Serve the Servants ~ 8
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Chapter 8




  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.




  Roy stopped 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 little.


  "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.


  "Hang on 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.


  "What's going on ?!?  I was about to take my daugh-"


"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.


  "Do they make you go to counseling, too?"  Sarah asked.




  "Me too."


  The morning sun began to crack over the horizon.


  Sarah looked 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 rule, too.


  Roy stood there, watching her as her Dad dragged her off by the arm, more than a little shocked. "I am...glad you did. Hello."


  Wauldron spoke up, breaking the tension. "Good morning, Roy. I see you've met Sarah."


  "Am I in trouble? I did not make contact, as per regulations." 


  "No, 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?"


  Wauldron 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?" 


  Roy stopped 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.


  "I was 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.


  "Will I be allowed to talk to her again? I don't think she heard me when I said hello back."


  Wauldron nodded. "I think that can be arranged, Roy."




  Wauldron sat with his feet propped up on top of his desk, cradling the vidphone receiver on his shoulder.


  "Yes, 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."


  "But not 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.


  "Things 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 service."


"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."


  Wauldron's jaw 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." 


  Wauldron 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."


  "Not a 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?"


  The secretary 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 recorder.


Back there, I heard you say that you were glad she said "hello"...


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."


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