Groundwork to Nowhere
Eldon Tyrell looked angrily towards
the progress reports that were strewn across his desk. He'd been planning to expand his company ten-fold, and it looked like
that might have to wait for another six months or so.
"So you're basically telling me that
they're not ready. Was it a problem with the replication of the neurologic brain pathways? Your report said our test subjects
were able to walk once the chamber had depressurized."
"I reported that most of the
test subjects had been able to, Mr. Tyrell."
Richard Halford knew, for some time,
that most of the reports Tyrell had seen were either altered or fabricated by the time that they hit Tyrell's desk. Nobody
wanted to tell Tyrell what he didn't want to hear. For a while that included Halford as well, but finally he got fed up with
it. He could sense that Tyrell was beginning to suspect it as well.
"Mr. Tyrell, this is just further proof
of what I've been saying all along - we need to develop some sort of memory download that will capture basic motor skills,
and have a way to convey them to the Replicants."
Tyrell turned and watched the screen
as Halford replayed the video clip. It showed an assistant opening a cryogenic tube, and the Replicant inside beginning to
look around, and then sit upright. The assistant motioned for the Replicant to stand up and walk towards her, offering her
hand. The Replicant reached out, clasped her hand and then crushed it–with the assistant making high pitched screams
trying to free her broken hand. Two larger assistants then ran into the room, trying to free her from the Replicant's vise-like
grip. When that didn't work, a third tech ran into the room with a huge set of bolt cutters. The Replicant looked around,
completely unaware of doing anything wrong, and seemingly more interested in the room decor. At that point Tyrell had seen
enough. He motioned to Halford to pause the clip.
"We're trying to push the envelope here. Any new invention worth its weight goes through a development process." Eldon looked
back at Halford. "But we must get production moving. This is just a bump in the road. Fix it. Do whatever it
Daniel Frey looked closely at the dispatch sheets from the office, occasionally glancing up to see the supply shuttles
heading in and out of the tenders' service bay. He watched closely as a certain shuttle landed in the bay, clanking into its
dock in a slightly jerky motion. He watched as the shuttle tech, still in his spacesuit, slowly climbed onto the catwalk as
he carried a duffel bag, pushing a dolly loaded with boxes. Daniel's voice crackled over the shuttle pilot's head on the intercom
"Nice landing, Alan. I think they heard that one all the way to the galley.
Maintenance, please report to bay 7 and bring a can of touch up paint."
The pilot stopped to look upward to Daniel's window, defiantly held up
his middle finger, and then resumed his walk to the check-in room.
Daniel let out a small smile, and went back to his paperwork, notating
the incoming shuttle. File a report for incoming shuttle. File a report for the
incoming freight. File another for the outgoing freight. File another to keep track of the pilots. A phone call to the boss
to say he'd been filing reports. Then file another report saying he'd phoned the boss. Don't worry, boss...I filed it.
He placed the clipboard onto the wall.
Then the vidphone began to blink and ring. He got up and turned on the
receiver, looking face to face at his boss, a rather grizzly looking man named Schubert.
"Hey Daniel, has there been an accident in the bays? Marge and I were
eating dinner when all of a sudden we heard this loud thunk. Then Marge looks at
me and says–"
Daniel's head sank with a laugh. "It's nothing, boss. One of the shuttle
jocks was just trying to adjust to the artificial gravity in the bays, that's all."
"Phew! Holy cow! We thought for sure something really bad happened when
we heard the call for maintenance. Make sure Krensler has his boys go over that bay..."
Daniel did his best to keep a straight face. Schubert really wasn't a
bad guy to work for, really honest and well-meaning, but he was perpetually worried about every little thing that happened
to the point where it stressed him and everyone else around him out. Daniel knew that before this was all said and done, Schubert
would have those scratches painted three times over.
"Everything's okay. It’s
only a few scratches in the paint. It’s nothing to worry about. Maintenance just showed up on the bay floor." Daniel
replied, while looking at the window as a worker walked into the bay holding a can of paint.
"Wow! Well, thanks for making sure everything is running smooth. We’ll
see you when my shift begins tomorrow morning."
"Sure, boss." Daniel watched as Schubert turned to his wife, still worrying
about the bay, with his wife telling him to calm down. Then the vidphone switched off.
"Crap. Now I gotta file another report," Daniel stated, while
watching the bay worker painting over the scratches.
As he clicked on his computer to start the file and advertisement popped
Tired of your current job? Stuck in a situation going nowhere? The Off-World
Colony of Io awaits YOU. We need all kinds of personnel who are looking for the chance to begin a new life on an exciting
new colony. Do you have a construction background? WE NEED YOU. Military experience? WE NEED YOU. Computer background? WE
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keeping emigration flowing smoothly, so email or call the recruiter posted below. Many of these fantastic government jobs
won't be around long!!
Then the vidphone rang again. Schubert's worried face appeared once again, this time he was pointing to a page in a
manual. Daniel could see Schubert's wife was in the background, covering her face and shaking her head.
"Daniel, are you sure those guys are using the right paint? Regulation 1036a specifies that only powder-coated paint
is to be used on the ...."
Daniel rolled his eyes, wearily looked down to the ad on the computer
screen, and clicked YES.
"I'll go down and check the label on the paint can personally. Anything else you need me to do before I sign off tonight?"
"Well...no...well...yes, there is. Have you seen any feathers around the office, brown and white bird feathers?"
Daniel stared blankly at Schubert as if he were on drugs.
"Have a goodnight boss. And relax, will ya ?!?"
Schubert turned to his wife. "Everyone always keeps saying that! Why
do they keep telling me to relax? I'm always relaxed! Don't they understand I'm responsible for–" Schubert snapped his vidphone off.
Daniel then turned and pulled the cover off of Jacob's cage, which was
neatly stored out of sight from the vidphone. Jacob was an adolescent red-tailed hawk, sporting a falconry training cover
over his head.
"Whaddya say we get the paperwork done and get the hell out of Dodge. Sound good to you, Jacob?"
Jacob turned his helmet towards Daniel and let out a small squawk.