Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Page 13

"In a magazine you come across a full-page color picture of a nude girl." He paused.

"Is this testing whether I'm an android," Rachael asked tartly, "or whether I'm homosexual?" The gauges did not register.

He continued, "Your husband likes the picture." Still the gauges failed to indicate a reaction. "The girl," he added, "is lying face down on a large and beautiful bearskin rug." The gauges remained inert, and he said to himself, An android response. Failing to detect the major element, the dead animal pelt. Her - its - mind is concentrating on other factors. "Your husband hangs the picture up on the wall of his study," he finished, and this time the needles moved.

"I certainly wouldn't let him," Rachael said.

"Okay," he said, nodding. "Now consider this. You're reading a novel written in the old days before the war. The characters are visiting Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. They become hungry and enter a seafood restaurant. One of them orders lobster, and the chef drops the lobster into the tub of boiling water while the characters watch."

"Oh god," Rachael said. "That's awful! Did they really do that? It's depraved! You mean a live lobster?" The gauges, however, did not respond. Formally, a correct response. But simulated.

"You rent a mountain cabin," he said, "in an area still verdant. It's rustic knotty pine with a huge fireplace."

"Yes," Rachael said, nodding impatiently.

"On the walls someone has hung old maps, Currier and Ives prints, and above the fireplace a deer's head has been mounted, a full stag with developed horns. The people with you admire the decor of the cabin and you all decide - "

"Not with the deer head," Rachael said. The gauges, however, showed an amplitude within the green only.

"You become pregnant," Rick continued, "by a man who has promised to marry you. The man goes off with another woman, your best friend; you get an abortion and - "

"I would never get an abortion," Rachael said. "Anyhow you can't. It's a life sentence and the police are always watching." This time both needles swung violently into the red.

"How do you know that?" Rick asked her, curiously. "About the difficulty of obtaining an abortion?"

"Everybody knows that," Rachael answered.

"It sounded like you spoke from personal experience."' He watched the needles intently; they still swept out a wide path across the dials. "One more. You're dating a man and he asks you to visit his apartment. While you're there he offers you a drink. As you stand holding your glass you see into the bedroom; it's attractively decorated with bullfight posters, and you wander in to look closer. He follows after you, closing the door. Putting his arm around you, he says - "

Rachael interrupted, "What's a bullfight poster?"

"Drawings, usually in color and very large, showing a matador with his cape, a bull trying to gore him." He was puzzled. "How old are you?" he asked; that might be a factor.

"I'm eighteen," Rachael said. "Okay; so this man closes the door and puts his arm around me. What does he say?"

Rick said, "Do you know how bullfights ended;"

"I suppose somebody got hurt."

"The bull at the end, was always killed." He waited, watching the two needles. They palpitated restlessly, nothing more. No real reading at all. "A final question," he said. "Two-part. You are watching an old movie on TV, a movie from before the war. It shows a banquet in progress; the guests are enjoying raw oysters."

"Ugh," Rachael said; the needles swung swiftly.

"The entree," he continued, "consists of boiled dog, stuffed with rice." The needles moved less this time, less than they had for the raw oysters. "Are raw oysters more acceptable to you than a dish of boiled dog? Evidently not." He put his pencil down, shut off the beam of light, removed the adhesive patch from her check. "You're an android," he said. "That's the conclusion of the testing," he informed her - or rather it - and Eldon Rosen, who regarded him with writhing worry; the elderly man's face contorted, shifted plastically with angry concern. "I'm right, aren't I?" Rick said. There was no answer, from either of the Rosens. "Look," he said reasonably. "We have no conflict of interest; it's important to me that the Voigt-Kampff test functions, almost as important as it is to you."

The elder Rosen said, "She's not an android."

"I don't believe it," Rick said.

"Why would he lie?" Rachael said to Rick fiercely. "If anything, we'd lie the other way."

"I want a bone marrow analysis made of you," Rick said to her. "It can eventually be organically determined whether you're android or not; it's slow and painful, admittedly, but - "

"Legally," Rachael said, "I can't be forced to undergo a bone marrow test. That's been established in the courts; self-incrimination. And anyhow on a live person - not the corpse of a retired android - it takes a long time. You can give that damn Voigt-Kampff profile test because of the specials; they have to be tested for constantly, and while the government was doing that you police agencies slipped the Voigt-Kampff through. But what you said is true; that's the end of the testing." She rose to her feet, paced away from him, and stood with her hands on her hips, her back to him.

"The issue is not the legality of the bone marrow analysis," Eldon Rosen said huskily. "The issue is that your empathy delineation test failed in response to my niece. I can explain why she scored as an android might. Rachael grew up aboard Salander 3. She was born on it; she spent fourteen of her eighteen years living off its tape library and what the nine other crew members, all adults, knew about Earth. Then, as you know, the ship turned back a sixth of the way to Proxima. Otherwise Rachael would never have seen Earth - anyhow not until her later life."