Destined to Fail: Part 01.
Dan Bridges sat on the fixed, plastic seat at Howie Lee's and yawned.
Around him, the October Chinatown evening progressed as normal, a heaving mass of people, some Asian, some American, but most of them chattering away in Cityspeak. The buzz of the dragon, the blaring voice above promising him a chance to begin again, the constant hiss of the rain, the occasional hum of a spinner overhead, the strangely inviting smell of off-world lichen mixing with Soya. All these sensations mingled at once, and said one thing to Dan: "A Chinatown evening progressing as normal".
He yawned again, and waved his hand to get the old Sushi Master's attention. The wiry man scuttled over.
"What can I do for you, Sir?" Howie asked.
"Some of this." Dan said, indicating his order on the small menu that he'd found on the counter. Howie smiled, nodded and hurried off.
Dan yawned again, and turned his head to see the hubbub of Chinatown progress around him. Neon umbrella handles walked by, followed by the people holding the umbrellas. The smiling Geisha above tasted something, and seemed to enjoy it. The voice overhead encouraged America to "Come on!" A Chinatown evening progressing as normal.
Howie placed a small dish in front of Dan, and put a chopstick wrapper down next to it. Dan held out a small handful of Chinyen. Howie took it, counted it, smiled and said, "Enjoy your meal!" before hurrying off to tend to another diner.
Dan ripped off the Yoshi's Restaurant Supply chopstick wrapper, and dug his chopsticks into the goo. He began to eat.
He'd had real Sushi once. He'd been on a business deal, and the hosts had served real Sushi to seal it. And seal it they had…
This Sushi was nothing compared to real Sushi. It was like eating moss. The real Sushi had a certain edge, it seemed more… He was lost in thought when he suddenly heard a loud shout behind him. He ignored it, and carried on eating his Sushi. The shouts escalated, and he realised that no one else at the bar or on the pavement was talking; they were all staring into the street. He looked round, and saw two men having a loud argument in the middle of the road. They were screaming at each other in Cityspeak, something about a dog, a real one. Dan doubted that there were many real dogs left, but the argument went on. One of the men pushed the other over, and soon they were engaged in punching and kicking each other. People started to drift away, not wanting to get involved, or wanting to get on with whatever business they had here. Dan turned back to his Sushi, and slopped it around on his chopsticks. He smiled to himself. Just a Chinatown evening progressing as normal.
After a few moments, two black clad police officers came along, and attempted to break up the fight. Each officer grabbed a man, and tried to hold him back from the other, but it was futile. The two were engrossed in punching and swearing at each other. Suddenly, one of the men broke off from the fighting, and ran over to a man walking along the other side of the street. He grabbed the man's neon umbrella and ran back to his enemy. He engaged in hitting him with the umbrella handle. The two cops were screaming at the men, and desperately hitting them, but to no avail. The owner of the umbrella had now involved himself in the fight, and was shouting at the men, demanding his umbrella back.
Dan watched all this with amusement, and turned back to his Sushi. He started to eat again. After a few minutes, another officer had arrived, and the fight was stopped. The owner of the umbrella was cautioned, and sent on his way. As he walked off, he mumbled to himself about "Police brutality" and "Stupid maniacs". The other two men were being bundled into the back of a Spinner that had landed. Dan didn't remember the Spinner landing, so watched as the two men were taken away. The street had returned to normal by the time the Spinner had taken off, and Dan returned his full attention to finishing his Sushi.
It was at times like these that Dan would think of his childhood, his youth spent on rock music and drugs. Then the wars came, and the replicants came, and life changed forever. He didn't think about replicants very much, although they were often quite an issue in the news. He'd heard from someone that you yourself could be a replicant without knowing it, because they had implanted memories or something. That thought often hit Dan, and he would sit for hours worrying if he were a rep…
He looked absently over his shoulder to view the street again, and suddenly noticed that a man was pointing a gun at him from the other side of the road.
Suddenly, Howie was grabbing away his Sushi and muttering something about replicants… Dan dived to the ground, and heard a piercing shot fire. People were calling to each other, and ducking. Dan looked up at the Blade Runner again, and removed any doubt that he was the target. He scrambled under the seats next to his, crawled along and started sprinting down the road. Behind him, he could hear the shots ringing through the air. He ran along next to a wall, fear pounding through his mind. Many things were buzzing around in there…
Was he a rep? Was he a human who was going to be retired by mistake? A part of the wall next to him suddenly cracked and the sound of another shot filled the air. Dan whimpered, and dropped to the ground, the rain splashing into his eyes as he fell to the road. He lay with his hands covering his face, screaming "I'M HUMAN! I'M HUMAN! PLEASE!"
Suddenly, a shadow fell over him. He looked up, and stared into the eyes of a killer.
The man was quite tall, with short, blonde hair. His eyes were a piercing brown, and they burned into Dan's.
"I'm human…" Dan murmured, "Please leave me alone…"
The man levelled his gun.
"Where are you holed up?" he said. His voice sounded gentle and kind, a horrifying contrast to the truth.
Dan shook his head. He had never felt more wretched in his life.
"I'm human. Please believe me…"
The Blade Runner shook his head.
"Pathetic. You skin jobs aren't worth it."
The shot came, and Dan heard it. Then nothing.
The bullet went straight through the man's skull, and there was a wet crack, as he lay limp. BR53475, known to his friends as Sam Phillips, lowered the gun, and sighed. He'd put up a chase, but justice had prevailed. He'd like to hear Steele and Holden laugh at him now...