Wednesday, November 13, 2019

1187 Hunterwasser

Gaff took off from the pyramid, spent the whole ride bitching about what a slob I was. So, 18 hours after Leon's actual crime, we killed our flashing lights, touched down a block away from 1187 Hunterwasser, and went the rest of the way on foot. Lousy hotel. Completely free of that ugly yellow crime scene/do not touch tape, just undercover cops hiding in the shadows. Don't want to scare Leon off, right? If he's stupid enough to come back.

Desk clerk knew we were looking for a fugitive, assumed it was the human variety. LAPD knows, but knows to keep their mouths shut. Replicants go rogue, we keep it from the public. So, RepDetec put out the usual cover story. Officially, Leon's a disgruntled ex-worker, long-standing grievance with the Tyrell corporation, finally made good on his long string of psychotic threats. Armed and extremely dangerous. Three known co-conspirators, also considered armed and dangerous, blah-blah.

The damn elevator was broken. Better living through technology. Gaff and I humped it up the stairs. I got there first, heard him struggling with his cane. To hell with him. I left him behind and went in. Checked the bathroom first. You want to find shit, check the bathroom. Nada.

Just the faucet dripping. The heartless replicant had left the water running. Apparently, Leon didn’t care that fresh water was a precious natural resource. You can see why he deserved to die.

Went back in the living room. Crappy TV set from the 20th century with a picture tube. Gaff flashes me an ugly look in the doorway. Goes into the bathroom where he'd just seen me come out. Starts looking where I’d already looked.

I hate this petty shit, really hate it. Figuring to show me up, poking his nose in, find some evidence Deckard missed with his sloppy detective work. He’ll bring it to Bryant’s attention back at the station. After he pulls his nose out of Bryant’s ass.

Gaff came out of the bathroom. Now he tells me what I missed. But he didn’t say anything. He hadn’t been looking, he'd been making one of his origamis. I could see it in his hands, couldn't see what it was. Still working on it.

Do your job he tells me in that lingo of his.

Now he was really pissing me off. Our job was detective work, not folding up tinfoil. He should take his own damn advice.

I pulled open a drawer in the battered motel furniture, found some family photographs. Leon's fake family.

"Hey Leon! You looking for these?"

No answer, not surprising. Leon had dropped his real address at the VK session, knew RepDetec had the vid. He'd have to be as stupid as he looks to stay here, waiting nearly a day for the cops to arrive. No. The flat's been empty since yesterday morning. Leon's gone.

Unless he's hanging on the ceiling like a spider. One second, Gaff finishes his precious art project. The next, the thing drops down and rips out his throat. I looked up, couldn't help myself.

Nothing.

But the bathtub ...

Back in the bathroom. Turn on the light this time, flickering old fluorescent. I tapped it. The light brightened for a second, then died again. Bring a flashlight next time. And guess what?

I actually found something in the tub. Missed it the first time. Gaff missed it too. Something nasty, don’t know what. A transparent guitar pick? Lots of em? No. Not plastic. Organic.

Scales.

Whatever was in that bathtub was not human. Replicants don't have scales. And family photos? Replicants didn't have families either.

I put a few scales in a plastic evidence bag. Held it up so Gaff could see it. He didn't look up. Still screwing around with some chewing gum tinfoil.

"You should see this, Gaff."

He didn't look up. Busy hands.

"Hey!"

He looked up. Grunted.

"Know what this is? Take a guess."

Gaff muttered more gibberish. Guesswork is the mark of a lazy mind.

"It's called evidence. I found it. You didn't."

He grunted again. Went back to his stupid origami, then finished his art project.

A little man with his dick sticking out. The eternal hard-on.

You’re a dick, Deckard.

Subtle.

We trudged our way back to the Spinner. Figured we'd drop off the evidence back at RepDetec and Bryant would grill me for another three hours, then pay for a cab home where I'd left my piece of shit car.

Flying over LA again. Gaff having a private conversation with the voice in his headset. Not liking what he's hearing.

Out of nowhere, Gaff asked me a question. Plain English, this time.

"You got an ESPER?"

"What?"

"You got an ESPER?"

"Yeah."

Early-gen fuzzy logic tech. A box from 2011. Obsolete, I kept it in the closet. We patched into the RepDetec system now.

"It's a standalone?"

"Yeah -- Why's that important?"

We were passing the old Capitol Record building. RepDetec was ten miles north, by the Hollywood Hills. The flight path was wrong.

"Where --"

"I'm taking you home, stupid."

Again, totally wrong. Not SOP. Should've gone back to RepDetec HQ. Should've fed my report into the central AI, dropped the evidence off at the lab. Unless they'd broken through the RepDetec firewall.

"The system's compromised, right?"

"Probably."

"Jesus Christ, they hacked into ..."

"That ESPER of yours. It's a standalone?"

"Yeah. A 2011 model gathering dust."

"Good enough. Run the evidence yourself, OK? Like the old days."

"This is bad."

More cityspeak.


What an amazing observation. Thank God your brilliant mind is on the case.

"It's nice to be appreciated."

Fuck you.

"Speak English, OK?"

"Stop wasting time! Bryant says go home, work from home, stay home. No ..."

"No calls from the conapt, I get it."

"You don't get it! They've got your fucking address, stupid. Hacked into RepDetec, hacked into you."

"You, too."

"Just go home. Bryant's orders! First thing, unplug the phone, computer, TV. Sever all connections. You have make a call, VidPhons only. But try to stay inside. We got snipers around your place if they come for you."

"They're not coming for me."

Stay off the fucking balcony, OK? 

"Sure."

Gaff dropped me off. I made it up the 97 floors to home sweet home. Followed orders, pulled the kill switch on the conapt network, pulled the plugs just to be sure. Did a sweep for surveillance devices for extra credit.

Then I walked out on the terrace. Walked right to the edge and looked down at the street, 97 floors down. Olive Street slicing through a canyon of highrises. Stood there, stayed there awhile, nobody shot me. Out of nowhere, Spinner whips around the corner, way over the legal speed, cop in another Spinner right on his ass, flashing lights bouncing off the buildings, siren going. Dopplered as he flew away.

A cop.

Somebody like me.

After somebody. I hope you get him.

Catch your prey. Sink your teeth right in.

I always root for the hunter.

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