Blade Runner Movie Home Page

Blade Runner Interactive Stories

Running Scared

This Page written by: Man Machine

Back to Contents Page

In the Secret Garden

As Thorne sat in his spinner, he thought back to that last meeting with Sandeman.

-- // --

'Little Marrakesh' in the 12th sector was an exotic corner of Los Angeles; more often than seldom, men wore caftans and women djellabas in the covered streets of 'Black Velvet Bazaar'. In Little Marrakesh, the alleys weren't as claustrophobic and threatening as elsewhere: the windows weren't necessarily covered with Rent-A-Views™ and every now and then people actually chatted with each other between the balconies.

'The Secret Garden', was a nightclub hidden in a winding alley close to the bazaar. It was a lofty, square hall, with arcaded galleries in ten storeys. In the middle of the hall, water climbed down a tiered fountain the size of a small mountain, whispering and glowing in shell-shaped, fluorescent beds.

There were mural paintings everywhere, depicting desert palaces, oases, gardens, bazaars and other exotic motifs, but they were barely visible in the flickering lights of the oil lamps. On the ceiling, a hologram of one of those starry skies that could still be seen in North Africa was projected, creating a complete illusion of being in the open air. An air which was filled with smoke from narghiles and the sounds of OrienTechno, chat, laughter, singsong, and the clatter of ivory dice and backgammon draughtsmen.

Thorne found Sandeman on the third storey gallery, seated by a slender café table of curved iron; an oil lamp on the tabletop illuminated his features from below. As always, he looked like an American quasi-aristocrat from bygone times with his carefully trimmed moustache and side-whiskers, stiff collar and slender cravat, knee-length jacket and shiny jack-boots. Maybe it was a masquerade for Thorne, maybe not; it was hard to tell these days.

"Greetings and salutations, Thorne!" Sandeman hailed him, as he seated himself across the table.

"You've got a shadow." Thorne nodded discreetly in the direction of a woman two tables away. Sprawling, short hair in different shades of metallic blue; evidently artificial and filled with liquid crystals, as it seemed to dance slowly before his eyes. The woman's eyes matched her hair, rendering her a hypnotic aura; Thorne wasn't sure whether they were lenses or iris implants. For clothing, she wore a black coverall and a jacket in a material looking like cold blue, fine-meshed chain-mail. She looked quite spectacular, but then again, so did most people in Los Angeles.

"That's Olympia," Sandeman said calmly. "She works for me."

Thorne gave Olympia a good stare. She didn't seem to mind; in fact, she stared back. They both refused to yield. Finally, Thorne turned to Sandeman.

"She's a replicant, ain't she?"

"Don't be silly, Thorne. That's illegal." A shadow of a smile on Sandeman's lips; a quick glance at Olympia revealed the same reaction. Thorne realised they must be connected with a subdermal comlink. And there was something else...

"You're lovers," Thorne concluded. "For fuck's sake, Sandeman: has the radiation got to your brain?"

Sandeman didn't answer; a waitress had appeared at the table, a waitress from Paradise. She was exquisitely dressed: a black, felt pillbox hat and a gold braided, chiffon veil covered her long, black hair, and an abaya over a velvet caftan, both deep black and gold embroidered, covering her delicate curves.

"Krušovice, please," Thorne asked politely, impressed by her exotic beauty.

"Certainly," she said with a soft smile. Thorne smiled in return, possibly for the first time in a year.

"So," Sandeman said, grabbing the opportunity to change the subject, "long time, no see. How are things? Still dreaming of a piece of land on Brunner's World? Going fishing once again ... ?"

"As soon as I win the fucking lottery." Thorne fired off a bitter smile, and got a dry one in return. "What about you, Sandeman? Are you still doing whatever you do?"

"Yes, I'm still doing ... whatever I do." The smile faded from his face. "You know, I still owe you big for the cover-up of the Club Voltage massacre ... "

"Yeah, I know." Fragments of memories flashed through Thorne's mind: nine bodies on the dance floor, bathing in stroboscopic light; three in the bar, covered with glass splinters. The wicked deeds of "Bonnie and Clyde", two psychotic replicants who had escaped from a special research facility; a short, but bloody killing spree. "What's the deal, Sandeman?"

Their discussion was interrupted again, this time by some commotion downstairs; suggestive OrienTechno suddenly filled the air with deep drumbeats and ethereal women's voices. Thorne glanced over the balcony parapet. Ten meters below him, a belly dancer performed with bare feet on a vast, thick, Moroccan rug: whirling, cherry-coloured veils and glimmering, golden jewellery. Thorne decided he would revisit the establishment in the future.

"I've heard you're running a private Rep-Detect enterprise nowadays," Sandeman said when Thorne turned to face him again. Thorne's eyes narrowed slightly.


"I'm saying this as a friend: get out while you can. The rules have changed. There's no room for small players anymore."

Thorne snorted.

"I'm serious," Sandeman persisted. "Get out. The Tyrells are doing as they please now; they get away with murder, literally. There's big money in the army contracts, bigger than you can imagine. They have allies on all levels, including that mindless puppet in the Oval Office. They haven't managed to neutralise RAD yet, but it's only a question of time." RAD, The Replicant and Advanced Automaton Department; Thorne had co-operated with quite a few stubborn Inspectors during his blade runner days.

Sandeman paused when the waitress reappeared at the table with Thorne's Czech beer on a tray. Thorne paid her in cash; they preferred it that way in Little Marrakesh. She didn't smile this time.

"I'm not surprised," Thorne said and tasted his beer. "Things will get worse before they get better."

"Who the hell said things will get better? This is worse than you think: there's a hidden agenda. We're sure about that now." Sandeman suddenly looked nervous, almost afraid. Thorne didn't like it; to see Sandeman nervous made him nervous too. He told himself that the man must be tired and troubled, and that the flickering light of the oil lamp just exaggerated it.

"Sandeman, what the fuck are you talking about?"

"The sixes are simply too good. Who knows what the next generation will look like? The Europeans were content after they had developed ErsatzMann IV and Opérateur 7, the Japanese after Guzen III; all advanced fivers basically. What's this 'More human than human' bullshit all about really? Why ... ?" Sandeman's voice suddenly faded; the mysterious Olympia was evidently talking to him over the subdermal comlink.

"What?" Thorne asked and took a deep draught of beer.


Thorne wiped his lips with the sleeve.

"Suits or uniforms?"

"Suits. I think we better leave; might be a blitz raid coming up. They have these chambers downstairs ... forbidden pleasures ... " Sandeman got to his feet. "Look, before I leave ... I have connections. If you get in trouble, contact me." Sandeman handed him a plastic card the size of a stamp and not much thicker; Thorne recognised it as an electronic key to a train station locker. "I might be able to help you. Just don't bet your life on it."

"I won't."

"Get out, Thorne."

"Have a better one, Sandeman."

He nodded and took off with Olympia twenty steps behind; eyeing Thorne askance with her crystal blues. Thorne didn't follow their example. He emptied his Krušovice slowly and smoked a couple of Boyards, while enjoying the belly dancer's graceful performance downstairs. The supposed police raid never came; he assumed the owner had bribed the cops.

-- // --

It had been the last time Thorne had heard from Sandeman. He had kept the electronic key in his wallet, though. Just in case.



Option 1 - Alan Thorne

Option 2 - Sandeman

Option 3 - Something else

Pages in white continue the story. Pages in yellow are yet to be written. Note that the unwritten options are just suggestions for how the story might continue - you can add something completely different if you like.

Each page in the story ends in a five letter code. If you want to return to this page in the future, make a note of the page code and you will then be able to change your URL to take you straight back to that page.

Back to Contents Page

Date: 2002-07-20 16:15