Sarah sat on
the bench, waiting patiently (or as patiently as someone her age could be
expected to) for her Dad to go on break. In a déjà vu moment, similar to
what she'd seen before, the military vehicles that held the Replicant pulled up
and escorted Roy onto the walkway.
By this time
Sarah had witnessed this several times, so the allure of seeing a Replicant for
the first time had worn off. But the Replicant always looked at Sarah as he
walked by. Sarah sometimes wondered what he (it?) must've thought of
her. Does he think I am afraid, and will start screaming
or something? Will
he start screaming if I tell him good morning? It was
a very tense feeling
that she didn't like at all. A problem that needed solving. Well, she
thought, There's one way to find out.
and looked back at Sarah. The MPs stopped and looked at Sarah, then back to
Roy. The lead MP tapped a button on his radio, alerting the FCA's security desk
that there could be a problem. Two of the MP's put their hands on the grips of
their rifles, getting ready for anything. One MP began to shake his head a
"I said, hello."
Sarah repeated. "I see you every other day. Just wanted to say hi."
A light began
to flash on Wauldron's desk. The guards began to jog towards his office, where
he was watching the interaction happen from his window. Wauldron's first
inclination was to send more security to possibly help the MP's, but he began
to wave the additional guards off.
a sec. Let's be patient. Isn't that corporal Baker's daughter? Somebody catch
him." Baker was now assigned as
Wauldron's spinner pilot, so Wauldron called him over the intercom to come to
his office, but kept his eyes on Roy and Sarah. Baker hurriedly walked in.
going on ?!? I was about to take my
"Corporal...I think your daughter is about to
speed up relations between humans and Replicants."
"Hello." Roy replied back. His mind began to race frantically
for something to say. It wasn't from lack of wanting to, he'd been curious
about Sarah even since the first time he'd seen her. The idea of children was
such a weird concept among the Replicants. But his programming had been very
basic, outside of following directions he'd been implanted with little more
than technical manuals on how to operate power mining equipment. And they
certainly didn't cover how to talk to children.
make you go to counseling, too?"
sun began to crack over the horizon.
over at the guards that were coming out of the FCA building, slowly walking
up. Roy turned and looked as well.
Professor Wauldron and Sarah's father were also walking in, with the fresh
batch of guards.
"I need to go. My Dad is probably going to be mad
at me for talking to a stranger. But, I just wanted to say 'hi'. Hope therapy goes well for you." Sarah waved
goodbye as Baker slowly collected
his misbehaving daughter. He'd warned her not to say anything to the
Replicants, but he also muttered at himself for knowing that she'd break that
there, watching her as her Dad dragged her off by the arm, more than a little
shocked. "I am...glad you did. Hello."
up, breaking the tension. "Good morning, Roy. I see you've met
"Am I in
trouble? I did not make contact, as per regulations."
you're not in any trouble, Roy." Wauldron smiled. "In fact, I think
you handled that very well. She didn't bother you, did she?"
Bother me? Roy thought to himself. His mind raced again quickly trying to
match what he'd just experienced with the proper words to describe it.
"What does 'bother' mean? Section four of the
pneumatic systems coverage references a-"
Wauldron shook his head. "It's not anything
mechanical, it's a response or a reaction. Bother means being made
uncomfortable. Sometimes meeting new people can be interesting, but sometimes
it can be overwhelming, especially if you weren't prepared for it. It can be
uncomfortable sometimes. A bother. Did she make you feel uncomfortable
when she said hello?"
looked over at the guards and began waving some of the extra security off.
"No. Not at all."
"Back there, I heard you say that you were glad
she said 'hello'. Do you know why you felt glad?"
walking for a second and looked around him. The atmosphere processors had been
improving with every passing day, filtering the sunlight in the proper amounts,
zeroing in on near ideal weather. Waudron silently tapped the button on his
voice recorder, which he carried in his pocket. Every word
of this will be
studied ten times over by nightfall, he thought to himself.
glad because, she wasn't afraid of a Replicant. Or maybe because she was afraid, but still said hello." Roy
looked at Wauldron, wearing a gaze that comes from a confused child that didn't
understand whether he'd done something good or bad.
be allowed to talk to her again? I don't think she heard me when I said hello
nodded. "I think that can be arranged, Roy."
with his feet propped up on top of his desk, cradling the vidphone receiver on
what I am recommending is a broader psychological interaction program to be
installed in the Nexus units. We could download it in them next time they get
modified for basic military training. It'll make them a lot easier to work
with, because they'll understand us a lot better. Yeah, I made a lot of
progress today with Roy. Even without the programming, he is slowly putting
together safe behavior patterns of his own. By the next time we evaluate them,
we should be able to let them live among the humans."
right now, correct?" The secretary of state was a little concerned, but
was desperately needing some good news to tell the President. The latest
election polls were in and things were not looking good.
are stable with them, but once they've been modified with a little more work on
their basic psychosis code, I'll sign off on them completely. I will still keep
working with them until the new code is implanted, that way if a problem does
occur, I can change it right then and there."
"This is cutting it close, Stephen. The elections
are two weeks away, and Brandoff is kicking everyone's ass in the primaries. If
he gets in..."
"He'll mandate the Replicants right into military
"That's not all. The emigration program is really
lagging. People are just not leaving in big enough numbers, so Brandoff has
started promising that if he gets elected, he'll insure free childcare by
giving families a Replicant for child care and housework purposes, as well as
drafting them into the army. He's also telling his constituents that if the
Replicants can serve in the military, he'll start rotating human soldiers back
home to their families."
dropped. "Brandoff's staff has received a copy of every report that I have
ever sent back to the FCA and Rep-detect divisions. They know damn good and
well the dangers involved if they rush this. Give me a month. I'll make that
code safe, Gerald. One stinking month."
firmly believed that any setback he'd reported, was meant to keep everyone -
human and Replicant - safe. He'd gone from having the Replicants crushing
assistants' hands to having them safely tell children "hello." That
kind of development doesn't happen in ten minutes, or without a price.
"Brandoff's already calling for me to brought before a senate
committee, Stephen. He's threatening that in commercials that run day and night
on earth. From their point of view, we're just this huge government expense
that's holding Tyrell back from making more money. He's threatening to shut
down the FCA on Io, and turn the whole thing over to the military. And if that
happens...Tyrell has bought out so many people at the pentagon, it's like
giving a blank check to Tyrell to make as many Replicants as he dreams."
pretty picture." He looked back towards the vidphone. "If there's
anything we can do for you, we'll do it. But if Congress votes to shut down the
FCA on Io...I think we need to cross that bridge when we come to it. Is there
anything else I can do for you?"
caught himself before signing off. "Well, yeah, there is. The Voight
people have asked for a copy of the Replicants' psychological downloads.
They're working on some kind of project that will help the Rep-Detect agency.
They say they're working on a test that will be able to distinguish a Replicant
from a human, just in case they try to infiltrate a military post or a
government agency. Just in case this does get out of hand."
"Sure. Would tomorrow morning work?"
"Great. Take care of yourself, and thanks for all
the hard work." Wauldron thanked him back, and then switched off his
vidphone. He turned to his desk and wrote down a note about the report to send
to Voight, and then propped his feet back up on his desk.
He stared out the window as he hit the playback on his
Back there, I heard you say that you were glad she
He paused, and then tapped the recorder again.
"Will I be allowed to talk to her again? I don't
think she heard me when I said hello back."