Seeds of Disaster
Halford's sweat dripped down
like rain on
Zhora. As he rolled onto his back, he glanced over at Zhora's emotionless face.
She laid there in bed, blankly staring
up to the ceiling, her incomplete psychological programming not allowing for
much else. Halford waved his hand slowly in front of her face, not getting any
reaction. Just Zhora's blank stare at the ceiling. Halford had been having sex
with the unprogrammed Replicants for some time now, but their silence and blind
obedience when they were in this state was now beginning to bore him.
"What, don't you want to
about how all we ever do is have sex? Or do you want to talk about the dress
you missed out on at Nieman-Marcus, because you don't have a big enough limit
on your credit cards? No, wait. It's the car. The Rosens are all driving
Mercedes-Benz, and I stuck you with the cheap BMW." He quipped as he
slowly removed his Penfield mood organ headgear. Still no reaction at all from
Zhora, just a blank stare at the ceiling.
The vidphone began to ring,
with a caller ID
light emitting Charleston's picture and phone number onto the ceiling. Halford
grumbled a little and rolled over to hit the vidphone's receiver button.
"Sorry to call you so late,
thought you'd want to know. Brandoff won the elections. He's calling for a full
scale use of Replicants, starting with full integration of the military units
on Io. It's about time we got someone who understands what we're trying to do,
somebody that will take care of all this union crap and have some morals."
Halford looked over at Zhora.
helped him pick her out, along with several others, and here he was celebrating
a politician's morality.
"Yeah, morals." His
mind begun to clear. "Has there been any word through the military
"Not yet, but word is a
lot of higher ranking officers are packing their bags and booking flights,
higher than normal numbers of phone calls going back and forth from the
Halford laughed a little.
Tannhauser is packing his bags as we speak, with Wauldron following him."
FCA Chief Stephen
Wauldron's personal log
exact date unknown due to
Recovered by CSI team
President Brandoff will
be arriving in a few
days to officially promote Colonel Tannhauser to General, or so the rumor goes.
The man deserves it; He's been very helpful, treats the FCA as he would his own
troops, and has made every effort possible to ensure that the Replicants have
been dealt with fairly.
This coming week he ordered
between the troops and the Replicants. They have mastered their initial testing
with flying colors, and are currently getting more advanced programming for
individual job details. The FCA's code programming job is pretty much done; at
this point all that's left is some follow-up psychiatric reviews. The
Replicants are as safe as we can make them.
stepped forward into the modification unit. He placed his head into a clear,
wired mask which digitally adjusted itself to his face, and for a second,
flashed his name, inception date and design specifications. Then it went blank,
and then brought up his combat programming. It waited for a second, and then
finally got approval to add other military functions, weapons training,
leadership directives, and combat self-sufficiency programming. With each
incoming program, his body reacted with a hard jolt and flinch. Finally the
modifications were done, and the mask withdrew itself. Roy seemed to stagger
for a second, then quickly collected himself and walked further down the line
to receive his uniform, with another Replicant on the conveyor belt following
him into the modification programmer.
watched as Roy came off the line, and walked towards him.
"You okay, Roy? Looked like
you took a
pretty good shock."
"I am....fine..." His gray
rolled over at Daniel, still a little glazed over from the modification
process. "That could have gone...easier...That hurt."
Daniel quickly notated Roy's
reaction in his
log book, and started digging in the manual for some way to decrease the power
transfer, hoping to make life a little less painful for the next Replicant. He
looked back to Roy, who was still able to keep himself up, despite being in an
obvious amount of pain.
"Say, Roy... Stand at ease.
heading back out to the training field...Take a second to catch your
breathe." The instructors were supposed to push the Replicants as hard as
they could, in order to assess their strength, but at the same time were under
orders to exercise their own judgment as to when they were being pushed too
"I can play chess," Roy stated
aloud, catching Daniel completely off guard.
Daniel looked to Foster,
who was keeping one
ear on Roy and his eyes on the conveyor line to his side, and they shot each
other an odd glance. Foster shrugged.
Roy." Chess. Daniel thought
to himself, Someone has got to be putting me on. "Did the
modification packet go through okay?"
"Yes." Roy seemed a little
by Daniel's reaction, but was physically looking better, recovering from the
"Head back over to medical,
check you out and then return to quarters, okay?"
"Yes, sir." Roy snapped into
attention, did a left face and began to run towards the small medical station.
Daniel looked at Foster and
began to think
for a second. Foster knew it was odd as well, but was more concerned with the time
"Something's up. We're supposed
just downloading an army training program. It says so right here on the
list." Daniel held up a clipboard to Foster. "Doesn't say anything
about board games." He looked over at the computer screen. "Hey, look
at this. The file sizes. They don't match. The manifest is calling for a much
smaller file, but it looks like we've downloaded one that's a lot larger."
Foster looked at the clipboard
towards the screen, then wearily over at Daniel.
"Send it through channels.
Let it be
their weekend to have a headache. Not much else we can do."
Wauldron looked over
the edge of glasses at
the vidphone. The morning had gotten off to a rotten start. And the afternoon
wasn't looking much better.
"Let me get this straight.
modification program manifest listed a download program much smaller than the
one that was actually downloaded?"
One of the things that set
from working with Tyrell's Io division was the fact that he didn't sugar coat anything.
Sometimes this created a backlog of work at the FCA, but often it created a
process by which reported problems got solved. Today was no different.
"That's exactly what
reported. Two of our civilian instructors caught it. The Replicant involved
appears okay, no incidents or physical problems, but when they started checking
into the programming going into the other Replicants, they found out a large
number of them went through with additional modification files with manifests
that did not match the amount that was downloaded."
"Correct me if I'm wrong,
modifiers aren't military grade hardware, right?"
"That's right. The Army is
working on its
own version, but for the time being we had to use the Tyrell designed hardware
"We need to go through that
Tann. We can get a team over there in an hour." Wauldron began to think to
himself, This is where it gets tricky, Stephen. Did Tyrell properly de-bug
their hardware? Software? Could it be Tyrell's competition trying to sabotage
the Nexus project before it gets a chance to get off the ground? Wauldron
could handle debugging software or hardware, but dealing with a possible
corporate espionage problem would be a new challenge altogether.
Tannhauser didn't flinch
at the idea, though.
If someone had managed to break into his security, he wanted them strung up by
their Buster Browns.
Tannhauser relaxed a bit
in his chair. "The
boys from Tyrell didn't give our guys here much of a chance to learn anything
about it. The pentagon has ordered me to 'implement its usage to the fullest
possible extent', but the guys who cut those orders aren't about shake hands
with Replicants–let alone be the ones to train 'em with loaded rifles. Don't
mean to saddle your staff with more work, but why didn't they put you guys in
charge of the modification process to begin with? The FCA are the ones handling
the psychiatric reviews."
"Yeah, I know. Part of
this is my fault, Tann. They tried shipping it to the FCA, and when I told them
I wouldn't use a piece of equipment before we had the chance to thoroughly
examine it, we didn't hear anymore about it. I thought it was a closed subject,
Wauldron began to put himself
shoes. "My guess is, to get around the FCA, they pulled some strings,
shipped it through military channels instead, and had orders cut for your guys
to use it."
Wauldron knew that Tannhauser
was in an
awkward position. Either run the modifier, and run the risk of Tyrell
downloading whatever it wanted into the Replicants, or shut down the modifier,
and go against orders from his superiors–which was not a good thing considering
that Tann was in line to be promoted to general.
"I'm shutting it down. Get
your guys over
here ASAP. My guess is you won't get a second chance if they decide to yank my
Sarah sat there, once again
on the bench in
front of the FCA building, and once again, a military armored vehicle pulled
up, with Roy coming out being escorted by two guards. The guards gave sharp sounding
orders to Roy,
who responding by snapping to attention, and saluting the lieutenant. Roy
patiently stood at attention until the lieutenant and the guards hopped back
into their vehicle and left.
walked up to the bench, and calmly sat down by Sarah.
"Did you get into trouble
By this time, Roy had earned
a fair amount of
trust between Wauldron, the FCA staff and Corporal Baker. Sometimes Baker would
ask Roy to look after Sarah if he was running late, which Roy always did with a
military like precision, interpreting it as an order from a superior. Baker
scoffed a little bit at this, but Roy seemed to keep Sarah entertained, no easy
Sarah's head sank. She did
like talking to
Roy, but she was worried that he might be trying to become her big brother.
"It was nothing. It's
Miss Kranston goes off on me, just because I threw some pencils into the
ceiling during reading class." She looked a little glum, not wanting to
have a bunch of different adults telling her all day long about how wrong her
"Why did you throw the pencils?
ceiling pose a threat? How could a pencil combat an entire ceiling?" Roy
Sarah looked at him confused
for a second,
then burst out laughing, shaking her head.
"No, no...You are such a
Miss Kranston's reading class sucks. We got bored. So Susie, the kid who sits
next to me, says look, watch this, and got a pencil to stick in the ceiling.
Miss Kranston didn't even notice it there. Then Tommy turns around and throws
one up too, and she still doesn't notice. So Susie looks at me and says, 'Bet
you can't do that.' So I threw mine. But when I threw mine, Miss Kranston
turned around. She sees all the pencils in the ceiling and blames me. It's not
"Oh..." All of this was very
Roy, but he always listened very carefully, which made Roy better than most
humans in Sarah's eyes. Not to mention the funny questions he'd ask afterwards.
"What does 'bored' mean?"
"Err, well...It's like when
the same stuff over and over to you again, after awhile it gets old...Do
Replicants have to go to school, like to a Replicant school?"
"We used to. Not anymore.
Now they have
a machine called a modifier which programs us much quicker than taking a class.
It is very unpleasant." He looked down at Sarah, and coined one of her
phrases. "It sucks."
Roy rolled up his sleeve,
and showed her the
burn mark from the modifier's electrical charge.
"Jeez Louise!!" Sarah gaped.
"Will you get better, I mean, your arm's gonna be okay, won't it?!?"
"The doctor could not say
for sure. But
I think the mark is slowly going away."
"Is it okay if I touch your
nodded, and moved his arm towards Sarah. She reached out with her finger and
carefully pressed against the burn mark, which looked like a charcoal patch. Roy
didn't flinch at all. She then touched Roy on the spot of his arm that wasn't
affected, just to see the difference. Her classmates were saying Replicants
were made up of rubber or plastic, and after seeing Roy's burn mark, was
"Looks human to me." Something
psychologically unlocked in Roy when he heard Sarah's words.
Roy began rolling his sleeve
back up. As he
did, another armored car pulled up, and this time a group of Replicants were
being escorted in. Female Replicants.
As they strode by, one of
the Replicants, a
tall skinny female with bright blonde hair, looked over at Roy. Their eyes
locked. Sarah watched as well, and then looked back to Roy. The group passed,
heading into the FCA building. Roy watched them carefully, and then looked back
at Sarah, who was looking directly at Roy.
Sarah began to giggle. "I
saw that! You
Roy had no idea what Sarah
was talking about,
but he did feel some sort of connection to the Replicant as she walked by, the
gaze into his eyes. This certainly wasn't covered in the last modification
download. Roy didn't know what to say to Sarah.
"Can't blame you. She's pretty,"
continued, watching them disappear into the building. "She sure is
"What do you mean, they shut
down?" Tyrell said aloud, in front of the board members. He looked at
Halford's face on the vidphone. Halford knew that Tyrell would clean house the
minute he heard the modifier was shut down.
"Tannhauser just cut the
order to have
it dismantled for FCA inspection."
"This is unwarranted. The
man is under
control of the military, and if he won't do his job, we'll just have to find
someone who will."
Tyrell looked up towards
the board. "You
may all leave." And with a wave of his hand, eleven
of Tyrell's most coveted board
members quietly and obediently got up and left the room. Halford tried to
contain himself from looking shocked, and reminded himself of the power that
Tyrell held, which was growing increasingly larger by the minute.
"If you want, I can argue
that the FCA
has illegally confiscated Tyrell property."
"I'm not sure that would
do any good.
They'd just hang onto it long enough to study it, piece by piece, and then slap
a ton of new regulations on it, or worse yet, wind up sending the unit to a
competitor to 'evaluate' it, and next week find ourselves in a bidding war with
another company for Io's contracts. No, we need to make a bigger change. Just
sit tight, go along with whatever the FCA says, but don't give them any more
information if you can help it. We've waited much too long to get this project
in full swing. That's all." Tyrell hung up abruptly on Halford.
Halford drew back from the
surprise. Although he was fairly certain his job was not in jeopardy, Tyrell
didn't play games. When he said that changes needed to be made, things happened
fast. Tannhauser was as good as gone.