Four Months Later
Dark grey clouds loomed over the landscape
of Io. The atmosphere wasn't fully created, limiting personnel to a few usable hours before having to go back into a climate-controlled
structure. The atmosphere processor was visible from several miles out, reminding Wauldron of the time he visited Crazy Horse
and Mount Rushmore as a child.
Construction workers worked round the
clock getting parts of the colony assembled, lowering pre-built sections of the housing units into place with large mobile
cranes. Sparks flew from welders as they worked quickly on all sides, efficiently making progress despite having to wear a
lot of extra breathing gear to deal with Io's limited environmental support.
Wauldron looked outside the hovercar's
window as it flew to F.C.A's Io headquarters. Although he didn't care very much for the spaceflight from Earth to Mars, the
flight from Mars to Io–and now the spinner ride from the landing strip–were much more to his liking. It made him
feel very young again.
"My son would absolutely love
this, Corporal. How long have you been flying these?" Wauldron commented, looking
all around and trying to absorb everything he saw.
"About three months. The recruiter said
it was the only way to learn how to fly, outside of going through officer's candidate school." The corporal, a rather stocky
built guy named Baker, continued. "They cut through the soup around here a lot better than any 'copter would, anyway."
"The air. The atmosphere, sir." Baker
looked around, checking for any air traffic as he began his approach to the parking area atop of the building. "I heard back
on Earth they're going to start equipping police forces with spinners, get rid of all the old Hueys and Jet Rangers."
"After riding in this one, I can see
why." Wauldron looked ahead. "This my stop?"
"Yes, sir." Baker pointed ahead to an
entranceway just off of the landing platform. "You'll just need to head through those doors, and turn left, I think. There
should be a guard and a receptionist that can guide you from there."
Wauldron thanked Baker, then collected
his briefcase and stepped out of the spinner. Once clear, he turned and waved, and watched as the spinner levitated itself
upward, back into the sky.
Tyrell scanned over his glasses at his
research staff, beaming a smile. Pleased by the afternoon's progress reports, he looked over at Halford.
"Excellent work everyone. Basic motor skill implants, and applicable to our existing
line. 96% success rate. Very well done. All within our initial budgets. Very good work."
"What is this Replicant's name?"
"Jason Vaulkner," Halford replied. "He
was our prototype for the motor skill implants. His DNA structure seemed to be more receptive to the implants, so we decided
to use him as a test subject."
Tyrell pointed to Vaulkner's face, which
was adorned with glasses. "Because it turned out his vision wasn't 20/20, we felt that he could serve us better as a trials
unit, rather than being destroyed."
Tyrell looked the R&D people over
very carefully. He could tell they had been up for two days straight, and had been told by his security chief that some had
been sleeping in the break lounges. He looked over at Halford.
"Tell everyone to take this weekend
off. They've earned it." Halford walked over and told the department chief, who began breaking people out. As Halford turned
around, Tyrell tapped him on the shoulder. "I need to talk to you some more, though."
He stared into Halford's eyes. "They
want us to ship as soon as possible. I need someone that will be willing to take charge of our operations on Io. I think that
person should be you. The government is doing everything it can to restrict or monitor our projects. The military, on the
other hand, is demanding working examples as soon as possible, and are trying to sub-contract out Replicant manufacture to
other companies in case we fail, or they can deliver faster. We have spies at Phillips-Morris, Sudermann and Grozzi that have
confirmed they are trying to come up with the catalysts that we are using now. It won't take them long to catch up to us.
We need every edge we can get."
"But how should I handle the FCA? From
what I understand they have the final word."
"Politically, yes. But consider this.
They don't control the business aspect of it. No matter what, if we keep our military contracts, we'll be years ahead
of our competition. We'll have a proven Replicant ready for sale, when all they'll have is a brochure."
Tyrell stared deeper into Halford's
face, with dark eyes. "I know you won't let me down."
Halford straightened himself up and
offered his hand.
"You can count on me, Mr. Tyrell. Thank you for this opportunity." Tyrell shook Halford's
hand, and then walked off.
Halford smiled, looked through
the window at Vaulkner, and shook his head while lighting up a cigarette. Then a voice broke from the back of the lab. It
belonged to a very small genetic engineer named J.F. Sebastian.
"He'll figure it out. He's nobody's
fool, Mr. Halford."
"I'm sure he will. But in the meantime,
we're going to keep telling him what he wants to hear." He looked over at Sebastian, who was fidgeting with his hands.
"And we're not going to tell him any
different, are we??"
Sebastian stammered out an answer. "No."
"You can go now. Take the weekend off."
Sebastian collected his things and exited
In the background, Vaulker stood and
soaked up what was going on in between Tyrell, Halford and Sebastian. He began to crack a smile as Halford came down on Sebastian.
Halford reclined back in his chair,
still bemused by all that had taken place. Although he feared losing his job–and Tyrell–to an extent, he was getting
better every day at working around Tyrell. This time he'd managed to work himself into a promotion, and all by doing the same
thing the other department heads had done-lie. The memory implants weren't a complete fabrication, but in truth they were
six months away from completing the first prototype download, let alone try it on an actual Replicant.
So with Tyrell breathing down Halford's
neck, and a military contract looming on the horizon, Halford simply grabbed the first Replicant he could (Vaulkner) and fabricated
the story about the implants, with the paperwork to match. Much akin to Igor giving the impatient Dr. Frankenstein an abnormal
brain, Halford had signed off on Vaulkner being capable and ready. And gotten himself an off-world trip and a promotion in