By Gerry Kissell
"To sleep, perchance to dream..."
"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe."
Roy's face dripped with rain and blood.
"Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion."
He paused to take a breath.
"I've watched C-Beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears...," He choked, "...in rain." A slight smile. "Time to die."
That's how Rick Deckard remembered it. Roy lowered his head right on cue and died on the spot. A writer couldn't have penned a better ending. And those words, "Time to die". The same spoken both by Leon Kowalski and Roy Batty. In fact Deckard remembered it being said before, back before he earned the nick-name "Slaughter House". Four escaped Nexus 5 replicants had been working in a weapons factory when Deckard had stumbled onto them. After a blood bath, one of the four had been cornered, wounded. It chose to do the job itself. Not that it bothered Deckard. Over a thousand credits each, he'd finally be able to afford a real sheep. He approached the replicant with the intent to finish it off when just before he could, it used a small laser cutter to bore a hole through it's own heart's right ventricle, it uttered those same words. "Time to die." like some sort of banzai call by a samurai as he committed Hari Kari.
Records had shown more replicants had said it at time of retirement. Deckard looked at the lifeless body of the replicant Batty. He then turned to where he expected Gaff to be. But the opposite roof was still.
"Nothing is as it seems."
The voice of Roy Batty said. Deckard turned back to see the talking briefcase sitting now where Roy had been. It's frame still damaged as it had been back on mars. But that hadn't taken place yet.
"Watch your back, Deckard. It's time to die."
A light within the case went dark. Deckard stood and walked away from the dead case and toward the exit.
The stairwell was clear. He descended to street level.
As he stepped out of the building, he suddenly found himself in Oregon. He recognized the spot. It was an old abandoned rest area along the 101.
"Isn't it beautiful, Deckard?"
He turned and saw Rachael sitting on an old bench, her back to him looking at a small rabbit.
"It would be worth a lot of money if it's real."
"You wouldn't sell it, would you?"
Deckard walked up behind her as she continued watching the rabbit. He then drew his blaster from under his coat. Get it right, he thought. Get it right this time, and not let her suffer. The rabbit comes closer and Rachael scoops it up. She turns with it in her arms.
"It's fur is so soft."
Deckard stepped back as he looked at her, re-holstering his weapon. Her face and smile were different. It was the child Rachael.
"Wake up, mister Deckard."
Deckard heard the words from behind him. He turned to see Leon Kowalski.
"Wake up. It's time."
A memory flashed through Deckard's head as he stepped away from Leon. He remembered the words that Leon had said on the street in LA. "Wake up, time to die." Leon had said as he prepared to put two fingers through Deckard's eye sockets into his brain. But something had changed in Leon's voice this time.
Leon said, as he reached for the dodging Deckard.
"It's time to wake up."
Suddenly Deckard remembered. He was aboard the shuttle with the sleeping Rachael child. It was all a cryo-sleep induced dream. He was waking, obviously at the hands of the lab technicians, and soon would be with the young Rachael in the outer colony.
"Mister Deckard, it's time to wake up." A voice said. Deckard slowly opened his eyes. The light was brilliant and caused him pain. "He's coming out." The voice continued.
Deckard slowly turned his head and looked around the room. Someone in a blurry suit approached Deckard.
"Mister Richard M. Deckard."
"Yeah. Are we there?"
"The outer colony."
He tried to focus and could see now that there were four people in suits in the room as well as two technicians.
"Mister Deckard, you're not in the outer colonies. You're on earth. Vacaville prison, Vacaville California. You've just finished a thirteen year prison term for murder."
Deckard was silent as he adjusted his eyes, looking at each face before him. One of the technicians said something to him about cramps, not to try standing for at least an hour. But Deckard could only look at each face of the people before him.
"Prison? What the hell are you talkin about?"
"You were captured while attempting flight from mars. You were tried and found guilty of second degree manslaughter and placed in Vacaville."
"Trial? What trial?"
"Well, you were so far in deep space that the trial took place while you were in transit."
"I was a sleep while I was being tried?"
"You were represented by counsel and with all the evidence, there was little to it. You're own personal records were used against you. It was pretty cut and dry. Your counsel pleaded you guilty with a reduction from first degree to second. They waved the year in transit which left you with twelve years."
"The girl. The little girl that I was with. Where is she?"
"Little girl? There was no record of you having a little girl."
"She wasn't mine, she was..."
"Nothing. Nothing I guess. Just a dream." Deckard rubbed his face.
"You have completed your term, and as of eleven hundred hours this day; march 30th 2033, you're a free man. You'll be given four-hundred credits and your belongings at the gate. If you'll come with us into the next room, where you'll be given a social reinstatement program to help you re-assimilate in to a normal life."
Deckard looked out a window at the far end of the room. He could see the now large city of Vacaville, Solano county. He can't help but think aloud but to himself
"Just when I thought they'd screwed me as much as they could. they go and do this."
"What was that?"
"Nothing. How do I get home to LA?"
"You'll be given transit."
Deckard stood on the street in sector five.
He watched the activity in the relitivly unchanged animal row.
He stepped onto the curb and looked up at the still blinking neon dragon that sat on the side of the small streetside restaurant. The White Dragon still stood where it had years before.
"You no come here in rong time missah Deckah." The old man remembered him, even after all the years.
"You remember me?"
"You usetah come heya ar da time. Bes customer. After porice come, thought you were dead. Whacchu want, eh?"
"Four sushi. With rice. And some hot saki."
The old man brought him his food. But as he tries to eat, he can't help but get a feeling of deja vous.
He turns to see Holden standing no more than two feet behind him, almost the exact same spot that Gaff had stood over a decade before.
Deckard, in his not being surprised by anything fashion, turns back to his meal.
"I thought you were dead." Deckard said sardonically.
"Yeah, well... There's a lot of things you don't know or thgought you did."
"Really? How fascinating."
"There's someone who wants to see you."
"Ask me if I care."
"I'm asking you to meet with them."
"Yes. You don't have to. But it would be awfully nice if you did."
"That's a first," Deckard said as he looked at Holden who stood not budging. "Alright."
Deckard swigged the hot saki and wiped his mouth and turned toward Holden, "Lead on McDuff, let's not keep the enigmatic waiting."
He watched in amusement as he passed over buildings with what was obviously a replicant Dave Holden heading toward the new Tyrell buildings.
"You know Deck, nothing ever was what it seemed. Back when you and I were partners that is."
"You don't say."
"Sarah and Rachael were just a small part of the big picture."
"Big picture? You mean how Sarah Tyrell was to reopen the Tyrell corporation and that she and Rachael were nothing more than the propigatorial creations of a replicant couple aboard the .... that were performing an experiment for doctor Eldon Tyrell. An experiment on replicants ability to reproduce outside the earth's morphogenic pull. An experiment in memory implants in the male, or should I say psychotic implant that lead to murder and was then covered up not because it went wrong but because it went exactly as planned."
"Ah, incidental information. There's much, much more."
"I should be surprised, right?"
"You will be."
"Doctor Eldon Tyrell. Murdered by the renegade replicant Roy Batty, the one you were hunting-- killing him in his suite."
"Old news," He said, raising one eyebrow, realizing the years that had passed. "real old."
"He isn't dead. He never was."
"You don't say? And do you know that you're not my old partner, Dave Holden? I saw the real one die on outer Hollywood over ten years ago."
"No. He wasn't the real Dave Holden either. That's why he turned to the rep-symp's side. He found out the truth. That the original templant Holden was rest up in a nursing home in Bahrn Germany. that all blade runners were themselves, replicants."
"Well, all the original blade runners were replicants. Your old boss wanted to integrate humans in to replace the replicated replicant hunters. He was afraid that eventually the word might get out about the originals. That's why Holden was set up at Tyrell's. He was to be the last. Th only problem is he survived, so the cover-up got even more muddled. What's worse is when humans were brought in to do the work of hunting down replicants, they experienced something that the android hunters didn't. Empathy for the prey. So began what was called the 'curve'. Humans were also much slower than the replicants they hunted. It was a mess and it was all slapping back in the faces of the organizers. So Doctor Tyrell did what any good developer would do."
"He tore it all down and rebuilt it from scratch."
"By murdering all the individuals who were involved in the cover- up and destroying the house that Jack built? What about all the employees that were in the buildings? What about Sarah? What about the replicants in the outer colonies? They're still living beyond the four year life span and are revolting against the humans who were themselves losing their human qualities."
"Incidental and resolved over eight years ago. Tyrell found a way to immitate the morphogenic pull. The replicants are now dying as designed and humans feel sorry for them when they do."
"The mutiny? The children of the replicants?"
"Quashed the year you returned to earth. Some of the children suffered from the original stepfather implants. As planned. Others were offered sanctuary as well as the affected replicants who'd gone beyond their four year life span. They live unknown to the UN in a new colony on Io."
"So, we were all part of some plot to clean up Tyrell's mess, and get the ship back on course."
"Well, essentially. Yes."
The Spinner landed atop the pyramid. Deckard found himself in a familiar setting, the office of doctor Eldon Tyrell. He remembers the last time he was there, with Racheal.
"Are you testing whether Im a replicant or a lesbian, mr. Deckard."
"Just answer the question."
He could almost smell the cigaret smoke.
His flashback is broken by another voice from the past.
"Good afternoon mr. Deckard. I hope that all this hasn't been too much of a shock for you."
Deckard turned to see the thin frame of doctor Eldon Tyrell.
"Nothing shocks me anymore, doctor. Not even the resurrection of the dead. I guess now you've finally reached the level of being a god, or should I say an M.Diety."
"You have a singular wit. It's too bad it wasn't any use against replicants, eh?"
"If you don't mind, Tyrell, I have had a long day."
"Yes. Long day. Twelve years long, I'd say. I am aware of your unfair imprisonment. The murder of the human, Pris-- was not your fault, really. It was ours. But with all situations..."
"Shit rolls down hill. I know all about it."
"You're not taking this personally are you?"
"Thirteen years is a long damn time to be frozen. The whole time I dreamt of all the shit that you brought into my life-- And took away."
"Oh, you sound a little bitter."
"I've seen alot of death since I became a cop..."
"...All of it was due to you."
"So, we shall say that our relationship will not be a romantic one."
"I liked you better when you were dead."
"I was wrong. You're not just a little bitter. It's Rachael. That's what lies behind your bitterness, isn't it? How you must have loved her. I guess I can understand. I too was very fond of her."
"I know what you consider being fond."
"Ah, she and I did have a special relationship, or arrangement. Rachael, as you must know by now, was not my niece."
"What I know, is that you're a sick manipulative bastard, who couldn't have anything that was really alive around so you created your own little automaton, like some twisted version of Walt Disney and his animatronic sex slaves."
"Before you judge what I do, remember, you fell in love with what I created."
"Yes. I did. And it's dead now."
"Are you aware that you just referred to the love of your life as it?"
"Get on with it Tyrell. I'm not hear to discuss my psychological make-up. And you're sure as hell not Freud."
"Actually, mister Deckard, your mind is the primary reason for this meeting."
"What was the last thing you remember before you were frozen?"
"A guy asking me to count back starting from a hundred. I think I got to ninety-four."
Deckard became quiet. Thoughts of the young Rachael being placed in cryo-sleep and how sweet she looked. How peaceful, almost dead like she'd seemed.
"Her," He said in a dream like voice. "Being frozen."
"Ah. You betray your feelings so easily."
"Screw you, Tyrell."
"Of course. Now, please tell me more."
Deckard could remember seeing the system readouts on the cryo-unit and the workers in the lab. He remembered signing papers that released the lab of any responsibility and then an employee dressed in a khaki tunic, approaching him with a fundis. Then retracts from the base of Deckard's spine some fluid, turns and leaves the room.
"Someone removed some fluid."
"Prime genetic material. Perfect when used as a templet for replication."
Deckard grimaces. "What's the game, Tyrell? What the hell are you talking about."
"You were set to go with Rachael to the outer colony, and it seems you did."
" No, I've been locked away..." Deckard looked down and then stood up from the chair. "They copied me."
"Don't play coy. The rep-symps, the bastards wanted to control her, so they replaced me with one of their own."
"Yes. Isn't that amusing?"
"That there's another dower rep-detective with your face on it holding the woman that you love."
"She's a child."
"No. A young woman now," Tyrell gives his thin sardonic smile. "Ripe for the picking."
"Can it Tyrell, why am I here? No more bullshit."
"Yes. Enough. I've asked you here to do something. To do what you do best."
"Find someone? Who'd you lose this time?"
"Oh, I know exactly where they are."
"I want you to kill them. Retire them as you will."
"First off, I'm not a hired thug."
"What do you expect to do mister Deckard? You have a felony conviction. The police will never re-hire you. You'll never obtain a class two license for private work. Maybe you can sell pencils down at Union station?"
"Im finished here." Deckard turned toward the doors to leave.
"Be reasonable, surely we can come to some arrangement."
"You have nothing I could ever want."
"Ah, I can help you get to her," Tyrell said as Deckard stopped at the door. "I can help you get the one thing you've wanted all along. How you must have languished watching her die."
"Sarah, or Rachael."
"Does it matter? They were both the same. She's on Io and I can help you get to her. Or I can destroy you. I'll make certain you'll never get work, you'll be living out of garbage cans if you turn your back on me. Waiting for them to arrest you again. I'm sure the missing files about the deaths of the real Roy Batty and two police officers could resurface when I want them to. I could see to that. But we don't have to go there."
The two men looked at each other for a moment.
"I really did like you better when you were dead." Deckard said through his teeth.
Tyrell smiled again, a thinly veiled victorious smile full of contempt.
"Shall we make a deal then? Name your price."
Deckard stood silent at the door.
"Come, come mister Deckard. It is a given that you want her. Anything else? Money, real estate, power?"
"I want your stink off of me."
"Ah, you'll need money for that," Tyrell sat behind his desk and keyed into a compact computer. "An account, in your name at an undisclosed location. Undisclosed until you've finished the job. Two million credits, in un-negotiated bonds. Waiting for you and Rachael."
"See, you're not too proud. Stop by my secretary's desk on your way out, she'll give you a check and a case. The information that you'll need as well as tickets will be inside. Mister Holden will see to your local transport needs."
"Wait, who's the target?"
"Well, this is where it becomes most complicated. Since the UN and I took control of the blade runner units over the police departments, it's become rather difficult to take any action without their constant scrutinization. So when I received the news of your upcoming release, the plan began to take form. Your importance in this issue is because if I'd sent anyone on my registry, they'd know I was on to them. You are my wild card. Now, as to whom the target is. I musty say with great trepidation that it is someone in high counsel at the UN. We have been plagued for sometime now with small information leakage. Someone for whom has been given a great deal of trust and has access to everything, including power."
"Someone like whom?"
"That is your job mister Deckard. I have a list of those for whom I suspect. You will be given them later."
"A contract killing over corporate espionage?"
"Oh, no. Mister Deckard. It is not mere espionage, there is someone on the UN counsel that is not what he appears."
"This someone is trying to destroy what I have built. Only I may do that."
"Holden told me that the rep-symps had been stopped years ago."
"Of course he thinks that. I told him it had been. No one knows what goes on up there. You will soon enough though. When you're finished that is."
"How can they have replicated without your knowledge? You supervise the templates yourself."
"I didn't oversee your replication. When Sarah destroyed the original pyramids, she was so preoccupied with her plan, she didn't notice that an infiltration had taken place. A leak had led to the procurment of many intregal parts to the replication process. Parts that with the destruction of the buildings would not be missed. This is how they were able to copy you, out there."
"Then it could even be more than one."
"A possible variable. Do not worry, mister Deckard. If you are forced to retire anyone, you will have full authorization. You will find a full re-enstatement with all the papers in the case."
"How will I get close to them?"
"I have given you clearance as a representative of the Tyrell corporation. Full credentials and history work up are contained within the case. How you avoid raising suspicion is up to you."
"I'll have to test them?"
"Yes. You will. Now, if there is nothing else, you should be off."
"There is something else."
"How do I know you're not a replicant?"
"Perhaps you should test me."
"I have a feeling that wouldn't prove anything. Tyrell or not, you couldn't pass an empathy test."
Deckard turned and opened the door to leave.
"I can't help but wonder," Tyrell said with a sad expression. "do you suppose she's fallen for him, the other you? I can't help but wonder wonder if he's familiar with her touches. What do you think?"
Deckard shut the door without looking back at the thin figure with the even thinner smile.
"Happy hunting, mister Deckard."
Holden sat on the hood of the spinner as Deckard exited the pyramid.
"How's business partner?" Holden said grinning.
Deckard ignored Holden and tossed the briefcase onto the floorboard and climbed into the passenger seat.
"Okay," Holden said, closing the latest issue of MONI magazine and bypassing Deckard's attitude. "Suit your self."
Holden climbed behind the stearing column, he tossed the science magazine onto Deckard's lap. Tyrell's face decorated the cover.
"How did he do it? How'd he pull it off?"
"Explaining his death to everyone. How did he get away with it?"
"Wasn't him. The body was presumed to be his, but he explained that he was held against his will by the rep-symps and they'd replaced him. He made it look as though they'd assassinated one of their own."
"That didn't happen."
"Of course not. But they bought it."
The spinner purged from the roof and headed out over the city.
"What about the UN? Did they buy into it too?"
"They had their doubts, but no proof. We do so much business with them though, that it's hard to tell where the UN starts and the Tyrell corporation ends."
"Telling me the truth isn't very smart. I could run my mouth."
"So tell'em. Hell Deckard, you're so far over the curve, no one would believe you."
"You sure about that?"
"Pretty sure." Holden said with a smug smile.
Deckard picked the briefcase up from between his feet and placed it on his lap and, running his thumbs along a long metal bar along the top, he unlocked the clasps, opened it and perused it's contents. There were tickets to New-New York city, a new blaster with palm signature, a cg-encoder and a device that looked rather small but vaguely familiar.
"That's the new Voigt-Kampf. Pretty handy little thing," Holden said as he saw the small device. "when on the hunt and you're trying to travel light."
"Are they needed anymore? I thought all was well in the new order."
"Oh, a few replicants still slip through and make it here illegally. But the cops don't control the blade runner units anymore. We're controlled by a joint venture of Tyrell and the UN."
"Do they know that your a replicant?"
"Sure. It's the only way, and the UN knows it. Humans don't handle the stress well, they feel too much empathy for their victims. I'm a legal." Holden noticed Deckard was now thumbing through a file with pictures. "So, what's the game plan, partner."
"I could tell you, partner, but then I'd have to kill you." Deckard said, emphasizing the word partner.
Holden lit an ersatz cigaret, which caused Deckard to cough.
"Don't mind do you?" Holden asked as he lit the cigaret.
The question seemed to Deckard more rhetorical than genuine, so he didn't respond. Deckard never really liked Holden, and finding out that he'd been a replicant all along only added to the duplicity of Holden's character, and only irritated Deckard that much more. Killing your own kind was the worst kind of homicide to Deckard, not that killing anyone was at anytime morally sound.
TO BE CONTINUED.....