Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Page 30

Garland answered for Rick. "San Francisco. Here; take a look at his schedule. This one comes up next." He handed Phil Resch the sheet which Rick had been examining, that with his own description.

"Say, Gar," Phil Resch said. "This is you."

"There's more," Garland said. "He's also got Luba Luft the opera singer there on his list of retirement-assignments, and Polokov. Remember Polokov? He's now dead; this bounty hunter or android or whatever he is got him, and we running a bone marrow test at the lab. To see if there's any conceivable basis - "

"Polokov I've talked to," Phil Resch said. "That big Santa Claus from the Soviet police?" He pondered, plucking at his disarrayed beard. "I think it's a good idea to run a bone marrow test on him."

"Why do you say that?" Garland asked, clearly annoyed. "It's to remove any legal basis on which this man Deckard could claim he hadn't killed anyone; he only 'retired an android."'

Phil Resch said, "Polokov struck me as cold. Extremely cerebral and calculating; detached."

"A lot of the Soviet police are that way," Garland said, visibly nettled.

"Luba Luft I never met," Phil Resch said. "Although I've heard records she's made." To Rick he said, "Did you test her out? "

"I started to," Rick said. "But I couldn't get an accurate reading. And she called in a harness bull, which ended it."

"And Polokov?" Phil Resch asked.

"I never got a chance to test him either."

Phil Resch said, mostly to himself, "And I assume you haven't had an opportunity to test out Inspector Garland, here."

"Of course not," Garland interjected, his face wrinkled with indignation; his words broke off, bitter and sharp.

"What test do you use?" Phil Resch asked.

"The Voigt-Kampff scale."

"Don't know that particular one." Both Resch and Garland seemed deep in rapid, professional thought-but not in unison. "I've always said," he continued, "that the best place for an android would be with a big police organization such as W.P.O. Ever since I first met Polokov I've wanted to test him, but no pretext ever arose. It never would have, either . . . which is one of the values such a spot would have for an enterprising android."

Getting slowly to his feet Inspector Garland faced Phil Resch and said, "Have you wanted to test me, too?"

A discreet smiled traveled across Phil Resch's face; he started to answer, then shrugged. And remained silent. He did not seem afraid of his superior, despite Garland's palpable wrath.

"I don't think you understand the situation," Garland said. "This man - or android - Rick Deckard comes to us from a phantom, hallucinatory, nonexistent police agency allegedly operating out of the old departmental headquarters on Lombard. He's never heard of us and we've never heard of him - yet ostensibly we're both working the same side of the street. He employs a test we've never heard of. The list he carries around isn't of androids; it's a list of human beings. He's already killed once - at least once. And if Miss Luft hadn't gotten to a phone he probably would have killed her and then eventually he would have come sniffing around after me."

"Hmm," Phil Resch said.

"Hmm," Garland mimicked, wrathfully. He looked, now, as if he bordered on apoplexy. "Is that all you have to say?"

The intercom came on and a female voice said, "Inspector Garland, the lab report on Mr. Polokov's corpse is ready."

"I think we should hear it," Phil Resch said.

Garland glanced at him, seething. Then he bent, pressed the key of the intercom. "Let's have it, Miss French."

"The bone marrow test," Miss French said, "shows that Mr. Polokov was a humanoid robot. Do you want a detailed - "

"No, that's enough." Garland settled back in his seat, grimly contemplating the far wall; he said nothing to either Rick or Phil Resch.

Resch said, "What is the basis of your Voigt-Kampff test, Mr. Deckard?"

"Empathic response. In a variety of social situations. Mostly having to do with animals."

"Ours is probably simpler," Resch said. The reflex-arc response taking place in the upper ganglia of the spinal column requires several microseconds more in the humanoid robot than in a human nervous system." Reaching across Inspector Garland's desk he plucked a pad of paper toward him; with a ball-point pen he drew a sketch. "We use an audio signal or a light-flash. The subject presses a button and the elapsed time is measured. We try it a number of times, of course. Elapsed time varies in both the andy and the human. But by the time ten reactions have been measured, we believe we have a reliable clue. And, as in your case with Polokov, the bone marrow test backs us up."

An interval of silence passed and then Rick said, "You can test me out. I'm ready. Of course I'd like to test you, too. If you're willing."

"Naturally," Resch said. He was, however, studying Inspector Garland. "I've said for years," Resch murmured, that the Boneli Reflex-Arc Test should be applied routinely to police personnel the higher up the chain of command the better. Haven't I, Inspector?"

"That's right you have," Garland said. "And I've always opposed it. On the grounds that it would lower department morale."

"I think now," Rick said, "you're going to have to sit still for it. In view of your lab's report on Polokov."

Chapter Eleven

Garland said, "I guess so." He jabbed a finger at the bounty hunter Phil Resch. "But I'm warning you: you're not going to like the results of the tests."