Lower than the Angels: Part 04.

She came again, five years later.

"Alone?" Rachael asked. "Where is Deckard?"

"Alone," the other Rachael said. Then: "How old am I?"

Rachael considered toying with her. Then discarded the idea.

"You were incepted when I was fourteen."

"Fourteen!"

"You've lived a long time, Rachael. Longer than any replicant before you. We didn't build longevity factors into the Nexus-7s."

"That I knew." Again Rachael noticed the spark of defiance, like a force of will struggling to be born.

She didn't betray her surprise. She though the replicant had sought her out to find out why she and Deckard hadn't fied; had expected it. But they already knew. So there was another reason for the visit. What was it? How old am I? she had asked. Of course. As simple as that. She watched the replicant struggle with the implication.

"Sixteen years then… and my memories since I was fourteen…"

"Are really yours. No implants."

The other Rachael sat down heavily on a chair. "Fourteen… I should be able to tell the difference…"

"Between the memories before and those after? You can't. The graft is seamless. We build very well."

"Then how do you know I'm not the real Rachael?"

"I remember when my thought patterns and memories were recorded. You don't. That week was carefully edited out and other memories inserted… There was a week, when you were fourteen, you were very ill, stuck in bed. There was nothing to do, but somehow the time passed quickly all the same." The other Rachael's eyes widened as she remembered. "To allow you to retain those memories and let you believe there was another Rachael, a replicant, would lead to too much self doubt about your identity. But there's an even easier way to prove it."

Rachael walked to the table, reached for the Voigt-Kampff set.

"I've taken the test," the other Rachael said, defeated again.

And failed, she thought. Then, she heard herself speak, almost trance-like. "Why is it so important to you? You're stronger than us, smarter, faster, better. You're purer than us. Look at you. It's been five years, you don't look a day older. You could live for two hundred years, or more. You should be happy."

She looked down, momentarily confused. She had picked up the Voigt-Kampff machine without noticing. "Here. Take it." She placed the set into the replicant's hands. They were warm to the touch, like human hands. But of course, they would be.

Rachael watched the replicant go. She almost felt sorry for her. She almost felt happy for her. Then she rang Dafoe and asked him to bring up a new Voigt-Kampff machine.



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