To Butch, the wanted list didn’t matter he would be in there like a shot if Maria wanted him to be, but deep down he knew it was best for him to remain behind, especially with his current state it would not be smart for him to go rushing into the Institute when he was not at his best. He would not run the risk of harming Maria and the rest of her team because he wasn’t at his best, far from his best. All he could offer was his advice if she or any of them needed it and do as much as he could from where he was at the time. The Med bay had a terminal that would be sufficient for hacking into the system; he would have to work into the programming some so they couldn’t reroute back to the Railroad, nothing too difficult if he worked on it.
He wasn’t prepared for the hug but he wasn’t going to turn it away. Wrapping a loose arm round her he briefly gave her a squeeze and stepped back. Giving her a short nod he was reassured that there would be updates constantly and he would make sure that she had someone to talk to constantly and he was sure Harkness would do the same, he would want to make sure that they were in contact at all times or at least as often as possible. He believed every word he had said, if anyone could do this it was Maria. “Wish I was going in there with ya Nosebleed.” He really fucking did, it was strange to think that they were doing this apart when it was usually all of them together, but this time was different and they would have to do their part elsewhere. “Ya won’t, I’ll catch ya before you go tomorrow.”
It shouldn’t have been that awkward being left with the man he should have been and usually was most comfortable with, but with everything that was going on he was afraid that if Harkness looked close enough he would see all the shit he was doing to himself before he had time to fix it. Folding his arms across his chest he tucks his hand so they rested against his sides buried so he couldn’t see the slight tremble that had set into the limbs. He couldn’t sleep yet and he still had shit on his mind, the med bay wasn’t anywhere near ready for the attack, he had people working round the clock, including himself, to collect more equipment from nearby buildings and gathering supplies. They were also trying to trade as much as they could with the caravans that pasted by so they had plenty in stock for when the time arose. He also made sure he had his own stash hidden away it was considerably easier to conceal here than it was in Rivet City, did mean he was proud of it just fucking glad. “I best get back to work.” He had a deactivated android to calibrate and then all the bullshit forms to fill out. The one good thing from this was he now understood what Harkness had to go through on the ship. “I’ll see ya in a bit.” He would probably end up sleeping in the chair to his terminal again.
Harkness stood watching Maria leave with a soft frown across his features. He was genuinely concerned. Two parts of his life that he never wanted to meet were coming together in a dangerous way and he didn’t like it. However, if he didn’t let it happen it would only occur later on. He would always be a runner, he was just giving himself and Butch a bit more distance than they had to work with right now. There was an uncomfortable twist in his chest as the previous words rung in his mind. Butch wanted to go back. The one thing he was trying to prevent and now he was asking for it. His fists clenched slightly trying to find something reassuring to work with through the indecipherable emotion that settled within him.
He turned to Butch in the new silence arm beginning to reach out in a comfortable and familiar action before he paused, giving a deep scowl. Butch just looked damn…uncomfortable to be in his presence and for once there wasn’t anything else he could associate with it. He could reassure himself and say it had something to do with tomorrow but his entire body language just screamed something else and he didn’t need his system. He found himself nodding although he didn’t agree with the notion. This wasn’t what he wanted. “Yeah” he paused again before coughing trying to clear his throat as he watched him go “sure.” Left alone Harkness leaned against one of the ruined table running a hand through his hair playing a potential message in his mind before he pulled it back. [UNSENT A3-21] Did I fuck up?
Right now, he really wasn’t sure what the hell was going on and he had no control over any of it. When the next day came Harkness stood in the control room his arms tightly folded across his chest waiting for any form of communication from the recon team he knew held Maria. Get in, grab what you can, get out. He repeated it over and over again in his mind as a tantra. They had the benefit of ex Institute members on the team, they knew the codes. Synths weren’t the only runners apparently. Harkness strode creating an environment that was more anxious than he had intended but it was evident in his stance he was used to this kind of leadership. [SENT A3-21] You’re doing good kid. Keep it up.
Get out. Get out. Get out.
Nervous wasn’t the word. Clad in her scientists Lab Coat (Daddy be proud) she takes a very deep breath before passing the guards who had granted her and her small team of “scientists” entry into the impressive looking building. This was the crunch she had to do this efficiently and without hassle, get in, grab what you can, get out. Words Harkness had repeated to her all morning. The pair were anxious and a part of her wished that they could be with her right now but in this place? They wouldn’t have lasted three seconds. She was just thankful she had them watching her from afar, keeping tabs and making she was as safe as she could be. She had more than two eyes on this, it assured her enough to do this as confidently as she could.
A false look of importance was plastered on her face, determination driving her forward. The others had informed her of an archive, in the lower levels of the building, her companions for the day knowing the way and the codes to get inside. That would be the best place to start, better than asking questions, arousing suspicion. This way she just looked like one of the other workers, going about their business, researching and archiving. The blank clipboard in her hand helped solidify that image. The building was, unnerving to say the least, white painted everywhere, every surface and every person nothing but a clean clinical backdrop to this place’s sinister activity. She understood now why Harkness’ office walls were covered in notes and gestures. She had only been here for a few minutes and it was already beginning to drive her mad, god forbid however long Harkness and the other Androids had to endure. Not to mention the quietness, nothing more than occasional murmuring and a strange baseline hum. If a pin dropped it would echo and then there would be a rush to clean it up. The juxtaposition of this place to the outside was frightful, like she was in a whole new world.
"Here." She heard, stopping outside the door gestured. Sure enough it was labelled Archive and the very same companion opened the door with ease, accessing the code to allow entry. Two of the four stood watch on the door while she and the others slid inside. Great expanse is what she was greeted with. Filing cabinets galore, boxes and computers. Where the hell did she even start? Hand placed on her hip she takes another deep breath and begins to scan the room, checking labelling - H, would be a good place to start. H for Hunter, made sense didn’t it?
The cabinet clicks open and fingers rifle through the extremely well organised system. Hunter Models, plans and schematics. None of this was really her expertise but she gathered that anything with ‘hunter’ in the title would be of use, after all it was what their initiative was. Harkness, Butch all the others could look over them later. She pulls the files out, a great handful and stuff them into her bag. Double checks she hasn’t missed a thing before pushing the file drawer shut. Now what-
If those files existed here she would be taking them too, purely for the sake of Harkness, what good it would do she didn’t know but to wipe his memory away from this place was good enough for her. Ties to be cut for the purpose of one of her best friends and protector. He’d done to much for her and even if this act shielded him only slightly it was enough. Spotting them at the front of the file she pulls it out, flips it open to reveal two faces and two names. A3-21 HUNTER. HARKNESS. SECURITY CHIEF. A strange feeling swells within her and she’s sure it’s pride. Pride for the guy who managed to break away from this godforsaken place and make a life for himself, do good and prove himself despite his darkened manufactured past. She smiles before shutting the file again, giggling at the two pictures.
"Plastic surgery worked well for you Chief."
She laughs fondly and stuffs it into her bag with the others before making her way over to the terminal, her plan here was simple download everything and anything and get out.