OFF-WORLD NEWS

KippleZone's YouTube Channel

Join us on Facebook!

KippleZone's Pinterest

CITYSPEAK Revisited

Poetry

Blade Runner: The Peter Griffin Cut

Site owners

  • C.A. Chicoine

home‎ > ‎

Awaiting Dawn

by C.A. Chicoine

This fanfiction story uses elements from both the Philip K. Dick novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Ridley Scott's movie, Blade Runner. The story picks up where both stories left offMercerism has been proven to be a fraud and the CEO of the Tyrell Corporation, Doctor Eldon Tyrell, has died.

The bounty hunterblade runner–in this story is Phil Resch, as featured in DADoES. Introduced to this story for the first time is Rep-detect Alec Doyle, an original character created for this story.

In the movie, the story took place in 2019. With Tomorrow Started, I have the new CEO, Ian Locke, coming in from the off-world colonies to straighten out some important matters after Tyrell's death. The trip from Mars to Earth is just a little under two years, thus moving the story forward to 2021. With this story, Awaiting Dawn, we move forward to February, 2022.     

The storyline as presented here is an abbreviated version of the full story–a Reader's Digest version–and is divided between two stories, Tomorrow Started and Awaiting Dawn. Awaiting Dawn is the second half of this DADoES/Blade Runner fanfiction.

Clicking on the origami unicorn at the end of each chapter will return you to the top of this page.


  •  WARNING: Portions of this fanfic contains adult language and explicit sex. 


Thrive!

~ C.A. Chicoine | Massachusetts, March 2012


Phil Resch


Phil Resch is a bounty hunter in PKD's bookDADoES. He is introduced to Rick Deckard in Chapter Ten, when Deckard is brought to the Hall of Justice on Mission Street, San Francisco, California.

He is described as being a tall, fleshless man with hard-etched features, wearing horn-rimmed glasses and a fuzzy Vandyke beard.

Resch and Deckard hunt down Luba Luft together. Deckard comes to the conclusion that Resch is a good bounty hunter and begins to doubt his own abilities. They part ways after Resch retired Luba Luft.


 
Alec Doyle
Alec Doyle is a blade runner. He's an original character created for this story. 


A Merry Little Surge


Los Angeles, February, 2022. 


For Phil Resch, waking up had to be handled delicately–lest the day ahead be fucked. Typically, he’d wake with a merry little surge of electricity piped by automatic alarm from the Penfield mood organ. But this particular morning presented a new and interesting variation. It began with a smile.

“Well, good morning sunshine,” greeted Resch.

“Ready for your morning wake-up call?” teased the blurry entity straddled on his upper legs. 

Resch reached for his glasses on the nightstand beside his bed, but was stopped by the rousing sensation deep within his core. He lay back on the bed–subdued in its essence.

“You’re downtown and you come across a young girl,” he heard her say.

Resch opened his eyes and sat up–but was forced back down.

“Pardon me?” he said.

“You’re downtown and you come across a young girl,” he heard her repeat. “She’s alone, and she’s crying because she can’t find her mother–not without your help. But you’re not helping, you walk right on by. Why is that, Phil?”

“Wait, just wait a minute,” sobered Resch. “Is this a joke? Or maybe some sort of fantasy of yours–a little sexual role-playing?”

“Don’t you recognize your own questions?”

Resch wasn’t sure if it was a skin-job that he took home the night before–to go to bed with before retiring it–or if it was one of his friends pulling a prank on him with a prostitute. Then her figure began to take shape and little by little her face began to form.

“That’s Phil,” she said with a Cheshire cat smile, “overly sensitive. What’s the matter? Can’t get it up?”

Resch then sat back up and reached out to grab a hold of her, but missed. She had worked her way down to the foot of the bed and began pleasuring him. He lay back on the bed once again, overcome by the rush of euphoria-inducing chemicals triggered by her electricity.

After he finished, she continued to suck on him with the same vigor. And when the pleasure had turned to pain, Resch screamed out in agony, sprung up, and then reached down and ripped her head off his manhood. 

Curled in a fetal position, Resch held his groin as he rolled off the side of the bed and onto the floor.

Then a high-pitched scream suddenly pierced through the air–reverberating off the walls throughout the apartment. Resch reached for his blaster from the nightstand and, using the bed as a support, took aim at where he last saw her–but she wasn’t there. The screaming had moved down to the floor, on the other side of the bed.

Resch then quickly hit the floor, lifted the bed spread to get a clear view of the other side, and took aim once again.

But all that he saw was a rubber-like hose flapping on the floor creating a high-pitched sound–like the sound made when you constrict the air released from a balloon–as the air from the stale bedroom passed in through its vacuum hose. 

“Fuck!” he yelled.

He got up, put the blaster back on the nightstand, and then turned off the machine. 

Resch had forgotten all about the new attachment for the Penfield mood organ that he tried on the night before–the Sim-u-lay. After his first go with it, he fell asleep with it still attached. And it overrode the wake-up settings of his Penfield.

“What a nightmare,” Resch said to himself. “You’re going back.”


–                                                –                                                 



Taking a long hot shower was another morning routine that Resch looked forward to. However, this one had to be cut short due to the rash that had developed from the Sim-u-lay incident.

As he was heading back to his bedroom, he heard a chirping coming from the other end of the hall.

“Be right there!” he yelled.

In his bathrobe, Resch walked down the end of the hall and opened the door. He walked over to a massive cage that took up a little over half of the room. Inside it was Buffy, his pet squirrel. 

“Hello there, little fella,” Resch greeted.

Buffy stays in its cage at night and when Resch is at work. When he comes home after work, he lets Buffy run around the apartment.

Resch opened a drawer and removed a prepared breakfast meal for Buffy.

“At least I’ve got you, Buffy,” he said with a smile. “Something real and alive.”

Resch placed a kibble between his teeth and made a clicking noise with his tongue. Buffy climbed up Resch’s chest and gently took the treat. 

After spending some time with Buffy, Resch got up and walked to the living room, turned on the television, and then continued on into the kitchen to brew some coffee.

The Buster Friendly and His Friendly Friends show was the other morning routine that Resch looked forward toafter merrily waking and taking a long hot shower. 

Resch then returned back to his bedroomcursed at the Sim-u-layand searched for his Ubi  among the piles of laundry.  

“Ah,” he said with relief.  

On his way back to the kitchen, he fingered the Ubi on. Then, using its eye-scan, selected various screens and functions. He checked his messages as he sipped his coffee. 

Then something Buster Friendly said caught his attention. 

The TV shouted, “–despite it being two years, almost to the day, since the announcement that Mercerism was a swindle! Isn’t amazing, Amanda?”

“Yess,” agreed Amanda Werner, “dot’s right, Booster! I vuz vatching! It zeemed like it vuz only yestooday!” 

“Yes siree, folks!  You heard right,” pronounced Buster Friendly. “The end of faith has come in our lifetime! Or has it? Here to tell us are, what USA Tomorrow have called the Messengers of Truth, all the way from Mars, representing the Planetary Humanist Association, Yumi Saito and Doctor Halvard Gardener.”  

Resch placed his Ubi on charge at the counter, and then entered the living room with his cup of coffee and sat–fixated on the television.

“Welcome to the show,” said Buster Friendly.  

“Thank you for having us,” responded Yumi Saito.

“First off, for those who may not know, please explain what a Humanist believes–or rather–doesn't believe.”

Humanists have come to the forefront and dominated the air waves ever since the Fall of Mercerism. Representing this movement are Director Yumi Saito, and Executive Director, Doctor Halvard Gardener. They made their flight from off-world to Earth the day the announcement that Mercerism was a fraud. And they’ve been traveling the world, coming to the aid of the millions of Mercerites left abandoned to fend for themselves. 

Humanism, simply put,” began Saito, “is a human-centered approach to life.”

“It’s a philosophy of life which asserts the centrality of the human being that precludes any belief in or reliance upon supernatural powers or fusion through the use of artificial empathy boxes that Mercerites used,” added Gardener.

Human-centered,” reflected Buster Friendly. He then turned to Yumi Saito, and asked, “What is your mission here on Earth–what do you hope to accomplish?”

“To help make it a better world,” she replied. “Our number one concern and goal here is the well-being of humankind, whether here on Earth or off-world.”

“Ever since Mercerism had been exposed for what it is,” interjected Hal Gardener, “there has been an increase in suicide and homicide. And the crime rate has gone up here on Earth exponentially. There has also been an influx of specials entering the Institution of Special Trade Skills of America. And that should be of great concern to the world community.”

“Also, there has been an uprising of commercialism taking advantage of these Mercerites,” added Saito, “particularly with the selling of Dial-A-Deity. It uses similar technology that was used with the empathy boxes. Things have really gotten out of hand. On Earth, science and technology has not been seen in good light since WWT.”

“So, what have the poor Mercerites been doing to cope with the reality that Wilbur Mercer, or rather, Al Jarry is nothing more than a bit player?” 

“There are still some that are in denial of that fact, of course,” answered Gardener. “But, most stumble through their life, disillusioned by religion, looking for comfort in television celebrities–”

“Dey aur loooking for gawd in telahveezun!” chimed in Amanda Werner.

“Well, look no further!” Buster Friendly quipped.

Amanda Werner laughed her famous laugh.  

“What we’re trying to say is,” interrupted Saito, “supernatural beliefs, like Mercerism, extraterrestrial cults, and even Dial-A-Deity have been on the rise as specials search for meaning anywhere they can find it.”

“And programs, such as this, don’t necessarily have their viewers' best interests in mind,” added Gardener. 

“Whoa, whoa, right there!” declared Buster Friendly. “I like to think that we’re doing humanity a service! Just look at our ratings! They’ve skyrocketed since the Fall of Mercerism!”

“See what I mean?” retorted Gardener.

Just then, Resch’s alarm sounded from his Ubi. He got up, looked at the time, then selected a screen and eyed the preprogrammed settings which set into action his final morning tasks; shaving, brushing his teeth, getting dressed, and shutting down various appliances.  

Just before shutting down his television, Resch heard Buster Friendly ask his guests, “To all the thousands of former Mercerites out there, devastated with the news of its fallacies, what words of encouragement can you offer them?”

“It should be viewed not as the end of the world,” replied Saito, “but as a new found freedom–the freedom from dogma. And appreciate the many facets of being human.”


–                                                –                                                 


After Resch got into his spinner, he previewed his text and internet messages on the windshield and listened to the audio/vid messages displayed to the lower right corner of the ScreenShield.

He had just one errand to run before heading to police headquarters. That was to Palmer's, where he bought the Sim-u-lay

“You did read the instructions, right?” asked the clerk.

“Well, of course,” Resch replied, “on the most part. I mean, some of it’s self-explanatory.”  

“Including the, Disassemble and clean before each use, part?” the clerk pointed out.

“Well, you see, I fell asleep with it on after my first–” Resch stopped, and then started over. “Look, I could have gotten seriously injured with this thing had I not yanked it off.”

“You yanked it off?” exclaimed the clerk. “That must have hurt.” 

“It really messed with my head,” he said.

“I bet it did,” the clerk quipped.

“I thought it was a real woman,” defended Resch, “at first.”

“What do you want with a toy like this anyways?” asked the clerk. “Surly, a man of your caliber can get any body he desires, unless–.”

“I thank you for your forthrightness and candor,” began Resch, “but–”

“But?” the clerk echoed, with an inflection.  

“But,” continued Resch, “I certainly haven’t anything, umm … there’s nothing wrong with my uh–”

“Let it out!” she encouraged. 

When he first walked in the store, he tried to avoid having eye contact with her. But it was inevitable. And he was hypnotized.   

“What’s your name?” he asked.

“Dawn,” she replied.

“Well, Dawn,” he said. “Why haven’t I seen you around here before?”

“Because I’m new here,” she smiled.

“That’s obvious.”

“New to the area as well,” Dawn added.

“Where are you from?”

“The east coast,” she replied. “A small town near Boston, Massachusetts.”

“What brings you out here to smoggy Los Angeles–if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Friends,” she replied.

“Friends?”

These friends,” she said, referring to the owners of the shop. 

“Well, welcome to the neighborhood,” said Resch.

One of the owners, Bruno Spinozzi, came up to the counter, and said, “Is he harassing you, my dear?”

“No, I think it’s the other way around,” defended Resch.

“Oh, well that’s alright then,” he winked. To Dawn, he said, “He’s one of our regulars–too regular, if you ask me.”  

“I was just telling Dawn here that they should put better warnings on this gizmo.”

“Yes,” agreed Bruno, “you are probably right. Customers always are. This gizmo is for the big boys, Resch.” 

“Resch?” said Dawn.

“He knows your name and he didn't even tell you his?” asked Bruno. "You're slipping, Resch!"

“I haven’t had the opportunity,” replied Resch. 

“I’m surprised he hasn’t asked you out on a date yet!”

“Why, has he asked you out, Bruno?” Dawn asked, jokingly.

“No, he hasn’t,” he replied. “But he did ask Taro!”

Taro was their Japanese security guard who sat by the door. He was the size of a sumo wrestler. 

“Well, I needed someone to keep Rosie’s hands to herself!” laughed Resch.   

Rosie was Bruno’s wife and co-owner of Palmer’s.

“So, what about it, Resch?” asked Dawn.

“A date?” he said. 

Holding up the re-boxed Sim-u-lay, she replied, “I was referring to this.”

“I’ll take the refund, if you don’t mind.”

“It’ll have to be store credit,” she replied.

“Store credit?” 

“Minus the attachment.” 

“Since when?” asked Resch.

“Since I've been here,” replied Dawn. “Or, you can take me out on a date.”

“Take you out on a date? How’s that going to exchange the value of this product?”

“That’ll come after the date,” she winked.  

Resch got both his refund and a date with Dawn.


–                                                –                                                 


Resch fought his way through the morning traffic to get to police headquarters. And when he got there, there was a little surprise waiting for him by his desk.

“Can I help you,” Resch asked.

A woman dressed in a hat and a long button-down coat stood up from the chair. An umbrella hung on her long arm. She had to be as tall as Resch, six foot, four inches. 

“Mr. Sutton sent me here to deliver this to you,” she replied, handing him a sealed envelope.

“It must be important,” he murmured, half to himself.

Resch couldn’t get over it–two enchanting women in a row. And–with either one of them–with one look into their eyes he could easily fall in love with them. What were the odds? he wondered. 

Resch took the envelope and asked, “Do I need to give you a response to this now? Is that why he had you hand deliver this to me?”

“Everything is explained in the letter inside the envelope,” was her reply.

Resch opened the envelope and began to read the cover letter. As if reading the last will and testament of an old departed relative he’d never known he had, he slowly sat down in the chair behind his desk–never taking his eyes off the paper until the very last word was read.


                                                                   


Chapter Two

Bulbus Oculi



Stewart Sutton stood in awe of what he had before him at the Tyrell Corporation’s Social Robotics Laboratory. To an outsider, it would look more like a couple in a high-tech store than a lab.  

He stood there, face-to-face, staring deeply into her eyes. He was admiring her beauty and grace as she stood there poised before him. She was the same height as him. And she had curly auburn hair with both blonde and red highlights, green eyes, and very healthy light skin. He’d only seen such perfection once before in his life. And now that the first of the Levana series was finally completed, it was there to behold once and for all.

Levana had been finished the past week, but Stewart still had a few more tests to conduct before moving her ahead to the final stage. 

He liked getting to the lab early, before anyone else arrived, to be with Levana. Although he knew that the security cameras were on, it didn’t matter to him–it was a part of life–he’d still feel alone and enjoy the quality time together with her.

Wrapped up in the moment of her final upcoming release, Stewart lost track of time. And into the lab came one of the assistants. Her name was Shawna Campbell. 

Seeing the surprise in Stewart’s eyes, she greeted, “Should I have knocked first?”

“No, not at all,” he bluffed. Then, looking down at his watch, he said, “You’re right on schedule.”

She had blonde hair that she kept up in a bun, blue eyes, and wore horn-rimmed glasses. She was a couple years older than Stewart–but you’d never know it to look at her. She had come down with Stewart from off-world to work with him on this project–the only one, in fact–although her role wasn’t significant. 

She did, however, play a very important role in Stewart’s personal life. She kept him going through the tough times. Ever since his wife died she had been there for him. It was a purely platonic relationship–though it was starting to tread the border as the project was coming to a close.

Shawna approached Stewart, looked him straight in the eyes, and gently, but firmly, grabbed hold of his upper arms, and said, “You’ve come a long way with this Stewart.”

“Yeah, I know,” he replied.

“She’s finally ready. I can feel it–we can all feel it. It’s time to let go of her, Stew.”

Stewart loosened away from her hold, and walked closer to Levana. He reached his hand up to caress her cheek, but stopped short of doing so.

“Yes, I know it is,” he finally replied. “I can feel it too.”

“You know it’s what she would have wanted,” Shawna said. “I know I wouldn’t want you to mourn my death for this long. I’d want you to look back fondly at our memories–but not dwell on them. You need to make new memories.”

There was a long silence as Stewart continued to stare at Levana. Tears began to well up in his eyes.

“And,” continued Shawna, “I’m sure she’d be honored to know that you modeled this new series of Replicant androids after her likeness.”

She walked up beside Stewart, and said, “This series will be the most significant and single most important contribution that the Tyrell Corporation will ever make for society–for humanity. Do you realize that?”

Turning to face Shawna, he replied, “Yes, I know that too.”

Then they stood there, face-to-face, looking into each others’ eyes. They didn’t know how much time had passed between them. For them, time stood still. They were in the moment, lost, but together. 

“Do you know what else I know?” he asked.

But, before she could answer, two lab technicians with one of the lead doctors came in.

They greeted one another and then discussed the progress made and the few remaining tests that needed to be done before the final stage. 

The question Stewart posed to Shawna would remain unanswered–for a time.


–                                                –                                                 


Meanwhile, Ian Locke–CEO of Tyrell Corporation–was in his office preparing for his first meeting of the day with the board of directors. 

“I’m heading to the boardroom,” he told his secretary, as he past by her desk.

In the boardroom, there was a petite young multi-ethnic woman, dressed in black apparel, setting up the buffet with donuts, tarts, and a variety of coffees and teas. 

Ian hooked-up his laptop to the projector and ran through a few slides to be sure the settings were where he wanted them.

Then, as the young woman headed to the other end of the room with a serving tray, she collapsed to the floor. Ian immediately ran to her assistance.

First looking at her face, he noticed her face was flush of color and she had dark rings around her eyes. And the color in her eyes–if she had any to begin with–was gone. It’s like he could see inside the globe of the eye.

“You just hold on,” he comforted her. “I’ll go call for some help.” 

Then she grabbed hold of his arm, and pleaded, “Don’t let me die!”

“I'll be just a–”

“Why are you letting us all die so young?” she interrupted him.

“What are you–” Ian began. But then he realized what she was talking about. He’d seen it before. She was a replicant.

“What are you doing here?” he asked.

From inside her dress, she withdrew a sealed envelope. It was addressed to Ian Locke. She handed it to him, and he read it. It was from Domino.

Domino stated how disappointed he was in him. The DNA sequences and maps for the Nexus 6–the key to extend their life span–had been altered. It didn’t last. The woman–humanoid android–that lay there before Ian was Domino’s test subject. 

Domino gave Ian an ultimatum. If he wanted to save the Tyrell Corporation from financial ruins, then he must save the life of that replicant. He was to repair it, and then send it back to Domino–with the correct DNA sequences and maps

From the looks of things, it didn’t look like Ian had much time to save this replicant. And as far as he knew, this had never been done before. 

Ian would send the replicant down to the lab and have them start to work on it right away. In the meantime, he had to think this through some more. 

It was inevitable that Domino would contact him again. Ian made sure that the DNA strand had a bug in it for the desired results not to last. But he was counting on Domino being caught.

How the replicant got by the Tyrell Corporation's security, and at that level, was only further proof of Domino's influence. 

Could he bring down the Tyrell Corporation, Ian thought to himself. No, he resolved. I won't let him.        


                                                                  


Chapter Three

Space of Silence


Resch and the woman who was waiting for him at his desk moved into a conference room. It is just the two of them. And he was about to administer the Voight-Kampff test on her–as was requested in the letter sent to him by Stewart Sutton. 

He was having trouble asking her the questions written down for him for the test. He’d never had this much trouble before. And he was beginning to wonder if he lost his touch or if the Sim-u-lay did more damage to his brain than he thought.

Similar feelings flowed through him when he first laid eyes on Dawn at Palmer’s. But this time, with this woman, it was much more intense. It was very hard for him not to talk to her.  

But Resch was instructed to give her the Voight-Kampff test and then notify Stewart of the results. He was not to ask her any other questions or strike up a conversation until after he was notified. 

He had to get up and get some water and walk around for a bit before continuing the test.

He first administered the Omega and then the Coleman series. But he hadn’t gotten to the Cummings’ cross-reference–he got stumped. He found it difficult to ask her the tough questions, the most offensive ones.

Selecting question three, he said, “You are given a calf-skin wallet on your birthday.” Both gauges immediately registered past the green and onto the red; the needle swung violently and then subsided.

“I wouldn’t accept it,” she plainly stated. “Also, I’d report whoever gave it to me to the authorities.”

“You become pregnant by a man who promised to marry you,” he stated the next question. “The man goes off with another woman, your best friend; you get an abortion and–”

“I would never have an abortion,” she replied. The needles swung violently into the red. “Life is too precious. It's cruel and you'd have to live with the memory of killing your unborn child for an eternity.”

“You’re downtown and you come across a young girl,” he said next. “She’s alone, and she’s crying because she can’t find her mother–not without your help. But you’re not helping, you walk right on by. Why–”

“I would never walk on by a child in need, ever!” she defended. 

Her responses were emotionally charged and passionate, but not overly so. She was cool, calm and collected. And she didn’t miss a beat.

Somehow, this V.K. session didn’t feel right to Resch. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it. He asked the standard questions, and her responses all added up to her being human. But, deep down inside, there was still some question in him. She was almost too good to be true. 

He decided to call in another blade runner to run a test. His name was Alec Doyle. He had been in the department for four years, and had plenty of experience from working in another precinct out on the East coast for a number of years.

He was introduced and began his session. 

It took Doyle a little less time to get a result, but much longer than the usual case–for a positive.

“She’s a skin-job?” Resch asked Doyle, in shock.

“Yeah,” he nodded, “a beauty, but an andy.”

“I just can’t believe it,” said Resch.

Resch was clearly affected by this. He'd pace the room, look at her through the one-way mirror, and then pace some more while stroking his beard.

“Review the tapes,” suggested Doyle. 

He was referring to the surveillance cameras. If he reviewed the tapes, he might be able to see where it went wrong–what he did wrong.

“I think I’ll try the Boneli Reflex Arc-Test on her,” said Resch.

The reflex-arc uses an audio signal or a light-flash. The subject presses a button responding to the questions and the elapsed time is measured. Elapsed time varies in both the humanoid android and the human. After ten reactions have been measured, a reliable conclusion can be made.

“You mean, it,” Doyle corrected. “I wouldn’t waste your time on that old test. This one’s too quick for that.”

Resch knew he was right. So, instead, he called Stewart to give him the results. And he was hoping that he might have some answers for him as to why he couldn’t tag it. If not, then he’d have to have an exam by the police department doctors.  


“That’s good to hear!” said Stewart, joyfully.

No, it’s not good,” replied Resch. “As I just told you, I didn’t get the positive on her–it, I mean. It was another rep-detect.”

“Don’t worry, my friend,” assured Stewart. “Drive her back to Tyrell’s and then come meet with me in my office. I’ll explain everything.”    

   

–                                                –                                                 


Resch handed Stewart the envelope back with the paperwork filled out. Stewart opened it and gave it a quick run-through. 

“Have a seat,” he said to Resch, while closing the door–not taking his eyes off the paperwork. After he was satisfied with what he read, he said, “I’m anxious to view the tapes. Shall we?”

Resch gestured yes. He was still in the dark as to what this was all about. First Resch shows up to work to find a gorgeous woman waiting for him at his desk, only to find out that he’s to V.K. her. Then, she turns up negative–she is a human. Only something still didn’t set right with him. So he has another rep-detect run the Voight-Kampff on her, and she turns up positive–a humanoid android. And now he has to sit there, with a representative of the Tyrell Corporation, and review the entire session. All he could think about was that he would lose his job because a faulty electrical surge went through his brain from a sex toy.

Look, see here?” Stewart pointed out in the tape. “You stuttered.”

“Yeah, so I stuttered,” said Resch. “What of it?”

“And again,” Stewart pointed out again, “and there!”

Resch’s face couldn’t get any more distorted with confusion and frustration than then.

“You did splendidly!” Stewart declared. 

“I’m so glad you’re pleased, Stewart.”

Stewart turned the tapes off and then faced Resch, square on, with a great big grin.

“I’m sorry, Phil,” said Stewart. “You’re completely oblivious to all that’s been happening to you. Please accept my apology.”

“Okay,” Resch smiled back. “So, what’s going on? Tell me this has all been a joke, because, I sure could use a good laugh about now.” 

“It’s no joke, Phil,” Stewart started. “It’s Levana.” 

Stewart pulled up a demo on the screen for the marketers to send out to potential clients. It pitched and briefly described the features of this new Replicant series called Levana. The series was named after Levana, an ancient Roman divinity of newborn babies. The role of this replicant was to bear children and remain with them as their nanny. The target consumers are those you can’t have children or wish not to bear their children themselves. 

It went on describing their adaptability, covering any race and desired eye and hair color, and so forth.

“But, I don’t understand,” Resch broke in. “It doesn't explain why I couldn’t get a positive response from it and Rowe did.”

“Simple,” started Stewart. “It was your DNA. Everyone has a chemical profile. That is, a hormonal composition containing distinct levels of estrogen, testosterone, dopamine, and serotonin. We implanted just the right match for you in this test subject.”

Resch still looked bewildered, but he got the gist of what Stewart was talking about.

“It gets a little more complicated than that,” smiled Stewart. “But basically, I sent you a love potion–in the form of a replicant. It’ll be helpful for mating purposes.” 

“You mean, when we fuck these things, we can knock them up?” 

“That’s putting it rather crudely, but yes. That’s what they are designed for–to make babies. Also, by them carrying the same chemical profile as the mother, the baby’s attachment will still ultimately be with the mother–there won’t be any confusion. Once the child is born, and the nursing cycle has ended, the chemical profile is then changed to a more neutral one.”

“Well, believe me,” said Resch. “If I was left alone with her much longer, in nine months time, you'd be seeing a little Phil Resch pop out of your test subject.”

“That’s why I asked you not to talk socially with her,” replied Stewart. “Besides, she wasn’t activated.”

Activated?

“Yes, you see–”

“I get it,” interrupted Resch. “So, I don’t get to take her home?”

“Do you want a child, Phil?”

“No, that’s alright,” he laughed. “I'll have one the traditional way. Besides, I’ve had enough stimulation for one day.” 


–                                                –                                                 


After Resch got home from work, he cleaned up, fed Buffy, and then went to go pick up Dawn for their first date together.

He took her up to San Francisco to the Fisherman’s Wharf for some seafood. Resch did most of the talking on the way there. She had that way about her–learning as much as she can about him before revealing anything about herself.

After they ordered drinks, Resch said, “I’ve been doing most of the talking. You must think me a megalomaniac.”

“No, just sizing you up,” replied Dawn. “Besides, I like listening to you.”

“Well, I find you absolutely fascinating.”

“How’s that?” asked Dawn. “I haven’t told you all that much about myself.”

“You don’t have to,” began Resch. “It’s in your eyes.”

There was a long silence between them as they sat there at the table staring into each other’s eyes. One pair of hands found the other. And for a short time, they were transported to some other place–not of this dimension. 

But then they were brought back as the waiter returned with their drinks.

“So, then,” she said, stirring her gimlet, “what do you want to know about me?”   

“When did you move out here?”

“Late last month,” she replied.

“And you just started working at Palmer's–” he asked with an inflection for Dawn to complete his sentence.

“This morning,” she finished for him. 

“And you wanted to get settled in before starting work,” Resch said for her.

“Exactly,” she smiled.

They ordered their meal. And after they filled their bellies with food and drinks, their small talk turned to shared experiences and then to silence. They both were sensing the tension of their physical attraction towards one another. And they both knew that there was something more between them, and they only yearned that the other would say the words to make it so–but they fought the entire time in the car and in the restaurant not wanting to blow it by saying the wrong thing, not sure the other is feeling the same. But Resch wasn’t the kind to hold back. Not when his gut backs up his other senses.

“Let’s go,” smiled Resch, as he grabbed hold of her hand.

They didn’t order dessert there at the restaurant. Instead, he knew of an outdoor place a short distance from there. It would give them a chance to get some open air to help fill the space of silence.

“I’ve been waiting for someone like you,” Resch told her, as they were walking hand-in-hand along the dock.

Dawn stopped and turned to Resch. They looked into each other’s eyes and then embraced and kissed.

They had dessert and talked some more. Then he took her home. It was a long ride back, but it was a blissfully silent time.

“Would you like to come up for some coffee?” she asked him.

“No, thank you,” he replied. “I’ve got to be at work early.”

They kissed.

“Will I see you tomorrow, after work?” he asked, in between kisses.

“I certainly hope so,” she replied, between kisses. “I wish you didn’t have to go.”

“I wouldn’t be a gentleman otherwise,” he replied.

After a long goodbye, they finally parted. Dawn returned to her conapt and Resch to his. 


Before bed, Resch rummaged through his closet looking for a trunk. When he finally found it, he opened it up and searched through it for a box that contained an old item he once used in his youth–an old wind-up Baby Ben alarm clock.      



                                                                  



Getting Creative


When Resch arrived at police headquarters this morning, there was a voice message for him from Captain Bryant.

“Resch, as soon as you get this message come see me in my office,” said Bryant’s recorded voice. “And grab Doyle on your way in.”

Looking over at Doyle across from his desk, Resch said, “The Captain doesn’t sound too happy.”

“Does he ever?” retorted Doyle.

They both walked into Bryant’s office. Walking in after Resch, Doyle closed the door behind them.

“You wanted to see us?” Resch asked with a friendly smile.

“You won’t be so goddamned happy after hearing what I’ve got to say,” barked Bryant.

Resch and Doyle looked at each other then looked around for a chair that wasn’t occupied with files, coats, or briefcases, to sit down in.

“Let’s have it,” sighed Doyle, as he got as comfortable as he could on a wooden stool.  

“Locke, over at the Tyrell Corporation, is having a conniption,” started Bryant, his eyes blinking rapidly. “He wants to know where we’re at with the Domino case. I told him we were working on it. I told him that this case was our number one priority.” Facing Resch with a fierce look on his face, he asked, “I wasn’t wrong in telling him that now, was I Resch? This is your number one priority?”

“Of course it is,” replied Resch. “I’ve been–”

“I’m putting Doyle on the case with you,” interrupted Bryant. “You two are expected at Tyrell’s to meet with Locke this morning at nine.”

“At nine!?” said Resch. “That hardly gives us enough–”

“There’s been a new development,” Bryant loudly interrupted, drowning out Resch’s outburst. Sliding a Waund memory stick across his desk to Resch, he said, “You can get up to date on the way.”

Resch picked up the Waund and headed towards the door. 

Then Bryant had one more thing to say before they left. “You better get creative. I want results this time. Or I’ll know two former blade runners who’ll be working crowd control in the fourth sector.” 


Resch and Doyle listened to the latest goings-on at the Tyrell Corporation. They learned of the ultimatum that Domino gave Locke. They had to think and think fast of a strategy that will work to track down Domino and his cronies. 

One of Doyle’s strengths was thinking on his feet. It helped to get his blood flowing–sending ample amounts of the right stuff to his brain. It was those moments–when on the wire–that he lived for in this job. 

Resch, Doyle and Locke sat in one of the Tyrell boardrooms discussing the latest development. Resch had kept silent for most of the briefing, trying to think of a way out of the chaos that Domino had created. Capture Domino and it would all disappear. He came up with the idea of implanting a tracer on her. Then the replicant could lead them right to Domino. But that was shot-down by both Locke and Doyle. Domino would surely have it examined before letting it anywhere near where he is.

Doyle, on the other hand, was very vocal and asked questions–the right questions. And then his eyes lit up in the fury of a brainstorm.  

“This presents us with an opportunity,” said Doyle. “I know enough about these andys that you can modify their memory implants. So, there’s no need to implant a tracer that will most likely be detectable. What you do is make this andy be our operative.”

“What?” Resch asked. “Do you really want to entrust a skin-job with this valuable data?” 

Ian sat back and listened as he assessed it for himself.

“It is pure psychology,” defended Doyle, “with some bio-informatics mixed in. By replacing some of its memristors with the new ones, the new content wouldn’t be detected.”

Resch’s face was distorted in disbelief as he was left dumbfounded that Locke would even listen to such an outrageous tactic.   

“He might have something there,” said Ian. 

“Are you serious?” Resch asked.

“I’m impressed,” said Ian. Then, looking over at Doyle, he asked, “Where did you go to college?”

“I went to UMass Lowell for criminal justice, and then to the academy,” replied Doyle. “But I’ve taken training programs and technology classes annually, to keep up-to-date on such things.”

“And they haven’t promoted you to a captain yet?” Resch asked with slight sarcasm. Then, looking over at Ian, he said, “Look, if you want to risk all that your company holds dear, then that’s your prerogative.” Then turning back to Doyle, he said, “But I don’t think losing our jobs by taking part in this–” He searched for the right word, and grabbed two, “–ludicrous suggestion is such a bright idea. I don’t know about you, but the thought of spending the rest of my working days in crowd control wasn't what I had in mind for a career move.”

Resch was clearly frustrated. He took a deep breath, faced Locke, and then continued.

“Mr. Locke, I apologize for my little outburst there. But, if Doyle and I had some more time to whiteboard this, and problem solve this rationally–”       

“Listen,” interrupted Doyle, “it can be done.” Then, turning to Locke, he said, “Back at my conapt I have some articles on the subject.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if one of my esteemed doctors had a hand in that study,” said Locke. Then he reached over to the intercom and asked his secretary to send for Doctor Karl Frondt.   

Resch sat there mentally exhausted. He was equally upset at Locke–for even considering such a ludicrous suggestion–and Doyle–for coming up with such the ludicrous plan–as he was at himself–for not coming up with any feasible plan. 

When Doctor Frondt arrived, he was introduced to everyone. He went over the experiment that Doyle had mentioned. Although he wasn’t involved with it, he was familiar with it and had worked with the scientists who wrote it up. He discussed how it could be done, although a lot of what he said went over Doyle’s head, and way over Resch’s–which only frustrated him even more.  

Then Locke got a call from the lab. It was about the female replicant. They were able to save it. And they had begun the process of altering its DNA sequence to extend its life–removing the expiration date.

“Well, that’s good news,” said Locke.

They also located the original records for that model replicant. And they will look to see how they can make it their operative. They’d have to review the past they originally implanted in it to use as anchors, to make this work.

The replicant will act no different than it had before, and remember all that it’s supposed to. Only, now, it will believe it is human but pretend to be a humanoid replicant. And it will have an assignment; to report certain findings to Resch or Doyle about Domino and his plans. 

Resch still didn’t think the plan was going to work. In his mind, he already began visualizing himself in his new suit of armor, face shield, and helmet used for crowd control. What is their insignia, Resch wondered to himself.   

“You’ll feel different after we’ve briefed her,” Doyle said to Resch.

“Briefed, her?” asked Resch.

“We can’t refer to it as an it,” explained Doyle. “When she comes to, she’ll believe she’s human. So, we must go along with it in order for her to pull this off.”  


The replicant was still in recovery and will need at least a day to fully recover to full health. In the meantime, Locke was satisfied. And when the Tyrell Corporation is satisfied, Bryant is satisfied–for the time being. So, they’ve managed to keep their jobs as blade runners for one more day. 

On their way back to the spinner, Doyle felt bad for taking the lead back at the meeting with Locke. After all, this was Resch’s case. Fortunately, Resch understood and held no animosity towards Doyle whatsoever.     

“It’s alright,” said Resch. “Bryant did say to get creative, right?”  


                                                                 



Inseparable Faith


Among the things that Resch and Dawn talked about was their shared passion for video games. Dawn would have to be the hard-core gamer of the two. She had an eclectic collection of retro games and game consoles, from Atari to PlayStation to Nintendo, and computer games.  

And they spent almost an entire evening talking about cinema. They both liked social dramas, thrillers, action and crime movies. 

And they even talked about their fears and insecurities. 

But one thing they didn’t fully delve into was their recent relationships. Resch had only two long-term relationships in his life, the first lasting only six months, the other about two years. And they couldn’t really be considered all that stable. The first one was rocky from the start–he being a rookie in the field, and her lack of support in his pursuit to being a cop. She eventually turned to drugs and died of an over dose. His second relationship was a failed attempt from the beginning. It was one of those open relationships. However, she went contrary to their defined agreement and was spending more time with the other than with him. That lifestyle didn’t turn out to be for him. He might as well stay single and date whomever he pleased, without the excess baggage and obligations.           

Resch invited Dawn to his apartment to share some takeaway pizza. They set the living room floor up with throw pillows and a small end table to use as a table, and situated themselves in front of the television to watch a movie. 

And all the while they were rearranging the living room, Dawn kept on hearing noises coming from somewhere in the building.

“Sounds like you’ve got rats, or a real large rat, rummaging through your building,” commented Dawn.  

“There’s someone I’d like you to meet,” Resch said.

“Oh? Who?” asked Dawn.

“Buffy!”

“This another one of your sex toys?”

“No. This is a living being!”

“Oh, you keep your old girlfriends locked up in your conapt?”

“Right this way,” he said, as he grabbed a hold of her hand and guided her down the long hallway to the other end of his apartment. 

Then they began to hear chirping noises.

“What’s that?” she asked.

Resch opened up the door and turned on the over-head light.

“That’s Buffy!”

“Isn’t he cute!” she exclaimed.

Resch talked affectionately to his pet squirrel. Then he went into the cabinet and got some food for him. 

“Can’t let you out tonight, little fella,” Resch said to Buffy. “Got company.” Then he turned to Dawn and handed her some kibble for her to feed Buffy.    

“Do you have a pet?” he asked. 

“No,” she replied. “We used to.”

We,” asked Resch.

Dawn remained silent for a time while feeding Buffy. She was composing in her mind what she was going to say to him. 

“Her name was Elfie,” Dawn said as she watched Buffy nibble on the kibble, holding it between his paws. “She was a llama. I sold her to move out here.” 

They remained silent a few more moments as Buffy ate his fill.

“Did you know,” Dawn said. “Llamas communicate with a series of ear, body and tail postures?”

“No,” replied Resch. “I can’t say I have.”

Resch was more concerned that she hadn’t answered his query about what she meant by we than with the behaviors of llamas.

Looking at Resch’s chest, she said, “Our pizza’s getting cold.”

Resch closed up the cabinet, turned the over-head light back off, and then exited down the hall back to the cozy living room they had set up. However, it wasn’t looking so cozy any longer. 

Dawn could sense the tension. And she knew that they wouldn’t be able to eat and enjoy the rest of the evening together without first answering his query. 

Resch sat in his arm chair. Dawn sat on the floor in the nest of throw pillows that she arranged earlier. Both of them were preparing each other for the discussion. 

Dawn began.

“His name was Rick. We’d been together since high school. It had been on and off, but we finally got back together for good–in the end.”

Dawn would look at the throw pillows and around the room as if everything she said was written down for her in some dimension that only she could see. She’d occasionally look up at Resch to be sure that he was with her. 

“He’d gotten involved with the Patriots for Liberty, in Massachusetts,” continued Dawn. “There was quite a rebellion going on in New England against the federal government, as I’m sure you’ve read. A little over a year ago, he–umm … he was killed in a skirmish in Bedford.”

Dawn looked up at Resch with a tear in her eye, and told him, “But, I’ve never felt the way I do with you with him or with anyone else.”

She then ran into his arms. Resch held her tightly. And they stayed that way until she collected herself. 

Resch gently released her from his arms and they moved down onto the throw-pillowed floor. And they discussed the relationship some more. And he told her about his past relationships. This strengthened their bond even more. What one another at first feared had turned into an inseparable faith, hope and trust.

Afterwards, Resch warmed up the pizza and they enjoyed some more conversation together. And this time, they talked about another subject they hadn’t touched base on–the future. Part of the future includes their hopes and desires. But, in determining where they wish to be, they must know where they are now–and why.

“Why didn’t you immigrate to the off-world colonies?” asked Resch.

“I didn’t pass the physical,” Dawn replied. “I’m infertile.”

There was a long silence. But it wasn’t an awkward silence. The wheels were turning inside Resch’s head. Dawn wasn’t sure at that particular moment what was going through his mind. So, to break the silence, she asked him the same.

“I’m not sure if I could ever get used to that life style,” he answered, “living on Mars, Europa, Ceres, or any of the space stations. I like the freedom here on Earth, despite it being a hazard to your health. Besides, I haven’t really had the motivation to go off-world.”

He looked at Dawn with a gleam in his eye as he finished his thought from earlier.

“Tell me,” he asked her. “If you could go off-world, would you go?”

“I dunno,” she replied with a wink and a smile. “Maybe, if I had the motivation and the right man to go with.” 

Resch left it at that. 

After they cleaned up their plates and opened up another bottle of wine, they watched a movie together. 

This evening would mark the beginning of their future which would change the course of both their lives in ways that they would never have imagined.    

The movie ended as the night grew old. But there was one more spark of life left in them.      

“Now, about that refund,” said Resch, as he held Dawn in his arms. 

“I dunno,” she winked. “How’s that rash of yours?” 

“I think we’re well healed,” he replied, “if you’re gentle.”

“As a lamb,” she whispered in his ear.


                                                                  


Do Androids Remember Suppressed Memories?


The next morning, after dropping Dawn off at Palmer’s, Resch drove over to the Tyrell Corporation. He wanted to meet with Stewart before the meeting with Doyle, Locke and the female replicant.

“Remember when you asked if I wanted a child?”

“You mean, with Levana?”  

“Yeah.”

“Sure I do,” Stewart replied. “You mentioned something about knocking her up.”

“Were you serious?”

“Well, sure I was,” Stewart answered. Seeing Resch looked serious, he changed his tone to a more professional one. “I mean, we do need some test subjects. And you’d certainly cover the single male category. But, there is a lot of paperwork involved. You’d have to document things and answer some questions on a daily basis for the long haul. We’ll need a comprehensive study done on this series before making it available for the general public.”

“Well, I met this girl,” began Resch. “And let me tell you, she is the one. And last night she tells me that she’s infertile. And that got me to thinking about your project.”

“Have you discussed this with her?” Stewart asked.

“No, I wanted to discuss it with you first, to see if your offer was serious.”

“How long have you two been dating?” Stewart asked.

“It’s like we’ve known each other our entire lives,” Resch spoke quickly. Then he added, “Say, why don’t we double date? You can meet her. And if she has any questions, and I’m sure that she will, it would be a great opportunity for that as well. What do you say?” 

“Well, sure,” Stewart hesitantly replied. “Of course I’d like to meet your girlfriend.”

Stewart was juggling a number of thoughts in his mind simultaneously. He was working on a paper when Resch stopped by. And he also wanted to do all that he could for Resch, but not commit to anything that he wasn’t able to.  

“Oh,” said Stewart, thinking aloud, “then you’d be listed under couples then. We do need more singles, but anything for you Phil. I owe you one.”

“Do you need a date?” Resch asked. “If you do, I know just the woman for you.”

“No thanks,” replied Stewart. “I’m actually starting to see someone. It would be a good opportunity for you to meet her, and see what you think of her.”

Then, as if it had been left on high on the back burner, a thought started to boil over in Stewart’s mind. 

“You know, this qualifies you both–if infertility is the only prohibiting factor keeping her here on Earth–to live off-world. They’ll be an amendment to the law for couples who own a Levana series replicant.”

“She’d be happy to hear that.”

“Good. Here,” he handed Resch a brochure and a vid. “It’s the same information I showed you last week about the series that our marketers will use.” 


After his visit with Stewart, Resch went over to Ian Locke’s office to meet with the female replicant. Doyle had been keeping tabs on its progress, and even making some suggestions. Resch stayed out of it. Besides, he had been too preoccupied with Dawn to let his social life get devoured by this ludicrous idea of Doyle's.                       

“Resch, Doyle,” Ian Locke introduced, “I’d like you to meet Asami Saito.”  

She looked much healthier and alive than when Ian first saw her. She’s like a brand new person–or, in this case, replicant

She was modeled after a Japanese woman. She was petite with dark brown eyes and had sleek, straight dark brown hair that she kept at shoulder length with bangs softly parted to the sides. And she had a perfect complexion and the most pleasant smile you’d ever see.

“These two officers will be your contact,” Locke told her. “I will leave you with them now. They’ll brief you on your assignment. All arrangements have been made for your return to Domino.”

Locke then turned to Resch and Doyle, and said, “She’s in your hands now.”

Doyle briefed Resch at the precinct yesterday about Asami’s daily life and routines when she was in the care of Domino. But unfortunately, any information she had about where Domino operated out of and any names had been suppressed. The technicians at Tyrell’s didn’t have time to access everything. There attention was spent with first trying to save her life, hoping she’d take to the sequence modification, and then, lastly, removing any bits of non-essential data to replace with the new implants. If they’d kept her any longer, Domino would have surly suspected something. They were certain he’d have her checked out anyways. But they didn’t want to create any more suspicion on top of that. 

The doctors felt that she’d recall the memories that were blocked when they were triggered by Domino or his cronies. 

As soon as she did recall and learn Domino’s location, his labs, and names, she’d contact Resch or Doyle from a public vid-phone while on one of her errands. 

Resch was impressed with what they were able to do with Asami. He felt more confident in the plan after talking with her.

After the briefing, they escorted her to the Tyrell docking bay. Domino arranged for one of his drivers to pick her up. 

Asami seeing the driver, she already began to recall some memories. Resch and Doyle could tell by her facial expressions when she looked back at them before entering the limo. For a moment, Resch almost began to feel sorry for her. But he soon shook it off as he reminded himself that she’s just a skin-job.

However, if all goes as planned with Dawn, a skin-job just might be responsible for making them both very happy by having their baby. So ironic, he thought to himself. We create an artificial being to create a natural being.

      


Asami Saito safely arrived at the residence of Wallace Dominowski. She was escorted to the parlor where he sat in his arm chair smoking a cigar.

“My dear,” Domino welcomed. 

He then stood up with the grandest of smiles. 

Two older men–doctors–entered the parlor. They looked her over from a distance at first and then approached her, asking her questions–how she felt, did she remember their names, the names of her housemates, and so on.

Domino put his cigar down and then approached Asami, holding her upper arms firmly.

“Enough with the questions for now,” he told the doctors, but looking only at Asami’s face and eyes. “She said she was fine. Just look at her! She’s never looked better.” Directed at her, he asked, “Did they give you something to hand over to me?”

Asami pulled an envelope from out of her purse and handed it to Domino. He then handed it straight over to one of the doctors. 

“Go work on that, will you?” he instructed them.

“You must be tired, my dear,” Domino said to Asami. “Why don’t you head on over to the compound and relax. I’ll send someone over later to check on you, just to make sure that everything’s alright. Okay?”

She nodded and then exited the parlor. Some more memories had come back to her. She knew where she was heading. And she knew who’d be there when she’d arrive. But instead of feeling as she used to–as she should–she felt an uncomfortable dread. The doctors at the Tyrell Corporation inadvertently removed some data that was not important for her mission, but was important to her interpersonal relations with a particular member in the compound. She’d struggle to try to recall what that was. She knew that there was something missing. But she could not put her finger on it.

Her housemates weren’t told what had happened to Asami. They were only told that she was on a trip and would be back soon. Well, she was back. But one of them, a close friend of hers, noticed a change in her. Hitomi was very receptive. She didn’t say much to Asami at first. She’d watch her reactions and mannerisms. She knew that something happened to her. And she believed Domino had something to do with it. She just didn’t know what.

After greeting her fellow housemates, she went to her room and closed the door. There, she looked around at the familiar things–and the not so familiar things. Something didn’t feel right to her, but she couldn’t be sure what it was.

She took a nap on what must have been her bed, though she couldn’t remember if it in fact it really had been.           

When she woke, she opened her eyes to a different room. She was in a lab. Her first reaction was to call out for Doyle. But, after seeing one of Domino’s doctors walk over to her, she closed her mouth.

“Sleep well?” the doctor asked.

Asami nodded. 

She had no idea how long she had been asleep. She didn’t remember going to the lab either. And she couldn’t be sure that she wasn’t dreaming. 

Then, another doctor walked over to the bed and looked down at her with a smile. And then Domino entered the room. He was full of glee.

“Asami, Asami,” he greeted. “You did it! You brought us the real thing! Now we’ll be able to save the others. There’s nothing that can stop us now.”

“Stop us?” she questioned.

“Your memory hasn’t fully recovered yet, my dear,” said Domino. “But when it does, you’ll be just as happy as I am right now. Just you wait and see.” 

As Asami searched her mind for what she was supposed to recall, the doctors and Domino talked back and forth to one another. 

What am I supposed to remember? How did I get here? That girl back at the house, Hitomi, I don’t think she likes me. Should I be listening to what they’re saying? I’ll need to report this all to Doyle. All these things–and more–ran through her mind simultaneously. 

This overwhelmed her and she passed out.


Confident the DNA sequence was the genuine article, Domino’s doctors began work on the other replicants, from oldest to youngest. It would take time. But it was time worth waiting for. Domino couldn’t have been more pleased with himself than he was now.


When Asami woke again, she was back at the compound in her own bed. She’d wondered if it had all been a dream. But when she went out into the dinning room, she noticed that it was mid-morning.

“The usual?” asked the maid.

Then in walked Hitomi, who had been lounging in the parlor.  

“You remember what that is, don’t you?” Hitomi asked Asami.

Yes, she did remember that. It all started to come back to her–her likes and dislikes.

Then she looked over at Hitomi and just stared at her as some things started flowing back about her.

“Okay,” said the maid. “I’ll get you your breakfast.” And the maid went into the kitchen.

She doesn’t hate me–Hitomi. Asami thought to herself. She’s my best friend. Then, why is she acting so strange towards me–so cold? 

“Did you miss me?” Asami asked Hitomi.

“Did you miss me?” she asked back.

Asami just frowned. 

The maid re-entered the dinning room with tea. Both Asami and Hitomi sat down across from one another and drank some tea together.

“What did he do to you, Mi?” Hitomi asked.

“I’m still trying to work that out in my head,” she replied.

“You did something,” said Hitomi. “Something to do with extending our life, indefinitely. You don’t remember any of that?”

“I brought back an envelope,” Asami replied.

“And your better,” Hitomi said. “You were very sick. We all thought that you were going to die. But you’re better now. Where did they take you, to Point Reyes?”

“Point Reyes?” Asami asked. “I don’t know where I was, honestly.”

“Well, where ever you were, they messed with your head,” Hitomi frowned. “I want my Mi back, do you hear me!?”

Hitomi then stormed out of the dinning room and ran outside, slamming the door shut.

Point Reyes, Asami thought to herself.


When Asami heard that they were going to work on Hitomi next, she asked Domino if she could go watch the doctors work on her, to see what they do. He agreed to let her. He figured she deserved that much.

Hitomi was reluctant to go through with it at first.

“Let me die!” she told Asami. “If they’re going to erase any of my memories of us, I’d rather be dead!”

“It’ll all be okay, Hitomi,” Asami said, as she put her arm around her, trying to comfort her. “With me, it was different. I almost died. So, I must have forgotten some of the memories as a result. But, they’re not lost. I’m slowly remembering things again. Just give me some time.”

As Asami comforted Hitomi, a flash of vision crossed her mind's eye of the two of them embraced in a lovers hold. Taken aback, she instinctively held her tighter–this time for her own comfort.    

Hitomi felt better after Asami's reassurance, knowing that she was going to be with her when they work on her. 

 

On the way to the lab in the limo, Asami asked Domino, “Are we going to Point Reyes?”

“You’re getting your memory back, I see,” he said. “Yes, my dear, Point Reyes. That’s where our new facility is. It’s not too far from here. It’s just a hop, skip and a jump away.”

Yes, her memory was coming back.


                                                                 



A Miraculous Connection

Stewart Sutton invited Resch and Dawn over to his residence for dinner instead of going out. Stewart, and his girlfriend Shawna, felt it would be less distracting and more intimate. 

The estate was nestled among the rolling hills of Chino Hills. It was an early 19th-century Italianate style stucco mansion with a red tiled roof.

Their conversation started out casually: the typical talk about living on Earth versus the off-world colonies; and general overview of one another’s jobs. It certainly turned a couple heads when Dawn mentioned that she worked at a porn shop. She felt obligated to further explain the circumstances of how and why she got the job. 

“I did go to college for classic studies; ancient cultures and mythology. But, then things really started to get violent again back East. So, I joined the resistance movement.”

She looked around the table at everyone’s faces to see if maybe they were sympathetic towards the federal government. When she saw that she hadn’t hit a nerve and that they seemed to be genuinely interested in her story, she continued.

“When my boyfriend was killed, I knew that I had to get out of there. It wasn’t out of fear or a loss of hope,” she reflected. “There were signs all around me–and something deep inside of me–pointing me in the direction of my life’s passion.”

The room went silent after Dawn’s last enunciation echoed against the far wall of the dinning room.  

Then Resch spoke up, to conclude Dawn’s story for Stewart and Shawna.

“Children,” Resch spoke up. “Her passion is children.”

“Yes, I’m sorry,” apologized Dawn. “Since I couldn’t have children of my own, I worked with them in daycare centers or in schools as a teacher’s aide. And I did that, working my way across the country until I finally arrived here. The Spinozzi’s are old friends of the family. They own the shop. And they took me in to live with them. As payment for food and board, I worked at their shop. Initially, I worked when the shop was closed, cleaning and doing the inventory. But, when I gave them the idea to sell video games, they asked if I’d like to work the floor. And the rest, as they say, is history.”

“And she met me,” chimed in Resch, with a proud smile.

“That was her second mistake,” laughed Stewart.

“What was her first mistake?” Resch asked.

“Stopping her work with children, of course,” replied Stewart. “Which brings us to Levana. You reviewed the material I gave Phil?” he asked Dawn.

“Yes, I did,” she replied. “I understand that she was modeled after your late wife.”

Dawn then blushed, as she realized that she probably shouldn’t have said that in front of Shawna. The two of them, Stewart and Shawna, seemed so naturally in tune with one another that it was hard for her to imagine them just starting to date. She wondered if they were anything like her and Resch–who’d fallen in love at first sight. 

Sensing her discomfort, Stewart said, “It’s alright. Shawna is well aware of this project. As a matter of fact, she’d been involved with it almost from the beginning. She’s certainly been my strength throughout all of this.”

Stewart and Shawna reached for one another’s hand at the same time for reassurance.

“But, yes,” he replied with a sigh. “Levana was modeled after my late wife, Helen. She was perfect in every way–at least I thought so,” he smiled. “Don’t get me wrong,” he quickly added. “Shawna, here, is incredible! I cannot imagine myself working on this project without her. And what I found out though all of this was that you simply cannot replace someone. Although I’ve tried–in vain–it just can’t be done. Even when you use the individual’s DNA, it only recreates the physical and some of the tendencies and so forth that helps to make up the personality. It’s the memories that we’ve collected in our past, combined with the memories that we are creating in the present that makes up the bulk of the personality–the person that we’ve come to know and love. But, until we’re able to transplant all those memories from a human to an android, we will never recreate that unique individual.”

Stewart paused for a moment and reflected on what he’d just said. Then he concluded his thought.

“Even if we were able to finally duplicate an individual’s memories and personality, it would only be that individual from that very moment in time. Any new experiences that either the replicant or the original human being would have, would result in new memories unique to that specific individual–ultimately leading to two separately developing personalities. A trauma, for example, could result in a complete change in personality. It gets very complicated, to say the least.”

After a brief silence, Shawna said to Dawn, “Not to change the subject, but I’m curious. What kind of signs did you see that pointed you in the direction of caring for children?” 

Dawn squinted her eyes as if to hone in on the answer. Her response didn’t take long.

“Dreams,” she replied at first, “recurring dreams of holding babies and looking after them. And I’d come across articles in newspapers, or things on television beckoning me, inspiring me, like they were meant for me–and only me–to see.”

She closed her eyes as she remembered some other signs.

“And I noticed that I attract children!” she added.

“You certainly attracted me!” Resch chimed in with a wink, as he took a chomp of a celery stick. 

Resch and Dawn then reached out and held each other’s hand. 

“In the park, for example,” continued Dawn. “I could always count on a toddler wandering up to me to share something; a ball, a funny shaped twig, or a bug.”

“That’s so fascinating,” said Shawna. “Stewart tells me you two knew each other for a long time. How–”

Resch immediately cleared his throat, interrupting Shawna’s question, and then answered for Dawn to help rectify him misleading Stewart into thinking that they’d known each other for a long time.

“No, no,” began Resch. “Actually, what I believe I said was, it seemed like we knew each other for a lifetime–or something to that effect.”  

“You lied to Stewart?” Dawn asked. 

“No, no. I did not lie to Stewart,” defended Resch. “I may have led him to believe that we had known each other a long time. But– Doesn’t it seem like we’ve known each other for–”

“Mr. Philip K. Resch,” scolded Dawn. “You purposely misled Stewart into thinking that we had been together for years to help influence his decision to get us a Levana!”

“Well, in all honesty,” piped in Stewart. “The chemistry between you two didn’t raise a single doubt that he’d lied about this.” 

“True,” supported Shawna. “I wouldn’t have known either. How long have you know each other then, a year? Six months?”

A week,” replied Dawn, giving Resch a look.

Stewart and Shawna were both flabbergasted. Resch just sat there with one hand resting over his face, wishing it all to pass.  

“What do you have to say for yourself?” Dawn asked Resch.  

Resch straightened up in his chair and looked around the table at everyone, stopping at Dawn.   

“Will you just look at this,” said Resch.

“What?” Dawn asked.

“This is our first argument!” he replied.

Everyone laughed.

“You’re right,” Resch said to Dawn. Then he faced Stewart, and said, “I’m sorry I misled you. But, I didn’t think you’d take me serious–not without you first meeting Dawn.”

Resch never felt the way that he did for Dawn with anyone before. And it was the same for Dawn. They never knew that such a strong bond could be felt between two people who’d only just recently met. It did seem to them that they had always known each other their whole lives. There were just the personal histories that they didn’t know–unlike the implants of Tyrell’s replicants. But they knew one another’s likes and dislikes. They couldn’t explain it. And as far as Resch was concerned, it didn’t need an explanation. He just knew how he felt, and that was all he needed.

It wasn’t a relationship where they needed to be together every single moment. They were just as comfortable apart as they were together. That was because; they knew that they’d end up together by the end of the day. And they carried, somewhere deep inside, the other’s essence with them where ever they went–with or without them.

Listening to Resch and Dawn talk about their miraculous connection, and witnessing first hand their relations, Stewart was in awe. If only I could isolate this phenomenon, he thought to himself, then the replicant could ascend one step closer to being fully human

Half-joking, half-serious, he told Resch that he’d like to conduct tests on them. Stewart had only read about such relationships in novels or seen them in movies. As far as he was concerned, relationships don’t just happen, they develop over time as they had between Shawna and him. This fairy tale love just didn’t make sense to him. “It’s conceivable for one person to have such feelings, but not both parties,” Stewart claimed, “unless you’re both suffering from a shared psychosis.”  

Despite their testimonial, that it what they had was the real deal, Resch would not participate in any experiment or study on him and their relationship.

“By analyzing it,” Resch rationalized, “you’d tear it apart and murder the mystery. I can’t let you do that. If this is a mutual psychosis, then we’d be more than happy to remain insanely in love with each other, thank you.”     

After dinner, they took their drinks into the parlor and continued their conversation in there. Stewart talked more about what they need to do before releasing the Levana series to the general public. And, despite Resch and Dawn having just recently met, by the time the test trials would begin, they’d qualify to be a tester

They also discussed their interest migrating to an off-world colony. 

“You’re serious about this then, aren’t you,” Dawn said to Resch.

“As serious as the rising sun,” Resch nodded.

“But, what about your job?” she asked him.

“Well, if things don’t go as planned with the case that I’m on, I’ll be out a job anyways,” Resch said, half-jokingly. “Besides, I can work for a blade runner unit off-world. I’ve got a few connections.”

“Ian seems convinced it’ll work,” interjected Stewart. “He’s certainly impressed with Doyle.”

“Yeah, well, I just think he’s just sore because I was right about you and defended you when this case first blew up,” said Resch.

“No, I don’t believe that,” said Stewart. “Ian’s not an easy man to read, that’s all. I think he likes you well enough. He just needs to get to know you better, as I have.”

Then Shawna gave Stewart a little nudge, and said, “Did you tell them about us?”

“Oh, yes,” recalled Stewart, “Speaking of the off-world colonies, we plan on returning there ourselves, just as soon as the Levana test series launches. After all, most of the test subjects will be off-world. The few left here on Earth will be handled by my associates. And we’re getting married.” 

“Well, congratulations!” said Resch. 

“Yes, congratulations!” said Dawn. “I’m so happy for you both.” 

Handshakes and hugs went all around.

“It would sure be nice to have you two in the neighborhood,” said Stewart.

“Sounds like a plan,” smiled Resch. Looking over at Dawn, he asked, “What do you say, okay?”

“Okay,” smiled Dawn. “Let’s do it!”


                                                                   



Scrutiny


“Here she is,” boasted Domino, “a gift of Man to all mankind; the dawn of a new era.”

“The coming dawn, perhaps,” he was corrected. “But we still have yet to make a final adjustment.”

Domino was at his lab in Point Reyes meeting with Doctor Montague Hilbourne, a neurologist– neural engineering being one of his specialties.

“The coming dawn,” Domino echoed. “It’s tomorrow started, my esteemed Doctor!”

Hilbourne approached Asami and studied her up close as if she were a slave being sold on the slave market.

“You’d better have her prepped,” said Hilbourne. “I have other appointments this afternoon.”

“We won’t be using her,” replied Domino. “She’s been through enough already. Your subject is in the next room, all prepped and waiting.”

Domino was referring to Asami’s friend, Hitomi. As far as she knew, Hitami was only going in for a life extension. But what they had in mind was something completely different–in addition to a life extension.

Domino noticed a look of deep concern on Asami’s face. However, he maintained his attention with the doctor.

“Right this way, Doctor,” Domino motioned with his hand to the makeshift operating room.

After Hilbourne removed his coat, he entered the operating room with his briefcase in hand. Domino then turned to Asami, and said, “Don’t you worry yourself one bit, my dear. She’ll come out a brand new Hitomi. Just wait and see.”

Domino instructed one of his men to take Asami out to do some shopping while Hitomi was being worked on.

This was the opportunity Asami had been looking for. She now has some names and locations to report back to Resch and Doyle with. All she had to do was lose the bodyguard long enough to make the call. But that didn’t come as easily as she had hoped; he followed her into every department store and shop.

Finally she had a break. As Domino’s man eyed Palmer’s Pornatopia, she took advantage of that opportunity to make her call.

She was very nervous and her hands were shaking. She had to dial the number twice because she misdialed. But, when she finally got through to the LAPD, she was put on hold as the station’s operator tried to locate Resch or Doyle.

Waiting on the line seemed to take forever. She kept looking around, keeping an eye out for Domino’s man. When the operator finally came back on line, she told Asami that Resch was in a meeting. But they were still trying to locate Doyle. She was asked if she’d still like to hold. By then, however, Domino’s man abruptly exited Palmer’s. She told the operator that she’d call back later and rang off before he saw her.

She walked out of the booth and turned and looked at a store window, pretending to window shop. Domino’s man saw her and went up to her. He grabbed hold of her upper arm, turned her around to face him, and pulled her up close. He had an angry look in his eyes.

“You, uh…wanna take a ride?” he asked her.

“Yes,” she replied with fierce eyes, as she pried her arm from him, “back to Point Reyes.”

They stared each other down for a moment, Asami standing her ground. He backed down. Then they headed to the limo.               

 

Domino’s man took her back to the lab. By that time, Hitomi was in a different room being tested. Asami followed the man into another room where Domino and another one of his men were sitting and facing a large picture window that looked into another room. It was a two-way mirror, like an interrogation room. In the other room were Hitomi and a man. They were at a table, sitting across from one another, with a machine between them–a Voight-Kampff machine.

She was being asked questions or given scenarios. Asami did not understand the significance of some of them. And there were some responses that Hitomi gave that Asami did not understand either.

Other than that, Hitomi appeared to be okay, in Asami’s eyes. What ever it was they did to her, it hadn’t affected her personality, she thought to herself. Asami kept her eyes on Hitomi through the window the whole time.

After a few minutes, Domino turned to his man that had been escorting Asami, and said, “You’re back early.”

The man briefly explained where they went and what they did.

“She looked bored,” the man defended.

“Take her to a museum,” Domino told him.

“What museum?” he asked.

“Any museum, you fool,” Domino barked back. “Take her to the art museum. There’s an exhibition there, Becoming Edvard Munch: Influence, Anxiety, and Myth.”

Reluctantly, Domino’s man and Asami left for the museum. He didn’t want to go to any museum. And she wanted to stay there at the lab and be there for Hitomi. But she thought too that maybe she’d be able to reach Resch or Doyle this time. So, she didn’t speak up to say what she’d like to do–as if she had a choice in the matter.

 

At the art museum, Asami took her time looking at each piece of art. At first she did it with the hope to bore the bodyguard. But then inside a genuine interest in the art grew. Many things ran through her mind. She’d interpret the best she could some of the abstract pieces, while the Realists pieces were self-evident–but found that they were thought provoking as well.   

Eventually, Domino’s man got fed up and told her he’d be in the limo when she was ready–and not to take long.

She searched the handout of the floor plan of the museum for a phone. There was one in the main lobby. But, to give Domino’s man time to exit the building, she’d walk through the exhibits, coming out to the other end of the lobby.

On the way there, she’d stop and marvel at the statues of marble. How life-like they looked. These must have been the first replicants, she thought to herself. Although they were inanimate, she could imagine they spoke to those who would listen.

Asami lost track of time being immersed in the art of man. Realizing this, she headed straight to the lobby, walking by the remaining art with mental blinders so as not to get distracted, and feeling guilty doing so–like she were insulting the pieces of art by not giving them the deserved attention as she had the other works before them.

When she reached the phone, she made her call through to the LAPD on the first try. Doyle answered.

“We’ve been waiting on pins and needles for your call,” stated Doyle. “Is everything alright?”

“Pins and needles?” asked Asami.

“It’s a figure of speech,” replied Doyle. “And an outdated one at that.”

She told him the names of people, where it was she was staying, and where the lab was located.

Asami told Doyle that they–Domino and his men–don’t suspect anything. And she told him about a new experiment that they’re conducting on her friend.

“Friend?” questioned Doyle.

“It’s funny,” said Asami, “I didn’t remember much about her at first. But, little-by-little, some things came back to me.”

She went on to explain what she saw in the lab. Doyle figured that they must be giving her a Voight-Kampff test. He just didn’t know why. And when he thought this, he also spoke it aloud.

Asami asked her what this Voight-Kampff test was. He briefly explained to her what it was. As he was talking, a new development started formulating in her mind. She then asked him if she was a replicant.

“Now, what would make you think that?” asked Doyle.

But, before they could say anymore, she saw Domino’s man walking into the lobby towards her in the phone booth. He was only ten-feet from her, when she told Doyle, “I’ve been spotted. I’ve got to go.” And she rang off.

Domino’s man opened the phone booth door, and said, “Ready to go?”

“Yes, I’m ready now,” she replied, nervously.

 

Domino’s man drove them back to the lab. There, she was able to see and talk to Hitomi.

“There you are,” Asami said to Hitomi, with a sigh of relief. “How are you feeling?”

“I feel fine,” she replied with a smile. “Actually, I feel reinvigorated!”

“How about your memories?” she asked her.

Hitomi the reached over and gave Asami a peck on the lips, and replied with a smile, “Never better.”

 

Back at Domino’s, Asami’s escort went to speak with Domino. He was in the library. He was on the library ladder, perusing the book titles lined up on the shelf, running his fingers across their bumpy spines, searching for a book.

“Did you know,” said Domino, as he pulled a book from the shelf, “that the average person reads less than one-hundred books in his or her lifetime, when we are capable of reading a few thousand?”

“No, sir,” he replied.

“Well, now you do. Here,” he said, as he handed him a book. “Explore a new world.”

“Thank you?” he replied. “Umm, there’s something you should know.”

“Oh? What is it?”

“I found Asami making a telephone call in the lobby at the museum.”

“A telephone call,” echoed Domino. “How interesting. How very interesting.”

                                                                   



Voice of Reason

     

When Dawn moved out to California from Massachusetts she could only bring so many video games with her. The majority of her paraphernalia; video games and consoles, figures, and her many books and magazines were left behind stored at a friend’s facility. And when she left, she knew deep inside she’d never see them again. She told them that, if they didn’t hear back from her in a few years’ time, that they could do with it as they pleased. She knew they could get some good money for it–if not, then certainly make a neighborhood of gamers happy for the rest of their lives. 

“We couldn’t take them all off-world,” reasoned Dawn.

“Yeah, but it’s such a shame to leave it all behind,” said Resch.

Dawn moved in with Resch. They figured; why wait? They might as well learn each other’s idiosyncrasies now, before moving off-world together. There’d be enough to adapt to living out there. Besides, she’d been sleeping there every night anyways.

“So, tell me about your day?” asked Dawn.

“My day,” Resch reflected, as he took a sip from his glass of wine. “Well, we got a break in the case. We’ve got names and we’ve got locations. But he refuses to move in.”

“Your partner?” asked Dawn.

“Doyle,” said Resch. “Yeah, he wants to learn as much as he can about Domino’s network. So far, they don’t suspect it being an informant.”

“What’s her name?”

“Its name is Asami,” replied Resch.

“Why do you call her an it,” asked Dawn. “Despite her being a replicant, she was made a woman. You have more respect for your spinner than you do–”

“Listen,” interrupted Resch, rather harshly. Then he closed his eyes and took a deep breath to calm his nerves. “Spinners and hover cars don’t have minds of their own and go around killing people,” continued Resch, with a masked smile. “If I go around respecting these things, I’d be out of a job–and probably my life.”

“I’m beginning to have second thoughts about this, Resch,” replied Dawn.

“About what?” he asked.

“Levana,” she replied.  

“Levana?” he asked. “What’s that got to do with this?”

Everything, Resch,” she replied. “Don’t you see? If you don’t have any respect for Levana, how do you think our child is going to behave towards her? He won’t know the difference. And he’d probably treat other women like you do androids–like objects, like slaves.”

Resch was dumbfounded. He took a last swallow of wine, placed his empty glass on the coffee table, and then got up off the couch. He combed his fingers through his hair as he thought about what he was getting himself into. Dawn had a point. But it went against all that he believed–or, what he was supposed to believe.  

Dawn got up off the couch and hugged Resch from behind him. He reached his hands over hers and held them.

“What makes you think we’re having a boy?” he asked in a low tone to indicate he wasn’t avoiding the subject at hand.

“Didn’t you always want a son?” she asked him.

Resch nodded and sighed a slight smile.

Dawn respected his silence for a time as they stood there in a here for you embrace, pivoting back and forth together ever so tenderly.

Then, still in their embrace, Resch turned around to face her.

“You’re all I’ve been able to think about,” he started, “even when you’re here in my arms. “And, I can see us having a lot of children together. I can’t help but get that image out of my mind–you know, from that old movie we watched the other night, that family living out there on a stretch of prairie? I know that we can’t live the way they did back then. But, it’s sort of similar, you know, living on the frontier of the solar system. And, even though that family did have a former slave as their servant; taking care of the house work and the children, the kids had a lot of respect for her. Do you see what I’m getting at?”

“Resch, that was a movie,” said Dawn.

“Based on a book,” he defended.

“Have you read the book?” she asked. “Besides, the story wasn’t about Grace.”

Resch gave Dawn a gentle squeeze and then released her. He walked into the kitchen, picked up the empty bottle of wine from earlier, looked at the label, then placed it back down on the counter. And he couldn’t help but think of Domino. Almost every lead they had to Domino dealt with wine or wineries. He picked the bottle of wine up again and studied the label. It had an illustration of a cave or a catacomb on the label with a monk, presumably, holding a candle in front of a shelf stocked with bottles of wine.

He hadn’t really thought of replicants as being slaves. To him, they were killers, murderous thieves in the night. They were on the run and dangerous. They were rogue skin-jobs who escaped their assigned positions as servants. “Servants,” Resch mumbled aloud to himself.

“Slaves,” said Dawn, standing at the kitchen entrance.        

Resch placed the bottle of wine back down on the counter again and looked up at Dawn.

“I can’t do this,” barked Resch.

“Why are you getting upset at me?” she asked.

“Oh, I’m not,” he said apologetically as he approached Dawn. “It’s Sutton.”

“Stewart?”

“He must be mad,” he continued, “creating these replicants to have our babies and raise them. Just think of what one of those things could do to our children. No, I don’t like it. I’m sorry.”

“What … what are going to do then, Resch?” she asked with tears welling in her eyes.

With a dark look on his face, he looked at Dawn’s face. Then he looked over at the clock. Then he looked back over at Dawn, and said, “It’s late.”

He then walked by Dawn standing at the kitchen doorway and in through the living room to the bathroom. There, he took a long hot shower before getting ready for bed.

When he got out, Dawn was sitting in front of the bureau mirror in their bedroom, already in her nightgown. She took her turn in the bathroom. Then she joined Resch in bed.

Resch turned to Dawn, and said, “Give me some time to sort through this, okay? I’m sure we’ll come to some sort of agreement on this.”

“Not to sound like a brat,” replied Dawn, “but I do stand firm on what I said. Think of our child.”

Then she reached over and gave him a kiss on the cheek and cuddled up to him.

“You didn’t ask how my day went,” she told him.

Reaching his arm around her, he asked, “How was your day, my dear?”

“The same routine and customers,” she replied. “Although, there was this one guy who came in and tried picking me up.”

Resch, at first, didn’t react to this. He figured she was just trying to get back at him, trying to make him jealous.

“No, really,” she said, sitting up in bed to look him straight in the face. “I’m serious! A man came in and wanted me to go for a ride with him.”

“What?”

“Yeah, this guy came in and looked around. At first I thought he was looking for something to steal, so I kept an eye on him. I guess he thought I was checking him out. He came up to me at the counter and asked me if I wanted to go for a ride. I told him, no thank you. But he persisted. He then told me he had an Asian chick with him and we could have a threesome.”

“Come on, are you serious!?” asked Resch, sitting up in bed.

“Hell yeah!” she replied.

“So, what did you do? Where was Taro during all of this?”

“Taro wasn’t working,” she replied. “But, Bruno was there. He saw that the man was giving me a hard time, and he came out from the back room to take care of him. He threw him out the door like there was no tomorrow!” she laughed. “We got it all on surveillance, so Taro will know to look out for him–if he dares to come back again.”

With a smirk on his face, he asked, “Did you get a look at the Asian chick?”

She slapped him on the face, striking him harder than she intended. They both laughed. Then they kissed. Then they frolicked. And one thing led to another.

But in the back of his mind he had an important decision to make. His attitude towards replicants had to change. And he couldn’t help but think of the comparison she made of them as being slaves. To him they were a device–no more a slave than a calculator or computer. 

And he also had Domino fermenting in his mind. He had an aching suspicion that there was some connection between his operations and wine, but he just couldn’t put his finger on it.

Blending the two could either produce a delicious French Bordeaux wine or fantastic vinegar.

 

The next morning, as they both got ready for work, instead of listening to Buster Friendly and His Friendly Friends, Resch listened to Dawn talk about slavery. With her interest in history, she was like a walking book of historical facts. Slavery had existed in many cultures since the dawn of man. And using replicants as slaves was just an evolution based on the same theme.

Resch wasn’t about to buy into it so easily, but he’d listen to her perspective just the same. And he’d think about it and reach his own conclusions. He told Dawn that he’d think more about it, and that he’d talk with Stewart some more about Levana.

“Keep an open mind, my darling Resch,” she told him with a kiss. “You can expand your perspective if you really want to.” Then she hugged him, her head to his chest–listening to his heartbeat–and added, “Just think about it. You wouldn’t arrest an innocent person walking down the street. And you’d treat them with the respect that they deserve. The same should apply to an innocent replicant. After all, now-a-days they’re so close to being human that you can hardly tell them apart from us.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of,” responded Resch.

“What I mean is,” clarified Dawn, “you could easily mistaken them and offend a real human. But if you acted respectful towards everyone–human and replicant alike–you wouldn’t find yourself in such a situation. That’s all.”  

“Now I know what I’ve been missing all these years,” concluded Resch, “the voice of reason.”

 

                                                                    



Chapter Ten

In The Bowels of Hell

 

“Send for Asami,” Domino told one of his men. 

A couple of days have passed since they first worked on Hitomi. And after some more testing they were very happy with the results.

And they were keeping a close eye on Asami as well, periodically checking her vital signs and mental health status. And they even ran another brain scan to look for any anomalies or memristors that the Tyrell Corporation may have implanted in her. But they found nothing. 

Those findings did relieve Domino’s suspicions a tad–long enough for him to begin rationalizing her using the phone at the museum. After all, his man didn’t directly ask her who she was calling. She might have been phoning him, although unlikely, he thought to himself. Maybe she called someone at the compound?       

Domino had no idea. And he didn’t want to ask her after the fact; it may raise some suspicion in her–if she was notifying someone at Tyrell’s. What he’d do is, provide her with another opportunity to use a public phone. But this time, she’d be bugged.

“Asami!” greeted Domino, as she stepped into his study. “How are you feeling today?”

“I am feeling fine,” she replied with a bow.

“I know, I know,” he said, as if he’d read her mind, “the tests! I promise you, in time the tests will be few and far between. We just need to be sure that the treatment you received at the Tyrell Corporation has been effective.”

He motioned for her to come further into his study, as he stood up from his chair by the fireplace. They met at the center. He held both her hands in his.

“I have something for you,” he told her. “It’s for all that you’ve been through, my dear, and to show my appreciation for your patience. I have never met a more calm and peaceful woman–and stunningly beautiful, I may add. You have a way of brightening the room with just your presence.”

He kissed her on the cheek and then guided her to a loveseat. He then walked over to his desk and retrieved a box. Then he handed her the box.

She undid the ribbon and opened the box. Inside were a necklace and a pair of matching earrings. Her face lit up.

“Thank you!” she said. “They are absolutely beautiful.”

She automatically turned around as he helped her with the necklace.

“And here,” he said, as he handed her an envelope from his smoking jacket.

Inside the envelope was a gift card.

“I cancelled your appointment scheduled today,” said Domino. “So, instead, you can go to the mall. I have a driver waiting for you whenever you’re ready.”

Asami thanked him again and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

Before she left, Domino said, “If you would do me the honor and wear it out today and think of me?”

“Yes, I shall,” she replied as she gave him a bow.

 

Over the last two days, there wasn’t much new information to pass along to Resch and Doyle. But she figured she’d check in to let them know that she was alright.

She noticed that Domino’s man kept his distance and would let her roam freely. So she took an advantage of that opportunity and called the police headquarters. She was speaking with Doyle, but Resch was there also listening in.

“It sounded like he suspected something,” said Doyle, “otherwise, it wouldn’t make sense to do another brain scan. Good work in picking that up.”

“He hasn’t taken me out to any other locations,” she told him. Then she turned her head, looking out for Domino’s man. Then suddenly there was a loud high-pitched ringing in her ear.

“What was that?” Doyle abruptly asked.

“You heard that too?” she asked. “I thought it was just a ringing in my ear.”

“Is it possible that you’re bugged?” he asked her. “Are you wearing anything new today?”

“Just this necklace and these earrings,” she replied.

Just then, Domino’s man ran to the vid-phone booth and grabbed a hold of Asami and pulled her out.

“Time to go,” he told her between gritted teeth.

“They’re on to her,” Doyle told Resch. “We’ve gotta make our move now.”

As Doyle made the calls he needed to get the forces together to start the raid, Resch was reviewing the vid-phone feed and traced the call. As he got a still shot of Domino’s man, he recognized him right away. It was the same man who tried to pick up Dawn the other day. She sent him a copy of the photo from Palmer’s surveillance camera as a joke–saying that she didn’t need a ride home from work that day, he’d give her ride.

 

As the limo landed, Asami ran for the compound. The others were in their rooms packing their essentials in back packs. Then Hitomi saw her come in.

“Hey, what’s going on?” she asked Asami.

“I’m in danger,” she told her. “They’re after me. You’ve got to help hide me.”

“Why should I?” Hitomi asked with a distorted face. “You hardly even remember me.”

“Hitomi,” she pleaded. “I’m sorry, I really am. But, I’m not who I–”

Just then, Domino with his men busted in. His men both grabbed Asami and carried her to her room.

“Asami,” barked Domino. “You really disappoint me.”

Then he slapped her face hard, sending her flying onto her bed.

“How did they do it!?” he demanded.

“Do what?” she cried.

Bent over her, about to strike her again, he screamed, “You’re an informant, blasted!” Then he straightened up and fixed his coat and tie back in place. “It’d be a shame to waste you,” he said. “No matter, we’ll have your memories erased–completely.”

“You can’t!” Asami pleaded.

“We can and we will,” Domino told her.

“No, I mean it won’t work,” she then took a hard swallow as blood streamed from the corner of her mouth.

After staring at her long and hard, Domino asked, “What do you mean? What did they do to you?”

“They did nothing to me,” she replied. “I’m not a replicant, I am human.”

Then Domino busted out laughing.

“You mean to tell me,” he said in between fits of laughter, “you think you’re human? Well! Have I got news for you, deary! They really messed with your head over there at Tyrell’s. I didn’t think they had it in them. I underestimated those bastards.”

One of Domino’s men came into the room and whispered something into his ear.

“We haven’t got time to get into this now,” he said to the room. Then, facing Asami, he said, “I’ll give you a choice, Asami. You can come with me and be safe. Of course, you’ll still have your memories erased. Or, you can stay here. And when the blade runners arrive, and try to convince them that you’re human. Your choice.”

As Domino and his men exited her room, he yelled to the others, “To the caves, now! Take what you have in hand! Come on, let’s go!”

 

The LAPD managed to get to the lab before they had time to make a run. Their equipment was seized, and the doctors and lab techs were taken into custody.

When Doyle and Resch got to Domino’s compound, everyone was gone.

“I don’t understand,” said Doyle. “Where did everyone go?”

As planned, the sky surrounding the compound was patrolled, and all roads leading to and from the Domino compound were blocked. There was no place for anyone to go. And then it dawned on Resch.

Underground,” said Resch. “Domino uses an underground network of caves!”

Doyle was about to ask him how he knew that, but instead followed Resch's lead to search for an entrance leading underground. Doyle had the troops canvas the area and to look for any openings that lead underground–no matter how small.

About twenty minutes later, an entrance that a human–or replicant–could fit in was finally found. Two men were assigned to go with Resch and Doyle. The others were told to remain there at the compound in case anyone returns or there were some stragglers.

Resch led the group as they made there way through the cave.

“How did you figure this out?” Doyle asked Resch.

“It’s a long story,” replied Resch. “But let’s just say that, like a number of things in my life these days, it dawned on me.”   

 

Meanwhile, Domino and his followers were far enough ahead to stop for a rest to catch their breath.

“We’re stopping here for a brief recess,” announced Domino. “For those of us who are human,” he added under his breath.

Domino looked over at Asami leaning against the wall of the cave.

“I think I’ll make you mine,” he said to her, “after I’ve had your memories erased.”

Hitomi was also standing by and heard what he had said. Domino took notice, and said to her, “It’s time I had some of that skin-job for myself.”

One of Domino’s men spoke up, and said, “We really should get a move on. I don’t think–”

“You’re right about one thing,” interrupted Domino. “You don’t think. I don’t pay you to think. I–”

Just then, one of his scouts, who lagged behind to monitor the cave entrance, caught up with them. He told them that they’re only ten minutes behind and gaining fast.

“Break’s over!” announced Domino. “Let’s get a move on!”

Domino and his followers were to meet up with another one of his groups some miles from where they were. From there, he would send a tracker to a number of locations to secure a place for them to stay until Domino could reach his contacts to reestablish himself above ground. Now that his network of tunnels was discovered, he’d have to regroup.

But, in Domino’s mind, all was not lost. After all, he had made some great strides the past year. He finally got a hold of the DNA sequence to extend the lives of his Nexus Six Replicants. And now he also had an implant, thanks to Doctor Montague Hilbourne, that would jump start an empathetic response to discriminative stimuli–making a replicant more human than human, indeed. Although, testing on the latter was still under development–but he was hopeful. Hitomi's responses to the Voight-Kampff test worked. But she still lacked empathy in practice. It's like she knew better but chose not to act otherwise.     

The human counterparts of Domino’s following were slowing the group down. Between the unexpected bathroom breaks and being physically out of shape–and the lack of oxygen didn’t make matters any easier for them–they allowed Resch and Doyle to catch up.

“Domino!” yelled Resch. “Give yourself up!”

“Resch, is that you?” asked Domino with a slight inflection.

“That’s right,” he replied.

“We haven’t been properly introduced,” said Domino. “So, I hope you don’t think it rude of me to have to ditch you behind once again.”

“Where you off to?” asked Resch.

“Looks like the bowels of Hell,” he replied. “I like you, Resch. You sound like a good man. And it would please me no greater than for you to turn right around and leave the cave the same way you came.”

“I’m afraid we can’t do that,” said Resch.

“Well, it wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve been disappointed today,” said Domino.

Then, with his laser tube, he shot in the direction of Resch’s voice. Then he yelled, “Run for cover!”

Everyone scattered. Domino’s men open fired on Resch, Doyle and their two men. And they returned fire.

When the laser refracting off the walls got to be too much, everyone held their fire until all was silent. It was then that they all knew that it had to be a fight fought in silence. Each had to listen where the other was. Get a clear shot. And then fire.

It was a long suspenseful time spent in that cavern where the moments seemed like hours. And each breath they took could have been their last. Both Resch and Doyle made their way down into the cavern as the other two covered them from above.

Domino happened to work his way deeper into the cave near Hitomi. She, of course, saw him first–with her perfect eyes, slightly enhanced for night vision. And she took advantage of that opportunity to have revenge upon Domino.

She quickly grabbed the laser tube from Domino and then pushed him against the wall with all her might, knocking his head.

“Wha–” he began, “What are you doing?” he whispered to Hitomi.

Then she immediately grabbed hold of his throat and began to strangle him to death. Domino was a big man, but the grip she had him in and the fury in her eyes stunned him.

“This is for what you did to Asami,” she replied.

His choking noises and the struggling and kicking of his feet gave their position away. No one else knew what was going on or who was struggling. So no one dared to shoot.

But Resch and Doyle knew it wasn’t either of them and took advantage of the distraction.   

One of Domino’s men made their way to him and attempted to pull Hitomi from Domino until someone clocked him with a large rock from behind. It was Asami.

“Don’t,” Asami pleaded with Hitomi. “He gave you more life.”

Hitomi turned an angry face towards Asami, and said, “But he took you away from me.”

She then released Domino’s throat enough to let him breath.

Asami approached Domino and asked him,“Am I really a replicant?”

Domino nodded his head, as much as he was allowed. Then he shook his head.

“Which is it!?” demanded Hitomi.

“I think I can answer that,” said Doyle.

He stood on an outcrop just above them, with his blaster aimed between Hitomi’s eyes.

“Who’re you?” asked Hitomi.

“Doyle,” Asami sighed. Then she said, “We have Domino!”

A shot was fired. It was one of Domino’s men firing at Doyle, but missed. Doyle rolled back to take cover.

Asami placed her hands on Hitomi's shoulders for comfort, and pleaded, "Please." 

“Alright,” Hitomi said to Domino. “If you want to live, tell your men to put down their weapons and surrender. Got it!?”

He nodded.

Hitomi slowly released him.

Doyle edged back over the outcropping and began to take aim at Domino.

Domino backed slowly away from the wall. He looked around at the dimly lit cavern. Then he announced, “Listen up everyone! May I have your attention, please! I’d like to make an announcement.”

He listened at first to the silence, while looking around for his men to see where they were positioned.

Then Doyle said, “Let’s hear it.”

Domino reached slowly inside his coat pocket and retrieved a pair of sunglasses in one hand and a small Light-Ball in the other. Using the L-B in the cave would blind everyone’s eyes that have been accustomed to the dark for so long–except for his men, who have been instructed to protect their eyes once he said the key word. Which was–

“Great balls of fire!”

And he threw the L-B up on the ledge where Doyle was. Then shots flew through the air.

Domino ran deeper into the cave, taking one of the many veins from the open cavern. Others followed suit. One of Domino’s men was shot, along with a couple of his replicants.

Resch, Doyle, and their two men had to wait it out as their eyes got more accustomed to the dark again. They saw which vein they used and soon followed after them.

When one of Domino’s men caught up with him. Domino took one of his laser tubes and set it to stun. Then he looked around for Hitomi among his replicants. He knew she wouldn’t have stayed behind–she’d be retired. But she was important to him, despite her aggression towards him. He knew that his doctors could work with her, for she'd come a long way already in such a short time. As for Asami, he didn’t see her either. She believed she was human. So, he thought there’d be a good chance that she’d stay behind.

Underground, you lose all sense of time. And this is just what happened with Domino. For, Resch and Doyle were at their doorstep once again. And this time they didn’t knock.

Another of Domino’s men was shot, and one more replicants.

“Blasted!” yelled Domino.

He took a blind shot in their general direction. Then he got up and headed down the path. But he was stopped by a darkened figure. He raised his laser tube to take fire, but it was too late. The figure shot first.

Domino fell to his knees, grasping his stomach. The darkened figure approached Domino. It was Hitomi.

“It was more satisfying killing you with my bare hands,” she said as she dropped the laser tube.

Then she bent down to pull Domino up off his knees.

"Hitomi," Domino pleaded, "I know that deep down inside you really don't want to kill me, it's wrong. If you'd just–"

Just then, Doyle came up from behind them and took aim at Hitomi. Domino heard him and turned to look behind, and yelled, "No!" He then stepped in front of Hitomi, just as Doyle pulled the trigger of his blaster, and took the shot. Hitomi picked up Domino’s laser tube and took aim at Doyle.

“No!” yelled Asami.

Doyle took cover, and Hitomi’s shot flew by him.

Hitomi then ran deeper into the cave.

Asami ran to Domino’s side. He looked up at her with a smile, and said, "She's free." 

Doyle cautiously approached them. By the time Resch reached them, Domino was already dead.

Resch and Doyle’s two men apprehended Domino’s last two surviving men. The other surviving replicants were grouped together nearby, with the exception of Hitomi, unsure of what to do.

Asami looked up at Doyle, and, with tears in her eyes told him, “He said I was a replicant.”

Doyle looked over at Resch, as if he hadn't heard Asami, and said, “What do you think, the rest of them are probably andys, right?”

“Probably,” replied Resch. “What did you have in mind?”

“Retirement, of course,” he replied.

Resch stood there and looked around the cave at the replicants just standing there. They were mostly women, with only a couple of young looking men. The other men who were helping out in the fight got themselves shot. He’d never seen so many in one place before. It reminded him of a scene from an old science-fiction movie where there were people forced to live underground, not knowing that above ground there were other people living a good life in the light of the sun. They were slaves. Just like the replicants he was faced with now–former slaves.

“Is it true?” Asami asked, interrupting Resch’s thoughts.

Doyle was about to tell her, but instead, Resch answered.

“You’re a woman,” he said to her.

He put his hand out to her. She accepted his hand and stood up. She took one more glance down at Domino’s lifeless body.

Then she looked up at Resch, and asked, “What are you going to do with all of them?”

“Where’s the one they worked on?” asked Doyle.

Asami looked around, but didn’t see her.

“She’s not here,” she replied. “She must have made her way deeper into the cave.”

“We should go after it,” said Doyle.

“What are you going to do with her?” Asami asked.

“She killed Domino,” said Resch. “I’m afraid she’ll have to face the charges against her.”

Charges?” said Doyle. “What the hell are you talking about?”

Resch flashed a stern look at Doyle. Then he looked back at Asami, and said, “Why don’t you come back with us?”

“Resch,” stopped Doyle, as he placed his hand on his shoulder. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Resch removed Doyle’s grip, looked him in the eyes, and said in a firm, low tone, “I’m taking her back to the spinner. Go do what you gotta do in there, Doyle.”

Doyle turned back to the group of replicants.

Resch escorted Asami past Doyle and headed back the way they came. When they reached the cavern where the first fight took place, they heard Doyle’s gun fire a long and steady round. It seemed to go on forever as its echo resounded throughout the cave. Asami covered her ears and hid her head in Resch’s side as they headed out of the cave.


Resch felt that Stewart was partly responsible for what he did that day–or rather, what he didn’t do. So, rather than take Asami to police headquarters, Resch instead took her to Tyrell’s. More specifically, he took her to Stewart. He got all the information he could from her. And Asami needed a new home.

When Resch got back to police headquarters, Doyle was still at his desk filing paperwork. They worked in silence for a time. Then Resch asked him, “The bodies been picked up?”

“If you mean Domino, his men and the male replicants,” said Doyle, not looking up from his paperwork, “yeah, they’re in their respective morgues.”   

“And the group of replicants you retired down in the cavern?” said Resch.

"What group?" he asked. 

What group?” echoed Resch, as he faced Doyle.

“Oh, the group,” said Doyle. “Yeah, it’s a shame. Doesn’t look good for us, does it?”

“What do you mean?” asked Resch. “What are you telling me?”

“They escaped!” declared Doyle. “Before we could take one shot, they all scattered like cockroaches in a lit room–just disappeared.”

Then he returned to his paperwork.

 

And at the end of the day, Resch returned to his apartment to find Dawn waiting there for him. He had much to share with her. And he had much to thank her for too. And they’d have the rest of their lives together to be thankful, for there is much to be thankful for. It’s tomorrow started.


                                                                  


 Epilogue


Resch and Dawn got married and had their own Levana. Levana was activated to have their child once they arrived at their chosen off-world colony. They married as Humanists, by a Humanist celebrant.

Stewart and Shawna followed suit and live in the same colony as Resch and Dawn–along with their new housekeeper, Asami.

Ian remained on Earth until his predecessor was well in place. Then he and Andrew returned to their place off-world. With them, they brought a Levana series replicant too. However, she was not for Ian’s child. This Levana had been impregnated using the DNA from the late Doctor Eldon Tyrell, as stated in his last will and testament. And he'll be raised to be the CEO of the Tyrell Corporation when he is of age.    

Alec Doyle remained on Earth as a blade runner for the LAPD. 

Wallace Dominowski was attempting to create his own little empire of replicants, to do his bidding. To some, he was looked upon as a humanitarian; with the creation of the modern day underground railroad for escaped replicants. To others, he was a menace to society; blackmailing for greedThe network that Dominowski had was so complex that Doyle would spend the rest of his professional lifetime investigating it.       

All of the remaining associates of Wallace Dominowski's are in custody and awaiting trial for their various crimes and misdemeanors. 

Hitomi remains at large and is wanted for the murder of Wallace Dominowski. 

Buffy, Resch's squirrel, was given a new home with Rosie and Bruno Spinozzi–owners of Palmer'sand a new girlfriend named Trixie.         







            This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.