DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP
Garland said, "I guess so." He jabbed a finger at the bounty hunter Phil Resch. "But I'm warning you: you're not going to like the results of the tests."
"Do you know what they'll be?" Resch asked, with visible surprise; he did not look pleased.
"I know almost to a hair," Inspector Garland said.
"Okay." Resch nodded. "I'll go upstairs and get the Boneli gear." He strode to the door of the office, opened it, and disappeared out into the hall. "I'll be back in three or four minutes," he said to Rick. The door shut after him.
Reaching into the right-hand top drawer of his desk, Inspector Garland fumbled about, then brought forth a laser tube; he swiveled it until it pointed at Rick.
"That's not going to make any difference," Rick said. "Resch will have a postmortem run on me, the same as your lab ran on Polokov. And he'll still insist on a -- what did you call it -- Boneli Reflex-Arc Test on you and on himself."
The laser tube remained in its position, and then Inspector Garland said, "It was a bad day all day. Especially when I saw Officer Crams bringing you in; I had an intuition -- that's why I intervened." By degrees he lowered the laser beam; he sat gripping it and then he shrugged and returned it to the desk drawer, locking the drawer and restoring the key to his pocket.
"What will tests on the three of us show?" Rick asked.
Garland said, "That damn fool Resch."
"He actually doesn't know?"
"He doesn't know; he doesn't suspect; he doesn't have the slightest idea. Otherwise he couldn't live out a life as a bounty hunter, a human occupation -- hardly an android occupation." Garland gestured toward Rick's briefcase. "Those other carbons, the other sus pects you're supposed to test and retire. I know them all." He paused, then said, "We all came here together on the same ship from Mars. Not Resch; he stayed behind another week, receiving the synthetic memory system." He was silent, then.
Or rather it was silent.
Rick said, "What'll he do when he finds out?"
"I don't have the foggiest idea," Garland said remotely. "It ought, from an abstract, intellectual view-point, to be interesting. He may kill me, kill himself; maybe you, too. He may kill everyone he can, human and android alike. I understand that such things happen, when there's been a synthetic memory system laid down. When one thinks it's human."
"So when you do that, you're taking a chance."
Garland said, "It's a chance anyway, breaking free and coming here to Earth, where we're not even considered animals. Where every worm and wood louse is considered more desirable than all of us put together." Irritably, Garland picked at his lower lip. "Your position would be better if Phil Resch could pass the Boneli test, if it was just me. The results, that way, would be predictable; to Resch I'd just be another andy to retire as soon as possible. So you're not in a good position either, Deckard. Almost as bad, in fact, as I am. You know where I guessed wrong? I didn't know about Polokov. He must have come here earlier; obviously he came here earlier. In another group entirely -- no contact with ours. He was already entrenched in the W.P.O. when I arrived. I took a chance on the lab report, which I shouldn't have. Crams, of course, took the same chance."
"Polokov was almost my finish, too," Rick said.
"Yes, there was something about him. I don't think he could have been the same brain unit type as we; he must have been souped up or tinkered with -- an altered structure, unfamiliar even to us. A good one, too. Almost good enough."
"When I phoned my apartment," Rick said, "why didn't I get my wife?"
"All our vidphone lines here are trapped. They recirculate the call to other offices within the building. This is a homeostatic enterprise we're operating here, Deckard. We're a closed loop, cut off from the rest of San Francisco. We know about them but they don't know about us. Sometimes an isolated person such as yourself wanders in here or, as in your case, is brought here -- for our protection." He gestured convulsively toward the office door. "Here comes eagerbeaver Phil Resch back with his handy dandy portable little test. Isn't he clever? He's going to destroy his own life and mine and possibly yours."
"You androids," Rick said, "don't exactly cover for each other in times of stress."
Garland snapped, "I think you're right; it would seem we lack a specific talent you humans possess. I believe it's called empathy."
The office door opened; Phil Resch stood outlined, carrying a device which trailed wires. "Here we are," he said, closing the door after him; he seated himself, plugging the device into the electrical outlet.
Bringing out his right hand, Garland pointed at Resch. At once Resch -- and also Rick Deckard -- rolled from their chairs and onto the floor; at the same time, Resch yanked a laser tube and, as he fell, fired at Garland.
The laser beam, aimed with skill, based on years of training, bifurcated Inspector Garland's head. He slumped forward and, from his hand, his miniaturized laser beam rolled across the surface of his desk. The corpse teetered on its chair and then, like a sack of eggs, it slid to one side and crashed to the floor.
"It forgot," Resch said, rising to his feet, "that this is my job. I can almost foretell what an android is going to do. I suppose you can, too." He put his laser beam away, bent, and, with curiosity, examined the body of his quondam superior. "What did it say to you while I was gone?"
"That he -- it -- was an android. And you --" Rick broke off, the conduits of his brain humming, calculaing, and selecting; he altered what he had started to say. "-- would detect it," he finished. "In a few more minutes."
"This building is android-infested."
Resch said introspectively, "That's going to make it hard for you and me to get out of here. Nominally I have the authority to leave any time I want, of course. And to take a prisoner with me." He listened; no sound came from beyond the office. "I guess they didn't hear anything. There's evidently no bug installed here, moni-toring everything ... as there should be." Gingerly, he nudged the body of the android with the toe of his shoe. "It certainly is remarkable, the psionic ability you develop in this business; I knew before I opened the office door that he would take a shot at me. Frankly I'm surprised he didn't kill you while I was upstairs."
"He almost did," Rick said. "He had a big utility-model laser beam on me part of the time. He was considering it. But it was you he was worried about, not me."
"The android flees," Resch said humorlessly, "where the bounty hunter pursues. You realize, don't you, that you're going to have to double back to the opera house and get Luba Luft before anyone here has a chance to warn her as to how this came out. Warn it, I should say. Do you think of them as 'it'?"
"I did at one time," Rick said. "When my conscience occasionally bothered me about the work I had to do; I protected myself by thinking of them that way but now I no longer find it necessary. All right, I'll head directly back to the opera house. Assuming you can get me out of here."
"Suppose we sit Garland up at his desk," Resch said; he dragged the corpse of the android back up into its chair, arranging its arms and legs so that its posture appeared reasonably natural -- if no one looked closely. If no one came into the office. Pressing a key on the desk intercom, Phil Resch said, "Inspector Garland has asked that no calls be put through to him for the next half hour. He's involved in work that can't be interrupted."
"Yes, Mr. Resch."
Releasing the intercom key, Phil Resch said to Rick, "I'm going to handcuff you to me during the time we're still here in the building. Once we're airborne I'll naturaIly let you go." He produced a pair of cuffs, slapped one onto Rick's wrist and the other around his own. "Come on; let's get it over with." He squared hisshoulders, took a deep breath, and pushed open the office door.
Uniformed police stood or sat on every side, conducting their routine business of the day; none of them glanced up or paid any attention as Phil Resch led Rick across the lobby to the elevator.
"What I'm afraid of," Resch said as they waited for the elevator, "is that the Garland one had a dead man's throttle warning component built into it. But --" He shrugged. "I would have expected it to go off by now; otherwise it's not much good."
The elevator arrived; several police-like nondescript men and women disemelevatored, clacked off across the lobby on their several errands. They paid no attention to Rick or Phil Resch.
"Do you think your department will take me on?" Resch asked, as the elevator doors shut, closing the two of them inside; he punched the roof button and the elevator silently rose. "After all, as of now I'm out of a job. To say the least."
Guardedly, Rick said, "I -- don't see why not. Except that we already have two bounty hunters." I've got to tell him, he said to himself. It's unethical and cruel not to. Mr. Resch, you're an android, he thought to himself. You got me out of this place and here's your reward; you're everything we jointly abominate. The essence of what we're committed to destroy.
"I can't get over it," Phil Resch said. "It doesn't seem possible. For three years I've been working under the direction of androids. Why didn't I suspect -- I mean, enough to do something?"
"Maybe it isn't that long. Maybe they only recently infiltrated this building."
"They've been here all the time. Garland has been my superior from the start, throughout my three years."
"According to it," Rick said, "the bunch of them came to Earth together. And that wasn't as long ago as three years; it's only been a matter of months."
"Then at one time an authentic Garland existed," Phil Resch said. "And somewhere along the way got replaced." His sharklike lean face twisted and he struggled to understand. "Or- -- I've been impregnated with a false memory system. Maybe I only remember Garland over the whole time. But --" His face, suffused now with growing torment, continued to twist and work spasmodically. "Only androids show up with false memory systems; it's been found ineffective in humans."
The elevator ceased rising; its doors slid back, and there, spread out ahead of them, deserted except for empty parked vehicles, lay the police station's roof field.
"Here's my car," Phil Resch said, unlocking the door of a nearby hovercar and waving Rick rapidly inside; he himself got in behind the wheel and started up the motor. In a moment they had lifted into the sky and, turning north, headed back in the direction of the War Memorial Opera House. Preoccupied, Phil Resch drove by reflex; his progressively more gloomy train of thought continued to dominate his attention. "Listen, Deckard," he said suddenly. "After we retire Luba Luft -- I want you to --" His voice, husky and tormented, broke off. "You know. Give me the Boneli test or that empathy scale you have. To see about me."
"We can worry about that later," Rick said evasively.
"You don't want me to take it, do you?" Phil Resch glanced at him with acute comprehension. "I guess you know what the results will be; Garland must have told you something. Facts which I don't know."
Rick said, "It's going to be hard even for the two of us to take out Luba Luft; she's more than I could handle, anyhow. Let's keep our attention focused on that."
"It's not just false memory structures," Phil Resch said. "I own an animal; not a false one but the real thing. A squirrel. I love the squirrel, Deckard; every goddamn morning I feed it and change its papers -- you know, clean up its cage -- and then in the evening when I get off work I let it loose in my apt and it runs all over the place. It has a wheel in its cage; ever seen a squirrel running inside a wheel? It runs and runs, the wheel spins, but the squirrel stays in the same spot. Buffy seems to like it, though."
"I guess squirrels aren't too bright," Rick said.
They flew on, then, in silence.