|The spinner, designated number 998, set down in probably the last open
space on the chaotic Los Angeles street. Police patrol men, assault teams,
commanders, and a few blade runners from the other precincts ran back and
forth between the huge police busses, snipers had taken positions in windows
across the street.
Jon Rollins, blade runner for the LPD, put the spinner's systems
He had been called in and told there was a standoff with a few
Nexus-6 Replicants in an old ConApt complex that had been scheduled for
demolition in only a week.
Judging by the commotion, a "few" might have been an understatement.
Checking his blaster to see it was fully loaded, Rollins slid open the
spinner door and stepped out into the night. Greeted right away by the
light acid rain he had grown to get used to, he pulled his beige trench
coat shut and closed the spinner door, locking it down.
"Rollins?" A voice barked from behind him. He turned and a
large black haired man walked toward him, dressed in LPD assault gear.
"I'm Rollins." He said.
Not the talkative type. Rollins thought. Oh well, at least he'd
finally get the story of what was really going on.
"Bryant wants you in that bus over there." The man motioned toward a
huge, black vehicle that could have been mistaken for a building. "Now."
He walked through the maze of cops and other assorted types, finally
reaching the bus. He was about to enter when a single loud gunshot froze
the already-loud street. Rollins jerked his head toward the direction of
the shot and had his hand in his coat and on his blaster.
About three assault squads were up against a barricade facing a huge
building. Half it's windows were broken, and it was crumbling, no wonder
it was due for demolition. One of the squad soldiers was laying on the
street, clasping his shoulder as a thick, red blood gushed through this
fingers. The rest of the teams answered the shot with a wall of 7.2mm explosive
rounds from their assault rifles. Pieces of the building started to chip
off, glass broke, and small explosions were heard.
The sound of the bus door hissing open turned Rollins' attention back
to seeing Bryant. Bryant stood now in the doorway, wearing his usual button
shirt and pants, only now had a shoulder holster on.
"Get your ass in here, Rollins!"
Rollins walked in past the shorter man and the door hissed back into its
closed position. Rollins found the interior of the bus to be spacious and
well lit. Ten TV screens lined one wall, DVD recording systems the other.
Besides Rollins and Bryant, two other blade runners were also present.
"Rollins, you've met Gaff and Tyler's, I assume." Bryant said
as he sat down in a chair in front of the TV screens.
Rollins nodded at Gaff, they'd met on many occasions. But he'd never seen
this Tylers before, much less heard of him. He nodded at Tylers,
"Which precinct you with?"
"Ours." Bryant didn't let Tylers answer. "Ever since Deck left
and more of these Skin Jobs been coming down to Terra, we've needed all
the Detects we can get."
"He's rookie of the day." Gaff smiled.
Rollins had never liked Gaff's blue eyes, they always had a way of making
him nervous, or on edge. Rollins thought. He turned and faced Bryant.
"What's the story?"
"Twelve 6's are holding out in that nice little shack outside.
We have the place surrounded, all sewer exits sealed, the roof is guarded,
alleys, you name it."
TWELVE Nexus 6's?!?!? This shocked Rollins.
"Yeah. Sloppy these ones are, don't think there's an A Mental
among them. Details are still sketchy, but it looks like our good neighbors
over at the Tyrell Corporation let these ones out in the city to see if
they'd go undetected." Bryant frowed. "They love using our city as the
maze for their hamsters."
"Then how'd we find them?"
"By accident. They all together found work at an office supply
company in the fourth sector. One day the big boss though he'd try out
his Voight-Kampff system on them- you heard about how the government is
now selling them to civilians?- well, once he got a positive on two of
them, the rest got wind of it and smeared him and all the human employees
all around the office. The security cameras got it all on disc."
"Why is it you say none of them is smart?"
"They didn't split up, they didn't take hostages, they all
held up in this shack here and waited for us to find them. Unfortunatelly
they somehow got themselves a stash of Ender-model weapons, probably also
courtesy of our beloved Tyrell Corp."
Tyrell Bastards Rollins thought. The Tyrell Corp. had recently decided
unofficially that since they were so powerful, the law didn't apply to
them. They were right, since they supplied 96% of the Galactic work force,
they were untouchable.
"No time to complain about the Skin Factory, boys. We gotta
concentrate on the problem at hand." Tylers finally spoke up. "You've given
us the story, what's the plan"
Bryant sat back in his chair and sighed.
"The assault teams are contracted to take on human threats,
the Officers Union is having a field day saying that the assault teams
are not required to aid in retiring these reps, since they are not given
retirement bonuses. So it seams you boys are on your own to go in there.
We've pumped about a few tons worth of rounds into the building already,
so we've had to at least hit three of them. I would just blow the whole
place with a few deto-charges, but if by some bull chance one of them's
a human, my job goes bye-bye and the media screws with me the rest of my
life. You blade runners could get away easily because you'll kill them
when you were directly threatened, not outside the building giving a command,
or pressing a button."
Rollins thought it over. 12 possible Reps... he and Gaff would be most
likely to retire most of them, Tylers might get one or two. If they got
them all and were still alive they'd be very well off indeed. But weapons?
Those things could blow through tanks, much less a human.
"What's life without a little adventure?" Gaff smirked. He
twirled his cane and pulled his blaster. "Shall we, gentlemen?"
Rollins was about to chime in right away with Gaff, but he had one more
"Are any other Detects coming in on this case?
"Zilcho." Bryant replied. "Holden's in no shape for this job,
with his brand new breather-machine. McCoy's on assignment, so's Steele.
The rest are rookies that might just get in the way."
"I'm in." Tylers chimed in.
"As I said. Shall we, gentlemen?" Gaff asked again.
Rollins pulled his Blaster. "We shall."
Shells littered the floor of the small, empty room. The only source
of light came from the police spotlights outside. Joey sat on the floor,
leaned up against the wall right next to the broken window. Outside, the
snipers and assault teams were just waiting to get a shot at him. Next
to him lay whathad once been Johann, a fellow Nexus-6 Replicant.
He was stupid, he died. Joey thought.
In his large hands he held the Ender Model-82 Blast Rifle, weighing 22
pounds fully loaded with a magazine of ten 20mm HE explosive round. It
was light to Joey, he was used to hauling loads of 400 pound crates all
day from ships to storage facilities. He never did know what was in those
crates... but it was all fake. He'd never lifted a crate that size in his
life, he just 'remembered' doing so. False memories courtesy of the Tyrell
Corporation. Rage built in Joey. He pumped the Ender and another HE round
slid into the chamber.
The sound of a mini blowtorch sealing the sewer duct behind Rollins
almost made him feel like a servant to a Pharroh in the Egyptian times.
Servants served until death, and when the Pharroh died, they were sealed
in his tomb with him, while they were still alive, supposedly to accompany
him in the afterlife.
The trio of blade runners were now in the lowest basement of the abandoned
ConApt, Sublevel 7 to be exact, and ready to start their hunt. Rollins
was almost certain the 6's wouldn't hide in any of the sublevels, mainly
because they couldn't shoot out any windows. But just to prevent themselves
from being trapped, they decided to play safe.
Moving in military advancement, as in always having one man covering
you ready to fire, the trio slowly advanced. It was pitch black, and they
wouldn't have been able to see were it not for the aid of nightvision goggles.
They were a good advantage in the dark, but when there was even one source
of light they could be deadly, for the blind man is the defenseless man.
Since the mid 20th century night vision had been around, and it was one
thing that still hadn't been improved upon, no one could stop the bright
Up seven levels, no incidents. They all removed their goggles, and prepared
to move up. Gaff leaned on a wall next to the stairs in the stairwell that
would probably be the gate to either fame and fortune or pain and death.
Gaff mouthed "I'll go first" and, without waiting for acknowledgement,
silently and swiftly paced up the stairwell.
The assault teams had stopped shooting, they couldn't risk killing one
of their blade runners, and now only the occasional shot by a marksman
could be heard. Gaff reached the top of the stairs and motioned the all
clear. Tylers followed next, and then Rollins came up. They were now on
the second floor of the building.
The ConApt was 250 stories tall, with 12 full Apts on each level.
Fortunatelly, all doors had been removed as well as furnature due to the
upcoming demolition. The runners spread out down the two main halls to
search the first floor.
The place had to be historic. The first floors were made of wood,
someone would make a hefty profit selling that on the market. Rollins got
to the doorway of his first Apt, took a deep breath, and slid inside, gun
locked and 'cocked.
The blast of an Ender-class weapon shook Rollins, but he saw no blast,
he felt no pain. The shot had not been at him, but it had definitelly been
on this floor. He spun around and fastly, but catiously, spun out into
the hall, he saw Gaff down the hall firing his blaster repeatedly into
a doorway of an Apt.
He stopped suddenly, but by that time Rollins was by his side.
Tylers too. Rollins looked in the room. A female Nexus-6 lay on the floor,
synthetic blood splattered all around the walls and floor behind her. A
large hole in her chest, probably made from many bullets, and an Ender
model small arm in her limp hand. Rollins turned to Gaff to see him smiling
that familiar smile of his, nodding.
"One for me." He proceeded to walk back to the stairwell.
When Rollins had killed his first batch of 6's three months prior, Gaff
had called him a "real" blade runner. Rollins may be just that, but Gaff
had a quality to him of sheer killing power that Rollins thought he would
never have. Sheer efficiency. They quickly searched the rest of the floor.
The one shot the rep had got off had gone through the wall of the Apt just
in front of Gaff, he was fast for a cane-carrier. The wood floor was a
disadvantage: it creeked. 6's had a way of hearing things. The Reps would
now be alert to their prescence, things might not be so easy from now on.
Joey stood on the fourth floor of the ConApt in the dark hallway, listening.
"They're coming." He whispered.
"The hunters." A female voice said from next to him.
"We must kill them." another male voiced in.
"They must've just got Laura."
"We must kill them."
"Yes, we must."
The eight remaining Nexus-6 Replicants stood silently in the hall. All
thinking and listening, trying to ponder how to hunt the hunters. Everyone
was armed with an Ender rifle of some type, one hit would immobilize any
human no matter where they were hit. The hunters had now just finished
searching the second floor. One more floor, and they would be upon them.
"Spread out, ambush them." Joey said.
They all nodded and spilt apart to different rooms, all having their own
ideas for combat.
Tylers searched the empty ConApt, identical to all other Apts in the
building. Gaff had gotten the first one, now Tylers wanted some game of
his own. Every sense of Tylers was on full alert. He wanted a few Nexus-6
trophies, yes, but death was of much less appeal to him.
Tylers stopped dead in his slow walk. He listened, not daring to breath.
And then it was there again. A light creek in the floor above. He stared
at the ceiling and backed up into the doorway leading into the Apt's kitchen/bathroom.
Judging by the pattern of creeking. Someone-Something was pacing,
or walking in circles. Why would they do-
A pile of cracked wood, metal, and other broken materials flew down
from the ceiling in a huge cloud of dust. When the dust cleared, Tyers
saw a fist smashing through the floor.
Tylers slid into the Kitchen/Bathroom and waited to hear the '6 jump
down. A thump confirmed contact. Tylers spun into the doorway and fired
at the huge figure. Five, six, seven rounds smacked his body, he still
stood. Tylers emptied the rest of the chambers into him, and he still stood.
Tylers was dumbfounded. Flack vest? Could that be what's protecting
him? But in a split second Tylers saw his flaw, the body was two big to
be a man, or Nexus-6... but it certainly was big enough- Tylers rushed
back into the bathroom before the first shot came- to be two Nexus-6's!
If Joey had ever gotten the chance to develope emotions, he would have
been proud of his cunning at this moment. But he just had one thought on
his mind: Kill
Joey had jumped down, holding Johann's dead body upright, and
had used him as a shield. Johann had stopped all the bullets except one,
which had hit Joey's left arm. But he chose to ignore the pain, so he did.
He raised his Ender rifle and fired at the hunter in the doorway, one-handed.
He was fast, just made the dodge. Joey dropped Johann and pumped the Ender.
He aimed at the doorway and slowly started forward.
I have once chance.
Tyler's hands shook as he slid the large ammo rounds into his blaster.
He could hear the rep moving forward now. He had once chance. One. He slid
to the ground near the doorway.
"What's life without a little adventure?"
He remembered and thought Gaff's quote. And, taking a deep breath, rolled
into the doorway.
The shots came. Joey's first thought was the hunter was trying to shoot
through the wall, but the five flashes told him he was wrong. He fired
on first reaction, but the hunter was on the floor, Joey had been anticipating
he would be standing.
Joey had anticipated wrong.
He felt the shells slam his chest, his head. He fell back and
splashed in a pool of his own blood. He choked, gasping for breath. His
life was over, it would have ended eventually anyway. His eyes did not
close, but a blackness enclosed him. A dark nothingness. Leon felt a strange
Maybe this is fear. was Joey's last thought.
Tyler's hand was shaking, he couldn't keep his gun steady. His breathing
was shallow, he thought that he might be dead. But the sound of the wind
and rain outside told him he was alive. He stood from the ground, in front
of him lay his retirement, a male rep.
The other rep was also male, but he had been dead before Tylers
had shot him. He could lie saying he got the retirment, but the lab boys
would determine in a few days that it was a round from an assault rifle
that had done it.
Where the heck is Gaff and Rollins? he thought.
But he realized the events that had seemed like hours had actually been
under one minute. Strange how the good times go fast and the bad times
Gaff had heard the shots in another Apt. He paced out of the Apt he
was in and into the dark hallway. Rollins was in the Apt at the very end
of the hall, so this must have been Tylers. Gaff started twoard the other
side of the stairwell, but he knew reps weren't that stupid. He smelled
an ambush in the making. Looking for an object to test his theory, Gaff
found nothing. The whole building was emptied.
Ever rescourceful, he slid off his shoe, made of replicated leather.
Like a frisbee, he threw it down the hall. From above, a blast of an Ender
blew through the floor, missing Gaff's shoe.
Thank God, those shoes cost me a crapload of Chinyen!
But he had been right, ambush. He aimed his blaster and pumped a few rounds
into the hole the skin job had shot through. He paced forward, covering
the hole with his gun. Anything moves, it dies.
Rollins had heard the shots, and another few had followed, these ones
came from the hall.
Tylers found himself some trouble? he thought as he
rushed out of the kitchen of the apt he was in.
In the hall he could see Gaff already, pacing slowly forward. But there
was something behind him...
Up with the blaster, out with the five shots, down with the skin job. Gaff
spun around and saw what had narrowly come between him and his death. He
nodded to Rollins, this one had been a small female, silent and deadly.
Rollins came out into the hall. He mouthed "Tylers" to Gaff, who nodded
to the Apts opposite the stairwell, then nodded to the ceiling. a Skin
job had been up there, but had Gaff hit it? If he had that would have been
three reps between he and Gaff, and if Tylers had gotten his it would be
four between all of them. Leaving, if Bryant's estimate had been correct,
Tylers stepped out into the hall, in his hands was an Ender-class
rifle. He approached the other two runners, and explained "Blaster choked
on a overweight cartridge".
"The rest are above, we know all that, but I think we've discouraged
them from coming to us. I think they want us to come to them." Rollins
"Yes." Gaff agreed.
Tylers pumped his Ender.
"This thing weighs a ton."
Above the blade runners, a slight creeking sound of floorboards could be
heard. Tyler's face lit up, as if he had just gotten an idea.
"Listen here, friends." He said.
The five remaining 6's had split and fled. Now that Joey was dead they
had no leadership, no one to follow. Now they only wanted to live, not
caring about their fellow replicant. Simone, a female Nexus-6, was the
only one left on the floor above the hunters, the blade runners, the killers.
In her hands she embraced an Ender-class assault rifle- a fully automatic
rifle that housed a 120-round box and fired 4 shots a second. She had used
this type of weapon before, at least that's what she remembered. Implanted
or not, the skill was there.
She walked down the hall twoard the stairwell, she would kill
these hunters, if just so she could leave a few minutes longer, she would
The floor creeked beneath her. In a split second a blast, followed by
the floor just below her disinigrating, and her falling, and she was lying
on the ground of the floor below. She coughed, recovering from the stun.
She regained her senses and found herself staring into the barrel of a
gun. Joey's old Ender, to be exact. The tall, blond-haired hunter in front
of her smiled, pumped the Ender and said,
A blast was the last thing Simone ever remembered.
Four more... just four more!
Rollins thought, running up the stairwell. The female Tylers had just retired
left the remaining kill count at four. The rep Gaff had shot through the
ceiling had died instantly, a clean head shot. That had been luck, in Rollins's
opinion, where as Gaff saw it as skill. "Four more
to go!" Tylers was excited.
Rollins had heard from Gaff on the way down into the sewers to get into
the building that Tylers had once been on Assault Team Alpha, the best-of-the-best
in Police killing machines. Rollins had no doubts now, as he saw Tylers
excited not only by the remaining reps, but also that he got to try out
a new toy; The Ender '98 Assault rifle.
They had now reached the eight floor. They had done quick-scans of the
floors, but they knew the skin-jobs were now afraid, very afraid, and they
were fleeing for their very meaningless lives.
Gaff was in the lead of the group, since he was the slowest due
to his cane. He reached a foyer between levels eight and nine and stopped.
Rollins saw him aim up the second flight and fire a few rounds.
"Female, she's runnin'. Might even be unarmed." Gaff said.
Rollins shoved past Gaff.
"I'll get her."
Tylers followed him to cover as they ran up the stairs to the ninth level.
Turning down a hall, Rollins saw the rep standing there, aiming an Ender
at him. She had been armed! A smile lit up on the female's face. She pulled
Rollins raised his blaster. Must've been a pleasure model, no weapons
"Sorry, babe, safety's on."
Headshot, a clean kill.
"Three more." Rollins said as he turned to Tylers, Gaff had
just made it to the top of the stairs.
A huge, bulky male jumped out at them from one of the Apt's doorways. Reacting
instantly, Tylers emptied a few second's worth of rounds into the rep.
His body lay on the floor in pieces, the ammo had literally cut him in
Tylers looked up and smiled.
"And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes our lesson for Overkill
101 today. Two more to-"
From the darkest corner of the hallway a blast broke the conversation.
In almost slow motion, Rollins and Gaff watched as the 20mm shell of an
Ender ripped through Tylers' back and into his stomach cavity. The shell
went through straight and proceded on into the wall in front of him.
Rollins raised his blaster, so did Gaff, and they fired almost in harmony
a quartet of vollies into the hidden '6. They didn't even know if it was
a female or male, but it was dead.
Holstering his blaster, Gaff leaned down and turned Tylers over, he
had falled face down. His breathing came in chokes, he was coughing up
"Go get that last Skin Job, Rollins." Gaff said in fast Cityspeak,
Rollins knew by this Gaff was preocupied so he was speaking his native
language; the language of the street, the city, city-speak. "I take this
"You can't do it Gaff, you got your can and-"
"Don't bull me!" Gaff yelled. He holstered his blaster and
started downstairs. "I meant I'm going to get Med Team! That Rep must be
20 floors up, this area secure... GO!"
Knowing Gaff was right, Rollins ran up the stairwell and left Tylers. He
sprinted for 20 floors, he could hear the Skin Job screaming faintly, and
it was growing louder every floor.
Maybe McCoy's joke about suicidal reps wasn't so much of
a joke after all
As he approached what he thought was the 40th or 45th floor, he desperatelly
wished for one of two things: One, that he was in shape for this much running,
or Two, this building's elevator was still installed.
The reps screaming and yelling indicated to Rollins that he was
less than five floors up. As he finally got to the floor, he could make
out what the rep was yelling. He was a male, definitelly.
"No life, no point, no existence, no point, no life, no existence,"
repeating the same phrases in mixed order.
Pondering life and death?Rollins questioned in his mind.
The yelling stopped. Rollins stood against the wall on the stairwell, just
around the corner was the last one, the last rep of the night.
"Hey hunter! You there?!?!?!" The rep yelled.
Rollins remained silent.
"Yeah, there you are! Unless you're a mutant rat with breathing
problems! Out of shape, are we?" The replicant laughed. "Too old for the
He had trailed off for a moment, as if thinking.
"Too old. Growing old, must be an honor, eh? Your media, your
'civilization' calls it tragedy when a schoolroom full of 10- year-olds
is blown up by a bomb! Or when a young 5-year-old falls off a balcony and
plunges 300 stories! Hipocrosy!"
What's this skin job gettin' at?
"You call this a tragedy, saying these children never got to
experience life, then you turn around a buy a Nexus-6 Replicant! Yes, yes...
one that will serve you faithfully, bid your every command. Do everything
you will, and you don't even say a word when it decomposes in 4 years!"
Part of Rollins understood this logic. If this was some TV or Billboard
Evangalist, he might have listened, maybe even sent a contribution to their
I'm gettin' a little tired of his preaching. Rollins thought.
He checked his blaster; 5 shots loaded. He swung around the corner and
faced the last rep. The rep sat on the floor, his Ender in front of him,
stripped to his shorts.
"I'm sure you've heard of Roy Batty, my hunter friend."
Rollins almost laughed, was Batty becoming a God to all escaped reps? Rumor
had it that Ray McCoy had just retired a rep that liked to recite poems,
like Batty had been known to do, just a few months ago.
"Come, friend. Listen to what I say before you kill me."
Rollins raised the blaster. "The only bull you'll be preaching
is in replicant hell. Say hello to Batty."
A single shot boomed through the empty building. 50 stories down, outside,
standing on the street, Gaff looked up and smiled.
We just might make a man out of that blade runner yet.He