Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Page 10

"Which proves that Dave was right," Rick said. Otherwise he would not have been lasered; Polokov would have no motive.

"You get started for Seattle," Bryant said. "Don't tell them first; I'll handle it. Listen." He rose to his feet, soberly confronted Rick. "When you run the Voigt-Kampff scale up there, if one of the humans fails to pass it - "

"That can't happen," Rick said.

"One day, a few weeks ago, I talked with Dave about exactly that. He had been thinking along the same lines. I had a memo from the Soviet police, W.P.O. itself, circulated throughout Earth plus the colonies. A group of psychiatrists in Leningrad have approached W.P.O. with the following proposition. They want the latest and most accurate personality profile analytical tools used in determining the presence of an android - in other words the Voigt-Kampff scaleapplied to a carefully selected group of schizoid and schizophrenic human patients. Those, specifically, which reveal what's called a 'flattening of affect.' You've heard of that."

Rick said, "That's specifically what the scale measures."

"Then you understand what they're worried about."

"This problem has always existed. Since we first encountered androids posing as humans. The consensus of police opinion is known to you in Lurie Kampff s article, written eight years ago. Role-taking Blockage in the Undeteriorated Schizophrenic. Kampff compared the diminished emphatic faculty found in human mental patients and a superficially similar but basically - "

"The Leningrad psychiatrists," Bryant broke in brusquely, "think that a small class of human beings could not pass the Voigt-Kampff scale. If you tested them in line with police work you'd assess them as humanoid robots. You'd be wrong, but by then they'd be dead." He was silent, now, waiting for Rick's answer.

"But these individuals," Rick said, "would all be - "

"They'd be in institutions," Bryant agreed. "They couldn't conceivably function in the outside world; they certainly couldn't go undetected as advanced psychotics - unless of course their breakdown had come recently and suddenly and no one had gotten around to noticing. But this could happen."

"A million to one odds," Rick said. But he saw the point.

"What worried Dave," Bryant continued, "is this appearance of the new Nexus-6 advance type. The Rosen organization assured us, as you know, that a Nexus-6 could be delineated by standard profile tests. We took their word for it. Now we're forced, as we knew we would be, to determine it on our own. That's what you'll be doing in Seattle. You understand, don't you that this could go wrong either way. If you can't pick out all the humanoid robots, then we have no reliable analytical tool and we'll never find the ones who're already escaping. If your scale factors out a human subject, identifies him as android - " Bryant beamed at him icily. "It would be awkward, although no one, absolutely not the Rosen people, will make the news public. Actually we'll be able to sit on it indefinitely, although of course we'll have to inform W.P.O. and they in turn will notify Leningrad. Eventually it'll pop out of the 'papes at us. But by then we may have developed a better scale." He picked the phone up. "You want to get started? Use a department car and fuel yourself at our pumps."

Standing, Rick said, "Can I take Dave Holden's notes with me? I want to read them along the way."

Bryant said, "Let's wait until you've tried out your scale in Seattle." His tone was interestingly merciless, and Rick Deckard noted it.

When he landed the police department hovercar on the roof of the Rosen Association Building in Seattle he found a young woman waiting for him. Black-haired and slender, wearing the new huge dust-filtering glasses, she approached his car, her hands deep in the pockets of her brightly striped long coat. She had, on her sharply defined small face, an expression of sullen distaste.

"What's the matter?" Rick said as he stepped from the parked car.

The girl said, obliquely, "Oh, I don't know. Something about the way we got talked to on the phone. It doesn't matter." Abruptly she held out her hand; he reflexively took it. "I'm Rachael Rosen. I guess you're Mr. Deckard."

"This is not my idea," he said.

"Yes, Inspector Bryant told us that. But you're officially the San Francisco Police Department, and it doesn't believe our unit is to the public benefit." She eyed him from beneath long black lashes, probably artificial.

Rick said, "A humanoid robot is like any other machine; it can fluctuate between being a benefit and a hazard very rapidly. As a benefit it's not our problem."

"But as a hazard," Rachael Rosen said, "then you come in. Is it true, Mr. Deckard, that you're a bounty hunter?"

He shrugged, with reluctance, nodded.

"You have no difficulty viewing an android as inert," the girl said. "So you can 'retire' it, as they say."

"Do you have the group selected out for me?" he said. "I'd like to - " He broke off. Because, all at once, he had seen their animals.

A powerful corporation, he realized, would of course be able to afford this. In the back of his mind, evidently, he had anticipated such a collection; it was not surprise that he felt but more a sort of yearning. He quietly walked away from the girl, toward the closest pen. Already he could smell them, the several scents of the creatures standing or sitting, or, in the case of what appeared to be a raccoon, asleep.

Never in his life had he personally seen a raccoon. He knew the animal only from 3-D films shown on television. For some reason the dust had struck that species almost as hard as it had the birds - of which almost none survived, now. In an automatic response he brought out his much - thumbed Sidney's and looked up raccoon with all the sublistings. The list prices, naturally, appeared in italics; like Percheron horses, none existed on the market for sale at any figure. Sidney's catalogue simply listed the price at which the last transaction involving a raccoon had taken place. It was astronomical.