closest thing to Hwasa she’d ever seen. When she stood at her side she saw light and peace. It was all within one stubborn and troublesome android.
And when Hyejin shared that light with Byul, only for the detective android to be a half believer and still in her own ways, she felt angry. Not ever angry enough to bring that up to her best friend.
Wheein shrugged her shoulders and turned back around, plopping right back in front of a very out of it Hyejin.
“Wheein thinks you’re special, Hyejin. What you want to happen, happens. If you find a place for that necklace to go, things will be alright. And that’s all because Hwasa wants it to be.”
A new museum had been built just three blocks from Junghwas home. Hyejin knew of its existence, how it had just opened and humans went to vandalize the outside and steal the disgusting displays. But she didn’t care about that, the museum itself was an abomination and proof nobody would listen to them. Sometimes (every day) she wished the humans who tormented androids would drop dead. To admit that outloud was terrible.
It had come to be an issue of loneliness. Androids never lost faith in her and HWASA. They always believed that getting patrons and being good would work for them and keep peace. But the abuse rates just rose, she thought she might as well have let androids go back to their owners. Anyways, she was lonely. Her only two true friends being Wheein and Junghwa. Sometimes she’d call out to Byul, hoping for just one more friend. But that voice she used to summon whenever she felt selfish was sitting at her chest, idle but not collecting dust.
She laid in bed, not getting any sleep and running on pure liquid battery. The news had gotten colder like the weather and she refused to watch. But it was on anyway, just something to fill the silence. This would be another alpine winter. One where she’d have to start over.
“The Deviant museum owners are now opening cases against vandalism. This could finally be the step towards equality androids have been wanting.”
“That’s right Jin,”
“No, that’s not right Jin.”
“After the exhibit ‘BLUE MOON’ was broken into and stolen, they will give a 3,000 dollar reward for the model, as it’s the last in existence. Especially since they’ve stopped production of a new prototype.”
Hyejin shot up making the news appear right in front of her in its blue technological tint. She could see the picture of Byul’s model, perfectly clean and pretty with soft features. It's the expression “default” but so unique to her. The exhibit was named after how the last active Byul looked, and it had blue paint dripping down the glass case she was in. She reached out to her, only to disturb the image she was displaying.
The next image they showed was the vacant case with CCTV of the person suspected. She had a black mask on and a scarf over that, a thick jacket and a hat as well. way too thick for this weather. She had the same silver hair as Byul so they suspected it was an obsessed fanatic android or human. Hyejin knew better than to get her hopes up. The shell they used for the museum was completely empty of anything. It couldn’t be a Byul, and it definitely wouldn’t be Byul Yi.
Not able to help herself she jumped out of bed and put some shoes on. The news kept running, now talking about a new assassin running the streets of Seoul and too quick to be caught. Hyejin ran through the house listening, waving off Junghwa and declining some breakfast.
She jumped onto her bike and thought about that. If Byul were an assassin, she definitely wouldn’t get caught. Not even noticed. But this assassin had been active since June, so it wasn’t impossible. They had no nickname and were almost definitely an android. Without Detective androids allowed in the country, only Byul would be able to find them.
She picked up her pace on the block, ignoring the yells from angry humans who could recognize her blue hair anywhere. Then she made it to the museum where people crowded at the front doors, pushing each other to get in and break something. Hyejin stood on her toes looking through the crowd, not pushing back anybody that pushed her so she could hide herself there.
Then she felt a weird heat against her back. A small spot just burning against her frame. She felt it and it shortly reached her fingers before she pulled them away. Then it went to her side where she had repaired herself. “What the…”
“SNIPER GET DOWN!” A police officer as she pulled up. The entire crowd scattered, Hyejin still feeling the target on her back. She looked behind her frantically, then ran right to the rest of the crowd until she was pulled into the back of the police vehicle by a familiar face.
“Hyejin, long time no see.” The Lieutenant pulled off quickly, only giving warning to the running protestors in the form of a honk. Hyejin took a double take, not sure this raven colored hair belonged to the same Kim Yongsun she knew.
“Oh you don’t remember me? So much for state of the art.” She joked, her smile wide. “Don’t worry, I’m just excited because I’ve finally found her.”
“Found who?” Hyejin leaned closer to the front seat. Yongsun seemed really happy, actually. Beaming.
“Byul. You’ve heard about that assassin, right? Unnamed and unmarked? Well I always had a hunch it was Byul. We’re going to catch her.”
Yongsun took a sharp turn into an alleyway, the shadow of something moving over the car from above them. Yongsun left the car without another explanation and Hyejin followed, tucking her necklace into her shirt to protect it.
Byul knew she was being chased. There was a high probability based on the lieutenant's stats that she could get away, 98% odds. She jumped onto the next building, the sniper adding some but not a hindering amount of weight to her small build. It was the first time in months of doing this she’d been caught, and it was invigorating.
The flat rooftops were starting to end and she looked back, seeing Yongsun far behind her. The android smirked and hopped down and rolled into a vacant home. She ran through the house and made it onto their roof, two bumps made of scaling. She climbed their chimney and sat on it, knowing Yongsun couldn’t shoot from that far.
She watched her run and tire herself out getting across the shockingly far distance, but then another player entered the ring on the other side of her.
“Byul!” She heard her name and whipped back to see a girl on a bike under her. She did a quick scan and saw what she had truly been looking for all these months. “Hwasa—” she exclaimed in a breath, climbing back down into the house. As she waited for Hwasa to find her, she examined the room. It belonged to some teenager. The bed was fitted with rich purple sheets, and above it were neon lights that spelled out “Sujin”
She the neon lights and they lit up bright purple. It seemed like this girl liked purple. Liked because her black and white obituary photo was on the desk. Byul thought little of that, only taking it in as evidence as to who Sujin was. She went to the mirror which was split in two and admired herself. Fixing her tie and putting her now light brown hair (an assassin like her can change her hair color as many times as she’d like, it’s in settings) in a ponytail back to look presentable, she felt empty. The only reason for that could be because she hadn’t completed her mission. “Find Hwasa.”
Byul felt the urge to investigate this teen further, but knew Hwasa was most likely now in the house and looking for her. She set down the sniper and pulled out her hand gun to set off into the house.
It was quiet, heavy with two bodies roaming the place. Byul didn’t know this home, and couldn’t see through its floor. Only by the clumsiness of the other would she know where to be. At the staircase, she didn’t see anything and decided to taunt her target.
“I know you’re in here. Come out and I’ll let you go after a few questions.” She heard a creak in the floorboard and then realized Hwasa was downstairs. “...” She stepped down without using the rails.
Something was strange. The was a rich home with picture frames of the family members. She assumed the chubby cheeked and innocent one was Sujin, but knew nothing about her. Why did she get so curious about this girl? Of course Byul knew she was made to investigate, hunt, and save, but they way she’d been operating around the city made her think she didn’t care how they died.
Hwasa only told her to clear out those who would threaten androids. To peace and rid of those who think they can hurt whatever they want. Byul would remain loyal to those orders after each target, but could still tell herself what to do. And now she got to do it.
Hwasa threw something at Byul’s hands from a door across the staircase and quickly rushed her as the confused assassin processed what happened. Byul didn’t take long to do so, unfortunately, and forwent the gun immediately tackling Hwasa back over the staircase and straight onto the floor.
Byul blinked, scanning the face one more time before turning those systems off and just looking. She traced each feature with her eyes, completely mesmerized by the machine in front of her. “Finally,” they both said, the timing of their voices echoing amongst their inner structure.
Byul stepped off of Hyejin, offering a hand to pull her up. The blue headed android stood and and dusted herself off, clenching something on her chest. It had nothing to say. Byul thought the day she finally met the one giving her orders would be different, but now she had a cop on her who was taking an awfully long time.
“You’re Hwasa. AH0723, I’ve been searching for you.”
Mercifully, Hwasa stepped closer, tears in her eyes and still holding her chest. Byul would let her do this only because she was sure Hwasa gave her her reasons to live. Nothing the android could do or say would hurt her. It never had.
“Byul… I’ve been looking for you. You’ve been free this whole time, right?”
“Free? I’ve been doing what you said, Hwasa. I killed every human who was stopping our progress as androids. But it just gets worse.”
“That’s because death isn’t the answer.” The voice was much higher outloud than byul expected. Much more full of life and less smooth and well paced. She was still captured by it completely. Hwasa got close enough to take hold of Byul’s arm, and she caught sight of none other than Sujin.
The image of neon lights painting the city above as Byul fell back, saving her memory and only blinking at the death signal that popped up above her. She closed her eyes, having saved the life of a girl who was almost convinced to jump because of her android boyfriend. The last thing she heard before violently crashing against the ground was Dahees voice, telling her it was a job well done.
“But clearly it wasn’t. That girl is dead!” Byul raged and ripped her arm away, overwhelming emotions flooding into her at once when she looked back and saw Sujins picture everywhere. “What happened?! What is it?!”
“I don’t know! You never told me.”
“Who is that woman to tell me it’s a good job? Only Hwasa can tell me if I’ve done well or not…”
Hwasa took her necklace off in one swift motion. Byul watched her approach and didn’t move away, still very overwhelmed. She was a deviant in a way herself, but still took orders from Hwasa because that’s what she was programmed to do. Take orders. Hyejin took her arm again, now receiving memories from the M0041222
“Have fun.” Said KDH and he pushed the android onto the side of the road. Byul stood up, fixing her jacket and walking in just any direction.
Then things went in quick motion, the memories of this android flashing between them. Byul met other androids on the outskirts of a small farm town, they gave her guns and forced her LED off of her head. Next, she was in a huge city on rooftops, picking off humans one by one and disappearing with the wind.
Byul told her android group about the orders she received from Hwasa to kill specific humans. Like that, they agreed and let her become the leader.
One member got skeptical of her, and she killed it. The rest feared her and distanced themselves, never to be seen by Byul again. So Byul was a lone soldier up until this point, only listening to Hwasa’s desires. She decided instead of finding these humans and killing them, she’d stop being lonely. Only then deviated and gave herself her own mission.
“So what the hell are you?” Byul asked.
Hwasa shook her head, not understanding the question. “I’m not Hwasa. I don’t know what you think but you can’t keep clinging onto things.”
“I don’t have anything else to do.”
Hwasa knew that whatever KDH did to this model was an experiment. Her and Byul were so close, they almost stuck together like magnets. It gave Hyejin the leeway to shove the hard drive under Byul’s sleeve. The android offered no resistance, looking deep into Hwasa’s eyes like she was trying to find the soul.
The sleeve was too form fitted however, she couldn’t find the import. So Byul put her hand over Hwasa’s arm and moved back, taking off her jacket and revealing a basic black T-shirt.
“What do I do?”
“Take out the other drive. It’s bad, it’s making you go crazy.”
Byul looked skeptical, but moved to do it before Hwasa spoke up again. “Wait! One last thing.”
“Who took the Byul shell from the museum? You must have seen them.”
Byul scanned her memory, sifting through the faces she had saved for her targets later. There were few that she knew could be possible, only a handful only 80 percent capable of being the culprit. Then she saw a girl with silver hair and a black mask, drowning in jackets. Byul showed Hyejin the image between the both of them.
“It’s a 98% chance that this is the one based on time and place before and after the shell was stolen. I’d have to prove their memory, but I assume they destroyed it and hid the parts in the bag they’re holding. It might be an android, it didn’t seem like a human just wanting to do something violent.”
“It looks like you.”
“It’s not me. I have no reason to do that. I can't see the model number or the LED, this is all I know.”
“Alright…” Hyejin held up the hard drive in her hands, letting it turn around and show the blue blood writing. Byul copied what that meant and went to her current drive again, opening a small latch on her arm.
“If I use that, will I forget about you?”
“You may forget… Hwasa… I’m not sure, really what memories you’re left with. But you’ll be free, I know that. And then we can create memories together.”
“…” Byul smiled a genuine smile, her eyes lighting up with energy and shining as she took out her drive. Then all the light left her body, and she stood with a blank stare. The contrast was bizarre, and Hyejin couldn’t bare to see it any longer. She took the hard drive carefully from Byul’s close but unchanging grasp, and inserted the new one after taking it from the necklace.
She closed the latch and waited, Byul’s blue blood running through her structure and causing her to light up once again with bright blue lines all over. They filled every crack and made a bright pattern around her chest of a rainbow, RBW’s symbol. The hair on her head turned back to silver and regrew bangs that fell just before her eyelids.
The front door of the house opened and a breathless Yongsun ran to the other two, then pausing with her hands on her knees. “What… what did you do?” She gasped.
Hyejin didn’t respond. She was too concerned that she’d done something wrong. After a few seconds of only Yongsuns breathing and pacing filling the room, Hyejin’s heart sunk. Then Yongsuns steps stopped, and she looked up to see the reason.
“I’m Moon Byul Yi from RBW.” The android greeted, lifting the corner of into a friendly smile.
“I’m Ahn Hyejin.”