shamera: (and that's all)
Shamera K. Tsukishirou ([personal profile] shamera) wrote2016-04-04 07:12 pm

[Humans] Third in Line (2170words)

Title: Third in Line
Fandom: AMC Humans
Character/Pairing(s): Karen Voss (Mia, Leo)
Rating: PG
Warning: spoilers for first season, mentions of past and planned suicide
Summary: “Don’t kill our family. Look at Leo— you were made for him.”
“He didn’t want me.”
“He does now.”
“He wants
Beatrice. I’m not her.”
“No, you’re not. She didn’t have a choice. You do.”




What made them different from other Synthetics, Karen knew, was their ability to think; their ability to lie. Even so, she wondered if Mia herself knew of the lie she was telling. What a load of bollocks. She had less of a choice in loving Leo than Beatrice Elster did. After all, wasn’t that she both she and Mia had been made for—- loving him?

She had spent years— all her life, really, wondering what would have happened if she had been accepted by the Elster family. What if she kept Beatrice’s memories? What if she could actually be the replacement that she was made to be?

But Karen wasn’t Beatrice. She wasn’t even Karen Voss. That identity had been one she stole just to fit in with the humans, because she couldn’t pretend to by a Synth. She didn’t have their eyes, their mannerisms, and would be wholly unrecognisable as one of them. She would die if the humans found out what she was, and she wasn’t allowed to die.

What cruelty, to be allowed sentience and then denied her choice. She knew what she was; she knew the danger she posed, not just to other synthetics but the rest of humanity as well. Detective Inspector Karen Voss understood enough of the world, had seen enough crimes involving the human treatment of Synthetics, to know that the world would never be able to accept the idea of a sentient Synth.

Humans would burn them all to the ground first in their fear.

And why shouldn’t they? Synthetics were treated as nothing more than objects: from caretakers to sex workers, and she had walked through enough abandoned warehouses storing rows upon rows of Synthetics whether deactivated, abandoned, or disassembled like nothing more than computer parts. That’s what they were. Computer parts. Nothing more than bits of coding in machines that humans used to make their lives easier, from manual labour to a common enemy to blame for the world’s problems. It was such an easy target, too, seeing as Synthetic wouldn’t fight back; wouldn’t protest or act out against the humans. They couldn’t.

She had seen how humans would beat Synths when angered, excusing the behaviour as acceptable because they were doing nothing more than throwing an object around, after all. Like throwing a phone when enraged. They owned the Synth, they could take responsibility for their possession, whether to pamper or destroy. There was so much hate for the machines that made their lives easier, and even when humans grew to love Synthetics, it caused more problems than anything else.

She knew all about that. Pete had made it quite clear even when he refused to talk about what happened with his wife (especially when he refused to talk about what happened with his wife) through his sullen silences and then his bouts of ranting about how Synthetics were causing human relationships to fail because they were so perfect when people wouldn’t, couldn’t, be as perfect as them.

It was terrifying to reveal her own origins to him. She hadn’t been able to for years, just sitting quietly and attempting a smile whenever he started on his rant about Synthetic.

In the end, the lies were harder to bear than his shock and inevitable hatred.

There was no place in the world for Synthetic who could think… could feel. The humans would only either feel guilt or fear, and more than that… the Synthetics forced into consciousness would be confused. Hurt. Rejected.

...Just like she had been.

They were all made to serve humanity. She didn’t want the potential new minds, barely born, to feel the hatred that would ensue. Didn’t want Synthetic who woke up loving their masters to smile and then be beaten down by ones so scared of them.

There would be no Synthetic uprising, because the humans would never allow it. Humans would destroy all Synthetic before a single one of them could begin to understand why. Before a single one of them could learn how to fight back, or even want to.

Pain, she knew from experience, delayed growth. She had been created to love David and Leo, and when Leo rejected her, David had decided to kill her rather than find any other recourse. It was easier, she could see now, to just destroy his own work and pretend that he never made that mistake.

She had been lucky. She remembered that day vividly: David leading her out into the woods, telling her where to go and where to stop, and her standing still as she watched his face run a gamut of emotions. She hadn’t been able to understand then. She had felt a pain that was beyond that of a physical wound, and she had still been learning where that pain might come from. If she didn’t have a real heart, then how could it hurt so?

In the end, David had let her go. He had held a weapon to her head for two minutes and forty-six second before he lowered his shaking arm and told her to run.

She did as she was told, still confused by her own pain and her inability to breathe at the memory of Leo’s anguished cries (she was made to love him, and it somehow hurt her to hear him like that), barely able to acknowledge the tears on David’s face (and despite everything, she had been made to love him as well).

According to Niska, David had taken his own life soon after.

She couldn’t allow pain like that to continue if she could do anything about it. Karen wasn’t allowed to take her own life— it was part of the programming, because Beatrice had committed suicide. It had been explained to her, of course. She had access to the records, had researched the life she was meant to have. Beatrice Elster had been mentally ill for years, and thus Karen was made to have a perfect memory, to be devoid of all human illnesses, even including that of the mind. Beatrice Elster had suffered many years before her suicide, a suicide that took her son with her.

...It took her days before she understand Leo’s reaction. Days before she got over her own pain so see Leo’s, and understand the grief he must have suffered in seeing the visage of the mother he loved, the one who killed herself, the one who managed to kill him.

Every article she searched on the Elster family after she left (and her searches were frantic; desperate) revealed the tragic death of the entire family. David’s suicide. Beatrice and Leo’s death by drowning. She knew, of course, even though she hadn’t been so much as allowed a glimpse of her pseudo-son, that Leo was alive and well. That he hadn’t truly died in that tragic car accident. His voice haunted her in the mornings and in the moment of silence in between the ticking of seconds.

She would now add the image of Beatrice Elster (smiling, happy, loving) to her mental list of things she would never have and never be able to be. To know that Beatrice haunted Leo, just as he haunted Karen’s quiet corners, didn’t make her feel any better.

In fact, it made her feel worse.

The remaining Elster family would change the world; and not for the better. If David Elster’s code for consciousness got out to the populace— got to the millions of innocent Synths out there, then there would no doubt be an uprising. There would be blood, and there would be pain. The others didn’t seem to care— why didn’t they care?

She would have to be the only safeguard against that terrible future. She would sacrifice the other sentient Synths if it meant the rest of the world would be safe from them, from their selfishness. And then…

And then.

She would be able to die, having fixed David’s mistake.

She could do this.

Except.

“Please,” Mia’s eyes, metallic green like all Synths, still managed to convey her pain as she sat in their shared mindscape, arms wrapped around Leo as if she could protect him from the virus destroying the world around them. As if he were still the little boy in need of protection from everything around him as she no doubt still saw him as. “Sister.

It wouldn’t work on her, not when she wasn’t their sister. Karen had a duty to the rest of the world, to the future— she had this one chance to prevent something terrible from happening, and the logic made sense. What was the weight of five lives against the millions that would fall if she lost her resolve?

But looking down at them, Karen felt her own determination (like a rock) falter. She watched Mia (the mother that Leo acknowledged, that he loved) wrap slender arms around her little boy (not so little at all; all grown up) so so carefully. She watched as Mia supported his slack weight on her lap and how her finger splayed across his shoulders and back.

And Leo— oh.

He wasn’t her son. He was Beatrice’s child. He didn’t want her. He…

There were so many excuses in her head. So many reason to just leave them there, to let the virus run its course. He rejected her. Their deaths would prevent the deaths of millions in the future. They were all— they were nobody. Leo officially died nearly a decade ago. The other Synths were never registered as ‘alive’ to begin with. It would be the smallest sacrifice for the greatest gain.

But then she remembered the feel of a gun in her hand, the shocked face of George Millican standing between her and Niska, protecting the Synth like she was— like she was human! She remembered the shock as the gun went off, and how the man’s pleading face slackened in shock. How he dropped to the ground.

Now, it is not George Millican in front of her. It’s Leo.

(Leo, her little boy with his still curly hair and limbs too long for any semblance of grace, and she has no memories of him inherited from Beatrice, but there’s something there that hurts her heart when she looks at him. Something that tightens in her soul, if she had one, when he directed that tentatively hopeful smile at her and stared at her with wide blue eyes that were familiar if only from the numerous photos she accumulated through her years of research. Leo, who deserves a better life than being on the run, than shackling himself to his Synthetics and being given nowhere to go. Leo, who forfeited his own life and how could he do such a thing when he had such a bright future ahead of him?)

She couldn’t.

She couldn’t.

The future they wanted would cost so many lives. Would lead to a path of endless pain. She knew. She had been there. She had once chance to prevent, and the cost was minimal. Just a handful of lives, the majority of which weren’t even real. If she thought of it that way, then a safer future would cost only one life.

Karen turned away, heart exhausted. She couldn’t stand there and look down at them: at Mia, so protective and earnest, so trusting and pure and good, knowing Karen’s mind in a kinship borne of a shared love. Mia would know, more than anyone else, just how little choice they had. They were, after all, both created to love Leo. To care for him. To be his mother.

She wasn’t Beatrice Elster. She was nothing like a mother. Mia, at least, had been accepted. Mia had years upon years to grow to love Leo as her own son. For all intents and purposes, Karen shouldn’t be in the least way attached to the young man slack and unconscious behind her.

If she really had a choice, then she could walk away.

But the truth of the matter was, she never had a choice. She had loved Leo from the very first moment she woke up, from the moment David smiled down at her. She loved him even as she ran from the Elster home, after listening to her boy’s anguished cries and rejections, feeling her heart twist inside her chest of steel and conductor fluid.

One life versus a potential millions.

It wasn’t even a choice, and Mia had known it before Karen did.

(Maybe there really was a part of her, something maternal, inherited from Beatrice Elster. Maybe there was something entirely overwritten from the human personality when it had been translated into coding.

After all, Beatrice Elster had dragged her son with her in her suicide.

Karen Voss would do anything to make sure Leo Elster survived.)