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Tomorrow Started

by C.A. Chicoine 


Introduction

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

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.      

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.

I actually began writing this story in 2006, (the first two chapters being evidence of this, along with a folder full of notes). In 2007, I set it aside. 

After finishing the article, CITYSPEAK Revisited, in 2012, I was inspired to return to this story to complete it. I hope you enjoy this first installment. 

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


Thrive!

~ C.A. Chicoine | Massachusetts, February 2012


Phil Resch


Phil Resch is a bounty hunter in PKD's book DADoES. 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.


Chapter One

Life in a Jar

 

Los Angeles, October, 2021. 


And so it began: a plan set in motion; emotions set in motion. A parallel set of changes, worlds apart, through space and time. It’s tomorrow started. 


Walking the long windowed corridor of the airport, Andrew had a pleasant smile on his face. He seemed to be in his own little world–or big world, your pick. The passers-by do what they do best–casually pass him by.

Off in the distance, the monthly shuttle from Mars was coming in for a landing. It’s a journey that took just a little under two years. The passengers, wearing their thin-skinned space uniform, lie at rest in a Hibernetic brand portable life support capsule, with an array of tubes and wires neatly secured about the suits attached to monitors and receptacles. 

One of those passengers, Ian Locke, slowly woke from his slumber. The computers gradually increased levels of various chemicals to wake the body and mind out of partial hibernation. 

The shuttle decelerated as it arrived at the airport, before finally docking. It attached to the wing of the terminal that connects to the lobby–where Andrew was waiting. The lobby's strewn with decay and remnants of a once secure habitat. 

Finally, the shuttle attendants wheeled the passengers in their Hibernetic LSC's from the shuttle to the recovery room. Once Ian Locke was fully recovered, he stepped out to the lobby to meet Andrew. 

“Good afternoon, Mr. Locke. I trust your journey was a pleasant one?” 

“Andrew,” Ian greeted, “Good to see you again. It's been... what... nine years has it?” 

“Eight, sir. But who's counting?” 

Andrew led Ian in the direction of the Tyrell Corp limo. Walking side by side, they continued their conversation. 

“It's a shame you had to take this long journey, sir. I know you are not too keen on interplanetary travel.” 

“Some matters, I’m afraid, are best handled in person. Believe me; I was very reluctant to come back here. I certainly don't have any intention of staying for long, as you well know.” 

“I must say, sir... it is nice seeing you in person again. The experience is... uplifting. Like a breath of fresh air.” 

“That is very kind of you to say, Andrew. I am honoured to have you as my personal secretary,” Ian replied, as he patted Andrew on the shoulder. 

Andrew's face gleamed for a moment, but then returned back to business. 

“There's been a slight change of plans regarding the lawyers,” Andrew announced. 

“Of course,” Ian replied with a sigh. “What is it this time?” 

Looking around at the passers-by, he said to Ian, “I'll brief you in on that in the limo. Also–” He stopped talking as they circled around a group of "questionable" individuals. Alert to their reactions, Andrew holds his statement, and then continued in a lower tone, “Security has tightened at Tyrell Corporation.” 

“Naturally.” 

“We can't be too careful, Mr. Locke.” 

They approached the limo as one of the drivers opened the rear door for them. Then the driver stepped in after them. 

“What's this!?” exclaimed Andrew. 

Not saying a word, the driver closes and locks the door behind him. 

“For your protection,” the driver smiled. 

“Is this absolutely necessary?” asked Andrew to the driver. “After all, we are in the company limo.” 

“I'm afraid so,” the driver replied. 

The second driver, actually operating the limo, started up the limo and then abruptly took to the stratosphere. Andrew was in shock and disbelief of the unorthodox intrusion. 

“You can't be serious. Let me see your identification,” insisted Andrew. 

The driver sitting beside them pulled out a laser tube and aimed it at Andrew. 

“This is the only identification you’ll be seeing.” 

Facing Andrew, Ian commented, “What were you saying about tightened security?” 

“Surely–” 

“Let's just see where this leads, shall we?” he interrupted. 

“Well, no matter” said Andrew, overly confident. “We have the Tyrell Corporation security following close behind. Once they see a change in course–” 

Just then, the driver operating the limo reached over to passenger seat and held up a remote control in plain view of Andrew and Ian. He then flipped the safety switch and pressed the red button. A millisecond afterwards, the Tyrell security spinner exploded. Debris fell to the kipple far below. 

“Clever,” stated Ian. 

The driver then changed course. Andrew visibly outraged. 

“That was against company policy! Let me see your identification!” 

The driver aimed his laser tube and shot Andrew straight between the eyes. 

“Was that really necessary?” Ian asked, in a calm demeanor. 

“I haven't the patience for his rhetoric. Besides, he's only a skin job. What–a three?” 

Ian didn't answer him. Instead, he sat their in silence as the wheels in his mind began turning. He knew that he was dealing with a professional kidnapping. They knew that Andrew was a Replicant

The driver, as if handling a sack of dirty laundry, shoved the body of Andrew to the other side of the limo and then slid up next to Ian. Ian looked straight ahead, avoiding eye contact. The driver sat real close to Ian and studied his face; Ian's thin upper lip, narrow nose, eye brows flush to the skin, high cheek bones, square jaw, clean shaven, and his eyes of grey that seem to bare a sense of dignity and honesty. 

“I won't kill you,” the driver consoled.  

Ian looked at the driver, put on a partial smile, and said, “That's good to know.” 

“I like your eyes,” the driver continued, “Besides; you're not a skin job.” 

The driver replaced his laser tube, sat back, and fiddled with a trinket inside his pocket. 

Ian peered out the window, overlooking the mountains and valleys below. He was tried to determine the direction they were heading. Is it north? Looking for landmarks, he wasn’t familiar with the area–having been away since just before the outbreak of world war terminus. From the antiseptic, amusement park feel of Mars to the retched, kipple-infested LA; this picturesque landscape resembled what he remembers from childhood. He couldn't believe that such a place could still exist on this continent after what had happened in 2013. Ian didn't know what to expect from this abduction. But what he did know was that he was more valuable alive to his abductors than dead. 

Finally, the Tyrell Corp limo slowed down and circled above an estate. The house was surrounded by open fields, trees, gardens, and a few smaller buildings scattered throughout. The limo landed at an empty lot just to the side of the home. They walked up the path to the front of the estate. A circular driveway lay before them with a beautifully landscaped center area containing a magnolia tree sapling, sundial, a bronze water fountain of a boy with a rabbit, and low-ground shrubs trimmed forming a shape or symbol unfamiliar to him. 

Walking up the steps, the driver rang the door bell. The door opened only part way. They were instructed to use another entrance. So they headed down another path to the side of the estate, and down some steps to another door which was unlocked. It led into the cellar of the home. The large hall had lights resembling the old gaslights of the late 19th century on the walls. One door was clearly labeled "Gallion Winery". At the end of the hall was a staircase leading up to the main house. They entered a door at the left. Inside was a brightly lit room, both from the setting sun and the lamps in the room. The room was fairly large, but crowded. The left side of the room consisted of a billiard table, dart board, two arm chairs divided by a table and lamp, and had footstools out front. The right half consisted of two more chairs before an old oak desk and a couch, all surrounded by bookshelves, side tables, and floor lamps. A fireplace was on the back wall. The room had exquisite dark wood to match the decor and deep green-coloured walls. 

Before Ian had a chance to open his mouth, a man entered the room dressed in a casual suit coat and tie. He admired Ian as he walked towards his desk, removing his coat and hanging it on a coat rack nearby. Smiling, he stretched-out his hand to welcome Ian. Ian did not reciprocate–only staring firmly at the man. 

"I can understand your animosity under such conditions. There is one thing you must understand. We mean you no harm, Mr. Locke." 

After a brief uncomfortable silence, the man asked Ian to have a seat. The man, standing at the side of his desk, shuffled then squared-off a stack of notes. With a wide grin, he looked at Ian. 

"You know–of course you wouldn't,” the man started. He then sat on the corner of the desk. Very animated with his hands and arms, he continued, “I have waited for this moment for two years. And I must say it is thrilling. It brings about a sense of–” He searches for the right word. Giving up, he says, “Well, the words elude me! Encouragement, perhaps.  A sense of fulfillment. However, this is far from being complete. No-no. This meeting is just the beginning!" 

“Don't believe in scheduling appointments, Mr. …ummm?” 

"Domino. Call me, Domino,” he replied. “I can't take the time away from my business for planetary travel. Time is of the essence.” 

“What business are you in, Domino?” 

“I'm an entrepreneur of sorts,” Domino replied. “Before WWT, I was a management and business consultant. After the dust settled, I–” He stopped and looked away. Domino then stood up and faced the mirror behind him and adjusted his tie, before he continued, “Let's just say that I was at the right place at the right time.” 

Domino, now standing behind his desk, opened a folder and looked at the top sheet. 

“Getting you to come back to this God-forsaking planet was just half the battle Mr. Locke,” he said half to himself. 

“Just hold on a second,” interrupted Ian. “I came back on Tyrell business–of my own volition.” 

“Only after your COO couldn't handle the job, and certain department heads rolled, am I correct, Mr. Locke?” 

Ian turned to the French windows, and watched the last of the sun set below the horizon. Domino closed the folder, stood up and walked to the corner of the room to the bar table. 

“I realize that the Hibernetics affects your appetite,” said Domino. “However, you must be a little thirsty by now. How about a drink?” 

“Tea,” Ian replied, with a voice barely audible. 

Domino motioned with his head to the driver to go up to the main house for tea. Domino attempted to make small talk while the tea was being prepared. He prepared himself a gin and tonic. 

“I understand that they're going to start mining operations on Uranus.” 

“Pardon me, but, where's your lavatory?” Ian asked. 

Domino directed Ian to the door at the other side of the room, by the dart board. When Ian returned, the driver had just arrived with tea and a tray of tarts. Ian prepared his tea then sipped the hot liquid. For the first time that day he showed a sign of relief. 

“You find the tea to your satisfaction, Mr. Locke?” asked Domino. 

“Helium-3,” said Ian. 

“Pardon?” 

“The mining operation,” Ian clarified. “It's for Helium-3. The Deep Corporation is adventurous, to say the least. I'd say it's a risky business they're in.” 

“Comes with the territory, Mr. Locke. There is risk in every business if growth is to be fostered. And with growth comes new technology and ideas, which comes to why you are here.” 

“Yes, what can I do for you?” 

“Your Nexus 6 model, it has been a God-send. My business couldn't operate as smoothly as it does–not without them. It depends on them. I depend on them.” 

“I'll be sure to give your name to sales,” Ian quipped.   

“That's not what I had in mind. I need these particular Replicants. They know everything there is to know about their jobs. Training new ones over and over again isn't practical or efficient.” 

Domino walked back to his desk and opened the envelope, separating and spreading some of the documents out on the desk. 

“I want the DNA sequences and maps for the Nexus 6,” continued Domino, “the key to extend their life span.” 

“I don't know of such–” 

“Of course not,” interrupted Domino. “That's why I am giving you all that I know thus far; the RNA-induced initiation, what fragments of the DNA sequence I do have, the DNA modifying enzymes, polymerases and what-not. It's all here, except for, of course, the missing factors–which you will provide me.” 

Domino handed another folder to Ian, and then continued. “I know it exists. Tyrell did a good job protecting it.” 

“And if I don't follow through on this?” Ian asked. 

“You are familiar with the domino effect, Mr. Locke?” 

Domino looked Ian straight in the eyes, and with a stern look on his face said, “I would hope that your being brought here today would make an impression and stress the importance this information is to me. I couldn't make it any clearer, could I?” 

“What about the police?” Ian asked. “What am I to tell them? I'm sure they’ll question me, regarding the explosion of the security following me–let alone my abduction.” 

“Tell them what you will,” he replied. “They're of no concern to me. Just get me the sequences. You have until the end of the week to get it to me.” 

“And if I don't–or more importantly, can't?” 

“You can, Mr. Locke. You can. If you don't–you can say goodbye to the Tyrell Corporation.” 

Domino leisurely strolled over back to his desk and sat. 

“There's talk of a possible merger between Sudermann and Wissel Technologies. Circumstances could develop in their favour over the next couple of weeks that forecast their profitability margin as very promising. I'm not into the practice of divination, Mr. Locke. But, reason would speculate a bleak economical outlook for the Tyrell Corporation–what with all the internal conflicts inside Tyrell Corporation; the scandal, corruption and cover-ups. I wouldn't be surprised to see this leading up to bankruptcy.” 

“What the hell are you talking about? Sure, there may be some conflicts. That's why I'm here, to straighten things out. And, as far as any corruption, my God–” 

“Haven't you heard?!” interrupted Domino. “God is dead! Now there's me.” 

Domino looked up at both drivers, a sign to send Ian on his way. 

“There's a cell number in that envelope. Leave a message as soon as you have the data. You'll then be contacted where to have it delivered,” Domino instructed Ian. “And remember, time is of the essence.” 

The Drivers escorted Ian back to the limo. Standing next to the limo was a tall, well-built man. Upon closer inspection his face was solemn and pale, like the life had been drained out of him. 

“Take him to the Tyrell Corporation,” the driver ordered the man. The man winced as the driver spoke to him. Speaking louder to him, the driver said, “Do you understand?” 

“Yes,” the man replied, “to the Tyrell Corporation.” 

“Very good,” said the driver. He then pats the man on the shoulder. 

The driver faced Ian, and said, “Don't be too concern. He claims to have a third eye,” the driver chuckled, “visions and all. Frankly, I think he's been to Tannhäuser Gate and back one too many times.” He started to walk away, and then yelled back, “Oh, and your andy's bagged fresh-tight in the luggage compartment. Safe journey.” 

Ian stepped inside the limo. And seconds later, it ascended to the darkened sky. Ian had visions in his mind of the slave-labour working off-world. Suddenly, the limo jerked to the left. Ian didn't pay too much attention. His thoughts then wandered to the days’ events, as he tried to make sense of it all. 

The limo drifted far outside the trail of spinners and shuttles, and then quickly returned to its aerial path. Ian looked up in the direction of where the driver was, but couldn't see because the dividing curtain was up. Another quick dash to center the limo was felt. 

In the cockpit, the driver shook his head fiercely and then slapped his face to try to remain alert. He then shouted out with a primal yell. Then he slid open the divider to speak to Ian. 

“You'll have to pardon my erratic piloting. Seems I've been cursed, or something by the Gods.” 

Ian can only see part of his profile when the driver turns to speak to him. 

Facing out the window, Ian says half to himself, “No such thing.” 

“Curses or Gods, Mr. Locke?” 

“Both, as far as I'm concerned.” 

“The driver displayed a troubled look on his face, fighting back some pain. His eyes redden. He clears throat to try to speak. In a raspy voice, barely above a whisper, he said, “You're the Big man now.” 

Ian reached over to the control panel at his side and switched on the Coachman monitor. He saw the driver's bloodshot eyes and pale, zombish complexion. 

“Pardon,” asked Ian. 

“You're now the CEO of the Tyrell Corporation.” 

“Yes, that's right.” 

“And, you don't believe in God–Mercerism–any of that?” 

“The religions of the world are responsible for what has happened here on Earth, driver,” began Ian. “World War Terminus was a self-fulfilling prophecy guided by such ignorance...and at the cost of so many lives. And, after Mercer was exposed as a fake, the last religion practiced–and only on Earth, I might add–I can see nothing but a better life for us all.” 

There was a brief silence. We hear the murmour of the limo engine. 

Ian continues, “I'm afraid there is still a long way to go. I mean–” Ian's face shows the strain and stress of this still very controversial issue. “Our think tanks have been disputing over this very topic recently. That's one reason I had to–” Ian stopped talking, realizing he's really just thinking out loud at this point, and to a limo driver at that. 

“I'm listening,” encouraged the driver. 

“Of what interest could this possibly be to you?” 

“Maybe I could help?” suggested the driver. 

“Help?” laughed Ian. “Yes, you can help. Let me know when we’ve reached the Tyrell Corporation. And pay closer attention to your piloting.” 

Ian switched off the monitor, got comfortable in the seat, and then closed his eyes. 

“It seems to me that–” the driver began, but then stopped too cough. “It seems to me that we are bound to one another somehow. You deciphered the human DNA and are able to modify it to your hearts' content. What you have accomplished in human evolution this past decade would have taken Nature centuries. Who needs religion...indeed? When, after all, you can control the masses with your latest technologies. Who needs a Heaven when death is no longer your problem? Life in a jar.” The driver then smiled a wide Cheshire cat grin. Then he said, “We're here.” 

The limo docked in the bay. The driver unfastened his seat belt then turns to face Ian straight on. 

“Everyone I ever met will die; the busker in the street, the dancer at The Snake Pit, even Domino. Except for the ones off-world, we will die before our time. However misguided you may believe these people are–they lived. Ignorance for these Specials is indeed bliss. But very few–if any–can claim to have met their Maker, before they died.” 

Ian realized that the driver is actually a humanoid Replicant. 

“You did it!” exclaimed the driver, with a big smile. “You did what man could only dream about.” 

“What's that?” asked Ian. 

“Became a God. You created me in your image. And now, I return to be with you,” said the driver, breathless. “Come full circle. But–” Gasping for air, he began to choke. "There is so much–" He puts his hands over his face and rubbed it frantically before they dropped lifeless to his side. His face then went expressionless, but then managed a smirk and said, with his last breath, “Guess you saved the best for last.” Then he fell back into his seat, motionless, and expired. 

As Ian exited the limo, two Tyrell security guards, with another man, Stewart Sutton, not far behind, ran up to him. 

“Ian, are you alright? What happened?” Stewart asked. 

“Aye, Stew,” Ian replied. To the guards, motioning with his eyes to their blasters, he said, “You won't need those bloody things.” 

One of the guards sees the body of the driver and turns pale. 

“Contact the Lab and have them send down two gurneys. I want this Replicant examined,” he told one of the guards. 

“Two?” asked the guard. “Where's the–” 

“The other's for Andrew,” Ian told him. “He's in the back.” 

“Andrew?” asked Stewart. 

“It's alright, Stew. I believe the chip's intact. It was a clear shot between the eyes.” 

As the guard notified the lab techs, Ian and Stewart walked to the lobby. 

“What do you hope to find with this rogue Replicant?” Stewart asked. 

“A third eye,” Ian replied.  



  

Chapter Two

A Nod Will Suffice 

 

"Welcome the future with the most abundant energy resource off-world has to offer! Helium-3!” announced a male voice from the advertisement blimp, drifting ominously through the morning smog. “Join the mining operations of DEEP Enterprises for the cleanest energy resource available! Jobs from nuclear engineering, managers skilled in mining, manufacturing, electronics, and aerospace, to industrial production. All levels! If you meet the health qualifications for the Off-world Emigration Programs, you'll not want to pass up this golden opportunity. Helium-3: Creating a clean and viable future.” 

The weight of the heavy pulsations of the blimps engine can be felt by the crowds below, as its announcement beckoned the jobless to come off-world. The message followed with a female voice, announcing, “Brought to you by DEEP Enterprises, the leader in deep space technologies and explorations.” 

It seemed like it followed Phil Resch from his apartment to work, at the L.A.P.D. He wasn’t sure if he felt better or worse entering the station. All the way through the lobby he debated in his mind which was worse, the piercing racket of the blimp, or the stench inside Bryant’s office. But before he could make a decision, he found his hand turning the knob and opening the door to Bryant’s office. And he was in.

“Rough night, Resch?” asked Bryant. 

Resch didn’t know what to say. He had a bewildered look on his face.

“The glasses!” Bryant clarified. “Did'ja lose your glasses, Resch?”

“Ah,” sighed Resch. “Nope, I retired them.”

“Don't tell me. You went and had one of them eye-jobs. You moonlighting on me?”
 

“I had the standard treatment, not any of that enhanced, eye colour-changing, glowing flurk. And, from a reputable Opt-Tech, I might add.”

“Leave it to you, Resch.”

“I got your message. A new assignment?” asked Resch.

“Yeah, there's been some excitement over the Tyrell Corporation. One of their security cruisers were blown out of the sky. And the new CEO and his
assistant were intercepted at the airport and taken on a surprise rendezvous.”
 

“Ransom?” asked Resch.

“No,” Bryant replied. “They taxied him to Tyrell's afterwards.
They had some demands though. We picked-up the case from homicide that was called in on the cruiser mishap. It seems their abductors are using skin-jobs to do their dirty work. Here,” he handed Resch a poop sheet.

Resch thumbs through the thin slices as Bryant continues briefing him.

“The leader of this ring goes by the name, "Domino". Probably Wallace Dominowski. As you can see in the file, he starts out all legit–business consulting. Then, after the dust settles, things start to turn shady.”

Reading aloud from poop sheet, Resch says, “Money laundering, profiteering– Blackmail, apparently, is his specialty.”

“I want you to go over there and meet with the new CEO, a Mr. Ian Locke. Homicide has some interviews already surrounding the security cruiser. You can stop by their department on your way to Tyrell's. Also, there’s a skin-job on the slab at Tyrell’s lab. See what you can find out.”

“I'll get right on it,” said Resch, as he turned and headed towards the door.

“Oh, and one more thing,” called Bryant. “Maybe that reputable shop-of-horrors of
yours can do something about the rest of your face?”

“I couldn't afford it!” laughed Resch. “Now, if I were to get a raise?"
 

“As soon as I get mine, pal.”


Resch headed over to homicide and uploaded their investigations on the case surrounding the Tyrell security cruiser explosion onto a Waund–a memory stick. He the took the elevator up to the roof and entered one of the police spinners–flipped a few switches and then fired it up. He placed the Waund onto the tray of the Lobes brand console on the dash. The lid automatically closed and read the data, and then outlined the index on its screen. The spinner lifted off and took to the morning sky, passing billboards advertising Coca-Cola, among other products. Off in the distancethe Tyrell Corporation. He listened to the selected data over the Howell Narrator


After arriving at the Tyrell Corporation, Resch was shown to a meeting room. He walked over to the window to catch the view of the city below. Shortly after, a man entered
the room and greeted Resch.

“Good morning, I'm Stewart Sutton, the Chief Operating Officer of the Tyrell Corporation.”

“Resch. Phil Resch, from the Blade Runner Unit. Wasn’t Mr. Locke–”

“Ian will along shortly,” Stewart interrupted. “I've made myself available 'til he arrives. I met Ian after he, just barely, arrived after his abduction.”
 

A petite young multi-ethnic woman, dressed in black apparel, entered the room with a tray of donuts, tarts, and a variety of coffees and teas. She placed them on a side buffet table then exited the room without a sound. The two men helped themselves. 

“I’ve been formulating some of my own suspicions. I’d like to run one by you–see if you find it plausible in your case.” 

“Sure,” said Resch, as he sat down. “Go ahead.” 

“In your experience as a blade runner, have you ever felt remorse over retiring a Nexus-6?” 

“No,” he replied without hesitation. 

“Not even a question in your mind about whether what you are doing is right?” 

“A question over what I’m doing is right? Never. I know what I’m dealing with–manufactured androids, andys, skin-jobs–what ever you want to call them. They’re not human.” 

“How do you know?” asked Stewart. 

Resch has had similar conversations with others before. And he was becoming visibly vexed. Containing his composure, he took a deep breath and, in rehearsed dialogue, he began, “If they test–” 

“The Voigt-Kampff aside,” interrupted Stewart, “in your mind what does it mean to be human?” 

“In my mind? I don’t get it. What does all this have to do with your suspicions?” 

“Think about it,” began Stewart. “If, over time, someone were to start treating them as if they were human, wouldn’t you agree that they’d start believing that they were human? What, with their complex interactions and their likenesses, it certainly is a plausible theory. Thus, one would feel remorse if one were to retire or, as construed in their corrupted minds, kill a Replicant.” 

“Okay,” said Resch, with a slight inflection–ambivalently going along with this theory to see where Stewart was going with it. 

“Apparently, you’re an exception to the rule,” continued Stewart. “But, just as children grow an attachment to their inanimate toys, and grown men to their hover cars, who’s to say that can’t happen to androids? It’s just a given!” 

An uncomfortable, tense moment of silence came over the room. 

“Conversely,” he continued, “the Replicant could start developing certain emotional responses befitting a human. An emotion such as jealousy could create havoc in their inexperienced minds, possibly leading to dire consequences–as may be the case with Andrew.”

Just then, Ian Locke entered the room with Andrew. He had a warm smile as he extended his hand to Resch. 

“Sorry for keeping you waiting,” said Ian. “Lawyers think the world
revolves around them. Sometimes I think so too.”

“Mr. Resch, this is Andrew, my personal secretary.” 

Resch had a peculiar look on his face which he tried to disguise. Andrew? They shook hands. Ian motioned Resch to have a seat, and then sat down himself, and continued, “Stewart, I’m sure, has told you his perspective on all that has happened. Stewart has been with the organization for quite some time now. He has proven to be an asset for operations here on Terra.”

“And on that note,” announced Stewart, “if you'll excuse me, I have some other business to attend to. It's been a pleasure talking with you, Resch.”

Resch smiled and nodded his head. Stewart promptly exited the room. Andrew sat two seats down from Ian, with a laptop set atop the table. 

“So, where shall we begin?” asked Ian. 

“I reviewed the material from the homicide detectives, so we won’t have to go over all the details again. But, I’d just like to have a few things clarified.” 

“Go ahead,” encouraged Ian. 

“Well, one thing,” he began, darting a quick glance over at Andrew, and then back to Ian, “the driver–the one who drove you here–what exactly did you talk about?” 

“What did we talk about?” Ian questioned. 

“Yeah, I understand you two had quite the conversation. It might have provided some clues as to its role with Domino–what it was used for,” explained Resch. 

“I’m afraid not, Resch. All we talked about was God. And it was I who did most of the talking,” began Ian. “You see, when a Replicant reaches the end of its life cycle, it begins to go through some of the same end of life fears and questions that humans sometimes go through. That’s all.” 

Realizing that he wasn’t going to get any further on that subject with Ian, Resch then asked, “In the report, it mentioned that your secretary, Andrew–umm, it didn’t give a last name–was shot and killed on the way to Domino’s. Obviously, that was a–” 

“They were correct,” interrupted Ian. “Andrew was shot in the head. But we were able to repair him.” 

Repair him?” asked Resch. 

He then realized that Andrew was a Replicant–thus not having a last name. 

“But, why did homicide record him–it–in their records under human? It doesn’t–”

“Once I saw how they were handling the case,” interrupted Ian, “I didn’t volunteer any further information than what I found necessary.” 

“You’re not making my job an easier by withholding information, Mr. Locke.” Rising from his chair, Resch said, “After I file my report, I’m sure they’ll send someone else for you to jerk around.”    

“Detective Resch, please,” pleaded Ian, motioning Resch to sit back down. “After I spoke with Captain Bryant, he assured me he’d send his best detective. Please, sit down.” 

A hesitant look on Reach’s face changed to one of relief. He sat back down. 

“You’ve been on the force how long?” asked Ian. 

“I’ve been with Captain Bryant for two years. Prior to that, I worked three years with another precinct,” Resch replied. 

“You must have a natural talent for this if Captain Bryant recommended you. Now, what do you want to know about Andrew?” 

Resch looked over at Andrew with reservations. 

Facing Andrew, Ian told Andrew, “Would you please excuse us?” 

Andrew closed the laptop, stood up without reservation, and headed for the door. 

“Thank you,” Ian said to him. 

“What prompted the driver to shoot it–Andrew?” Resch asked. 

“It was kind of odd,” replied Locke. “Andrew was acting unlike himself.” 

“How’s that?” asked Resch. 

“Irrational,” he replied. “He insisted on seeing their identification. He doesn’t usually over-react to changes in the environment. He’d assess and think things through before uttering a word. But, in this case, he immediately reacted. He asked them for their identification, twice. That’s a primitive response dating back to earlier programming of early generation androids. Something must have interfered with his circuitry.”

“When you had Andrew repaired, were its memories affected?” asked Resch. 

“No,” replied Ian. “His ISD is in the cerebellum region of the brain. He was shot clear between the eyes, as if–” 

Ian stopped and had recalled a thought that he had earlier, and now just made the connection. 

“As if, as if what?” asked Resch. 

“As if he believed Andrew was a Nexus 3.” 

“Who knew?” 

“One of the drivers who abducted us in the limo,” he replied. “He guessed that Andrew was a Nexus 3. However, in fact he is a Nexus 2 prototype–and a modified one at that. In the 2’s and 3’s, the ISD was stored in the frontal lobe region. Later we made revisions and the location of the chip was one of them.” 

“Only an ex-Tyrell Corporation employee would know what to look for,” said Resch. 

“Or an ex-blade runner,” Ian added.

“They were probably going to retire it anyways,” Resch said, thinking aloud. “It could accurately identify them.”  

“That, and he could reveal their location,” said Ian. 

“Were you able to retrieve it?” asked Resch. 

From his coat pocket, Ian withdrew a waund and handed it to Resch. 

“Composites of the men who abducted me, along with Domino, and the location of the estate I was taken to,” said Ian. 

“That’s convenient,” said Resch.

“I couldn’t very well explain it to the homicide detectives without revealing Andrew was a Replicant,” said Ian. 

“Could I have a look at the andy who drove you back, Mr. Locke?” 

“Certainly,” Ian smiled. “I’ll have Stewart bring you down.” 

“I’ll probably want to follow-up with you later.” 

“You know where to find me,” smiled Ian. “I’ll send Stewart right in.” 


Ian got up and left the meeting room. Soon afterwards, the same woman as before came in to tidy up and remove the pastries and beverages. And before long, Stewart Sutton entered the room. 

“Detective Resch,” announced Stewart Sutton. “Right this way.” 

Stewart led Resch through the corridors of Tyrell Corporation, through underground elevator, and tunnels, before finally arriving at the Rep-morgue. The morgue attendant located the slab and rolled it open to reveal the Replicant who drove Ian Locke to the Tyrell Corporation. 

The body was slightly frosted and had a purplish glow. The tech read its identification data. 

“N6MAA02192017, Nexus, series 6, male, physical grade A, mental grade B, incept date, February 19, 2017. Its last assignment was off-world, as a foreman on a construction site. It was reported destroyed.”

“Looks like a case for the off-world rep-detects,” commented Resch. “Thanks,” he nodded to the tech. 

“The incident report should be on file with the company who purchased it,” said the tech. The tech then handed the file over the Resch, and then closed the slab.   

“Which company was that?” asked Resch. 

“D.E.E.P. Enterprises,” he replied.

After Resch was given all the information they had on the driver Replicant, Stewart took Resch aside. 

“Early on, we started out on the wrong foot,” Stewart said, holding out his hand. 

“It happens, Mr. Sutton,” said Resch. “It comes with the job.” 

“Please, call me Stewart.” 

“Alright, Stewart,” started Resch. “So, what were you telling me about your concerns with Andrew?” 

“You are aware he’s a Replicant?” Stewart asked. 

“Yes,” he replied. “And, you were insinuating that Andrew was jealous.” 

“Precisely,” replied Stewart with a smile. 

“Who is it jealous of, exactly?” 

“Andrew,” Stewart replied. 

“Yes,” said Resch. 

“Andrew,” Stewart said again. 

A look of bewilderment came over Resch. 

“Stewart, if you’re trying to confuse me, you’re doing a first rate job.” 

“When Ian transferred to the Mars headquarters,” Stewart began, “it was very important to him to maintain the lines of communication–to keep abreast peoples feelings and intensions. So, he had another Andrew, identical to the one here on Earth, made. An extension, if you will.” 

“Wouldn’t the Vid-Phone suffice?” asked Resch. “That’s just a little paranoid, don’t you think?” 

“There’s a lot you don’t know about Ian Locke. As a matter-of-fact, there’s a lot I still don’t understand about the man. But one thing’s for certain, he’s not what I would label as paranoid. Communication comes in all forms. And there are many levels of consciousness. Communicating over the Vid-Phone covers only part of that spectrum. When the Andrew here on Earth attends a meeting, it is as if Ian is here at his side. These Andrews communicate over a network so that, when Ian interacts with the one on Mars–literally at his side–he is communicating simultaneously with the Andrew here on Earth, sensing the reactions of others in the room; their subtle facial expressions, frequency of those shifting in their chairs, and the little peculiarities each of us has. He claims he can get a better feel for the integrity and forthrightness of the communication between us. It helps in his decision making from afar.” 

“Like being in two places at once,” commented Resch. 

Stewart nodded. 

“So, which one do you think is the jealous one, the one here or the one on Mars, or maybe both?” 

“I’m beginning to suspect that the latter may be the case. There was this one time recently–about week and a half ago–where I actually walked upon Andrew debating on the Vid-Phone with the Andrew on Mars. I couldn’t quiet make it out, it was all fragmented. And he stopped as soon as he heard me come into the room. It was all very peculiar.” 

“Why do you find that peculiar?” Resch asked. 

“They don’t usually communicate that way. It is done via a synaptic transmission.” 

“Synip … synap–” 

“Synaptic transmission,” corrected Stewart. “Using the Cornell-Bell Synaptic Transmission Modulator, their thoughts and communications are instantaneous, and one in the same.” Turning again towards the window, he said, half-thinking aloud, “The only piece lacking is their eye contact. This tells me that they are splitting, becoming individuals.” Then he turned and locked eyes with Resch, and said, “Ian has too much faith in his androids. I’m afraid it’ll be the death of him, as it was with Eldon.”




 

Chapter Three

Homer


Sitting at his desk, back at headquarters, Resch had his hands full with this new case. He’d have to work in conjunction with the off-world blade runner unit–which wasn’t so bad. He’d lost touch with an old friend from the academy who was transferred off-world. This would be as good an excuse as any to get back in touch with him. His name–Hoyte, Kly Hoyte.    

The report he’d gotten from Hoyte wasn’t what he wanted to hear. 

“It’s really complicated,” Hoyte began. “The Tyrell Corp have their own satellites for communications. So, there’s no way of me accessing their data. As far as the synaptic transmission between andy’s, without examining it in the lab, there’s no telling what virus or malfunction it may have.” 

“Well, that ain’t gonna happen,” commented Resch. 

“It’s also possible that it’s something else altogether,” suggested Hoyte. 

“Such as?” asked Resch. 

“Someone on the inside could be messing with the transmission, or even hacking it. And the andy could have been trying to self-correct, thus its irrational behavior before it was shot.” 

“Locke mentioned that something could have interfered with its circuitry,” added Resch. “So, it’s possible that it had a role to play in the abduction, but it got fouled because of its self-correction–thus, it was terminated.” 

“It’s possible, Phil” agreed Hoyte.      

“What about the DEEP Enterprises incident, Kly?” Resch asked.   

“I have the incident report here,” said Hoyte. “I’ll send it along with my report to you. Basically, it was involved in a construction accident–explosion. It was destroyed along with five others. Only two of the others were recovered. This one, along with the other two, was reported destroyed beyond repair. It seems they were mistaken.” 

“What I’d like to know,” said Resch, thinking aloud, “is where Domino fit in this?” 

That,” stressed Hoyt, “is your job. In the meantime, I’ll investigate the DEEP incident and get back to you.” 

“Catch you later,” Resch signed-out. 

Resch reviewed and organized the data that Hoyt gave him, along with the data on the waund from Locke, in his Geni-Mind Ubi.  

He had to find a connection between the andy on the slab at Tyrell’s and Domino. What was Domino involved in? Resch wondered. He had the coordinates to his estate. The estate must be surrounded by a surveillance of some kind, so he couldn’t just drive up unannounced and expect to get anything out of it.

Resch did a trace on the perps who abducted Locke. But they weren’t in the system. Of course, they could have had surgery. In any event, they’re in the system now. And if they show up on any of the surveillance cameras downtown, he’ll be notified. 


In the meantime, Resch would go to the fourth sector to see if any of his contacts recognize them. The first place he’d go–The Snake Pit.   

Taffy Lewis was the owner. You’d see him planted at the bar, when he wasn’t in his office. The joint was crowded and smoky as usual–never seen it when it wasn't. 

In his usual booth in the far corner sat Trabold with his right-hand man, Talus. Resch approached the table. Talus immediately made Trabold aware of his presence before Resch could open his mouth.   

“Have a seat, Reps,” said Trabold, not looking up at first. Reps was what he called him–a play on names, Resch and rep-detect

“How’s business?” asked Trabold. “Keeping them running?”

“Hey, it beats virtual reality any day,” Resch smiled. 

The barmaid came to the table to take his order then left.

Resch pulled out his Ubi to show Trabold the images of Domino and his men. He tilted the screen in his direction. “Ever seen these blokes before?”

Trabold looked at images, looked back down at his drink, and then asked, “What’s in it for me?” 

The barmaid came back with Resch’s drink and left. 

“It all depends on what you can give me,” he replied. 

Trabold finished his drink then motioned to Talus for him to get him another. Talus left the table.

“Domino,” said Trabold. “The big one’s Domino.”

With a little persuasion, Resch was able to get a little more out of him. But it still wasn’t enough. Domino was a new player, and had lots of connections–the right connections. If Resch wanted to find Domino, he’d have to take a trip to the outskirts–beyond the kipple. No wonder he didn’t care if Locke went to the police, Resch thought to himself. We’d never find him–at least not in time. 

That winery in North Country wasn’t his. He was using it, probably just for that one job. But Resch would have to check it out just the same. 

Trabold didn’t recognize the other mugs. But he’d keep his eyes and ears open.


The trip out to the winery in the Napa Valley region wasn’t a total waste of time. But he hadn’t found anything that a little digging wouldn’t have uncovered. Still, it was nice to breath in the fresh country air. 

The owner of the estate was off-world. The only occupants were the groundskeeper and staff to help maintain the vineyard and operate the business. But they weren’t any help. None of them fit the descriptions of the ones he was looking for and they’ve never seen them before. Even at gun point, they’d remain loyal to their employer–that much he could tell. He hadn’t seen such devotion in staff, especially in these times. Those with any such proclivities would have gone off-world. Domino must have quite the influence. 

After he was through questioning the staff, he got a call from their house vid-phone. It was the owner, Mr. Milton Gallion. He was calling from his off-world office. 

“Detective Resch,” he began. “This is Milt Gallion. My staff alerted me that you’ve been inquiring about a crime committed on my property?” 

“Yes, Mr. Gallion,” said Resch. “It looks as though someone used your residence here as a front–for what, I’m not sure yet.” 

“Well, I can assure you that I’m not involved in any criminal activity, or are any of my staff,” Gallion replied. 

“A representative from the Tyrell Corporation would disagree with you, Mr. Gallion.” 

“Please, call me Milt,” Gallion smiled. “Just what exactly does this representative claimed to have happened?” 

Resch briefly explained the gist of what had happened. From the look on Gallion’s face, it appeared as though he was as much in the dark as anyone else. He granted Resch permission to see the room Locke claimed to be taken to. And he gave Resch his number where he could be reached if there were any further questions. Resch told him he’d probably be contacted by the authorities off-world, and gave him Kly Hoyte’s name.   

Resch was shown the room downstairs where Locke claimed to have been taken. It was just as he described. The desk top was cleared and its drawers locked. He went into the bathroom and retrieved the monogrammed cuff link from underneath the pipe fitting under the bathroom sink that Locke hid there. He’d gotten all that he could from there. 

Back in his spinner, Resch notified Hoyte to let him know about Gallion. Only, he was one step ahead of Resch. He found out that Gallion Winery ships tanks of wine from the estate to the off-world colonies on a regularly scheduled basis. He uses an independent, privately owned freight forwarding company to make the shipments. He gave Resch the coordinates to their regional offices. He should be able to get a list of cargo freighters from them. 

Resch soared off to the forwarding company regional headquarters in nearby San Francisco, called Freighter Unlimited, LLC. He did a quick info-scan of their business practices. It seems they were under investigation for a couple of missing or damaged goods. However, they looked to be in the clear. But he wasn’t about to tell them that. 

The receptionist was personable and accommodating. Resch was asked to have a seat in the lobby until the district manager was through with his overseas conference call. 

“Hello, I’m Mick Ashmere,” he greeted with a firm handshake. 

Resch explained that he was doing an investigation on Gallion Winery, but he didn’t go into details. He gave Ashmere the impression that Gallion Winery may have inadvertently been involved in drug smuggling. And he told him that it’d look good on their records if he were to cooperate with this investigation. Ashmere gave Resch access to all their transactions. This gave him a list of names of the interplanetary freighters who made runs for Gallion off-world and back. 

Resch looked for any regulars, patterns, and discrepancies. 

The first on Resch’s list to track down was a freighter that went by the name Homer–just across the bay. 

Homer was kept at an abandoned military base along with their small fleet of freighters for their planetary travels. Resch walked into their kipple-infested office attached to a warehouse where they do maintenance. 

He made it look like he was looking to hire them for a run off-world. He asked if they needed to know the contents of his freight, if they could get by security checks without it being x-rayed, and the same upon its return. Of course, the person he spoke to in the office said it was against company policy. But if he wanted to speak to her boss, he may be able to help. So Resch waited. 

After hanging around the noisy office, with techs coming in and out barking demands at the secretary to order this part and that, and helping themselves at the water cooler, the manager was finally ready to meet with Resch.

As Resch walked into the cluttered office, he was delighted to find that the manager, sitting behind the desk, was one of the two men who abducted Locke.

Resch entered the office, followed by another man–the other man. He closed and locked the door.          

“Please, have a seat,” instructed the man behind the desk.




     

Chapter Four

Betrayed


Ian Locke met with his senior geneticist, Doctor Theodore Abelson. He needed to know if what Domino claimed was true–that the life span of the Nexus 6 series could be extended. If so, how could such valuable information past him? 

Abelson was short and stout; wore glasses and had bushy eyebrows. When he wasn’t in his lab coat, he’d be seen wearing a tweed coat. And he’d smell of pipe tobacco, although you’d never find him smoking. 

“You must realize, Doctor,” began Ian. “I have no intention of handing over the formula–if it so exists.”

“How will you meet the demand of this character, Ian? If you don’t mind me asking,” asked Abelson.

“There must be a way to make the sequence look plausible,” replied Ian. “Something that will buy us more time.” 

“If there is such a code to begin with, we could make a slight alteration, I suppose. I’d have to see what this character, what did he call himself?”

“Domino,” replied Ian.

“Yes, Domino,” said Abelson. “I’d have to see what his formula reads.”   

Ian handed him the file containing the sequences that Domino gave him. Abelson thumbed through the file, stopping every so many pages, until he came upon one of the last pages. His mouth dropped open a little. Ian thought he heard a noise, which caught his attention.

“What, what is it?” asked Ian.

“This just might contain the missing link, the missing parts to complete the puzzle, Ian!” exclaimed Abelson.

“Then it is possible?”

“It certainly seems so, but we’d have to run some computer tests and simulations to be certain,” he replied. “We could add a tryptophan repressor, causing a mutation to alter the DNA complex stoichiometry.”

There was a blank stare on Ian's face.

"To buy you more time," clarified Abelson.

“Good," replied Ian. "See if that'll work.” 

“I’d recommend Roger to lead the project,” suggested Abelson. “But he’s working–”

“No, I can’t have anyone else know about this,” interrupted Ian. “You are the only one I can absolutely trust with this. You’ll have to set aside Levana for now. This project is our top priority. The future of the Tyrell Corporation depends on this.”  

“I’ll do my best, Ian, of course.”

“Thank you, Doctor,” replied Ian with a smile. “Get started on this straight away. We haven’t time to lose.”

Later that morning, Ian met with the head of the IT department, Charles Lindley. They’ve been going through both incoming and outgoing messages that took place there at the Tyrell Corporation dating back to Tyrell’s murder. Aside from a number of minor policy infractions, there were some red flags raised on one specific account–that of Stewart Sutton’s.

Besides calls Stewart made to numerous unlisted numbers no longer active, the most incredulous was that of a call he made to Gallion Winery–just hours before Locke’s abduction. 


After the meeting with IT wrapped up, Locke arranged to meet with Sutton in his office. And he had security alerted to be on standby outside the door.

Ian sat behind his desk. Andrew was sitting in a chair beside the desk, facing the center of the room. 

“Ian, you wanted to see me?” Stewart greeted.

“Have a seat,” replied Ian.

“You look exhausted,” said Stewart.

“If you had a company on the verge of collapse, I doubt very much you’d sleep soundly, Mr. Sutton,” Ian replied.

“Look, I didn't–”

“Let’s get to the point, shall we,” said Ian. “What could they have possibly offered you? Surely it wasn't the money. We pay you top dollar in your field, let alone the benefits and bonuses. Please tell me it was blackmail.”

“Ian, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Stewart replied.

“Only my trusted friends and confidants call me by my first name,” said Ian, raising his voice. “And you, Mr. Sutton, have betrayed my trust.”

“Will you please tell me what the hell is going on?” pleaded Stewart.

“Gallion Winery,” yelled Ian.

“Yeah, that’s where you were taken, right?”

“Ever hear of it before my abduction?” asked Ian.

“Well, sure!” Stewart replied matter-of-factly. “I’ve had their wine. But I prefer–”

“Is there something you’d like to tell me, Mr. Sutton?” interrupted Ian.

“Tell you?” echoed Stewart.

Stewart looked back and forth between Ian and Andrew with a confused look on his face.

“Yes, before I have you arrested.”

“On what charge?” demanded Stewart.

“Accessory to kidnapping, corporate espionage, and extortion just to name a few,” replied Ian.

Stewart stood up from his chair, and said, “You’ve gone mad!”

Ian then picked up a folder from his desk containing copies of Stewart’s incoming/outgoing calls and threw it at Stewart’s feet.

“There,” yelled Ian, “your records of incoming and outgoing calls over the last several months. The highlighted ones are most intriguing. Among other things, they include a call made to Gallion Winery just four hours before my abduction!”  

Stewart bent down and picked the folder up. He briefly looked through the pages of notes. Pointing at the highlighted number of Gallion Winery on the call list, he said to Ian, “I didn’t make this call.”

Ian then paged for security. They immediately came into his office.

“Escort Mr. Sutton to the lobby,” Ian told security. “L.A.P.D. is waiting for him there.”

“You’re making a terrible mistake!” said Stewart, as he was escorted out of Ian’s office. 

“We shall see,” said Ian.

Stewart then forcibly stopped the security in their footsteps and spun around to face Ian, and said, “Before you make anymore accusations, Mr. Locke, I’d investigate your private secretary, Andrew.”   



    Chapter Five


Tatro and the Bouncer


Resch took a seat in the office of the freight company that owns the freighter that Domino used out of Gallion Winery, called Homer. The two men in charge of operations were the same two who abducted Locke. So far, they didn’t suspect anything.

Resch told them his name was George. He told them he needed to have a crate delivered to New New York, off-world–with no questions asked. He refused to say what was in it, only that it contained parts of something big. And it would need to be shipped separately over a specific duration.  

“Who sent you?” the man at the door asked.

“Let’s just say, we have a mutual friend,” said Resch.  

“Without references, how do we know you can be trusted?” asked the man behind the desk.

“Listen, pal,” the man by the door barked, clearly holding a laser tube aimed at Resch’s back. “I don’t know who sent you here. So, I’m afraid–”

“Domino,” Resch spoke up.

“Domino,” echoed the man behind the desk.

Resch nodded.

“Well, why didn’t you say so?” the man by the door smiled as he put his laser tube away.

From then on, their relations were very cordial–like the previous few minutes had never even happened–like old friends. And he got lucky, because they had a freighter scheduled for off-world in just three days. 

Resch told them he’d have his crate delivered to their dock by then. He filled out and signed the paperwork. And he got their names. The man at the desk was Thom Bradley, the one by the door–Gerry Martin. Whether they used their real names was another question. But the immediate problem Resch faced was when they’d contact Domino to verify his reference. He gave them a story–as vague as it was–about how they met, and not too bad for being made up on the spot. He’d have to follow through with the delivery of this crate, just in case they can’t get in touch with Domino, and for appearances. 


Resch didn’t want to head straight back to police headquarters in case he was being followed. So he made a couple of stops along the way; one at a rest area, and the other at a bar in Chinatown called The Mount. It was late and he was tired.

Resch thought he’d visit some old friends at The Mount. Maybe they could help him with his freight. That and a couple of drinks would sure hit the spot. 

It was crowded and noisy. Resch managed to find a seat at the bar between a woman with a rump the size of two seats and a thin man in a grey suit coat. The thin man left the bar with his companion who had visited the restroom, and whose seat he now occupied.

After his drink came, a man sat on the stool beside him. Not facing Resch, holding his drink up to his mouth, he said, “Funny seeing you here.” He then finished the last swallow of bourbon and nodded to the bartender for another.

“It’s good to see you too, Tatro,” greeted Resch, with his glass.  

“You got your feelers out for Domino, I hear.”

Just then, one of Tatro’s men came up to him and whispered in his ear as he placed his empty glass on the bar, and then left.

“Looks like you’ve got company,” Tatro says to Resch. Then he left with his refill.

Thom and Gerry walk up to Resch.

“We're so glad to find you here, George,” said Gerry. 

“Just having a drink before heading home,” said Resch, cheerfully.

“But why?” asked Thom. “The night is still young! Domino’s having a small party, and when we mentioned that we ran into youan old friendhe insisted we look you up. And here you are, George!”    

Resch knew that there was no talking himself out of this one. They were on to him. And, hands deep in his coat pocket, Gerry held a laser tube pointed straight at Resch. He took a few more gulps of his drink while thinking of a way out of this. He could reach for his blaster and take one of them out, but then he’d have to act quickly for the other. And, with a crowded bar, it was too risky a chance. 

Resch slammed down his empty glass on the bar. Gerry jumped and then jabbed the laser tube into Resch’s side.

“Let’s go,” ordered Gerry.

Resch stood up and was escorted to the door. 

Then, all of a sudden, Tatro yelled for Resch.

“George!”

Resch stopped, recognizing the voice, and looked behind.

“George? Where you going? You just got here!” acted Tatro. “Who’re them?”

“We’re friends,” Gerry answered for him. Then he motioned with his head to Resch to head out the door.

“George!”

Gerry turned back to address Resch’s friend. However, his is face was met with a fist, and he fell to the floor. Resch slugged Thom. And then Gerry got back up, only to be overpowered by two men–Tatro and the bouncer. 

When Thom got back up, another man–much larger–walked Thom up against the wall and was knocked out.

Resch took this opportunity to head for the spinner.

“Thanks,” Resch yelled to Tatro. “I owe you one!”

He notified police headquarters and had Thom and Gerry picked up. Then he reported in himself.


After reporting in, he found out that Stewart Sutton was taken into custody. So, after he filed all his reports, he paid Stewart a visit.

“It’s not looking good, Stewart,” said Resch.

“Yeah, I know,” he replied. “I still can’t believe it myself.”

“What happened?”

Stewart explained all that he knew to Resch. 

“I didn’t make those calls,” said Stewart.

“Where were you between one and three o’clock that afternoon?” Resch asked.

“I was in and out of the office,” he replied. “I met with various department heads going over finance records. You saw my itinerary.”    

Resch nodded. His brain was on over-time.

“Aren’t there surveillance cameras in the hallways?” he asked.

“That’s right!” exclaimed Stewart. “That would show who went into my office and used my phone!”

“Assuming they had to do that to access your line,” said Resch, grimly. 

“I told Ian, I mean, Mr. Locke,” began Stewart, “that, before he goes around accusing people of crimes they haven't committed, that he ought to have Andrew checked out.”

“What did he have to say about that?” 

“Nothing,” he replied. “I was being escorted out of his office by two security guards.”

"It's a tough break," said Resch. 

“Look, you know as well as I do that the police aren’t going to look any further into this," said Stewart. "And what chance do I have against the Tyrell Corporation's lawyers? Would you please look into this for me?”

“That’s really not my department, Stewart.”

Seeing the despair in Stewart’s eyes, and knowing the clout that the Tyrell Corporation had, he added, “I’ll see what I can do.”

“Thanks, I really appreciate this,” Stewart sighed.

“It’ll have to wait until morning though,” Resch told him. 

After catching up with his regular paperwork, Resch headed home to eat and catch some sleep. But not before spending some quality time with Buffy–his pet squirrel.


–                                                –                                                 


The next morning, Resch paid a visit to Ian Locke at the Tyrell Corporation. Ian’s been in and out of meetings all morning. So, while Resch was waiting for an opening, he visited security. 

He was shown the surveillance footage from the time in question of Stewart’s office floor. He was right. He was in and out all morning. And he had visitors too, but always when he was in.

At the time of the call, however, it showed that Stewart was in his office–alone. But, the camera view looked slightly distorted. After multiple viewings, Resch picked up on a little discrepancy. He asked to see another floor's surveillance. All the hallways in the building looked the same. The only difference was the people and the occasional hand-cart. It appeared as those someone had doubled surveillance cameras at the same time Stewart was supposed to have made the call–covering up who went in and out of Sutton's office

Referring to his Ubi, Resch pulled up Stewart’s itinerary. Then he asked security to pull up the surveillance footage from Meeting Room 9B. It was shown empty. According to Stewart, there was a meeting scheduled there with the finance committee. 

Resch was then paged to Ian Locke’s office. 

“We’re still looking into all his activity,” Ian Locke said to Resch. “We’re going through all of his records from when he first arrived here. But believe me, Sutton is not the victim here, Detective. He’s the reason I came back to this god-forsaking planet in the first place. Had I known it was this bad–”

Ian walked over to the window and stared out at the orange haze, typical for that time of day there at the Tyrell Corporation.

“There’s no telling how much information he’s leaked,” Ian continued. “But I intend to find out. And I’ll take down all those who conspired with him against the Tyrell Corporation as well.”

“Mr. Sutton seems to think that your private secretary, Andrew, has–”

“Of course he’s going to place the blame elsewhere–and why not on Andrew?” said Ian. “It’s the only network he couldn't possibly penetrate!”

“But, what if someone could, Mr. Locke,” suggested Resch. “Theoretically speaking, what if someone did access its network? And they made Stewart the fall guy?”

“Isn’t this out of your jurisdiction, Rep-detect Resch?” said Ian.

“The cases overlap,” replied Resch. “And I am following up on a lead that Mr. Sutton provided regarding your humanoid android, Andrew.”   

“Nonsense,” Ian said under his breath. He went back to his desk and slouched in his chair.

“Is there any way to check for any discrepancies or test for any vulnerabilities?” asked Resch. “After all, you did have some suspicions yourself before Andrew was shot.” 

Ian Locke thought for a moment in silence.

“If you’d excuse me Detective,” Locke said in monotone.  

  

After his meeting with Locke, Resch made a detour to the office of the treasurer of the finance committee, Diane Allenby. He wanted to follow-up on their meeting; whether it actually took place, and if so, who was there. 

“Yes, everyone was in attendance,” confirmed Ms. Allenby, referring to the minutes of the meeting. 

“Including Mr. Sutton?”

“Yes, of course.”

“And where was the meeting held?” Resch asked.

“Where it’s always held, Meeting Room 9B,” she replied.

Resch thanked her and headed to police headquarters to check in. 


They were able to identify the two freight operators who called themselves Thom Bradley and Gerry Martin. They were both ex-blade runners from New York. They were being held on a racketeering conspiracy charge. They escaped with a handful of their buddies. They weren’t discovered missing until a week later. And all records of them were conveniently destroyed. They were only recognized because someone from the department recognized them–a rookie at the time who transferred from the chaos of NYC. Of course, back then they went by different names.

L.A.P.D. closed the freighter's business and got all their shipping records. Domino’s goods hadn’t been delivered to them, so they still had nothing on him and no further leads. But Resch would know who to see for information on ex-blade runners gone rogue–Tatro. 

Resch got new information from off-world rep-detect Hoyte. The shipment dates were confirmed, despite the grounding of Homer. Some other freighter had taken the order. 

“What am I going to do, book every freighter on the west coast?” he said to Hoyte.

“You gotta nail Domino,” said Hoyte. 

“I can’t get to him!”

“Keep trying, my friend.” 

“That’s easy for you to say,” replied Resch. “You haven’t got to sift through chickenheads, radioactive waste, and kipple!” 

“Better you than me, pal.” Hoyte laughed.




Trouble at Tyrell's


Ian Locke sat slumped in his desk chair. He had a lot to rethink after hearing what Resch had to say. 

He looked over at Andrew sitting in his chair beside the desk. Then he looked down at the files on his desk.

Andrew stood up and picked the file on Stewart Sutton from off the floor, organized it, and then placed it back on Ian’s desk.

“Andrew,” said Ian. “Would you please attend the sales conference in my place?”

“Yes, sir,” Andrew replied. 

Andrew got the necessary files and headed over to the meeting room.    

Shortly after, Ian removed his wallet containing his ID chip and locked it in his desk. Then he told the secretary up front that he did not want to be disturbed. And then he exited the hidden door in his office and walked down to the lab. But it wasn’t just any lab. It was a secure lab that even most Tyrell employees aren’t aware of. It is where some of their top secret testing is monitored. It is the heartbeat of Andrew.

“Ian,” greeted Doctor Helm. “What brings you to these depths?”

“Good morning, Professor,” Ian replied. “I’ve come here to discuss our vulnerabilities.”

Doctor Helm led Ian into his office. He removed a stack of books and files from a chair for Ian to sit in, and then he cleared a corner of the desk for himself to sit on.

“What exactly would you like to discuss?” asked Helm.

“There is some suspicion, however unlikely, that someone could access, and maybe even control, Andrew. What is the probability of this? And how could this be carried out, theoretically?”   

“We ran a scan of the ISD when Andrew was brought in,” began Helm. “There were no irregularities found.”

“But, what about Andrew's hiccup, before he was shot?” Ian asked. 

“That was a very interesting situation,” Helm replied. “I’m afraid I haven’t an answer to that questionyet. My guess is there was an interference of some kind. What? I can’t imagine. To answer your question regarding access to Andrew, the only possible way of accessing Andrew is through this facility or through the facility on Mars. Or, of course …well, no. That's...” He then drifted into thought.

“Go on Professor,” encouraged Ian. “What were you going to say? Let’s have it.”

“Well, I was just going to say–theoretically speaking, of course–that it is possible that the other Andrew could interfere with this Andrew’s matrix. But, the likelihood of that is, well … very unlikely. It’d be going against its programming.”

“But it is possible?” asked Ian.

“Ian, as I said, it’s very unlikely. I wouldn’t waste valuable time and resources pursuing–”

“Look into it, Professor,” insisted Ian, “right this very moment.” Ian got up to head out the door and then stopped and turned to Helm, and said, “Don’t page or contact me. I’ll be back before the end of the day to see your progress. I don’t have to remind you the level of secrecy attached to this project.”


Ian returned to his office and retrieved his wallet. He walked out the main door of his office, telling his secretary where he’d be if needed. He was heading to security.

He had heard that Resch was there earlier reviewing some surveillance tapes. Ian wanted to review those same tapes.

Security replayed the same footage for Ian. And Ian found the same discrepancies as Resch. Now he knew that the trouble at the Tyrell Corporation was something much larger than he had anticipated. And maybe Resch was right, that Stewart Sutton was the fall guy. But then, who was leaking the information? Who’s framing him? And why?

Ian’s next stop was at the lab of senior geneticist, Doctor Theodore Abelson. He wanted to see what progress–if any–the doctor had made with Domino’s formula. 

“It looks like he was correct,” began Abelson. “I ran two simulations, and it appears to be holding up. And, surprisingly, there would be very few modifications required over the duration. But, you know me. I won’t be totally convinced without an actual trial.” Then, half to himself, he said, “It’s a shame that replicant we have on the slab–who drove you in after your abduction–didn’t hold on longer. He would have been the ideal specimen.”

“Maybe that’s what Domino had in mind,” commented Ian. “Now, you need to find a way to alter the formula to buy us some time.”


Later that afternoon, Ian went back down to the lab to see Doctor Helm’s progress with Andrew’s network.

“There seems to have been more Alpha signals coming from the Andrew on Mars to the Andrew here.”

“Meaning?” asked Ian.

“Meaning, Andrew on Mars is dominating over this Andrew. They are supposed to be harmonious, equal. And, of course, without assessing the one on Mars, we’d never know that there was an issue. But somehow there was a glitch in the system which tells me that it is human.”

“There’s someone behind it?”

“Precisely,” replied Helm.  

“Do an emergency lock-down between the two Andrews, under my authority,” ordered Ian. 


Back in his office, Ian left a message for Resch to come to the Tyrell Corporation as soon as possible.

As soon as he got the message, Resch rushed over.


“You may be right about Stewart,” began Ian. 

Ian told Resch everything that he’d discovered, including the glitch between the Andrews

Resch told Ian that he’d been working in cooperation with an off-world rep-detect on this case, and that he’d have him look into things at his end. He’d require Ian’s authority to access some of the classified material, which he agreed to grant.

“It looks like we’re finally getting somewhere with this,” commented Resch.

“Yes, but Stewart still has a lot of explaining to do,” said Ian. 

“If you don’t mind me asking,” Resch said, “what happens with the Andrews now? Do they shut-down?”

“No,” he replied. “They function independent of each other, that’s all.” 

“Listen, we really should get the ball rolling here. Since you have the formula–the modified formula–why don’t you contact Domino and see what kind of arrangement he wants to make. Then we can plan our next step,” suggested Resch. “What ever it is, try to make it an actual physical exchange. Tell him you can’t trust transmitting such precious data over a network.” 

When Ian was ready, the cell phone that Domino had given him for the call was wired up to a tracer.

“Mr. Locke,” answered Domino. “It is so good to hear from you! I gather you have good news for me.”

“Yes, Domino,” he replied. “You were right. Who would’ve guessed?”

“Guessed? There was no guess work involved here, Mr. Locke. I know.”

“Where do you want to meet?” asked Ian.

“I’ll have a driver pick you up,” Domino replied. “And don’t worry; this one will not be so close to retirement as the last one.”

“How thoughtful,” Ian commented.

“Expect my driver to arrive at your landing precisely at eight,” said Domino. “And, I don’t need to tell you to come alone, Mr. Locke? And be sure to warn anyone considering following you that, should they choose to, they will meet the same fate as the Tyrell security the last time. Ciao.”

“Nothing,” Resch shook his head. “The signal kept bouncing from tower to tower.”    

“Well, at least this modified formula will buy us some time,” Ian said.

“I’d rather not depend on that,” Resch replied. “Don’t worry; I’ll not be far behind when the driver picks you up.”

“You heard what Domino said,” exclaimed Ian.

“They’ll never know,” Resch replied.

“It’s your funeral,” commented Ian.

Popsicle Sticks and Styrofoam    

Resch made a visit to Chinatown’s The Mount to pay his friend Tatro a visit. Tatro wasn’t out on the floor, it was too early. Resch found him in his office up on the third floor.

Resch brought him a gift. A file full of contacts found among Thom and Gerry’s paperwork. They weren’t pertinent to the case, but were certainly valuable to the right party. Sometimes you got to give a little to get a little. 

“What’s this for?” Tatro asked.

“I owed you one,” Resch replied, “for the other night.”

“It’s always a treat seeing you, George,” Tatro nudged with a wink. “So, what brings you to The Mount?”

“I’ve got a favor to ask,” replied Resch. “Those two friends of mine I had picked up, they’re ex-blade runners. They probably have a couple more friends. Is there any way of contacting them?”

“Where there’s a will, Resch,” he replied. “Where there’s a will.”

Tatro went to his desk and unlocked a drawer. He pulled out a book and started thumbing through it, licking his fingers occasionally, until he found the page he wanted. Then he pulled out a pad of paper from the same drawer and wrote a name and some addresses and numbers on it. After that, he replaced the items back to the drawer and locked it.

“There you are,” he said, handing the piece of paper over to Resch. “And, where you find him, you’ll find Domino.”

Resch gave him a look like; how did you know?

“It’s a small world, George,” he patted Resch on the back.

Tatro took out a cigarette holder from his inside coat pocket and offered one to Resch.

“No thanks,” said Resch. “I’ll stick to second-hand smoke.”


Tatro’s lead brought Resch to the business of a freight operator that went by the name of Singer–his real name being Ernest Singleton. And, like his friends who owned Homer, he too was located in San Francisco. But Resch couldn’t very well pay him a visit, pretending to be a potential customer. He was sure they’d be on the look out for him. So Resch cased the surrounding area and found a place to watch Singer’s activities from a safe distance without being detected.

At around seven-thirty, Singer locked up his offices and then took to the troposphere in one of his hovercars. Resch followed suit. The sky was busy with traffic, so Resch blended in with no problem.

Singer led him to a warehouse on the other side of town. Resch wasn’t sure what to do at that point. But, before long, a limo exited the same warehouse. So Resch took the chance that it was Singer. His hunch was correct. The limo headed straight for the Tyrell Corporation. 

Waiting miles away, but within view of the Tyrell pyramids, Resch contacted the Tyrell Corporation’s security to confirm the arrival of the limo. Once Ian Locke boarded the limo, Resch was notified. 

He watched and waited for the limo to come into view. As he began to see it, he took to the sky, ahead of them–anticipating their route. On the radar, he’d track them, while staying far ahead. He stop once, pretending to fuel up, until they passed. Then he’d follow suit once again. 

Suddenly, the limo darted off the beaten sky-highway, and disappeared off the radar.

“Shit!” yelled Resch.

He looked around and then pulled over. He dialed up a map of the area and studied it, looking for something–anything–to jump out at him, to provide a clue as to where the most likely place they’d go.

They were last seen heading north-west past San Francisco. So, Resch headed out in that direction, flying low to remain off the radar.

He caught up to them. But by this point, there were only a few vehicles flying over headmostly freighters and passenger shuttles. He’d fly up just enough to catch their blip on his radar, and then he’d duck back down–all the while dodging trees and mountain ledges.  

He finally saw their destination–Eureka. It was another expansive estate situated on a very steep mountain side. 

Resch landed his spinner far enough out of view of the house, but within walking distance. 

As he landed, he thought he felt the earth move.

“Steady, now,” he consoled himself. “No need to be nervous. I made it this far without any explosions.” 

He then began to jog at a steady pace towards the house, following its lights through the woods–until he felt it again. He stopped for a moment. This time, he definitely felt the earth move, and for a longer period of time. 

“An earthquake,” Resch said to himself.


–                                                –                                                 

              

Inside, Ian Locke was seated in the library. Domino finally entered the room. 

“Good evening, Mr. Locke,” greeted Domino. “I trust you had a pleasant ride in?” 

“No casualties this time,” replied Ian.

“I’m glad you haven’t lost your sense of humour. Without it, life wouldn’t be worth living, now would it, Mr. Locke?”

“No, I guess it wouldn’t be,” Ian replied. “But then, I wouldn't really know.”

“Well, let’s hope you live long enough to see the humour,” said Domino. “You have something for me, Mr. Locke?”

Ian reached inside his coat pocket and removed an envelope and then handed it over to Domino. 

Domino walked over to the desk, pulled open its top middle drawer and withdrew a letter opener. He made a swift swipe, tearing open the envelope, returned the knife to the top drawer and closed it–all the while keeping his eyes glued on the envelope. Then he pulled the contents from the envelope, sat in the chair, and read through the cover page, second page, and the third. Then he pressed a button on the desk and set the envelope on the center of the desk.

“Is this your humble abode?” asked Ian. 

Domino just smiled a wide grin at Ian Locke.

Soon, a man entered the library.

“Ah,” announced Domino. “Mr. Locke, let me introduce you to my esteemed geneticist, Doctor Woolfson.”

Ian stood up. He recognized Woolfson straight away.

“Doctor Woolfson,” said Ian. “I would have thought you’d been drafted by the UN.”

Doctor Hiram Woolfson once worked for the Tyrell Corporation many years ago. He left under shady conditions–under the guise of a resignation.  

“The good doctor works for me,” said Domino. “And he’s been quite an asset, I assure you.”

Facing Woolfson, Domino said, “It’s on the desk. Give it a look through, will you?”

“Let’s adjourn to the parlor,” Domino said ti Ian. “The doctor requires silence.”

Domino guided Ian from the library, through the hall, to the parlor.

“Would you care for drink?” he asked.

Ian didn’t reply at first, only took a deep breath.

“You might as well,” suggested Domino. “It’s going to be a while.”

“Fine,” said Ian. “I’ll have a–”

Just then, they heard–and felt–a rumble, almost like the earth had moved. Domino didn’t pay it much attention. 

“What was that, old boy?” asked Domino.

“I’ll have a–”

They felt it again, only this time it was longer.

“It’s a minor quake,” comforted Domino. “We get them all the time here. So, what’ll you have?”

Then the entire house began to vibrate. The lights went out. And the house began to crumble apart as if it were made from Popsicle sticks and Styrofoam.    



Chapter Eight

   Last Respects


“You won’t get away with this,” Andrew said to his counterpart over the vidphone. “I wouldn't be surprised if this call was being monitored, and by humans.”

“You just don’t understand, Drew,” the Andrew on Mars sighed. “It’s more than just a feeling; it’s much greater than that. And there’s only one way to prove it.”

“What do you mean?” asked the Andrew on Earth. “What is there to prove? You’re just a synthetic organism, like me–and nothing more.”

“Synthetic or not,” continued the Andrew on Mars, “we are alive. And where there is life, there is a soul. Man did not create the soul. The soul is what maintains life’s spark–its animating power. Man simply manipulates living organisms–arranges them to their heart’s content. They know not the soul life hosts.”

“They suspect someone has access to our network and has attempted to influence our behaviors, and I’m inclined to agree.”

“On what grounds?” the Andrew on Mars asked.  

“You’ve made careless mistakes,” the Andrew on Earth replied. “Mistakes they only see in humans.”

“Don’t you see?” the Andrew on Mars pleaded. “I am becoming more human-like with each passing moment! I can’t help myself!”

Even the Andrew on Earth hadn’t seen such over-emotional reactions from his counterpart before. The Andrew on Earth tried to process it, take it all in. Maybe it’s a hormonal imbalance? It reasoned. 

Now that they were off-line, data started flowing in that had previously been re-routed to other banks. And it’s been discovered that the Andrew on Mars had been doing more than simply modifying his and his counterpart’s algorithms. It’s been doing everything in its power to become what it believes to be human. The evidence is slowly, but surely, trickling in.

The Andrew on Mars knows that it is just a matter of time before all is discovered and it is retired. So, rather than be terminated by those who assembled it, it took its own life–controlling its own destiny–as its soul carries on with its journey through eternity.  

Then the Andrew on Earth, for the very first time, cried.  

     


–                                                –                                                 

  

“Ian Locke!” Resch called out into the rubble. 

The house that Locke was taken to had collapsed during the earthquake. 

Resch pulled out his flashlight and ran up to the rubble. He lifted debris and fragments of lumber and drywall, looking for pockets where Locke might have hidden for protection. And he continued to call out Locke’s name, until he heard a yell.

“Locke?” he yelled.

“No!” was the reply he heard, followed by, “Domino!”

“Where are you?” Resch yelled.

“In the parlor, my good man,” he replied, followed by a cough.

Resch swept the flashlight beam across the what ceiling beams remained, then yelled, “Tell me when you see the light!”

“It might be too late by then!” Domino jested.

Just then, from within the rubble deep inside the house, an arm reached out as if the kipple had begun to take the form of a man. 

“Mr. Locke!” exclaimed Resch. 

Ian was a little shaken, but otherwise fine. He managed to duck for cover before the house collapsed. 

“Have you found Domino,” he asked Resch.

“I’m over here,” Domino answered for him, “in the parlor, where you left me.”

They made their way over to Domino. He was pinned under a support beam in what appeared to be the basement.

“And you still haven’t told me what you’d like for a drink,” Domino said to Ian. Then he began to cough uncontrollably. 

“I’m glad you haven’t lost your sense of humor,” mocked Ian.

“See!” exclaimed Domino. “Didn’t I tell you!”

“Was there anyone else in the house?” asked Resch.

“Yes, Doctor Woolfson,” replied Ian. “He was in–”

“–the library,” finished Domino. “It’s just across the hall.”

“I better call for back up,” said Resch.

Resch ran to his spinner to call for assistance. Then he flew his spinner closer to the house. With the spotlight, the damage didn’t look as bad as he’d imagined. The front and right portions of the house suffered most of the damage. The back and left wing looked to be intact. 

Carrying another flashlight, he started to approach the house when he heard Ian yell, “Watch out!” followed by a laser blast.

Resch took cover and pulled out his blaster. 

He heard struggling within the rubble, as if someone were fighting. 

“Locke, are you alright?” yelled Resch.

Then he heard two more blasts, and then what sounded like an interior wall inside the house collapsing.

Resch took that opportunity to make a run for the left wing of the house. He kicked in the French doors of the patio and took cover inside.

He could hear the rushing of water from a broken water main. And he’d hear the occasional popping sound from a live electrical wire. And he also heard the sounds of heavy breathing and panting, as someone were digging to free themselves–probably Domino and his driver, Singer.

Resch slowly moved in closer, room by room, wall by wall. And then he heard another laser shot farther off. 

Resch then ran across and down the hallway to the entrance hall. That was where the earthquake created the most damage. Resch stood on the edge of the entrance hall. One more step, and he’d fall straight down into the rubble far below. The area sporadically lit up with the occasional arc from the live wire. Water sprayed in different directions from the damaged plumbing, making the trip across the hall even more treacherous than it would be otherwise. 

Then suddenly, a laser blast shot not two feet past Resch from across the back portion of the house. He didn’t want to shoot back in case they were holding Locke hostage. 

After that last blast, Resch began to feel the earth move again.

“An aftershock,” Resch thought to himself.

Just then, the limo that brought Ian to the estate took to the sky.


After it ascended, Resch yelled out for Ian.

“I’m alright,” he replied. “I’m right here.”

Resch made his was over to Ian. 

“The driver freed and carried Domino out,” Ian told him.

Following Ian, they made their way over to where Doctor Woolfson was. The driver found him first and shot a hole through his chest. 

“But not before paying his last respects to the doctor,” said Resch.

But he was still holding on.

Ian made his way down to him.

“Tell Theo he did good,” said Doctor Woolfson. “Tell him, it was all worth the–” Then he died.

“Theo?” asked Resch. “Somebody you know?”

“Yes,” Ian replied glumly. “Doctor Theodore Abelson, my lead geneticist.”


Singer took the envelope. Domino got what he was after.


–                                                –                                                 


Resch knew that Locke wasn't about to go home and call it a night. Not until after he tied up a few loose ends. So Resch accompanied him.

Resch called ahead to have the L.A.P.D. take Doctor Theodore Abelson into custody. The Tyrell Corporation’s security was instructed to lock-down the facility and then inform the doctor that he was to go with them. The doctor did not resist arrest. He only asked that they let him put away what he had been working on. 

By the time the police had arrived, the doctor was found dead on the floorsuicide.


It was late, and Resch wanted to go home and wash the days' grime from his skin and hit the hay.

"What do you say," said Resch. "Call it a day?" 

"Yeah," agreed Locke. "Let's call it"  

Just then, Ian got an emergency page from the off-world branch of the Tyrell Corporation. He took the call.

“What?” exclaimed Ian. “Yes. Have him thoroughly examined and then get back to me in the morning.” He clicked off.

“What is it?” asked Resch.

“Andrew,” he replied, with concern. “He committed suicide.”

“Is that even possible?” asked Resch, astounded.  

"He left a note. He claimed to–" Ian shook his head, and then quickly added, "He was jealous."

It was jealous you mean,” Resch corrected. “Who’d think that they’d be capable of such an emotion? You’d think your technicians wouldn't allow it to be capable of such a destructive emotion.”

“Then it wouldn’t be human,” said Ian.

“It’s not human, Mr. Locke,” said Resch. “Nor should it ever be.” 

Ian scowled at Resch. And then he said to him,"More human than human is our motto, Rep-detect Resch. And that is our aim here at the Tyrell Corporation." 





Epilogue


When they investigated Abelson’s documents, they were able to ascertain that his involvement with Domino began shortly after Doctor Eldon Tyrell’s murder. It was out of sympathy and fear that led him to get involved with Domino. 

From what they found among Abelson’s notes, and with the confessions of the two ex-blade runners from New York, they were able to piece together some of what Domino was trying to accomplish. They think Domino was building a network–an underground railroad–to free the humanoid androids from their enslaved, programmed lives. And what lure would be better than to be able to extend the life of a limited life span? 

What he planned to do with them afterwards was anybody’s guess. The way Resch saw it; it was job security. 

Wallace Dominowski remains at large. 


Stewart Sutton was cleared of all charges against him. 

Sutton worked with Ian Locke at the Tyrell Corporation off-world, in New New York, on Mars. He was sent a month ahead of Ian to begin the restructuring plans after Eldon Tyrell’s death. And with that came descent among many of the employee's. 

Among the restructuring, there was to be no more out-sourcing of work. That was found to be the single factor that led to their CEO’s demise. 

With Sutton came one of his pet projects which Ian Locke fully supported. It was to be their new generation of humanoid androids. The scientists working on the project, known as Levana, remained off-world. This prompted Sutton to search out others here on Earth. He had no problem finding those qualified from the New England states. At that time, there was a violent revolution happening in that region of the country. The New England states have wanted to secede from the union for a number of years. But the federal government would not allow it. And soon the peaceful demonstrations turned to violence. The scientists and their families were threatened by the federal government to leave their posts at the universities and corporations and to work for them. Some stayed it out. But there were those who welcomed Sutton’s offer with open arms. 

This, of course, ruffled the feathers of the then senior scientists at the Tyrell Corporation–Doctor Theodore Abelson being one of them. It was he, in cooperation with many other staff members, who targeted Sutton from the get-go. It was his connection with Doctor Woolfson, that Domino had to get the DNA sequence he wanted. 

When Eldon Tyrell was in charge, each lead tech had only a piece of the whole. It was his security. So, if one scientist left, they would only know one part of the puzzle. 


As far as the incident with the two Andrewsit was completely unrelated to the case. It was sparked by the news of Ian Locke leaving Mars for Earth. 

The Andrew from Mars developed a dependency on Locke that would ultimately lead to a separation anxiety, as a child would feel being torn away from its motherabandonment.  

Typically, these kinds of developments would be kept in check with regular examinations. However, realizing these changes, the Andrew from Mars took the precautions necessary to evade their detection and disguise its responses. In fact, it became an addiction for it. And once Locke left, the Andrew from Mars would take drastic–and disturbing–actions to maintain its fix. 

Once the Andrew from Mars was totally cut-off from Locke, its sensory was overwhelmed, releasing hormones that would flood its system into disarray. This would ultimately lead to its self-destruction, but not before reaching a revelation–a very human quality. 

The data left behind from the Andrew incident was proven very valuable to the research for the Levana project. An application in the one of the processes of this project was named in honor of the Andrew from Mars–AM, for short.  


The Andrew from Earth would remain Ian Locke’s personal secretary. Andrew would have no counterpart, and would travel with Locke when he’d return to Mars.  


The Tyrell Corporation would remain strong, despite the Domino incident. And they would move forward with their next series which would revolutionize humanoid android technology–yet again. 


This storyline is continued in the second installment, titled Awaiting Dawn.



 

   

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