Title: Synthetic
Fandom: Almost Human
Genre: Sentinel/Guide AU
Pairing: John Kennex/Dorian
Author’s Note: I posted this on Facebook five years ago, I’ve finally given it an edit and I’m giving it a home.
Word Count: 1,453
Summary: In the year 2146, in the middle of a police raid on InSyndicate a creature of legend—an Alpha Sentinel Prime—emerges. The world will never be the same.



“I have an idea.”

It wasn’t the first time she’d heard those words in the last few months. It wasn’t even the first time she’d heard them in the last week.

Her lead detective had been in a coma for almost six months now and everyone seemed to have an idea about how to help him. Not a single one of them had managed it. Point of fact, this was her first time back in the precinct after the last time someone came into her office to utter those words and offer an idea.

An idea that, this time, had almost killed John Kennex.

Needless to say, there was nothing she wanted less than another idea.

“Rudy,” she sighed his name.

“No, Sandra, this will work.”

She raised her head off of the surface of her desk to frown at him and raised a single eyebrow.

“There is nothing physically causing John’s coma, right? I mean he was shot, yeah, but that isn’t causing his state. It’s just a zone out, right?”

Just a zone? She bit back her ire and nodded to the nervous technician. To call the action encouraging would have been a mistake.

“So, we need to find him a guide to pull him out.”

“You think we haven’t tried that?” She exploded. “There are no guides. We have contacted every single person of guide decent, no matter how far back in their family tree. No one has come online for him. No one is online, period. He is the first sentinel to come online in over thirty years and there are no guides. None.”

“No one offline that tests compatible? Genetically, I mean. No one?”

“Not a single one.” She sighed. She was not defeated, she was not! John was her best friend and she would not let him down. She just had no idea— Ugh, she hated that word!

“What if we could make someone a match?”

“Rudy, it’s not like we can just experiment—”

“Not a human.” She hit him with the full power Maldonado Eyebrow of Skepticism and he continued. “A DRN. I have one in my lab. He’s scheduled to be shipped off to NASA next week but DRNs use the Synthetic Soul operating system and it’s compatible with the Electronic Empathy application.”

She hissed like a soaked cat. Electronic Empathy had at one time been proposed as a solution to the naturally-occurring guide shortage and had been the root cause of the civil war between sentinel factions across the globe. The current lack of sentinels to protect their streets could be placed directly at that damn application’s feet. “That was supposed to be destroyed.”

“It was.” Rudy swallowed audibly, “But it isn’t. Anymore.”

“You redeveloped it? For John?”

Rudy just swallowed again and held her gaze but didn’t respond. Neither physically or verbally.

She glared at him for several minutes, before tapping her ear bud and opening a line. “Get me Ellison.”


Jacob Ellison, great grandson of the famous Alpha Sentinel Prime James Ellison and his guide Blair Sandburg watched the still form of John Kennex through the glass observation wall.

The three weeks since he’d received a call from Captain Sandra Maldonado had been filled with staring at this man.

This Alpha Sentinel Prime.

He’d heard of the man’s plight months ago but hadn’t thought much of it. It was nothing special, really. Just one more of many hopeless cases to cross his desk at the Sentinel Museum in recent years but— John. John was the first one to hold on for so long within his onlineing zone out.

John was the first sentinel in all the time Jake could remember to come online and survive more than two weeks, to be completely honest.

And he was the first one with such intense mundane involvement in his situation.

Most mundanes, like most sentinels, had become resigned to the death of humanity’s greatest guardians. But something was different about this case. Something drove the mundanes to greater lengths and depths and heights to fix it.

To fix John, and Jake for once allowed himself to be drawn into the sentinel’s plight.

He had barely parked his car outside of the hospital when he’d felt John. Once he had gotten closer and catalogued the detective with his senses, it had been like a part of his great grandfather had returned to him and he’d been certain, absolutely certain, that he could and would do anything for this man. He’d follow him into Hell if John looked at him, much less actually asked him for the company.

Not that that had made fighting the City, the Country, the Powers that Be of pretty much everywhere—who had no fucking business in Sentinel Affairs—over what they could do to an android that no one wanted until they did any easier. But it was worth it.

He glances to one side. They’d taken over the largest burn unit in the hospital for John’s care. The isolation, improved cleanliness, and ventilation have eased John considerably and stabilized his vitals.

They are working on his, well, his guide in the burn unit’s antichamber.

They might be a bit too strong of a word. Dr. Rudy Lom, the guy that came up with the solution, is working on the…guide under the supervision of its, no, his creator.

They hadn’t allowed Nigel Vaughn in the room with…him. Much less allowed him to touch the one they hoped would become the world’s first new alpha guide. No one can forget the XRN fiasco, least of all the son a sentinel.


Rudy turned his attention from the still, black-eyed form of his robotic best friend to the floating holo-bust of the same entity. He entered the final command, flicked a switch and watched those startlingly blue pupils pop into place.

A frown flitted across Dorian’s brow and his head bobbled around a bit midair. “Rudy?”

“I haven’t physically woken you, Dorian. I need— Do you remember the problem? The one we were discussing?”

“The sentinel detective.”

“Right. Right, yeah. And our solution?”

“We rewrote Electronic Empathy and you were going to submit it as a solution to Captain Maldonado for approval and execution.”

“Right, and I did. And she agreed but the changes that the Ellison Foundation required are extensive—”


“We should have expected it really. Not even sexbot skin gives off the pheromones a sentinel would need to bond but someone is up to some freaky stuff because Ellison’s scientists came up with your new skin insanely fast. They even managed to customize it to John’s genetic imprint and! And! how to maintain the new synthetic/organic hybrid skin. And hair! Nanobots, that’s how—.”


“Right, right, sorry. We discussed the changes to your operating systems but we’ve changed your skin and hair, your power core and several of your sub-dermal layers.—Only 2% loss of speed and strength by the way.—Cosmetically you’re the same but— What I am trying to say is that I need to know that you are still okay with this. You technically won’t even be a DRN if we finish this.”

“I understand what’s going on, Rudy, and I’ve already agreed to it.”

“I’ve uploaded some new files. Files that only come from the Ellison Foundation. They’ll give you more—”

“I have already accessed the files and I have assimilated the data. When do we begin?”

Rudy slumped, defeated but not surprised. “An hour. They all want to be here when you meet him.”

“That’ll make it 3AM, Rudy.”

“And—as they keep reminding me—there is no telling when he could destabilize and we lose him. One hour.”


It’s the sound that got his attention first. It called him back from…wherever he’d been. A deep throbbing, like a heart beat almost but from deeper inside the chest cavity. Or inside a thicker chest cavity. Not a human chest cavity.

The…heartbeat was followed by a voice but no breathing. The voice was deep and gentle but there is no sound of lungs. How was this voice being made? A speaker? But there was no reverb or crackle like a standard speaker.

Then there was the smell. Like lightning and blueberries crushed with a bit of mint.

A hand touched his chest. Even through two layers of cloth, he could tell it wasn’t a human hand. It was warm but it had no pulse, no finger prints.

Who was this creature?

He opened his eyes to find blue, soulful eyes looking down at him from a shockingly beautiful face.

John Kennex reached up to touch that amazing face, to make sure it was real. It was. “Guide?”

“My name is Dorian.” The…man smiled softly. “Sentinel.”


  1. What might have been. Sigh.

    Thank you for reviving treasured memories and sparking so many future dreams.

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