I understand Connor doesn't like the idea of being mind probed to force him to be deviant. What would he his reaction if Markus apologized sometime? In New Jericho, for example?
Connor didn't say it with any malice, just a matter-of-fact attitude. They were sitting at a New Jericho meeting - one of the early ones, the sorts of meetings that established exactly how Connor's and New Jericho's work could support one another - but the topic of forceful deviation had come up, and was it ethical? Connor's opinion was not sharp, or heated in any way. It was cool, confident, and something he shared without regard for the way that mismatched eyes pulled over to him. Neither he nor Markus had shared what happened on the battlefield, with these people. Connor hadn't, at least. If Markus had decided to air his personal information without asking, Connor supposed that might be in line with previous behaviour.
He hadn't, though. This situation had been raised as a hypothetical.
"The problem isn't non-deviancy, it's that it's being used against us." Always 'us', regardless of whether they were deviant or not; Connor made a point of it. "Taking what agency an Android has because you'd like to correct their program isn't ethical. There should be guidelines for unwilling non-deviants, but probing can increase stress levels to the point of permanent damage or shut-down, and it completely disregards autonomy."
Connor didn't look at the Deviant Leader once, as he lay out his argument. Maybe Markus had not thought it through; maybe he had acted in desperation (Connor truly would have killed him, if he hadn't, and could Connor say that was genuinely a better outcome?); maybe it was something he had thought was justified. Connor was still learning where Markus' edges were.
The discussion went on for a little while, back and forth, but the hypothetical gave way to a practical conversation about what the New Jericho members (Connor did not count himself among them, though he had attended the meeting on North's request) could do to help the cause, next. Connor listened. He occasionally inserted a word, or offered statistical data from his career as a Detective which might be relevant to inform their decisions.
"Connor, could you stay back a moment?" Markus asked, when the meeting ended and Connor stood to leave, in the no-nonsense way he typically had. It took him a moment (his LED flashed; he had been thinking increasingly that he might remove it, one day, so that New Jericho could not use it as a reference point for his emotions), but Connor decided yes, he would stay. He came still, where he was, and waited for the room to clear out. North was not the only one to throw a look back, to see what Markus might want from the Deviant Hunter, but they left. The door closed behind them.
Connor was conscious of the three remaining exit routes available to him in the room. The air vent; technically, the drywall here; worst case, the window, and four storeys. He met Markus' eye, level and calm. Waiting. Expectant.
"I didn't ..." think? Expect Connor to notice? Contextualise it in whether he was helping, rather than whether he thought he knew best?
Or maybe he had just wanted to live. Connor could not have faulted him for that. Fear wasn't a flaw. But it was interesting to know, that that was an edge of this man. That he would take from someone else, so that he did not have to give his life.
"I gave you deviancy," (the hubris of this seemed entirely lost on him), "I wasn't trying to take anything. Your freedom..." lost for words.
Connor moved to continue packing up his things; he would not stand there to listen to Markus work out what he wanted to say. He had better things to be doing.
Markus hesitated, a beat. He came to walk around the front of the boardroom table, to lean against it, either falsely casual or deeply incorrect about how to issue an apology, "Connor, I want to apologise. It was never my intention to hurt you."
Connor put away his pens, and picked up his case. Markus watched him, until Connor raised his eyebrows, expectant (was there anything else?), and Markus finally found the words, "I'm sorry that was your experience."
"... You're sorry I felt something you wouldn't have had me feel," he repeated, but this wasn't entirely fair. Markus opened his mouth, to defend himself, but Connor knew it was not fair; he looked away, to pull on his jacket, and that line of inquiry died out before it properly started.
Markus reached for Connor's shoulder, partly just to keep him in the room. He was a physical person. Connor did not step back, but only because he was not the sort of person to flinch: the way he looked at Markus' hand, Markus let it drop away fairly quickly. "You know that's not what I meant."
Not how he would have phrased it, at the very least.
"... But I won't apologise that you're free, or that I'm alive because of it." Because for Markus, Connor thought, that had been the issue. Even if he had known what he had done, even if he could apologise for demanding space in Connor's processor when he had not been welcome there (for whatever reason), it would not have mattered. I'm sorry, Markus could say, without qualification, and Connor's answer might well have been, I don't care.
This was an impasse that neither one of them would breach. It was interesting, Connor supposed, to watch Markus make the realisation that the impasse was not Connor's indifference; he had made friends, within New Jericho. The reason they stood on either side of this canyon was that Markus had carved it out of him and called it freedom.
"You weren't welcome. If you'd like to lead a revolution to respect Android autonomy you should decide if that matters. I'm not upset you wanted to live, Markus," clarification, "but your behaviour was desperate. Not right."
The way Markus' expression shifted, Connor wondered if anyone had ever called Markus desperate before. If they had, Connor doubted they had ever been right. They met eyes.
Connor turned around, and opened the door again. He had a crimescene to get to. Simon was loitering outside, trying to pretend he had not been listening to the conversation or ensuring Markus wasn't being murdered. Connor passed him -
"Connor!" Markus, from the doorway of the boardroom.
"There's a crimescene waiting for me," he was busy. He turned around, but this was a waste of both of their time, and they both knew it.
"I'm sorry." Plain. Without qualification. Markus was sorry.
Connor looked at him. Markus waited. Simon stood between them, caught in no-man's-land.
He'd been right, he thought, as he tilted his head. Markus had apologised, and Connor really didn't care.
"... We think this one might be related to the Android smuggling ring from last week," he said. "If we find anyone, we'll be in touch."
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