Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Page 35

"This is necessary. Remember: they killed humans in order to get away. And if I hadn't gotten you out of the Mission police station they would have killed you. That's what Garland wanted me for; that's why he had me come down to his office. Didn't Polokov almost kill you? Didn't Luba Luft almost? We're acting defensively; they're here on our planet - they're murderous illegal aliens masquerading as - "

"As police," Rick said. "As bounty hunters."

"Okay; give me the Boneli test. Maybe Garland lied. I think he did - false memories just aren't that good. What about my squirrel? "

"Yes, your squirrel. I forgot about your squirrel."

"If I'm an andy," Phil Resch said, "and you kill me, you can have my squirrel. Here; I'll write it out, willing it to you."

"Andys can't will anything. They can't possess anything to will."

"Then just take it," Phil Resch said.

"Maybe so," Rick said. The elevator had reached the first floor, now; its doors opened. "You stay with Luba; I'll get a patrol car here to take her to the Hall of justice. For her bone marrow test." He saw a phone booth, entered it, dropped in a coin, and, his fingers shaking, dialed. Meanwhile a group of people, who had been waiting for the elevator, gathered around Phil Resch and the body of Luba Luft.

She was really a superb singer, he said to himself as he hung up the receiver, his call completed. I don't get it; how can a talent like that be a liability to our society? But it wasn't the talent, he told himself; it was she herself. As Phil Resch is, he thought. He's a menace in exactly the same way, for the same reasons. So I can't quit now. Emerging from the phone booth he pushed his way among the people, back to Resch and the prone figure of the android girl. Someone had put a coat over her. Not Resch's.

Going up to Phil Resch - who stood off to one side vigorously smoking a small gray cigar - he said to him, "I hope to god you do test out as an android."

"You realty hate me," Phil Resch said, marveling. "All of a sudden; you didn't hate me back on Mission Street. Not while I was saving your life."

"I see a pattern. The way you killed Garland and then the way you killed Luba. You don't kill the way I do; you don't try to - Hell," he said, "I know what it is. You like to kill. All you need is a pretext. If you had a pretext you'd kill me. That's why you picked up on the possibility of Garland being an android; it made him available for being killed. I wonder what you're going to do when you fail to pass the Boneli test. Will you kill yourself? Sometimes androids do that." But the situation was rare.

"Yes, I'll take care of it," Phil Resch said. "You won't have to do anything, besides administering the test."

A patrol car arrived; two policemen hopped out, strode up, saw the crowd of people and at once cleared themselves a passage through. One of them recognized Rick and nodded. So we can go now, Rick realized. Our business here is concluded. Finally.

As he and Resch walked back down the street to the opera house, on whose roof their hovercar lay parked, Resch said, "I'll give you my laser tube now. So you won't have to worry about my reaction to the test. In terms of your own personal safety." He held out the tube and Rick accepted it.

"How'll you kill yourself without it?" Rick asked. "If you fail on the test?

"I'll hold my breath."

"Chrissake," Rick said. "It can't be done."

"There's no automatic cut-in of the vagus nerve," Phil Resch said, "in an android. As there is in a human. Weren't you taught that when they trained you? I got taught that years ago."

"But to die that way," Rick protested.

"There's no pain. What's the matter with it?"

"It's - " He gestured. Unable to find the right words.

"I don't really think I'm going to have to," Phil Resch said.

Together they ascended to the roof of the War Memorial Opera House and Phil Resch's parked hovercar.

Sliding behind the wheel and closing his door, Phil Resch said, "I would prefer it if you used the Boneli test."

"I can't. I don't know how to score it." I would have to rely on you for an interpretation of the readings, he realized. And that's out of the question.

"You'll tell me the truth, won't you?" Phil Resch asked. "If I'm an android you'll tell me?"

"Sure."

"Because I really want to know. I have to know." Phil Resch relit his cigar, shifted about on the bucket seat of the car, trying to make himself comfortable. Evidently he could not. "Did you really like that Munch picture that Luba Luft was looking at?" he asked. "I didn't care for it. Realism in art doesn't interest me; I like Picasso and - "

"Puberty dates from 1894," Rick said shortly. "Nothing but realism existed then; you have to take that into account."

"But that other one, of the man holding his ears and yelling - that wasn't representational."

Opening his briefcase, Rick fished out his test gear.

"Elaborate," Phil Resch observed, watching. "How many questions do you have to ask before you can make a determination?"

"Six or seven." He handed the adhesive pad to Phil Resch.

"Attach that to your cheek. Firmly. And this light - " He aimed it. "This stays focused on your eye. Don't move; keep your eyeball as steady as you can."

"Reflex fluctuations," Phil Resch said acutely. "But not to the physical stimulus; you're not measuring dilation, for instance. It'll be to the verbal questions; what we call a flinch reaction."

Source: www.NovelCorner.com