Serve the Servants ~ 10

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by Doug Humphrey

Chapter 10


End of a Beginning



  New president-elect Brandoff stepped off of the landing platform and waved at the crowd. The "crowd" was mainly a bunch of troops standing in formation, and behind them several formations of Replicants, very few of which understood what was going on. Most of the civilian workers on Io were still on their shifts, others were trying to use the President's visit as an excuse to get some free time to themselves.


  "I am so grateful to finally get the chance to visit Io, and see all the hard work that's been done, the progress with Io's atmosphere and living quarters, and especially with the progress of the Replicants. You've done a fine piece of work, and deserve to be commended..."


  He looked over at the Replicants. "The Nexus project has been an incredible success from its beginning. So now it's time to take another step forward, that step being integration of Humans and Replicants on a much larger scale. Initially we felt that Io would just be a proving ground before we did any mass production or integration on other colonies." Brandoff stated, keeping his head held high for the photographers.


  He paused, and then looked back to the crowd. "But the progress accomplished here dictates that we aren't getting enough done, when we could be doing so much more.  This morning, I cut orders to authorize Nexus 6's to be sub-contracted to other companies to increase our production capabilities. All colonies will be getting Replicants to help counter some of the severe manpower shortages that have hampered immigration efforts. What this means for Io, is that Replicants now will get the opportunity to work in civilian capacities, and improve the quality of life for everyone."




  After Brandoff finished his speech, Io's new commander, Colonel Mortensen, stood up and took the podium. "Let me begin this by saying how proud I am that I will be taking over as commander of this base on Io. I am well aware of the problems that this base has been experiencing. THESE WILL BE CORRECTED, YOU GOT THAT ?!?"


  Daniel and Foster watched Mortensen's speech from a small TV that Foster had set up in their office. Behind them, Replicants slowly went by on a conveyer belt into the modifier. Both began to chuckle a bit at Mortensen's old fashioned military approach, but continued to watch.


  "Implementation of Replicants to their assigned duties have gone entirely too slow. We've got a lot of folks counting on us to make the immigration deadlines on time. WE WILL NOT LET THEM DOWN. If it takes working every Replicant on this post morning, noon and night, we'll do it."


  This took both Daniel and Foster back a bit. Well that's just great, Foster thought to himself, Just so long as you're a human with a Pan-Am ticket in an immigration line. Foster's attention turned to the Replicants standing in formation behind Mortensen's podium. Their faces were blank, expressionless...As they were initially programmed to be, but they were also anything but happy.



  "You can't be serious," Daniel looked over at Foster, pointing to a spot on the modifier clipboard.


  "Yeah, I didn't believe it, either. We're going to be programming some of them for prostitution." Foster replied, as he went through the duty roster.


  Daniel looked through the window as a tall, skinny female stood on the turntable to get her identification finalized before stepping into the modifier.


  "There's gotta be a mixup. Did you call the duty roster CIC?" Daniel's mind began to flutter with a bad thought, especially after watching Replicant after Replicant go through the modifier and the unpleasantness that went along with it.




  "And ?!?"


  "And they reamed me out for 'Not doing my job as directed.'" Foster leaned up against the wall. "There's something we need to talk about."


  "Yes, dear. But I am putting my foot down on the idea of you being a prostitute, I mean what would the children think, not to mention the bingo club, we've-"


  Foster grabbed a wad of paper and playfully threw it at Daniel, who blocked his face.  Foster sometimes could be a difficult person to read. It was really hard to tell when you could or couldn't tell a joke around the guy. Today was no different.


  "I'm leaving Io. There is some serious shit going down around us, and I got kids to look after. You should, too."


  Daniel shook his head in disbelief. "Oh, come on...Just because we're getting Jimmy-the-jarhead as a new base commander, everyone is getting the jitters, that's all."


  Foster shook his head. "No, it's something more. The other day I went into the mines to help out some of the Replicants, and the mines didn't match the blueprints."


  Daniel shook his head again. "So? They started mapping out the mining operations before the base was built, and probably ordered changes halfway into the mining training.  It always looks different in real life, anyway, you know that."


  "I know, I know..." Foster rolled his eyes from guessing at Daniel's reaction. "I double checked it three times. But when I got done looking around the mine, I get out, and there's that Replicant that wears the glasses, Vaulkner. He's just standing there, looking at me like he was mad or something."


  That was something new. Even the Replicants that had a lot of interaction with humans typically didn't give any response to a human, verbal or otherwise, unless the human initiated it first. There were strict orders in place, for both humans and Replicants, concerning this. 


  Vaulkner very well could be an exception to the rule, for the most part he followed orders but sometimes he would argue or protest, almost to the point of having to be reprimanded for insubordination. But to Daniel it seemed a little silly that Vaulkner, who by most accounts was growing into the first replicated smartass, would rattle Foster's cage to the point where it'd make him concerned, let alone quit a job.


  "Okay, so did you report it?"


  "Well, yeah...but that was a week response. They didn't even bother checking out the mine or send Vaulkner over to the FCA."


  "How far off the is the mine? I mean, how far off is it now from the blueprints?"  Daniel was trying to zero in on what was really bugging Foster, hoping that maybe if he heard his own answers he might calm down enough to stick around. Daniel didn't like the idea of being saddled with a new instructor, especially after he'd gotten so accustomed to working with Foster. But while he was hoping to change Foster's mind, Daniel wound up changing his own.


  "I have no idea. It's not like I had all day to check. The main entrance looks the same, but inside one of the main shafts had a tunnel that led to a huge drop off. Another led into a big curve that went off, way off the plans."



  "As part of the advancement of Replicants into the workforce, we are offering you the chance to make use of a Replicant that we feel might suit your needs, Corporal."


  Baker looked uneasily as he watched Mary enter the small, cluttered conapt. She looked fairly mundane, a small lady dressed in what looked like a cross between a school teacher's outfit and a nun's uniform. Nothing about her alluded to anything that could remotely be conceived as fun. As she looked around at the condition of their conapt, Baker looked back to the Tyrell representatives.


  "Guys...Listen, I really do appreciate this, but I already have an ex-wife." 


  "Corporal Baker, from all the files that we've read, we feel that your situation will benefit from this. And before you say 'no', stop and consider this...The Army will reduce your working hours, without the loss of any pay, in compensation for taking time to evaluate your new Replicant. You will be allowed to only work eight hours a day, after that you must be allowed to return home. In addition, you will be granted two weeks more additional leave time."


  Baker's eyebrow rose at the part of less working hours without the loss of any pay. His mind began mulling over the idea of coming home and not being completely worn out. And still getting the extra money. But he knew after one glance that the teacher-esque  Mary and Sarah would mix about as well as oil and water. 


  "Well...I dunno...It's not like I really have room for another person."


  "She's a Replicant. Make her sleep on the floor. She'll be just fine with that."


  Baker scoffed at that idea, almost to the point he let out a small laugh. Make her sleep on the floor. Yeah, right.


  "Corporal Baker, allow me to take this opportunity to be blunt. The Army is gearing up to cut orders that will issue Replicants into it's military members' homes, without any change in working hours, and no extra compensation. Because you will be among the first, certain leeway has be granted."


  Baker rolled his eyes, took the clipboard and signed the forms, and then handed the clipboard back. He'd been in the military long enough to know when he was being ordered to volunteer. One way or another, he was stuck with Mary. Sarah is NOT going to like this, not one bit, he grimaced to himself.


  "Thanks. Always a pleasure to serve," Baker said sarcastically, before closing the conapt door.



  "Knight takes Queen." Roy calmly stated, looking with wonder hoping to guess at Sarah's next reaction. She looked at the small chessboard and examined where her pieces were in relation to Roy's.


  They sat together on the FCA's bench, waiting for when one of the assistant's would come out and let them know when a therapist was available. They'd gotten very accustomed to the FCA's routine, as had the FCA staff, who were now very used to Roy and Sarah. Today would end differently.


  "Crap! You are waaay too good at this game!!" Sarah exclaimed. Actually Sarah's gameplay had improved quite a bit. When they first started playing, it would only take fifteen or so moves before Roy would call out checkmate; This game took well over thirty, and technically her King was still in play, so it really wasn't over.


  Roy looked up at her and smiled. "You've been practicing."


  Sarah giggled. "Yeah, I found out our school's computer system had a chess program."


  "Ah...Such a shame that time wasn't spent on your homework." Roy looked for Sarah's reaction, and got one when she rolled her eyes. Roy smiled at Sarah, began to look over the remaining chess pieces, and then looked sharply up. A group of female Replicants marched by, including the tall blonde that had caught Roy's eye weeks before. Roy looked over once again and then back to the chess board.


  "It's your move." Roy started to anticipate where Sarah was going to move or her bishop, or possibly set up a castle move with her rooks.


  Sarah looked back at the blonde Replicant, then back to Roy again. "Oh, you big faker!  Listen, if you don't at least try to learn her name, and let her know that you like her, I will." She got up from the bench and began to walk towards the female Replicants.


  "Sarah I am not sure if that will work...Maybe it's not a good idea." 


  "Why not ?! It worked with you !!"


  Roy began to plead, hoping to talk her out of bothering the female Replicant, knowing how it had affected him the first time Sarah talked to him aloud, and not knowing how it would affect a different Replicant. But he could also tell that once Sarah had made up her mind, there wasn't much going back. And the protocol went strictly through his mind, Do not interfere with a human's actions, except in defense. Roy looked around cautiously then began to follow Sarah, hoping she'd forget the whole thing and concentrate on chess.


  Sarah ran up to catch the small group of female Replicants before they got into the FCA building. She had to cut around a tall redheaded one to get to the blond that seemed to hold Roy's attention. Sarah walked alongside the blonde and held out her hand.


  "Hello, My name's Sarah. That's my Replicant friend over by the bench, well okay now he's off the bench and following me, but his name is Roy and he's really cool, and he'd really like to meet you but he's kinda shy." The blonde Replicant kept marching in formation with the others, ignoring Sarah.


  Sarah decided to remain persistent. She began to wave her hand in front of the Replicant's face, hoping to get her acknowledgement, but still no reaction.


  Zhora looked over as Sarah waved her hand in front of Pris. Then something flashed into Zhora's mind; the memory of Halford waving his hand in front of her–the memory of him talking about someone named the Rosens–the memory of him molesting her.


  As Sarah waved her hand, all of a sudden the tall redhead abruptly broke formation and got in between Sarah and the tall blonde, causing the whole group to stop marching. Sarah, a little surprised and beginning to feel in trouble, backed up a step.


  "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make everyone stop. I was just trying to-"


  "DON"T YOU TOUCH HER!!" Zhora exclaimed, and then kicked Sarah squarely in the chest, sending her flying back several meters into the brick wall of the FCA building, the force knocking her out.




Chapter 9                  Contents                      Chapter 11