Serve the Servants
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by Doug Humphrey



He scanned the field left and right. Outside of the rounds still remaining in his .45, every last round of ammunition had been exhausted. The air was so thick with burnt gunpowder it was tough to see or breathe. Acrid blue smoke created a dense fog that rolled by slowly. This night would go down in the history books, the night that the Replicants overthrew a human colony.

Slowly the smoke began to drift apart. He began to see all the eyes slowly emerging from around the edges of the walls. He smiled in satisfaction, knowing that even though he couldn't get them all, he'd put up enough of a fight to get them to cower for awhile behind the main wall. He also smiled, knowing that they had listened to him, learned and survived.

His wounds were pretty deep, and he knew he didn't have long to live. But his pride overcame a lot of things, and he summoned the strength to prop his back against the wall, so he could see the Replicants that had gotten the best of him, face to face. As he pushed himself back, he slipped a little on the spent casings that now covered the ground. He planted his hand more firmly and pushed again, feeling the cold wall touch his back.

Then, through the smoke, he heard Jacob's screech through the night. Jacob's wings knifed through the air, his claws outstretching for a perfect landing on Daniel's shoulder. The bird let out a cry of sadness. Daniel reached up and used his finger to brush up against Jacob's chest.

"It'll be okay, buddy." The bird looked hurriedly up and down, scared to death of all the noise, but not wanting to stray from its master. They never said you'd be so damn smart, Daniel mused to himself. The bird then looked into the smoke, its keen senses far more attuned than Daniel's.

"I...I'm so sorry...I didn't want it to end this way." Daniel recognized the voice.

"It's okay, Roy." Roy Batty began to emerge from the smoke. Behind him, Leon looked at Daniel with wide eyes. "I figured it would've been you two, anyway. Can you please look after Jacob?"

Roy scanned him up and down looking at Daniel's injuries. Roy outstretched his arm, touching the bird's chest. Jacob reluctantly left Daniel's shoulder, climbing up Roy's arm then perching on his shoulder. The hawk gazed down at its dying owner and let out a cry.

"Are you going to stick it out with Vaulkner?" Daniel hoarsely asked.

Roy shook his head no. Leon looked between them, his face pale, and covered in sweat. Daniel smiled.

Roy looked at Daniel, not knowing what to say. Daniel began to cough and hack up blood. Daniel began to dig in his pocket, pulled out an ID card, and held it towards Roy.

"Listen to me, Roy. Get as many of your friends together as you can, and get the hell off this godforsaken rock. Take a shuttle to the next colony, blend in and disappear. This card will get you into the shuttle bay, but you'll have to figure out a way from there."

Roy slowly took the card from Daniel's shaking hand. Jacob cried again, his claws beginning to dig a little into Roy's shoulder. Daniel looked into Roy's face intently.

"They're going to nuke this colony. Hammerdown protocol. Get out of here."

Jacob began to flap his wings fiercely and flew back down to Daniel. Daniel smiled at the bird, and then slumped over, losing consciousness.

Roy began to try and gather Jacob, but Jacob was not having any of it, and kept flying back to Daniel's corpse.

"I understand now what you were trying to tell me about loyalty." Roy stated, looking down at Jacob.

Leon grabbed Roy, beginning to pull him in the direction of the hangers. They began to hear more voices climbing up the sides of the walls. Roy looked one last time at Jacob and Daniel, and then ran off with Leon, the ID card firmly in his grasp.

About an hour later, Daniel came to. A grim laugh cut through the sounds of far-off Replicants celebrating their victory. He felt dirt and spent casings being kicked in his face.

Vaulkner was smiling, showing off his big wide teeth. He couldn't hold back his excitement, he'd been dreaming of this moment for a long time.

"Wake up. WAKE UP. I want you to see this. We're finally going to get some respect."

Vaulkner went bent over, grabbing Daniel's shirt by the collar and jerking him upward in a violent quick motion, when Jacob shot out of a hole in the rubble. Jacob's well-timed attack caught Vaulkner off-guard, gouging his face deeply. Vaulkner's hand came around in a backhand, driving Jacob into the ground, breaking one of his wings.

"Congratulations, Vaulkner. It's been a big day for you. Not only did you wipe out Io, but you managed to kill what probably was earth's last real bird. Maybe you can find some toddlers to kick around, while you're at it."

"Maybe I will." Vaulkner's dumb grin was gone. "I'm going to let you live long enough to enjoy this." He dragged Daniel to where he could see the victorious Replicants rioting and looting in the streets of the colony. Once proud shops being stripped of their wares; cars being overturned and drunken Replicants dancing on top of them; human women being slapped around (and worse) by Replicants of both sexes; Replicants taking turns at beating up half-dead military and police personnel. A few Replicants were trying to tell the others to stop the debauchery, nobody listening. A crowd ‘gone mad’ with its first taste of victory.

The smoke from the gun powder finally began to disappear, and overhead in the night sky Daniel could see ships streaking away from Io, bright orange lines as they left the artifically created atmosphere. He let out a small smile, grimacing that at least Roy and Leon had a shot to make it off of Io.

"What the fuck are you smiling for?!? The humans on this planet will be kissing our bootlaces, if they want to live." He began to fight back an urge to kill Daniel. But Daniel kept smiling, knowing Vaulkner wanted to gloat some more. He wouldn't give him that chance.

"Well, I'm just so damn happy that you're going to be respected - After all, it's just all about YOU anyway, and your idea of respect, god only knows what that might be. And you'll get it. They'll respect you so much, that they won't even bother trying to negotiate. They'll respect you so much they won't even bother sending more troops. They'll respect you so fucking much, they'll just sit back and nuke your asses from a safe distance, wipe Io clean - and get rid of you like changing a baby's diaper."

"They wouldn't dare, we have hostages -" Daniel cut off Vaulkner mid-sentence, pointing to an orange cluster of light going off about the colony, spreading out in a butterfly shaped pattern across the night. Its reflection was shown brightly in Vaulkner's eyeglasses as his jaw dropped. The wave began wiping out the colony and started spreading towards them.

"You wanted respect! You got it, dishwasher." Daniel quickly pulled the .45 from his pocket and squeezed off the remaining rounds at Vaulkner–the blast wave hitting them both as the bullets struck.