Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Page 12

Indicating his department briefcase, Rick said, "I'm ready to start. The senior Rosen's nervousness buoyed up his own confidence. They're afraid of me, he realized with a start. Rachael Rosen included. I can probably force them to abandon manufacture of their Nexus-6 types; what I do during the next hour will affect the structure of their operation. It could conceivably determine the future of the Rosen Association, here in the United States, in Russia, and on Mars.

The two members of the Rosen family studied him apprehensively and he felt the hollowness of their manner; by coming here he had brought the void to them, had ushered in emptiness and the hush of economic death. They control inordinate power, he thought. This enterprise is considered one of the system's industrial pivots; the manufacture of androids, in fact, has become so linked to the colonization effort that if one dropped into ruin, so would the other in time. The Rosen Association, naturally, understood this perfectly. Eldon Rosen had obviously been conscious of it since Harry Bryant's call.

"I wouldn't worry if I were you," Rick said as the two Rosens led him down a highly illuminated wide corridor. He himself felt quietly content. This moment, more than any other which he could remember, pleased him. Well, they would all soon know what his testing apparatus could accomplish - and could not. "If you have no confidence in the Voigt-Kampff scale," he pointed out, "possibly your organization should have researched an alternate test. It can be argued that the responsibility rests partly on you. Oh, thanks." The Rosens had steered him from the corridor and into a chic, living roomish cubicle furnished with carpeting, lamps, couch, and modern little end - tables on which rested recent magazines . . . including, he noticed, the February supplement to the Sidney's catalogue, which he personally had not seen. In fact, the February supplement wouldn't be out for another three days. Obviously the Rosen Association had a special relationship with Sidney's.

Annoyed, he picked up the supplement. "This is a violation of public trust. Nobody should get advance news of price changes." As a matter of fact this might violate a federal statute; he tried to remember the relevant law, found he could not. "I'm taking this with me," he said, and, opening his briefcase, dropped the supplement within.

After an interval of silence, Eldon Rosen said wearily, "Look, officer, it hasn't been our policy to solicit advance - "

"I'm not a peace officer," Rick said. "I'm a bounty hunter." From his opened briefcase he fished out the Voigt-Kampff apparatus, seated himself at a nearby rosewood coffee table, and began to assemble the rather simple polygraphic instruments. "You may send the first testee in," he informed Eldon Rosen, who now looked more haggard than ever.

"I'd like to watch," Rachael said, also seating herself. "I've never seen an empathy test being administered. What do those things you have there measure?"

Rick said, "This" - he held up the flat adhesive disk with its trailing wires - "measures capillary dilation in the facial area. We know this to be a primary autonomic response, the so - called 'shame' or 'blushing' reaction to a morally shocking stimulus. It can't be controlled voluntarily, as can skin conductivity, respiration, and cardiac rate." He showed her the other instrument, a pencil-beam light. "This records fluctuations of tension within the eye muscles. Simultaneous with the blush phenomenon there generally can be found a small but detectable movement of - "

"And these can't be found in androids," Rachael said.

"They're not engendered by the stimuli-questions; no. Although biologically they exist. Potentially."

Rachael said, "Give me the test."

"Why?" Rick said, puzzled.

Speaking up, Eldon Rosen said hoarsely, "We selected her as your first subject. She may be an android. We're hoping you can tell." He seated himself in a series of clumsy motions, got out a cigarette, lit it and fixedly watched.

Chapter Five

The small beam of white light shone steadily into the left eye of Rachael Rosen, and against her cheek the wire-mesh disk adhered. She seemed calm.

Seated where he could catch the readings on the two gauges of the Voigt-Kampff testing apparatus, Rick Deckard said, "I'm going to outline a number of social situations. You are to express your reaction to each as quickly as possible. You will be timed, of course."

"And of course," Rachael said distantly, "my verbal responses won't count. It's solely the eye-muscle and capillary reaction that you'll use as indices. But I'll answer; I want to go through this and - " She broke off. "Go ahead, Mr. Deckard."

Rick, selecting question three, said, "You are given a calfskin wallet on your birthday." Both gauges immediately registered past the green and onto the red; the needles swung violently and then subsided.

"I wouldn't accept it," Rachael said. "Also I'd report the person who gave it to me to the police."

After making a jot of notation Rick continued, turning to the eighth question of the Voigt-Kampff profile scale. "You have a little boy and he shows you his butterfly collection, including his killing jar."

"I'd take him to the doctor." Rachael's voice was low but firm. Again the twin gauges registered, but this time not so far. He made a note of that, too.

"You're sitting watching TV," he continued, "and suddenly you discover a wasp crawling on your wrist."

Rachael said, "I'd kill it." The gauges, this time, registered almost nothing: only a feeble and momentary tremor. He noted that and hunted cautiously for the next question.